Tiger could be from Maharashtra, say forest officials

A male tiger crossing over from the forest regions of neighbouring Maharashtra is suspected to have killed tribal youth Sidam Vignesh from Digada village of Dahegam mandal in Kumrambheem Asifabad district on Wednesday.

A team from the Telangana State forest department which inspected the site deep inside the forest where the body was spotted, found pug marks of a male tiger. The trails were found along the banks of a water body to which the feline had frequented, hardly 20 to 30 metres away from the spot, officials informed.

The tribal youth was killed on Wednesday when he went fishing in a forest pond along with friends. Post-mortem report late in night has confirmed his death due to wild animal attack.

Pug marks from around the spot have been collected and are being sent to the DFO of Chandrapur, Field Director of Tadoba Tiger Reserve, and the Forest officials of Kanhergaon area in Maharashtra for comparison with their resident tigers, and verification if any of them is missing from there, officials said.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Forces R.Sobha has categorically denied the reports that it was the doing of a resident tiger K8 in Kagaznagar forest division. K8 is a female, moving in Penchikalpet area as per the camera trap images, while the pug marks were of a male tiger.

"The tigers staying in Adilabad and Asifabad forests are of very calm nature. They only kill herbivore wild animals and cattle. They are not under any stress," she said.

While Maharashtra has several tigers which have repeatedly attacked and killed human beings, officials are yet to confirm the feline as one among them.

A tiger can be declared man-eater only after repeated kills, they say. In the present case, it is not confirmed if the animal was stalking its victim before charging.

"It could have been accidental too. The man was collecting leaves and seeing him in bent position, the tiger might have mistaken him to be another animal," says an official under the condition of anonymity.

In any case, as the animal had consumed part of the body before being disturbed, efforts are on full swing to monitor its movements, and capture it. Two trap cages with baits have been placed at the areas it is frequenting, along with 23 camera traps.

Snapshot of the purported tiger, taken on a mobile phone, is doing rounds in the surrounding villages, but forest officials have refused to confirm it as the same animal.

Caution has been sounded in the surrounding villages about movement of the tiger, and instructions have been issued about how to avoid confrontation with the animal. Forest staff and animal trackers have been placed round the clock in villages such as Kamargoan, Digada, Rampur, Shankarapur, Loha and Motlaguda, officials informed.

The family of the victim will be handed over a cheque for ₹5 lakh compensation on Friday.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2021 4:51:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/tiger-could-be-from-maharashtra-say-forest-officials/article33087590.ece

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