Daring Dasara Golden Howdah elephant Abhimanyu leads operation; his 154th
Gonikoppa/Mysuru: The Kodagu Forest Department has finally captured a tiger suspected to have killed a young man and an elderly beekeeper in Ponnampet taluk. The big cat was caught yesterday at around 2 pm at Nanachi Gate near Nagarahole Tiger Reserve.
It may be recalled that the tiger had attacked and killed 18-year-old Chethan on Feb. 12 and his 75-year-old grandfather Raju, a beekeeper, was killed on Feb. 13. Following the killings, the Department was under pressure to shoot and kill the animal.
Notably, the current Dasara Golden Howdah elephant Abhimanyu led the operation along with the Department staff, officers and three other elephants. This was Abhimanyu’s successful 154th tiger operation. The daring Abhimanyu does not flinch even a bit and he enters the tiger territory however ferocious the big cat is.
Officials said that the female tiger is aged about 12 years and had spread terror among the residents in Choorikadu of K. Badaga and surrounding areas. The tiger was found inside a coffee plantation at Nanachi and it was tranquillised soon after. Abhimanyu and his team scoured the thick vegetation and sniffed out the tiger which was darted.
It was Medical Officer of Tiger Squad Dr. Ranjan who fired the dart. After tranquillising, it fell unconscious and was shifted to Chamundi Wild Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre at Koorgalli on the outskirts of Mysuru.
The tiger trapping operation involved 150 members of the Forest Department including Kodagu Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) B. Niranjan Murthy, Nagarahole Director Harsha Kumar Chikkanaragund and ACF Gopal.
The team was armed with 20 weapons and 12 vehicles. A team of veterinarians was also present. Veterinarians who had split into different groups were successful in darting and tranquilising them.
RFO Ashok Hunagund said, owing to its age, the tiger had strayed into the villages and was attacking cattle that are easy prey. He said that the tiger was injured after a fight with another tiger, which led it to enter an estate in search of easier prey. The tiger is said to belong to the Veeranahosahalli Range in the Mysuru district and had moved to Choorikadu in search of food.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Rajiv Ranjan accorded permission to capture the tiger as per protocol and guidelines issued by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). In the letter to Kodagu CCF, he mentioned that as the tiger had become dangerous to human life and had created panic, permission has been granted under Section 11(1) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, to capture the tiger by tranquillising it on a priority basis.
The letter also stated that if the tiger further attempted to injure or kill a human and could not be captured, it may be shot as a last resort.
One more feline captured at Balle
Meanwhile, another female tiger that had attacked and killed a youth at Balle Kere in D.B. Kuppe range of Nagarahole last month was also captured. This tiger was also shifted to Chamundi Wild Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre at Koorgalli.
In the combing operation conducted to trap this tiger, the Department staff had found that the feline was injured and was incapacitated to hunt. The tiger, aged about 8 to 9 years, was treated for wounds after tranquillising. Injury marks were found on its right paw and body. One of its canines was cut and veterinarians have opined that the big cat needs immediate surgical intervention to save it from life-threatening injuries. The feline had attacked Manju (18) at Balle on Jan. 22.