Tension prevailed at Naikatty near Sulthan Bathery in Wayanad district on Tuesday as the public blocked traffic on the Kozhikode-Kollegal National Highway 212 for the fifth consecutive day seeking protection from wild animal attacks.

The protestors carried with them the carcass of cattle reportedly killed in tiger attacks the previous night.

As many as six incidents of tigers killing domestic animals were reported on Monday night in Naikatty and Muthanga, places adjacent to the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.

So far, 18 such incidents had been reported in the district in a fortnight. Two incidents were reported from at Kannakkad, near Pazhoor, and Cheloor, near Kattikulam, under the Tholpetty forest range on Tuesday.

Some villagers detained O.P. Kaler, Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) for three hours at the forest inspection bungalow at Sulthan Bathery demanding the culling of the tiger.

The seven-hour blockade was withdrawn after M.I. Shanavas, MP, and District Collector K. Gopalakrishna Bhatt held discussions with villagers in the presence of leaders of various political parties. They told the villagers that the animal would be trapped. Culling would be the last resort, they said.

Three squads had been constituted to trap the animal. Each squad comprised eight to fifteen members, including forest veterinary surgeons, representatives of villagers, and armed forest and police personnel. This apart, a joint team of forest and police personnel would intensify patrolling round-the-clock. There would be no load-shedding in the Noolpuzha grama panchayat till the animal was caught, they said.

Compensation would be provided to villagers who lost their cattle.

Details of electric-fencing would be discussed at a meeting to be chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on November 30, Mr. Bhatt said.

Forest Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar had directed the transfer of S. Sreekumar, Warden, WWLS in connection with the release of a trapped tiger in the sanctuary recently.

Squads, headed by Mr. Bhatt and Superintendent of Police A.V. George, could not locate the animal in the Naikatty and Kottamkara areas. The combing operation would continue, Mr. Bhatt told The Hindu.

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