A cannibal tiger is on the prowl in Kanha. The tiger that killed and ate two subadults on Tuesday is believed to have hunted and eaten a tigress on January 19 this year.
This strange behaviour has prompted MP wildlife department to initiate a study on cannibalism among tigers in protected areas. Officials say tigers killing tigers is natural, but a tiger killing and eating only tigers is strange — that too when the forest has no shortage of prey. “It’s a natural process through which tigers control population. It is not possible to monitor the tiger 24×7, but we are observing it. Yesterday our patrolling squad saw the tiger feeding on its kill,” said Kanha’s field director L Krishnamurthy. “Yes, it’s the same one that had killed and eaten a tigress last month,” he said.
Two sub-adult tigers were found ripped to shreds in Kanha National Park on Tuesday. According to an official release, a patrolling squad spotted the carcasses at Kanhari area around 9.20am. An adult tiger was found sitting on the two kills. “Cannibalism in tigers is not uncommon but the circumstances under which a tiger is feeding on its own need to be studied thoroughly. In Kanha, the prey base is adequate. The most compelling thing would be to examine the male-female ratio,” said Dilip Kumar, APCCF (wildlife).
In the January case, foresters had found the remains of a tigress. Senior forest officials determined it was a case of cannibalism.