India sentences tiger to lifetime in captivity

A five-year-old male tiger in India, blamed for attacking cattle and killing three people has been sentenced to life in captivity.

The wild cat had embarked on a trek more than 500 kilometres (310 miles) long from western Maharashtra state to central India’s Betul district in Madhya Pradesh state in 2018.

Indian officials deem it “too dangerous” to allow it to roam free.

The tiger — dubbed the “vagabond” or “nomad” by some local media — was first trapped in December 2018 after its long journey and held in captivity for two months.

The big cat was eventually fitted with a tracking collar and shuttled between a tiger reserve and a national park.

“We gave it several chances to re-wild but it habitually went into human habitations,” Madhya Pradesh’s chief wildlife warden, S.K. Mandal.

“The only option left was to put it in captivity to ensure both the tiger and humans are safe.”

Officials however said it repeatedly strayed and hunted near human settlements, attacking cattle and endangering humans.

Finally the tiger was tranquilised and sent to a zoo in Madhya Pradesh capital’s Bhopal on Saturday.

Nearly 225 people were killed in tiger attacks between 2014 and 2019, according to government figures.

More than 200 tigers were killed by poachers or electrocution between 2012 and 2018, the data showed.

India is home to around 70 per cent of the world’s tigers. Last year, the government said the tiger population had risen to 2,967 in 2018 from a record low of 1,411 in 2006.