Tiger living near tea estate in Kotagiri keeps forest officials on tenterhooks

A screenshot of a video clipping of the tiger.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A young tiger, seemingly habituated to living near humans in Kotagiri, is keeping locals and forest officials on tenterhooks.

The tiger, believed to be less than two-years old, has become a common sight in a tea estate in the Kotagiri Range among the estate workers. Recently, footage of the young tiger nonchalantly walking into the estate and along the surrounding roads was made available to the department, which has now deputed a team to monitor the young animal.

When contacted, R. Selva Kumar, Forest Range Officer, Kotagiri, said there are reports that the animal had killed a couple of goats in the area over the last couple of weeks. “Villagers have reported that the young tiger has been spotted multiple times in the area for over two months. We are yet to verify whether the tiger in question is responsible for the deaths of the goats, or whether they were killed by a leopard,” he said.

Mr. Selva Kumar added that there were conflicting reports as to whether there was more than one tiger in the area. The animal seen in the footage had seemingly become habituated to humans. “Its behaviour is unusual in the sense that it does not seem to flee when it spots humans at a distance. So maybe living in close proximity to humans since its birth may have resulted in the animal losing its fear of people,” he said.

K. Saravanakumar, Assistant Conservator of Forests, Nilgiris division, said that the Forest Department was monitoring the situation and plans to set up camera traps to ascertain whether the animal could move away from the area. “We will get a clearer picture in the coming days, and take action accordingly,” he said.

Officials said no decision has been taken on whether the situation requires the animal to be captured and relocated. They said that they would verify whether the animal was indeed preying on cattle and goats in the area before deciding on a further course of action.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 2:12:14 PM |

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