Tigers Eating Elephants In Corbett National Park! Study Points To A Shocking Trend In The Animal Kingdom

Debarghya Sil Uttarakhand

June 18th, 2019 / 3:11 PM

Elephant Tiger Killing

In a recent study undertaken by the government officials in Corbett National Park tigers are killing elephants, particularly the young ones. The official research also revealed that there were cases of tigers eating the elephants.

The study is concerning wildlife experts as tigers generally do not eat elephants and target smaller animals. The study collected data from 2014 to May 31, 2019, found that around 21 elephants, nine tigers, and six leopards died due to infighting and clashes.

What is raising the eyebrows is the fact that of the 21 elephant dead, 13 were killed by tigers.

Speaking exclusively to The Logical Indian, Sanjiv Chaturvedi, the Senior IFS officer said that the study was conducted after the recent killing of a tigress.

“When I took in charge, that very day a case of tigress death came to us. When we rushed to the spot, we found out that the killed tigress had a broken spinal cord. On further investigation, it was revealed that the injuries were inflicted during the mating. This made us take up the study,” Chaturvedi said.

Study Throws-Up Interesting Facts

Sanjiv said that the killing of elephants by tigers was the most shocking information that came out of the study. “Generally tigers go after deers and other small animals, but 13 elephants killed by tiger is likely to help us to understand the Tigers’ motive.”

He also said that infighting between animals of the same species is a natural phenomenon that is leading to the death of the mammals. Chaturvedi said, “The process of mating between these animals sometimes leads to fatal fighting. Tigers have strong territorial instincts and are dominating in nature. They will never allow any male tiger from different territory to enter and mate with a tigress.” Around 80% of tiger deaths are caused by infighting, Chaturvedi added.

There were six leopard deaths reported due to infighting. Of these, two third cases were caused by an attack from other carnivore species.

Why Are Tigers Killing Elephants?

Sanjiv said that the tigers hunting elephants is a peculiar but understandable phenomenon. “ Tigers are clever, and they know killing a young elephant is a child’s play. They also know killing them will get them a large quantum of food.”.

He further explained that chasing a deer or an antelope requires a tremendous amount of energy and speed. The tigers have to be on their toe while chasing these quick animals and any mistake will lose their meal. This is why the success rate in hunting these animals is low.

Generally, elephants move in herds, and cannot be attacked by any carnivores, Sanjiv elaborates, however, a baby elephant, if separated, becomes a luring target for tigers.

Threat For Elephants?

When asked how much of a danger are elephants in because Chaturvedi said, “It is too early to come to a conclusion based on this report.”

The population of elephant in the Corbett National Park is very robust compared to national parks like Ranthambore, Kanha, and Banhavgarh sanctuary. The park is filled with 1100 elephants and around 250 tigers in the 1,200 sq km area of the park.

“In the last 5 year, 13 elephants were killed by tigers, this is certainly unusual, but the numbers are not consequential,” Sanjiv clarifies, the number of elephants is growing at a decent rate due to proper breeding. “Amount of food for both herbivores and carnivores animals are adequate in the park.”

What Next?

Sanjv said, “The findings in the study were pretty intriguing. However, we would like to conduct a further detail study”.

Future studies would help the authorities in understanding if there is a pattern to the tigers killing elephants, or if these cases are arbitrary and done for food. The detailed study will help understand whether the killings are happening in any particular zone of the national park.

“We are going to take the help of several cameras that are installed across the park to observe these mammals to get a better idea”, Chaturvedi said.

Also Read: Assam: 90 Elephants Electrocuted In Last 8 Yrs


Written by : Debarghya Sil

Edited by : Shweta Kothari

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