BHUBANESWAR: A 70-year old woman was eaten by a suspected Royal Bengal Tiger (RBT) in Jalmadei village, located in the fringe of Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary in Nuapada district on Sunday night.
She was identified as Sanamti Barik. She had gone to fetch firewood from the forest adjoining her thatched house. The tiger, as per villagers, had hidden itself against a bush and pounced upon the woman leaving no scope to protest or run to safety.
From the killing pattern and pugmarks, the forest personnel have preliminary confirmed that she was killed by a RBT. Since 2018, Sunabeda had not seen tigers in its habitat although the 2016 and 2018 census had put the figure at four (three female and one male).
“From the killing pattern it is sure it can be done only by a RBT. The villagers also saw him taking the woman by her neck. The soft tissues (hip and thigh region) have been missing suggesting that it is only RBT that has eaten the soft parts. In case of leopard, it won’t have eaten such huge portion of the body in one go. Also, the pugmarks are that of RBT. Whether it is the resident tiger (one that is from the Sunabeda) or it came from neighbouring Chhattisgarh habitat is yet to be known,” deputy range officer Shiba Khamari told TOI.
The senior forest officials rushed to the spot for further investigation. They have sounded alert in the area advising people to not venture into the forest after evening.
The western district’s sanctuary (Sunabeda) is a proposed tiger reserve. It is located close to Udanti Tiger Reserve of Chhattisgarh.

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