To capture a man-eater tiger, RT1, forest employees have been asked to serve eight hours duty in the camouflaged cages set up near the trap at Rajura forest in Chandrapur, Maharashtra. RT1 is believed to have killed eight villagers and injured three since 2019.
These small cages are located 40 meters away from the bridge and the employees are holding onto a rope pulling up the steel gate of the trap.
Senior forest officials said that the forest workers will be housed in safe cages. Since October 11, forest staffs are stationed inside two cages and a goat has been left as a bait for the tiger.
There are 21 villages under threat because of RT1, said officials, adding that despite efforts over the past year, the forest department has failed to contain the man-eating tiger. Therefore, a closer range has been decided for officials to capture the tiger.
Besides, Chandrapur MP Balu Dhanorkar and villagers have demanded that the tiger neutralised.
Around 150 cameras have been installed in the area and teams have been alert day and night, officials said.
Meanwhile, the forest workers' unions have opposed the move and demanded that the timing be changed and due care must be taken for the safety of the forest staff. It further pointed out that the staff may suffer from health conditions due to the long shifts.
“The strategy has been adopted for a closer range and the cages are being used for the staff’s own safety and not as human baits,” Arvind Mundhe, deputy conservator of the forest department.