Report on the capture of the Tiger that killed human beings, at D.B.Kuppe range Rajiv Gandhi (Nagarahole) Tiger Reserve.
Report on the capture of the Tiger that killed human beings, at D.B.Kuppe range Rajiv Gandhi (Nagarahole) Tiger Reserve. ***** 1. Early morning 28th January, 2019, a call was received from the Director, Rajiv Gandhi (Nagarahole) Tiger Reserve (RNTR) that a person was killed by a Tiger in the forests of D.B.Kuppe range close to a settlement by name Hulumuttulu. The Director, RNTR was instructed to form a special team with kumki elephants to take up perambulation (patrolling) of the area to prevent further attacks and also to make public announcement in the area, so that the people are prevented from entering the forests. The Director has also informed that the villagers of Hulumuttulu are requesting for an elephant proof trench (EPT) for barricading the village. Though EPT do not provide barricade for preventing tiger crossing into the habitation, in order to provide a psychological confidence to the people it was agreed to the request for providing the barricade through Tiger Foundation Funds. The Director was also instructed to put up camera traps around the area. 2. The Chief Conservator of Forests, Kodagu Circle, Madikeri who holds the administrative control of RNRT was contacted for giving further directions. CCF, Kodagu reached Aranya Bhavan by 11.00 am on 28th January. The Director, RNTR provided the details of the deceased person and his legal heir. 3. As per the information the deceased person is Sri. Chinnappa bin. Devasegowda of Hulumuttulu village and the legal heir is Smt. Devika. Sri. Chinnappa along with his brother, while attending to his nature call on 28th January, around 6. 45 am., in the forests opposite to his residence was attacked by a Tiger which dragged the deceased inside the forests. On hearing the loud crying call of the brother of deceased other villagers rushed to the spot and on search the villages found the trail of the tiger as a few drops of blood was seen all along and at a distance of about 150 mtrs., from the place of attack, the tiger had left the body of the deceased. By the time the villagers reached the spot Sri. Chinnappa is believed to have succumbed to the attack by the tiger. They found the canine marks of the tiger on the face and the head. The villagers later informed the forest officials regarding the incidence. 4. After detailed discussion with the CCF, Kodagu it was instructed to analyze the camera trap information of RNTR to ascertain the tigers of the area. Further, it was informed to have a discussion with the district administration for providing toilets to the families of all the fringe villages of the Tiger Reserve. The cheque of Rs. 5.00 lakhs drawn in favour of the wife of deceased person Smt. Devika was handed over to the CCF Kodagu was directed to go to the spot for handing over the ex-gratia cheque and to lead the special team to prevent further attacks. The CCF, Kodagu on reaching the spot handed over the cheque to Smt. Devika and lead the special team. 5. The CCF had collected all the secondary data and the primary information from the spot to identify the tiger which has resorted to kill human beings. As informed by CCF, Sri. Mutthu, Deputy Range Forest Officer had lot of camera trap information of the area pertaining to tigers praying on wild animals and cattle. As analyzed by CCF, there appear to be two tigers (male) in the same territory which is uncommon to the species. CCF has sent the photographs of both male tigers sharing the same territory in D.B.Kuppe . 6. The CCF, further informed that the pictures of the tigers depict some abnormalities. One tiger seems to be having corneal opacity of the left eye. As per the information received from the Aranya Bhavan Tiger Cell, this tiger was first photographed during 2013 in Metikuppe area. When it was first photographed at Metikuppe the tiger seems to have crossed sub-adult stage with an approximate age of 3 to 3½ years. With this information presently the age of the tiger having left eye corneal opacity would be 9 years. As per the camera trap information the tiger seems to have moved into D.B. Kuppe area during 2018. The second tiger which was first camera trapped in D. B. Kuppe area during 2016 was sub-adult. The approximate age of the second tiger of D. B. Kuppe would be 5 to 5½ years. The second tiger’s abnormality is swollen right forelimb. The left hind limb also has a wound. The CCF, has come to a conclusion that both the tigers are living in the same territory since 2018 based on the camera trap information. 7. On the morning of 30th January the undersigned travelled to D.B.Kuppe area via. Mysore. Before reaching Mysore, Mr. B. P. Ravi, APCCF & Member Secretary, Zoo Authority of Karnataka, was informed to join the PCCF(WL) as he had the experience of working in tiger reserve as well as in Zoological Park. From Mysore the PCCF(WL) travelled to D.B.Kuppe along with Member Secretary, ZAK. During the journey the photographs of the tigers of D.B.Kuppe sent by CCF, Kodagu was analyzed and it was decided to refer the photos to the senior veterinarians working in Mysore Zoo and veterinary colleges in the State. The comments received from the senior veterinarians are as bellow. “Veterinary Surgeon’s opinion about the TIGERs of D B Kuppe area, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. The photographs of the two tigers were sent to Veterinary Surgeons viz. Mysore Zoo Surgeon, Assistant professor, Shimogga veterinary college and retired dean, Hassan veterinary college (with veterinary wildlife experience) seeking opinion regarding the abnormalities noticed in the photographs. The opinion: 1) Dr Madan K V MVSc (Surgery & Radiology), Veterinary Officer, Mysore Zoo Tiger 01: With eye problem: “I can see the Corneal opacity at left eye of the tiger. Right eye seems to be good with no abnormality as seen in other pictures sent”. “corneal opacity: There are many causes for this condition like infection, injury or secondary to other eye problems like cataract and so on”. “According to the photograph, the animal may have the