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Hunting order issued for a wild tiger in India; officials say capturing it top priority

WION Web Team
NEW DELHIWritten By: Sidharth MPUpdated: Oct 01, 2021, 11:21 PM IST

'MDT 23 tiger' from the Mudumalai tiger reserve, Tamil Nadu. Photograph:(WION)

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However, the capture operation has not been successful thus far, owing to the terrain, inclement weather and disturbances by the local population. The tiger continued to prey on livestock and also killed another person on Friday. It is notable that the tiger did not consume the humans that it happened to kill. 

The topmost forest department official in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu has issued a hunting order for a wild tiger that is said to have caused the deaths of two people and livestock in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR).

Officials and a multi-disciplinary team of experts are preparing to capture the adult male tiger, being referred to as ‘MDT 23’, on Saturday. It is notable that this ‘Hunting Order’ is in adherence to Section 11(1)(a) of India’s Wildlife Protection Act 1972. 

According to the Tamil Nadu Forest Department, the said tiger has been preying on livestock in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and adjoining areas, since July this year. This predator is also said to have killed an individual on September 24, following which efforts were underway to track, tranquillize and capture it.

However, the capture operation has not been successful thus far, owing to the terrain, inclement weather and disturbances by the local population. The tiger continued to prey on livestock and also killed another person on Friday. It is notable that the tiger did not consume the humans that it happened to kill. 

Owing to the danger that this tiger poses to human lives, the demands of the locals and the reports of field officials, Dr Shekhar Kumar Niraj, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden issued the ‘Hunting Order’.

The order empowers officials of MTR to hunt the tiger ‘MDT 23’ under Section 11(1) (a) of the Wildlife Protection Act, in strict adherence to the guidelines issued by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

This entire operation, which is being conducted with assistance from Kerala Forest teams, Special Task Force, will be photographed, videographed and documented, as per the order. 

"This is not a man-eater tiger. The unfortunate instances of people getting killed were because they ignored the warnings and ventured into the forests where the tiger was roaming. What has been issued is not a shooting order. Our first priority is to trap and capture the tiger. Shooting (if at all) will be the last resort, " Dr. Niraj told WION.

When asked about the next steps after capture, he stated that the tiger would be subjected to a medical examination by expert veterinarians, after which a decision on moving it to a zoo or other similar options would be considered.

It is pertinent to note that adult male tigers hunting livestock and other captive prey are very rare, given that they have adequate wild prey in the vast expanse of the ecologically-rich Nilgiri Biosphere reserve, where MTR is situated. Officials are also looking forward to finding out the reason behind this, once the capture is successful.