Are tigers extending their territory?
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Are tigers extending their territory?

December 4, 2023

‘Villagers, Forest staff did not believe when we said we saw a tiger’

By M.T. Yogesh Kumar

Mysore/Mysuru: “I had seen a tiger sitting by the roadside 15 days ago, but the Forest staff and villagers did not believe me. I saved my husband by banging the plate and scaring the tiger away. I was in fear when the tiger came near the house and growled,” said a woman, who saw a tiger for the first time.

Forest Department is conducting combing operation to trace and capture the tiger which was spotted roaming since a week but the villagers claim that the tiger was sighted 15 days ago. Though two persons said that they had spotted a tiger, no one believed them and instead made fun of them. As the people and the Forest staff did not take their words seriously, the two persons, who had spotted a tiger kept quiet. The Forest staff began conducting the combing operation only after their staff sighted the tiger a week back, villagers said.

‘Saw a tiger for the first time’

Vasanthkumar, a resident of Chikkakanya village, who was returning home with his cattle after grazing them, saw a tiger for the time. He recounts that while returning to the village he saw a tiger on the roadside which growled after seeing the cattle. Scared on hearing the tiger growling, the cattle ran helter-skelter, but Vasanthkumar, who was on foot, saw the tiger very closely.

“The tiger then fled into the sugarcane field belonging to Rajashekar Murthy. I immediately called Rajashekar over the phone and informed him that the tiger had taken shelter in his sugarcane field and warned him not to come to the field for watering it,” Vasanthkumar said.

Speaking to SOM, Vasanthkumar said: “About 15 days ago at about 11.30 am, the tiger was seen sitting under a tree on the road leading to the field. On seeing the cattle, it growled scaring the cattle away, but I stood still. I saw the tiger just a few feet away. It got up and went into the sugarcane field. The tiger did not make any attempts to attack me. I have seen leopards many times in this region, hence I could make out the difference between a leopard and a tiger. Though I informed the Forest staff about spotting a tiger and explaining them about the stripes on its body, the Forest staff said that male leopards sometime have stripes on their body. Even the villagers did not believe about the tiger being spotted. On the same day at about 5 pm, me and Rajashekar saw the tiger sitting on the same road. It then went into the sugarcane field.”

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Meanwhile, Rajashekar Murthy said that he has been staying in the farm house since nine years. “On getting information about the tiger entering our sugarcane field next to the farm house, we became alert. When we informed about it to the Forest staff, they said it could be a leopard. When we went to the spot, where the tiger was said to be sighted, we saw the tiger sleeping next to the field. On hearing the noises made by us, the tiger saw us and ran into the sugarcane field. I returned after some villagers told me not to venture further,” he added.

After two days, Rajashekar said that the tiger was heard growling next to his house and he brought it to the notice of the former Gram Panchayat President besides informing the same to the Forest Department officials. It is suspected that the tiger may have entered the sugarcane field to hunt wild boars.

Unused land, a favourite place for tiger

There is more than 80 acres unused land belonging to a few farmers near Chikkakanya and Doddakanya villages. As farmers have not cultivated the land, bushes, grass, weeds, trees etc. have overgrown.

This has become a favourite place for the tiger to take shelter and hunt wild boars, it is suspected. Villagers said that steps has to be taken to clear weeds and overgrown plants in the field or the District Administration should take custody of the land. The villagers said that until the land is cleared of weeds and plants, tigers and leopards keep raiding the villages and kill livestock.

Is the tiger expanding its territory towards Mysuru?

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With the tiger being spotted roaming near Doddakanya and Chikkakanya villages, it is suspected that the tiger may be trying to expand its territory  towards Mysuru.

The population of tigers were increasing in Bandipur and Nagarahole Reserve Forests every year and the new tigers may have been migrating from the forests to establish their own territory.

In the previous census report, apart from Bandipur and Nagarahole, information about five tigers in Mysuru range was received.

The population of tigers was also expanding in Saragur, Chikkamma Chikkadevi Hill area. Now, it is suspected that there are tigers in Chikkanahalli Reserve Forest and there was information about a tiger and two cubs being spotted a month back.

Later, no one believed that the tiger was spotted near Kadakola, Doddakanya and Chikkakanya villages. According to sources in the Forest Department, there are about nine tigers in Mysuru range, which confirms that the tigers were expanding their territory.     

Woman scares away tiger by making sound with a metal plate

Rajamma, wife of Minukappa, who resides in a farm house at Chikkakanya village, said that last week at about 6.15 am when she opened the door she saw a tiger sitting in the middle of the pathway, staring at her and wagging its tail.

“Though I was observing the tiger carefully, it kept on staring at me. My husband had gone to the dairy to give milk and he was expected anytime. I got afraid and shouted, but the tiger did not budge from the spot. I then went inside took a metal plate and a tumbler and began to make sound. The tiger fled from the spot and within a few minutes my husband returned on the same pathway the tiger was sitting,” Rajamma said and added that the tiger had roamed around the banana plantation in the farm.

Pointing out that it is common to see leopards near her house at least three to four times in a week, Rajamma said that she had scared away the leopard which had come to prey on her dog and added that she is not afraid of leopards but she is panicked  after seeing a tiger.

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