The Forest Department officials in Nagarhole in Karnataka on Tuesday, 14 February, captured a tiger that mauled two people — within 12 hours of each other — earlier in the week.
The officials conducted intense combing operations in the fringes of the forest and traced the man-eater to a spot near a water tank bordering the Nagarhole forest where the coffee plantations start in the Churikad area of the Ponnampet taluk at Virajpet in the southern part of the Kodagu district.
According to the forest officials, the tiger was spotted near the Nanachi Gate area — around 1.5 km from the spot where it had mauled and killed two persons within a span of 12 hours.
The tiger had attacked and killed 18-year-old Chethan around 6.30 pm on Sunday while he was sowing coffee seeds at a plantation belonging to one Poonacha.
The following morning, it mauled Raju (65), a relative who had come from Doddahejjur in HD Kote for attending Chethan’s final rites.
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Madikeri’s Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) AT Poovaiah told South First that four teams were formed and sent alongside the elephant trenches that were dug separating the forest area and the coffee plantations bordering them.
Abhimanyu was the elephant leading the combing operation team, accompanied by two other elephants that flanked him, and combed the forested area as they moved in along the forest fringes.
Forest watchers and other officials, including the Range Forest Officer (RFO) of the Nagarhole forest range, who led the operation, spotted the tiger near a water tank near the Nanachi Gate.
“The tiger was seen limping, and had injuries to one of its forelimbs. This made it easy for the forest officials to capture it and not kill it. Armed with a tranquillising gun, they followed the tiger and shot it around 1.30 pm,” Poovaiah told South First.
“The tiger was captured and its canines checked. It was then identified by its stripes as U-238, belonging to the Nagarhole range. The 12-year-old female tiger was then shifted to the Koorgalli Rescue Centre, from where it will be rehabilitated,” he added.
On Monday, the family members of the deceased victims refused to move the body of Raju from the spot where he was killed, protesting against the forest officials and claiming that their sheer negligence had caused the two deaths.
Plantation workers and estate owners confronted the forest officials and asked them what they were doing to prevent tiger attacks and the elephant menace in the region.
Coffee plantation workers and farmers association members said that every year, especially during the harvest season, they experience instances of man-animal conflict.
Because of such attacks, workers refuse to come to work at certain plantations, where the owners face a lot of problems.