It is said to have been responsible for the deaths of more than 12 head of cattle
For the second consecutive day, the forest officials spotted the elusive tiger that has been killing cattle regularly. But they were unable to tranquilise and capture it.
The tiger, believed to be a 10-year-old male, is said to have been responsible for the deaths of more than 12 head of cattle over the last few months in the villages surrounding Gudalur and the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR).
‘Not established fact’
Although the tiger is believed to have been responsible for the deaths of three humans, senior officials said this was not an established fact that had been scientifically proved. There had been many instances where orders were issued for the capture of the animal, but it later turned out that the tiger was not the one that had caused the deaths. So, the forest headquarters was insisting on scientific evidence, processed images and the pugmark identification, an official said.
Bhosale Sachin Thukkaram, Deputy Director of MTR (Core Area) and District Forest Officer (Nilgiris division), said the tiger was spotted on Tuesday, but a combination of factors, including rain and lack of visibility due to thick undergrowth in the Mayfield Estate, had led to it evading the forest staff till Tuesday evening.
Field Director of MTR D. Venkatesh and Mr. Thukkaram are leading teams in their efforts to capture the animal safely. Officials said the objective was to safely tranquilise and capture the tiger. Police teams are also assisting the Forest Department in ensuring crowd control around the area of operation.
In this operation, a highly-trained wildlife disaster management team from Kerala [Wayanad Forest Division] had also joined the Tamil Nadu forest team that has nearly 70 people working for the capture of the tiger, said Chief Wildlife Warden Shekhar Kumar Niraj. “The teams have been asked to use drones and sniffer dogs for locating the target tiger T23. Three doctors have been working continuously,” he said.