Maneater on the prowl, mauls 3 in Mathura

NEW DELHI: Barely 150km from Delhi, near Mathura, a lone tiger mauled three people in the village of Satah on Monday morning. Not only did the incident terrify residents but also caught forest officials and other experts off guard as this was definitely not a known tiger territory.

The forest department, with help from Wildlife SOS Delhi, set up traps to catch the animal on Monday but were unsuccessful. "We are also expecting help from the Rajasthan wildlife department. While nothing is confirmed so far, the tiger probably strayed from the Bharatpur area since it is the closest known place that can support a tiger population," said Kartick Satyanarayan, director, Wildlife SOS.

According to sources, the animal was spotted around 6am on Monday, around 1km from the highway. "The Satah village area mostly consists of fields. The animal was probably seen when it was crossing from one field to another. Initially, it attacked the first person it saw in the field and then attacked others as they came to rescue the injured person. Three people have sustained serious injuries. However, it doesn't seem to be a maneater and probably attacked in defence since it has used only its paws and not its teeth," said Dr K L Meena, DFO, Mathura.

According to reports, the entire area has been fenced off but angry villagers broke through the barriers to attack the animal. Police had to be brought in to manage the situation. Meena added that traps had been laid to catch the big cat. "A goat has been used as a bait and our men are stationed on a neem tree near this cage. We are hoping to sedate the animal," he said.

While not too many details were available about the gender or age of the animal, experts said that this was definitely a transient tiger. "I don't have details with me but if this is a sub-adult or juvenile, it could have been displaced either in a turf war or was out to hunt and got marooned in the area. However, it is most probably from the Bharatpur area. We have had reports of tigers being sighted in Bharatpur but never this far," said Satyanarayan.

Meena agreed, adding that the animal could have also come from as far off as Madhya Pradesh.


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