Man-Eaters - Page 1&2:Why
Cats Attack | 3&4:
The Real Facts | 5&6: Jim Corbett
| 7&8: The Sundarbans |
9&10: Dudhwa Tiger Reserve | 11&12: Reducing Attacks | 13&14: Tiger Attack Stories
Deaths from tiger attacks are very newsworthy items and attract much attention. If villagers have their way, inevitably a tiger hunt will be arranged to catch the culprit. The result is several innocent tigers may be killed all in the name of 'justice'. Tiger parts and skins from these hunts sometimes make their way onto the black market, supporting an illegal industry all tiger lovers and conservationists wish eradicated.
Indian wildlife protection laws:
Though the immediate answer to a repetitive man-eater always used to be a bullet, this is changing. Current Indian wildlife protection laws state that animals must be saved unless the tiger is a repeat offender and no hope exists for rehabilitation.
Sometimes man-eaters are moved into reserves, though the success of this is often minimal, with the newly introduced cat getting killed when crossing into the territory of an existing tiger.
But the Sundarbans is already a reserve and different options have had to be tried in an attempt to discourage these tigers attacking people. If there are a number of theories as to why the Bengals of the Sundarbans attack man, there are even more ideas on how to re-train them.
Idea 1 - WEARING MASKS:
This simple, yet strange idea was first tested in 1986. Tigers almost always attack from the rear, so the thought was a mask worn on the back of the head would confuse the tigers enough to prevent attacks.
The Indian government issued groups of workers with masks, and surprisingly, the idea worked. After a year no attacks had been reported upon those with masks, whilst thirty people not using the new system had been attacked and killed. It was noted that tigers followed some mask wearers for many hours, but without attack. In one later fatal attack on a mask wearer the tiger attacked from the side rather than the rear.
Villagers were always pessimistic about the long term effectiveness of the practice, saying that the tiger would soon learn the trick and attacks resume. Unfortunately, they were correct and though the system is still used, it is with decreasing effectiveness. It has never been used on the Bangledesh side of the Sundarbans.