Ranthambore’s Man-Eater T24 ‘Ustad’ is Terribly Sick

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    Tiger-24 or ‘Ustad’, who was once a star-performer of Ranthambore Tiger reserve, is terribly sick now.  Upon receiving instructions from NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority), a committee assigned to look after the tiger’s health had tranquilized the big cat in Udaipur’s Sajjangarh Biological Park. His blood samples were taken by the doctors and sent to IVRI Bareilly (Indian Veterinary Research Institute) for testing this Thursday.

    According to Deputy Conservator of Forests, Ustad was diagnosed with Idiopathic Megacolon in December 2015. If the reports confirm normal health condition, he’ll be taken off from the special medicated diet that he’s presently following.

    Here’s a brief insight into T24 Ustad’s transition from a carefree cub to infamous man-eater to a desolated animal, sickened by his health condition.

    T24 Ustad: A Brave and Ferocious Spirit that Wandered the Wilds

    Tiger-24 was born in Lahpur region of National Park in 2005 to T20 (Jhumroo) and T22 (Gayatri). He was then moved to Sawai Man Singh Sanctuary, Zone 1 and later to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, where he stayed for 9 years. Weighing approximately 250 kilograms, T24 is a dominant, carefree and powerful tiger that ruled the Ranthambore reserves with her tigress Noor or T39 in last few years.

    Once, the main highlight of Ranthambore, he was named ‘Ustad’ by the locals because he was carefree and liked to show off. He doesn’t shy off from humans and ate his prey in full public view that made him the favourite animal of wildlife photographers.

    On May 8, 2015, Ustad attacked and killed one of the reserve caretakers. He also attacked a few villagers during that time. These incidents made him infamous as the ‘man-eater’ tiger and the authorities had to banish the majestic cat from Rantambore wilds.

    Why did he become a man-eater?

    According to wildlife conservationists and animal experts, Ustad’s unconventional, aggressive behaviour resulted from frequent confinement and tranquilization when he was injured. He didn’t like the radio collar nor the injections that ultimately took a toll on his behaviour. When eight tigers from his clan were shifted to the other reserves, it disturbed him. Consequently, he finally lashed out his anger on the human invaders.

    What’s the Reason behind Deteriorating Condition of T24?

    Idiopathic megacolon is the abnormal dilation of a section of large intestine (colon) that causes dilation and paralysis of bowel movements. In extreme cases, the stool solidifies into a stony mass called fecalomas that requires surgical removal.

    Ustad had been suffering from this disease since December 2015 he underwent a major surgery. Thereafter, he was fed Keema daily, instead of raw meat to prevent his condition from worsening further. In August 2016, the tiger was shifted to and sent on a special diet for recovery.

    The monitoring committee is keeping him in Bio Mark until he gets healthier. He’ll be kept under observation and fed with raw meat for some time until he gets back in shape. Thereafter, he’ll be shifted to Kumbalgarh or Amli sanctuaries.

    So that’s how Ustad transformed from a happy-go-lucky wild explorer to a ferocious carnivore, frequently attacking humans. Hopefully, the love and attention shown by medical practitioners and caretakers will restore his normal behaviour.

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