Tiger strikes again in Lakhimpur Kheri, kills 13-yr-old boy

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Even as forest authorities, the WWF and the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) experts tried to locate and trap the errant tiger in the Dudhwa buffer zone, the big cat struck again on Thursday evening at Kharatia village, under the Tikunia kotwali area and killed a 13-year old boy Suraj Singh, a resident of Nayapind-Khairatiya village.

The boy had gone to graze cattle close to the River Ghaghra when the tiger attacked and killed him. Hearing his pathetic shrieks, locals rushed to the spot and recovered the body.

Forest authorities had strictly advised villagers not to venture into the fields or near forests till the errant tiger was traced and trapped.

Field director, Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR), Sanjay Kumar Pathak, said “the report of another killing by the tiger has been received,” and that “he was on his way to reach the spot to take stock of the situation.”

The errant tiger had earlier killed a 52-year old local priest Mohan Das on June 18. Later, on June 20, it attacked and killed a cow and its calf near Khairatiya village.

Concerned over the tiger becoming a man-eater, the forest authorities had sought permission from the UP chief wildlife warden to tranquilize and trap the tiger.

Experts from WWF and WTI apart from forest officials were engaged to locate the big cat. Over a dozen cameras have been installed in the tiger movement area while cages have been set up to trap him.

However, all efforts failed to yield a result. On Wednesday, the tiger was captured on camera visiting a cage and attacking the bait but evaded the trap.

Meanwhile, the ongoing man-animal conflict in Manjhra Purab forest area in Dudhwa buffer zone has become a matter of serious concern.

The forest authorities are faced with another challenge to identify if the same or different big cats were causing the casualties as the area is close to Dudhwa buffer zone and Katarniaghat sanctuary forests.

A man was killed in a tiger attack in Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) near Bharatpur village on Wednesday morning, said divisional forest officer (DFO) KWS Akash Deep Badhawan. The deceased was identified as Ghanshyam, 57, a resident of Bharatpur village.

On being asked, the DFO ruled out the possibility that the same tiger had killed both the men. The DFO said the whole area of Katarniaghat forest range itself has more than 20 tigers. Besides, Khairitiya is about 25 km away from the Trans Geruwa region. Hence, it is not possible for a tiger to reach here from Kharatiya by swimming 15 kilometres in 100-feet deep waters of the Geruwa river, he said.

DEO KANT PANDEY

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