On December 4th, a tigress was found entangled in barbed wire on a coffee plantation near the Indian village of Nidugumba. She had strayed nearly a mile (1.2 kilometers) from her home in the Nagarahole National Park. The park, established as a tiger reserve in 1999, is home to between 10 and 12 tigers per 62 square miles. (National Geographic magazine: Can We Save the Mightiest Cat on Earth?)
According to K. Ullas Karanth, a scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, when tiger populations exceed their habitat’s capacity, tigers are more likely to venture into human settlements and become trapped. He estimates that 30 to 50 tigers are caught in India each year, often in illegal wire snares set by villagers to catch deer or pigs. (Related pictures: Tigers in Peril)
The coffee planter who found the tigress contacted the Nagarahole forest staff, who arrived with rangers and veterinarians to tranquilize the animal. She was then transported to the Mysore Zoo for examination and medical treatment. Officials will soon decide whether she is strong enough to return to the wild or should remain in captivity.
Unfortunately, not all big cats are as fortunate when they enter areas densely populated by humans. Just two days prior to this tiger’s rescue, a tiger roaming through villages in Wayanad, Kerala, was cornered by a local mob and shot dead. Reports indicate that the tiger’s body was paraded before the public.