Hungry tigers

At least 31 people have been killed by tigers from Tadoba since April 2005, according to forest department records. But only two of these killings took place inside the reserve. The rest occurred in the thickly forested Mul, Shioni, Talodhi, Nagbhid and Brahmapuri forest ranges adjoining the reserve's eastern border, where most villages are located and most roads are being built

The attacks have affected the rural economy. Most villagers are wary of venturing into the forests to collect forest produce. In Talodhi range's Jankapur village, where three persons were killed by tigers in recent years, half the villagers haven't cultivated their land since June 2007.

Forest officials aren't clear what's prompting the attacks. Last November the department killed a supposed man-eater in Talodhi, but that didn't stop the attacks. Poonam and Harsh Dhanwatey of the Tiger Research and Conservation Trust, who have been working in forests outside the reserve, suggest the attacks might be due to seasonal wildlife pattern changes. However, Amrut Dhanwatey, wildlife photographer and owner of the plush Tiger Trails resort on the western side of the reserve, says road-building and tourist activities is disturbing the tigers and their prey base and forcing the cats to move outside the reserve.

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