An 18-year-old youth from Anilnatham habitation in Gundri panchayat who went missing inside the forest area of Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR) on September 25, returned home on Wednesday night.
Villagers said the youth, M. Ganesh, was spotted near the habitation around 8.30 p.m. and the villagers who were on the lookout for Ganesh rescued him and took him to his house. They said he was weak and did not have any injury.
Forest officials said he was alone in the forest area in Sathyamangalam Division for over 70 hours and was yet to recover from the trauma. “We will conduct an inquiry with him once he recovers,” said a forest official.
On Sunday, Mr. Ganesh, along with four others, went to the Perumal temple located inside the forest area at Ekkarai and he lost his way while returning home. One has to traverse nine kilometres on foot inside the jungle to reach the temple where wild animals are present in large numbers.
Villagers and forest department staff were on the lookout for the youth for the past three days.
Officials said though the residents of the panchayat have the right to enter the forest for worship in the temple, they can venture in only after obtaining permission from the forest department. But, Mr. Ganesh had not obtained permission to visit the temple.