The frequent attacks by tigers on cattle in South Kodagu region has left the dairy farmers a worried lot.
Several farmers have been rearing cows to supplement their income when poor prices of pepper and coffee affect their earnings. At least 13 cows have fallen prey to tigers in the months of November and December.
The Forest Department provides a compensation of Rs 10,000 if a cattle is killed by a tiger or in the attack. The compensation amount is meagre when it comes to the loss incurred by the farmers. Though the Forest Department has submitted a proposal to increase the compensation amount to the government, no action has been initiated in this regard.
The tiger menace has increased in Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Brahmagiri sanctuary, Beeruga, Nalkeri, Kottageri, Nittooru, Nallooru, Kumatooru, Mayamudi and surrounding areas.
Further, there has also been a rise in tiger attacks at Thithimathi, Balele, Kanooru and Birunani. In spite of residents urging to capture tigers, the forest department has not taken any measures in this regard.
Coffee growers affected
The tiger menace has also affected the coffee growers as the labourers are refusing to harvest coffee cherries, fearing tiger attack.
The tigers are attacking cattle when they are tied in cattlesheds and or let out to graze. Protecting the cows from tiger attack has become a challenge for the farmers.
A tiger even attacked a cow in the broad daylight when it was tied for grazing in a field at K Badaga. This apart five cows were targeted by the big cats in one week in November alone.
Farmer Kottangada Manjunath from Nittooru said, ‘’With the increase in tiger menace, farmers are not keen on rearing cows. On the one hand they have to incur loss with the death of cows and on the other hand farmers have to run from pillar to post to get compensation from the government.”