Amazing Facts About Wildlife

Live Predation by Tiger

Live Predation by Tiger


Photograph taken byShriVikram Singh Parihar, Assistant Conservator of Forests, Kanha Tiger Reserve  

The tiger is a very secretive animal. More so while at predation. Its a very rare occasion that you might get to see predation by a tiger, that too of a large mammal like the gaur (Bos gaurus - Indian Bison).

On 7th March 2001, when Shri Vikram Singh Parihar, Assistant Conservator of Forests, got a wireless message that a tiger had attacked a gaur herd, he lost no time and immediately set out on elephant back to the spot 6 kilometres away from his field HQ. It was a normal sunny day with a clear sky, and the time was 8.20 a.m. when he reached this clearing at Andhiari Jhap in the Mukki range. Except for a few shadows from the woods, the view was wide and clear. What he saw was an unusual sight.

The tiger started devouring the live prey.

The field staff who had relayed the message told him that this tiger seemed quite hungry to have attacked the gaur herd. Because of the prey's size and the movement in group, the tiger attacked one of them from behind and ham-stringed it. The gaur fell down and could not run. There was no way it could fight back. Although the other members of the herd tried to help him by attacking the tiger in return. And a couple of them even tried to lift the incapacitated animal. But the tiger seemed so hungry that it started eating the prey from the rump, even while it kept bellowing and its companions looked on helplessly from the fringe of the clearing   

Such devouring of live prey was till now only seen in the case of wild dogs that hunt in packs; their hunting method is different though. The members of the pack take turns to tire out the prey all the time snapping at and biting it. Finally when the poor animal cannot run any more, the pack fell the prey, disembowel it and start feasting even while the hapless chap is writhing in the last throes of life.

On the contrary, the tiger hunts singly and strategically. And since the injury of the gaur in such a case is not sufficient for it to die instantaneously, the tiger starts eating it from the hind portion. The large mass of a prey like gaur would eventually be eaten over in 4 to 6 days, not only by the tiger but by other denizens of the habitat like jackal, wild boar, vultures etc., of course in the absence of the master predator. Gaur kills by tiger have been found many times but none at so early a stage as this one.  Shri. Parihar can be contacted at

Shri Vikram Singh Parihar,
Assistant Conservator of Forests, Kanha Tiger Reserve
Mandla, MP 481661, INDIA

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