Soligas, ANF shooters join hunt for man-eater

Forest officials are yet to achieve a breakthrough in their operation to recapture or kill the man-eater tiger said to be roaming the forests in the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary in Khanapur taluk. The ‘Operation Tiger’ was launched three days ago after the State government ordered that the animal be shot down.

At least 220 people, including forest officials, armed policemen, veterinary doctors and local residents, have been combing the forests. Thirty personnel of the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) from Bandipore, along with members of the Soliga community from Chamarajanagar, joined the operation on Saturday.

Soligars are forest dwellers who have been working with the department for the last few years. They are experts in mapping a tiger’s movement based on its pug marks. They can also sense the beast if it is around. Ten shooters of the Anti-Naxal Force are also part of the operation.

The pursuers are combing Mudgai, Daroli, Chapoli, Jamboti, Torli, Olmani, Banal, Nersa and other villages. The man-eater tiger was last spotted at Daroli village where it preyed on a horse less than 24 hours after killing a pregnant woman at Mudgai village in the Jamboti Forest Range.

The combing operations are being controlled from the department’s inspection bungalow at Jamboti. Forest officials’ expectation that the tiger could return to Daroli didn’t come true on Saturday.

Shooters are camping on a raised platform within the close range of a prey kept to lure the animal.

The forest department has asked residents of villages in the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary to immediately dial 9448030063 if they spot the tiger. Chief Conservator of Forests Vijay Mohan Raj said that the department had prepared a route map of the tiger’s movement and given it to all combing/search teams. The department has also installed 20 camera traps to locate the man-eater.

Cong, BJP in tiger politics: Kumaraswamy

A different kind of politics is playing out in the State, former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy said on Saturday.

It’s “tiger politics” involving the Congress and the BJP. The two parties are playing it over the fatal mauling of a woman by a tiger in Belagavi district, he claimed.

“The tiger appears to have been released with a political motive. There should be an inquiry into this entire incident. What is the role of a minister’s son in the tiger’s release in Belagavi? Why is it that the Global Positioning System (GPS) was not working in the tiger’s collar when it was released but very much working when the animal was in captivity? All these aspects should be inquired into,” he demanded.

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