Kerala

Search continues for the elusive tigress

The group moving through the plantations in Vadasserikara, Pathanamthitta district. special arrangement

The group moving through the plantations in Vadasserikara, Pathanamthitta district. special arrangement  

110 men comb plantations in Pathanamthitta

Armed with tranquilliser guns and rifles, an army of 110 men sifted through plantations and vegetation at Vadasserikkara in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district from 8 a.m. on Monday for a stray tigress, only to return empty-handed in the afternoon following downpour. It was the 12th day of search and for the last six days there has been no sign of the big cat.

The tigress, which killed a man at Vadasserikkara and made a cattle kill, gave the slip to the team. Yet, the perambulation has been widened from the area where it killed a rubber tapper a few days ago to the place where it was reportedly last found.

“There is the possibility of the tiger returning to the interior forest. Camera traps will be set up on the forest border and surveillance stepped up,” said Arun Zacharia, forest veterinarian leading the team.

A group of tribespeople familiar with the terrain form the front-line of the search team followed by a few rifle-wielding men. They have prop guns too to scare animals away. Veterinarians Zacharia, K. J. Kishore Kumar, Shyam Chandran, who have tranquilliser guns with them, form the next layer, followed by a support group.

On an average, the team covers around 15 km by foot. The pug marks and other information indicate that it is a female, aged around 5 years.

Photo shot by drone

“The plan is to tranquillise the animal. The protocol set by the National Tiger Conservation Authority in dealing with such animals in such situations will be strictly followed,” explained Dr. Kumar. “Its unjust to call it a man-eater. It could be a stray animal which accidentally entered human habitations. All that we have is her drone picture captured from a height of 500 metres,” an official said.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 3:23:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/search-continues-for-the-elusive-tigress/article31620401.ece

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