According to forest officials, 22-year-old Sidam Vignesh was mauled by a male tiger and died from his injuries on Wednesday.

Villagers carrying the body of Vignesh who was killed by the tiger Villagers carrying the body of Vignesh
news Man-animal conflict Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 18:50

Following the incident of a young man being mauled to death by a tiger in Telangana on Wednesday, forest officials on Thursday conclusively ascertained that the tiger is male. The tracking team noticed pug marks around 100-200 meters away from the spot where 22-year-old Sidam Vignesh was picking leaves to weave a basket. Officials maintain that the tiger is not a “man-eater”, and that the unfortunate death of the young man was “accidental.” 

While Vignesh’s body was found in the bushes, partially eaten, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests R Shoba said that the animal only mauled him and dragged by his head; some other wild animal, probably a wild pig, could have eaten the flesh. Vignesh, an Adivasi man from the Koya tribe was killed by the tiger in Digida village, Dahegaon mandal on Wednesday. While locals say that he was out grazing cattle, according to forest officials, Vignesh went to fish along with two of his friends on the ill-fated day.

“Last night it was too dark and there were too many people, so we couldn’t ascertain if the victim was indeed killed by the tiger. Today early morning, the animal trackers and the range officer noticed the footprint of the man walking towards the tree where he went to collect the leaves. Behind the footprint there was a huge thicket. In the thicket, they spotted the pug marks of the tiger, which is 100-200 meters away from the tracks,” R Sobha told TNM. She continued, “The tiger could have been watching him. And when he was returning, the tiger probably got intimidated and killed him with a strike to his skull, dragged him a few meters away and ran away.”

Based on the tracks of the tiger, forest authorities say that the animal newly migrated to the state from Maharashtra. Police officials have issued a warning in the villages adjoining the forest area, and a team of 20 animal trackers are tracing the tiger’s movements. 

According to Sobha, the area where the incident occurred is very close to the Maharashtra border, and it is common for tigers to roam around there. She said they have taken photos of the pug marks and will be sharing them with the department’s Maharashtra counterpart, to identify if the animal is from that area.

Authorities have set up 23 camera traps in the forest, in order to capture an image of the tiger and study its stripes and other markers to assess its age. One of the forest trackers combing the region already spotted the animal early in the morning. “It is a very healthy and huge animal. It is not an animal which would attack humans,” Sobha shared.

She added that a 20-member forest team is halting in the village. All 14 villages within the 10-km radius have been warned about the threat of the tiger. Residents have been advised against entering the forest and not to tie their cattle at night, so that they can avoid any further encounters with the tiger.