Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Do tigers eat people?

Definitely, they do.

Generally, it's thought that only tigers that can't catch their ordinary prey turn to eating people.  An injured or disabled tiger turns into a man-eater.

Recently in Indonesia, several Sumatran tigers treed 5 people for three days, after they accidentally caught a tiger cub in a trap.  A sixth man was killed by the tigers.  The trapping suggests that these tigers were defending their cub.  Source

There's a fascinating book by Sy Montgomery, called Man Eating Tigers of the Sundarbans.  In this beautiful flooded forest, each year up to 300 people are eaten by tigers--the only place in the world where tigers regularly dine on people.  There's a strange fatalism, where the people passively accept this depredation.

Recently in Russia, a hunter of tigers was stalked and killed by a tiger.

About a hundred years ago in colonial India, there were a number of famous "man-eating" tigers.  They killed scores of people.  A famous English hunter tracked down and killed the man-eaters.

Good reason for burying the dead

Along the Ganges River, corpses are consigned to the river in funeral ceremonies.  But sometimes the corpses are swept away, and found by leopards.  Many decades ago, one leopard became a man eater, and it was suggested that the cat gained its taste for humans by dining on corpses.

But today, there are no reports in India of leopards harming people--despite the fact that leopards are common in areas densely settled by people.  Source

This may be the reason why so many human societies bury their dead.  It's a way of keeping predators from developing a taste for humans.  Even cultures that don't bury their dead--such as Native Americans of the plains in the 1800s, or people of the Tibetan Plateau--put the corpses in places reachable only by scavenging birds.

1 comment:

  1. Tigers don't usually eat people but thing has changed. because of the human activities, tigers are facing extinction. Food are scarce and these big cats need to eat whatever they can find, including tigers. Here's an article about what do tigers eat in the wild and in captivity: http://www.petitepaw.net/blogs/166/what-do-tigers-eat
    What we need to do is to save the tigers population.


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