Celebrity Tigers

Posted by: Seema Khinnavar on

Genghis – The Master Killer

Tigers are “concealment and ambush” hunters meaning that they do not chase prey for long distances. A tiger stalks its prey, and comes close to it very stealthily. And when it is at a specific distance from the prey, it pauses for a while and checks whether the prey comes closer so as to reduce the attacking distance. It then judges the distance and the angle by lowering raising its head and then charges towards the prey.

Genghis was a large male tiger of Ranthambhore National Park. He weighed approximately 250 kg and had been featured in National Geographic’s “Land of the Tiger”. He invented the technique of chasing the prey into the water and then hunting it down. In water the prey’s (usually deer) speed lowers considerably and hence it is easier to catch it. He was very ferocious and athletic. He had been known to reclaim his kill from the crocodiles in the lake by wrestling it from their mouths. One in five of kills would be successful. It has been known to run over 150 meters and has managed to kill. It has also managed to swim 45 meters with the carcass of an adult deer weighing around 200kg after wrestling it away from the crocodiles. The technique of chasing the prey into the water was unknown till 1980s till Genghis invented it. Other tigers have learnt this technique of hunting by observation.


Tigress of Jowlagiri

The Tigress of Jowlagiri was a man-eating Bengal tigress responsible for the deaths of 15 people. She was killed by Kenneth Anderson.

The tigress’ presence was first discovered by calling in the vicinity of a village in the Jowlagiri Forest Range, after a poacher killed her mate. After a week, a young hunter named Jack Leonard arrived at the village and concealed himself behind an anthill at 5 in the afternoon. At 6:15, Leonard spotted the animal and fired at her, wounding her shoulder. The tigress bounded off into the impenetrable jungle, where the terrain proved too harsh for Leonard to pursue her.

A few months later, at the village of Sulekunta, the tigress claimed her first human victim.

By the time Kenneth Anderson was informed of the attacks, 15 people had been killed by the tigress. Anderson received three domestic buffalo baits from the Sub-Collector; the first of which he tied near a river in Gundalam, the second he tied to a path leading to the nearby village of Anchetty four miles away, the third he tied near a watershed. Anderson explored the forest with his .405 Winchester, finding fresh tracks two days later on the sand of the Gundalam river. The buffalo was alive and untouched. The next day, a group of men from the village informed him that a man had been killed by the tigress in his cattle pen. Anderson followed the tigress’ trail, where he found the victim’s body dragged deep into the surrounding jungle. Positioning himself above the corpse on a high ledge, Anderson hoped to catch the tigress when she returned to finish her meal. After waiting several hours in the dark, Anderson sensed the tigress’ presence, and upon turning around, saw the tigress above him, ready to pounce. Anderson missed, blowing one of the tigress’ ears off, causing her to retreat from the site.

Anderson remained in the locality of Gundalam for a further 10 days with no success in tracking the tigress. So he left for home in Bangalore. Three months later, Anderson received an account of a priest being killed in a temple in Sulekunta by the tigress. Three days later, the night-watchman of Jowlagiri Forest Reserve had also been killed. Knowing that the tigress would not strike at the same place twice in a row, Anderson returned to the temple at Sulekunta with 12 men, where the tigress was heard calling. Anderson imitated the calls, attracting the tigress to his location. When the tigress approached, Anderson recognized her by her missing ear. Before the tigress could realize the deception, Anderson fired his .405 into her forehead and finished the animal with a shot to the back of the neck.

Anderson expressed regret at his strategy, having later written;

“The dreaded killer of Jowlagiri had come to a tame and ignominious end, unworthy of her career, and although she had been a murderer, silent, savage and cruel, a pang of conscience troubled me as to my unsporting ruse in encompassing her end.”

—“The Man-Eater of Jowlagiri”, from Nine Man-Eaters and One Rogue, Kenneth Anderson, Allen & Unwin, 1954