Female park ranger mauled to death by tiger as helpless colleagues watch on

A woman has tragically died after being mauled by a tiger as she was working as a park ranger.

46-year-old Swati Dhumane was conducting a tiger sign survey, documenting evidence of tiger activity, when a 10-year-old tigress called Maya launched the savage attack.

The incident occurred at around 8am on Saturday at the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur, India.

TATR Field Director Jitendra Ramgaokar explained: "Dhumane and three forest labourers started their work around 7am and had walked about four kilometres from the Kolara gate of TATR when they spotted the tigress on a road… about 200 metre away.

"They waited for her to leave for about 30 minutes, but as she didn’t move Dhumane decided to take a detour through the adjoining patch of forest to get past.

"It was then that the tigress sensed a movement inside the forest. It followed the four persons and attacked Dhumane who was walking behind the three labourers."

Dhumane's body was recovered some time later and sent for a post-mortem.

The tiger sign survey has now been temporarily suspended.

Nandkishore Kale, Deputy Director of TATR, said that tourist vehicles were waiting on the road on the other side of the tiger.

He added: "Dhumane and the three helpers had completed four kilometres of [the] sign survey and wanted to complete five kilometres.

"Generally, on such occasions, it is advisable to return and do the remaining part later when the path is clear.

"The three helpers raised an alarm but the bamboo clumps were so thick that they could hardly help Dhumane."

The outing was Dhumane's first wildlife posting since joining TATR one year ago, explained Kale.

Bandu Dhotre, a wildlife activist on Chandrapur's State Wildlife Board, described the incident as "very shocking", adding that "tigers, particularly those in the tourist zones, are not known to attack humans".

However, Dhumane is actually the third person to be killed by Maya after incidents in May 2017 and December 2020.

A senior official has urged people to "observe caution while venturing anywhere close to her".

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