The much ‘seen’ tiger A2 moving in Bellampally forest area of Mancherial district at present seems to have created the much desired awareness among common people about the behaviour of big cats, one of the most important aspect of conservation.
Reports of people getting scared of the presence of a tiger have progressively reduced over the last few months during which there were multiple direct sightings of this three-year-old male, which had ambled into the forests of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district from neighbouring Maharashtra a few months back.
Its presence on the outskirts of Bellampally town on the intervening night of May 29 and 30 failed to create the kind of hullabaloo that is usually witnessed. “This is because the people have realised that the big cat does not cause any harm to human life and left to itself it will eventually go into the forest,” a field-level forest staffer opined.
According to sources, the field-level forest staff too have become aware of the behaviour of A2 and are not scared of it when needed to monitor its movements closely. They cite the example of a staffer who unknowingly walked past the resting tiger in Goleti area some five days back and was not harmed by the ferocious animal.
During the month of May, the tiger was directly sighted four times at various locations in the Asifabad division forest and in the areas covered by the Goleti and Khairguda open cast coal mines of Singareni Collieries. In the last two instances which took place in the latter half of May, villagers and machinery operators in the coal mines were able to shoot photos and videos of the animal.
“Yes, there is less of protest from locals wherever the tiger is moving now,” concurred Bellampally Forest Range Officer Syed Mazharuddin who among those who are monitoring the movement of A2 since the last two months. People seem to have realised that left to themselves, tigers do not harm humans,” he observed.
“The Forest Department can actually use the case of A2 as an example to create further awareness among forest communities that they can coexist with tigers. In fact people should be told that forests and the biodiversity is much safer if tigers are around,” a Forest Department officer opined.