vision provided there is no Glaucoma (High intraocular pressure). If the current corneal opacity condition is progressing, then vision may get impaired and even complete blindness in future or else the eye condition may remain the same and resolve eventually.” Tiger 02: with limb problem: “The wound at right hind limb inner leg region seems to be well granulating (wound healing sign) but there is considerable wound gapping (space between two wound edges) which may take few days to heal completely. Maggots infestation and self-mutilation are the possible complications for this wound” Tiger 02: with limb problem: “The Right forelimb shows considerable swelling at caudal aspect of cranial half of radius-ulna, below the elbow. The mass seems to be more soft tissue oriented but there are chances of bone involvement also (Not fracture) as I can see the animal bearing weight on this limb in the other pictures sent (So no chances of fracture) Xray imaging modality and physical examination can give the definitive diagnosis about this limb problem.” 2) Dr Vasanth Shetty, Retired Dean, Hassan Veterinary College: Tiger 02: with limb problem “At right elbow… Swelling tentatively appears to be a lipomatous tumor... which is quite common in canines… it needs to be surgically excised…… if left alone it would keep growing to enormous size… we have to rule out lobulated abscess by an exploratory puncture before surgery… there seems to be a incised wound on medial aspect of left hind leg…. May need suturing….. . if fresh…” 3) Dr Dhanalakshmi, Assistant Professor, Dept of Surgery, Shimoga Veterinary College: Tiger 02: with limb problem: “Hi, Cellulitis in right forelimb and healing laceration on left hindlimb.” 8. On 30th January evening the site was inspected by the PCCF(WL) along with Member Secretary, ZAK, and CCF, Kodagu and the staff of RNTR and reached the camp. The opinion of the senior veterinarians and information collected by CCF, Kodagu was analyzed by the undersigned. The analysis was shared with MS ZAK, and CCF, Kodagu to pin point the tiger responsible for the human attack. The combing operations was further strengthened and more teams were formulated. On 31st January morning it was informed by the residents of Hulumuttulu that during the previous night a goat was lifted and killed by a carnivore. On examination of the photograph of the dead goat it was inferred that it would have been killed by a leopard as the width between two canine injuries was narrow, and the combing team also came across a leopard in the same area on 31st morning. The Member Secretary, ZAK contacted the doctor who conducted the postmortem of Sri. Chinnappa to find out the spacing between the two canine injuries and ascertained that the injury is by a large carnivore. The challenge remained to be which one of the two tigers in the area is responsible for killing Sri Chinnappa. The team tried to identify the pug marks available in the vicinity of the spot where the tiger had killed the deceased person. The PCCF(WL) along with Member Secretary, ZAK travelled to Bangalore to attend the workshop on man-animal conflict. 9. Unfortunately by the evening of 31st January, one more person who was collecting some tubers in the forest area close to Machur was killed. On receipt of the information the PCCF(WL) and Member Secretary, ZAK started back to RNTR and on way Sri. G. Susheel, an expert in tackling such emergency situation, also joined. On reaching Mysore NTCA Committee has given a report recommending for capturing the tiger which was killing human beings. Based on the report and also on the first hand information gathered from the field the undersigned passed an order under Section-11(1)(a) of Wildlife (Protection) Act-1972, for capturing and as last resort for killing the man eater. 10. The second deceased was identified as Sri. Kencha S/o. Gollu of Thimmanahosahalli Hadi living in Machur village. The second deceased person also sustained canine injuries on his face and head. Since the villagers of Machur and Hulumuttulu were in agitated mood they did not allow to examine the body or to lift the body from the site. With lot of pursuance it was possible to lift the body in the early hours of 1st February. During the early hours of 1st February, the PCCF(WL), Member Secretary, ZAK, CCF Kodagu and Sri. G. Susheel went to the spot where Sri. Kencha was killed to trace the pug marks of the tiger. After a prolonged search in the area the foot prints of a tiger was noticed. The foot prints were similar to the foot prints noticed close to the site where Sri. Chinnappa was killed. With this it was concluded that the tiger having abnormality in its right forelimb and an injury on the left hind limb is the tiger responsible for the human deaths in the area. 11. The map of the D.B.Kuppe area was obtained to mark the likely movement of the tiger for intensifying the combing operations. Six elephants with six doctors along with tranquilizing guns were organized as separate teams to comb the area. Six localities were identified for tying baits. Each team was given the responsibility of the area marked and given to them. The roads were covered by the teams with the help of the jeeps. The backwaters of Kabini reservoir was covered with the help of drone camera. Around 1.00 pm. the tiger was noticed by a guard Sri. Dinesh near the forest area where Sri. Kencha was killed by the tiger. Immediately all the teams reached the area and surrounded the forest area where tiger was found. Arjuna elephant followed the tiger and the veterinary doctor along with his assistant Sri. Akram sitting on the elephant darted the tiger subsequent to which nets were spread on the tiger to capture. The captured tiger was put in a cage and after examination the doctors gave the revival injection and the tiger was sent to Mysore Zoo for further examination. Since the tiger had killed human beings, it cannot be released to the wild and has to be kept in captivity. 12. The PCCF(WL) sincerely thanked all the officers, doctors and staff involved in the capture operation. Special thanks to Sri. G. Susheel who obliged to be part of the operation.