Elusive tigress caught on cam trap, pug marks spotted

on the prowl

Forest officials and veterinarians discovered the pug-marks of the elusive tigress at a private farm near Hundipura in Bandipur Tiger Reserve on Thursday evening.

Despite a massive manhunt for the second consecutive day, the tigress that is believed to have killed two farmers near Bandipur Tiger Reserve remained elusive on Thursday. But moments before they called off the search for the day, Karnataka Forest Department officials, with the help of locals, discovered its pug marks near Hundipura and believe the elusive cat is holed up in a farm there.

Six veterinarians and 60 forest officials formed six groups and scouted the 4 sq km area on the periphery of GS Betta Range around Hundipura and Chowdahalli on Thursday.

Despite the relentless search through the day, officials could not locate the tigress and relied on the cameras that were set up at various locations to track the movement of the big cat. The department has been using four darting (tranquilising) guns and two more guns will be made available by Friday.

Sharing details of the operation, T Balachandra, Field Director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve said, “Of the 124 cameras that we had set up, only one camera captured the movement of the tigress. It was noticed 30 metres away from the forest protection camp at Hundipura near the Ogaru tank. The pug marks discovered at the farm suggest that it is the same tigress that had killed the farmer. However, for confirmation, we are awaiting results from our ICT wing for stripes verification.”

However, farmers from Hundipura revealed to DH that they heard the tigress’ roar from a nearby farm owned by farmer Mahendra.

Accordingly, veterinarians and officials combed the farm and spotted the pug marks. Officials suspect that the tigress could be hiding in the nearby bushes.

“It is risky to carry out the search on foot since the tigress could pounce on the team from the bushes. Hence it had to be tracked from the elephants’ back. As it was already dark, we deferred the operations, which will resume at 6.15 am on Friday,” Balachandra said.

 

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