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[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter six persons were mauled by problem leopards in the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve landscape in Chandrapur in less than a month, one more woman was killed by a tiger inside the Umred-Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary, 55km from Nagpur.
The victim, identified as Laijabai Bhagwan Fukat (65) of Ranbodi village inside the sanctuary, had gone to collect mahua flowers in the morning. As she did not return home by 2pm, a search was launched by villagers.
They traced the body of the elderly woman in compartment number 364 in Wanoda. According to official sources, the woman was killed near a solar water hole in compartment number 435. The tiger had dragged her body for around 500 metres.
“The carnivore had eaten the right hand and entire shoulder of the woman,” said police inspector Suresh Bhoyar, who rushed to the spot after learning about the incident.
There was lot of commotion at the spot and villagers were not allowing policemen to take away the body as no senior forest officials had reached the spot. Forester Madhukar Fukat and some forest guards were the first to reach the spot.
PI Bhoyar pacified angry villagers and shifted the body to Umred at 7pm. Range forest officer (RFO) GF Luche reached the spot at 8pm. This is the fifth human kill by carnivores in the last three years in and around Umred-Karhandla. At least 25 villagers have also been injured in attacks by animals.
Sources said the same tiger was seen walking along the road in the sanctuary by RFO Luche during patrolling early morning. He had alerted villagers collecting mahua flowers then. However, the incident seems to have occurred after 10am after he returned.
Ranbodi, with a population of 550, is in the middle of the sanctuary and is proposed to be relocated. “If the village is relocated, man-animal conflict will get a break. Carnivores are crying for space, besides prey base is also an issue,” said Rohit Karoo, honorary district wildlife warden.
“There is resentment among people against wildlife in the area as they are not able to reap tourism benefits. Nor are they getting rights over forest produce. The sanctuary is yet to be thrown open for tourists,” said Raju Lambade, a resident of Umred.