Karnataka

Tiger still at large, but fresh pug marks found

Image of wild animal captured by camera trap; combing to continue

The tiger that is suspected to have killed a man in the Gopalswamy Betta Range of Bandipur early this week, remained elusive even after two days of combing operations on Thursday.

However, efforts were not entirely in vain as the teams scouring the area stumbled upon fresh pug marks in the area where the body of the farmer was discovered on Tuesday. An image of a tiger has also been captured by one of the camera traps set up in the vicinity, lending credence to the theory that the tiger could be prowling around that area. More than 100 pairs of camera traps have been set up along the forest periphery and within a 2-km radius of the spot where the farmer was killed.

Six elephants, led by Abhimanyu, were deployed for combing operations at Gopalswamy, Jayaprakash, Rohit, Ganesha, and Parthasarthy, while a drone is providing an aerial view.

There are 150 Forest Department staff involved in the combing operations, with five veterinarians armed with dart guns and tranquilizers. Based on pug marks found, combing is concentrated around a radius of 1 km to 2 km of Chowdahalli village.

The camera trap images have triggered speculation that the tiger could be around four years, healthy, and may have been ejected out of its territory by a dominant male. That 14 heads of cattle have been killed in tiger attacks reinforces the view that the tiger may be trying to establish its territory along the forest fringes, close to human habitation. Bandipur has one of the highest tiger densities in the world and the 874 sq km forest supports not less than 130 tigers.

Ravi Parameshwarappa, member secretary, Zoo Authority of Karnataka, who has taken part in many such operations in the past, said once pug marks are spotted, the area where the tiger tends to be ensconced will be within a 1-km radius of the trail left behind by it. Since tigers and elephants share the same landscape,Chances of finding the elusive tiger is high with kumki elephants accompanying them, as they can better negotiate thickets of lantana and bushes than vehicles. An official who was part of the combing operation said there were large stretches of terrain which could only be negotiated by elephants. combing operations of the entire area around Chowdahalli-Hundipura village will resume from 6 a.m. on Friday.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 11:47:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/tiger-still-at-large-but-fresh-pug-marks-found/article29650501.ece

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