Tiger hunt ends on dramatic note


Mar 11, 2001
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Tiger hunt ends on dramatic note

The Times of India

APRIL 26, 2002

LUCKNOW: A week of hide and seek by the six-year-old rogue tiger in Lakhimpur Kheri sugarcane fields came to a bloody and dramatic end on Wednesday night with the state foresters pumping five bulltes from a 375 bore magnum rifle into the big cat.
Confirming this, chief wildlife warden R L Singh who led the operation, said that while the decision was a painful one, they were left with no other option, as the tiger had turned into a man eater and had killed two villagers and mauled three others.

Having devoured all the Neel Gai in the area, the tiger had strayed into the sugar cane fields of the Jangbahadurganj village in Hardoi, looking for prey, when it attacked and killed a villager Sumer, who was returning after his morning ablutions.

This alarmed the villagers and foresters who had been keeping a close watch on the tiger.

Following an SOS to the state forest HQ, a team of foresters led by Singh and also the Lucknow Zoo’s vet Utkarsh Shukla, left for the site.

The foresters who were camping in the area tried isolating the big cat by burning a section of the suagarcane fields. The traumatised tiger went berserk and rushed into another field, chased by the foresters.

The jeep carrying the foresters however got stuck in the slushy field. Meanwhile, the crowds of irate villagers continued to swell by the minute, with the foresters being forced to prepone the shooting down of the animal.

In a sudden and dramatic twist to the ‘hunt’, the husband of the village pradhan, Raj Bahadur Gupta, strode into the field with his gun and tried to kill the tiger, only to be mortally wounded by it. Taken aback by the sudden attack, villagers shot at the tiger, sending it into hiding.

Moments later, deputy director Dudhwa National Park, Ashish Tewari shot the tiger dead. The angry mob meanwhile vent its ire on the team of foresters, attempting to set their vehicles on fire and accused them of unnecessarily delaying the operation which had by then claimed two lives.

Jittery foresters beat a hasty retreat, abandoning plans of transporting the killed animal. Singh said, “the tiger was brought by the field officers to district HQ on Thursday morning, where a post-mortem was conducted”.

Following the autopsy, the feline was buried with stacks of lime and salt.

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