Tiger attacks forest official in Ranthambore
Rachna Singh, TNN, Aug 21, 2010, 05.09am IST
JAIPUR: The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve witnessed its fourth attack on a human by a big cat in the past four months. This time, the victim was a 50-year-old forest ranger Daulat Singh Shaktawat, who was seriously injured and had to be airlifted to Jaipur for treatment.
Last Tuesday, a tiger had killed a 22-year-old man, identified as Hemraj Gujjar, at Gopalpur village. Friday's incident took place at Bhuri Pahadi village on the sanctuary's outskirts, where the tiger is said to have strayed.
According to reports, the tiger had entered the village and killed a calf around 4.30 am. Soon, over 200 forest officials reached the spot along with the police and government officials. The tiger attacked Shaktawat, who was assigned the task of tranquilising the big cat to rule out an attack on humans, when he went too close. The forest official, who is admitted at SMS Hospital in Jaipur, is stated to be stable. However, there are deep scars in his right eye. "There is no threat to his life but he has suffered injuries in his eye bone, which could be serious," said Dr RK Nejaw, head of the hospital's surgery unit.
Meanwhile, the tiger was still hiding near the same village till late Friday evening.
A huge police force, forest guards, district officials were stationed on the spot to ward off a possible attack on villagers. "We have put up floodlights in the entire area and villagers have been told to remain indoors until Saturday morning," said Sawai Madhopur collector Siddharth Mahajan. He added that over 120 cops and forest officials were keeping watch on the tiger's movements, while expert tranqulizers had been called from Jaipur so that the tiger could be moved back to the core area.
Balindu Singh Parmar, a hotelier who witnessed the incident, said, "Since the tiger was hiding in three-feet-high millet crop, it was difficult for officials to ascertain whether it had been tranquilized. When Shaktawat tried to get as close as 15 feet, the tiger leapt and attacked him." The tiger almost took the ranger's head in its mouth. There are two canine marks on Shaktawat's nose and one around his head. "Another ranger, Hukum Chand Meena, flung a bamboo stick making the tiger withdraw and hide in the fields," said Dharmendra Khandal from the NGO Tiger Watch.
The visibly tired tiger, however, attacked another person who tried to get too close. The villager from Uliyana, Babu Lal Meena, sustained minor injuries. "The tiger looked tired as villagers had been pelting stones at it from hillocks. We can't really figure out if the tiger too is injured but it may be able to escape the mob only during night," said Khandal.