A female forest guard was fatally attacked by a notorious tigress on the reserve while doing her duties.

The attacker was identified as Maya, a ten-year-old tigress living on the reserve in Chandrapur, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). Swati Dhumane, 46, was fatally killed when she was going about her duties on the reserve, not knowing she'd be one of the tigress' victims.

Tigress attacks survey group

The TATR Field Director Jitendra Ramgaokar remarked that Dhumane was mauled to death on Saturday at 8 am. He added the ranger was accomplishing a sign survey for the All India Tiger Estimation (AITE) 2022 program when she was attacked, reported the Indian Express.

On the morning of the dreadful incident, the ranger was with three assistants on foot when they came across Maya.

Deputy Conservator of Forest Nandkishore Kale remarked that tigress was seen on the tourist road. Several tourist vehicles were in the area near the tigress. The survey group had accomplished about four of the required five kilometers. To cover the entire five kilometers circuit for the survey, the group decided to take a route through the forest to circumvent the tigress and move ahead, cited the Times of India.

Ramgaokar said that when the victim was killed on Saturday, it was the initial day of the survey. Sources relate that Dhumane and her assistants had begun work at 7 am and walked for four kilometers when they reached the Kolara gate of the Tiger reserve, where the group encountered Maya, the tigress. The female forest guard saw the notorious tigress, 200 meters away from their position, so they decided to avoid trouble and stayed put, waiting for the tigress to walk away.

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After 30 minutes, the ranger decided to move along after the tiger was not going anywhere. A detour was taken to another part of the forest to avoid the predator. But, the tigress noticed the company moving to prevent her, according to the Tribune of India.

The four individuals talked, trying to avoid the big cat catching up with them with Dhumane at the tail end. The tigress got her and dragged her into the forest.

Kale said that it was a wrong call to go ahead when there was danger. The survey could have waited when no sign of the carnivore was there. Helpers alerted to the threat, but the bamboo clumps were so thick, no assistance could be given to Dhumane in such a circumstance.

Later the remains of Dhumane had to be taken from the forest and examined for cause of death.

Tigers rarely attacks

In 2012, a forest guard was ambushed in a nearby watering hole. Way back in 2017, one forest worker was also killed in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve.

Due to Dhumane's death, Ramgaokar issued to stop the sign survey for the meantime. The survey is to record all physical signs of the tiger's presence. The deceased ranger had been working in reserve for a year, and it was her first job at TATR.

Local wildlife experts said that fatal attacks by large cats on humans are rare, and tigers usually shy away from tourists. Still, the notorious tigress Maya attacking a woman forest guard was pure shock.

One senior official said the tigress had killed before, a forest helper in May 2017, and an unidentified woman in 2020, adding that caution is needed around Maya.

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