A group of people under the aegis of the United Democratic Front Noolpuzha grama panchayat unit in Wayanad district blocked the Kozhikode-Kollegal National Highway-766 at Arupathinalu, near Moolankavu, on Friday evening in protest against the alleged apathy of the Forest department in setting up a cage to capture an elusive tiger that triggered panic among the residents at the Eralottu Kunnu and Eralottu Vayal areas under the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.
The big cat reportedly attacked a cow and lifted a dog belonging to Thekkethil Rajesh at Eralottu Kunnu on Thursday night. The big cat had allegedly killed two domestic animals and more than 50 fowls of a poultry farm in the area in a week.
The forest personnel agreed to set up a cage to capture the animal at a meeting convened by the Noolpuzha grama panchayat three days ago. However, the alleged delay in setting it up led to the agitation. Later I.C. Balakrishnan, MLA, held a discussion with the leaders of the agitation and the Chief Wildlife Warden. Following the talks, it was decided to set up the cage later in the evening.
Wildlife Warden K.J. Martin Lowel told The Hindu that 14 surveillance cameras had been installed in the area to monitor the movement of the tiger. The Rapid Response team of the department would patrol the area round the clock. Banners were erected in the area and a public address system was used to alert the public, Mr. Lowel said.
Meanwhile, a cage was set up inside a coffee plantation at Panavally in the Begur forest division under the North Wayanad forest division to capture another big cat that triggered panic among the residents in the Panavally and Sarvani areas, near Kattikulam in the district, for the past one week.