After Renu killed a man last year, she was mauled by furious villagers. She nearly died. But now she is safe at a zoo in Lucknow and spends quality time with Kishan – her boyfriend
Diti Bajpai & Suyash Shadiza
Last year, when Renu, a tigress, nonchalantly walked into a village in Lakhimpur Kheri, a district in Uttar Pradesh, little did she know that she would nearly die.
Call it an impulsive decision or a knee-jerk reaction, but she ended up killing a man the moment she spotted him. When villagers came to know about the incident, it infuriated them to an extent that they beat her up mercilessly. She slipped into coma.
When forest officials came to know about this, they rushed to rescue her. Realising that she was counting her last breath, they brought her to a veterinary hospital at a zoo in Lucknow.
Talking about the night when Renu was brought to the zoo-hospital, Dr Ashok Kashyap said: “On April 14, 2018 when Renu arrived, she was very badly injured and unconscious. It was an uphill task, but we started treating her. She was in coma for 15 days, and then she started recovering.”
Talking about her behaviour pattern he added: “Because she was beaten up by a mob, she was very aggressive initially. But now she has calmed down. She realises that the keepers are here to help her out and not harm her. Now she lets us treat her.”
Renu is lucky that she got a second shot at life. 85 tigers who died in 2018 were not. In 2017, 116 tigers lost their lives. These are staggering numbers. As per a report by Tiger Conservation Society, remains of 17 tigers and bodies of 99 were found in 2017. Of these, 32 were female, 28 were male and 55% died of natural causes. It’s tragic that we don’t even know what happened to rest of the tigers.
Coming back to Renu, she is hale and hearty now. After she was moved into a bigger enclosure at the zoo, her life changed for good. It was here where she met Kishan. Both have something in common. Kishan had killed four humans which had infuriated villagers. In 2009, he had to be tranquilised and was captured at Lakhimpur’s Kishanpur sanctuary in 2009. He underwent treatment at Lucknow zoo for five years.
Both Renu and Kishan are victims of human apathy. This is probably why they bonded instantly and are inseparable now.
Talking about their friendship, Renu’s caretaker Matim Ahmad said: “When we moved Renu here, she felt at home. She befriended Kishan. He probably reminded her of her life in jungle. It’s incredible how she adjusted to her new environment.”
He added: “We have encroached upon forests. We have cut trees. And then we say animals are coming out. In reality, it’s the other way around. We have entered into their homes. If this continues, both jungles, and animals living in them would become extinct. I shudder to think what do these animals go through when we confine them to such enclosures. But the bitter truth is that they feel at home here. They no longer feel safe in forests. Here, they get food to eat, they feel safe … hence they adapt.”
While the overall situation is quite grim, it’s quite endearing to see Kishan and Renu bond. Many people flock the zoo to see their antics.