Two days after a cowherd was devoured by a tiger at Hadanur village in Hediyala forest limits in HD Kote taluk in Mysuru district, the forest department personnel succeeded in shooting the big cat dead.
Forest watcher Shivakumar (30), who had gone to tether a buffalo as a bait to a tree near Nanjadevarabetta inside the forest was injured after the tiger attacked him during the operation. He suffered injuries on his forehead and right leg and is currently being treated at JSS Hospital in Mysuru.
According to sources, the tiger resurfaced at the spot, half-a-kilometre from where cowherd Shivanna’s body was found on Tuesday.
A forest personnel and sharpshooter G Susheel Kumar shot at the animal. The tiger, male and aged around nine, was hit on its head and chest.
The sharpshooters, who were a part of the ‘Operation Tiger’ launched on Wednesday, accompanied by three watchers had gone into the forests to tie a buffalo as a bait around 5.30 pm. It was then when the hiding tiger attacked Shivakumar.
Thousands of villagers tried to enter the forest area to confirm whether the tiger was really shot to death. When the officials did not allow them, it triggered a protest.
Later, the forest personnel personnel brought the tiger’s carcass to Vadeyanapura to convince the villagers that it was dead. It was kept for around 10 minutes before being shifted to elsewhere inside the forest.
The second day of the combing operation began on Thursday with more than 40 forest personnel led by Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Ravi Ralph, entering the forest at 10 am.
They were accompanied by three elephants: Ganesh, Parthasarathy and Rohit from Rampura elephant camp. At around 2.30 pm, when the staff took a break for lunch, a few villagers, who were a part of the operation, spotted the tiger. The team resumed its search on elephant back, but could not trace the beast up till 5.30 pm. Finally, when they had decided to call off the mission for the day and were tethering the bait, the tiger jumped into the scene.
According to forest officials, the tiger was weak and injury marks were found on its body, triggering suspicion of a territorial fight.
It has been decided to send its viscera to laboratory for tests.
The shooter, G Susheel Kumar, an office-bearer of the Karnataka State Rifle Association, is a trained shooter and has represented the City at national-level shooting competitions. He was chosen by principal chief conservator of forests and the forest department, as per National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines, to dart the animal.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, Ralph said the earlier plan was to capture the tiger but they had to shoot it down after it attacked Shivakumar. Susheel then shot the tiger from a distance of five feet with his 0.374 rifle, prescribed as per NTCA guidelines. Susheel had worked with the department earlier in Hediyala in 2010.