Home » A woman forest guard mauled to death by tigress in Chandrapur

A woman forest guard mauled to death by tigress in Chandrapur

by Raju Vernekar
0 comment 2 minutes read

By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Nov 21:

A woman forest guard attached to Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) located in Chandrapur districts in Eastern Maharashtra was mauled to death by a tigress during a sign survey on Saturday morning.
The forest guard Swati Dhumane-Sonkamble (37), accompanied by three forest labourers, was carrying out the sign survey as part of the “All India Tiger Estimation (AITE) 2022”. As they were walking on foot, they came across the tigress known as “Maya” (aged about 10 years) sitting on the tourist road, about 4 kms from Kolara Gate, in section 97 of the TATR..
After spotting the tigress, they changed their route and proceeded through the adjoining patch of forest. However sensing movement inside the forest, the tigress followed them. She attacked Swati from behind, who was following the labourers. Then the tigress dragged her inside the forest. The labourers raised an alarm but could not help her.
According to a press note issued by TATR Field Director Jitendra Ramgaokar, the forest guard Swati Dhumane was doing a sign survey under the “All India Tiger Estimation (AITE) 2022” programme with the assistance of three forest labourers on foot when the tigress, popularly known as Maya (aged about 10 years), attacked and killed Dhumane, around 8 am Saturday morning.
Soon after the incident, forest officials rushed to the spot. After search, they recovered the mauled body of Swati. It was sent to Sub-District Hospital at Chimur for post mortem. Incidentally, Saturday was the first day of the survey. After the incident, the survey was suspended temporarily by TATR Field Director Jitendra Ramgaokar. The sign survey is a process of jotting down the records of signs that show tiger presence like pugmarks, scat and scratch marks on trees.
The deceased Swati is survived by her husband Sandip Sonkamble and a four year old daughter Arushi. Speaking to electronic media, Sandip Sonkamble said that his wife and labourers were not accompanied by trained workers, who are specially trained to handle such situation. For this lapse the forest conservator should be held responsible, he alleged.
Swati had joined the forest service 11 years ago in Chandrapur division. After working for a decade in Rajura and Jivati, she was shifted to Kolara core zone of TATR in December last year. This was the third human kill by Maya. Earlier, she had killed a forest labourer in May 2017 and a woman in December 2020 in TATR.

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