'Killer tiger' captured from DB Kuppe Forest range

'Killer tiger' captured from DB Kuppe Forest range

The villagers had staged a protest against the Forest officials as the big cat killed three persons in a span of month. DH photo

Drawing flak from various quarters after three people were mauled to death by a tiger in Doddabyranakuppe (DB Kuppe) Range of Nagarahole National Park, the Karnataka Forest Department on Friday was successful in locating the tiger and tranquilising it by an experts’ team. The tiger, according to department officials, will be rehabilitated at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Koorgalli on the outskirts of Mysuru.

Launching a massive combing operation since the break of the dawn, the forest department had deployed its entire fleet of officers from Mysuru and Kodagu circles along with other officials like the local police, veterinarians from the Animal Husbandry department. The groups led by Chief Wildlife Warden and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) C Jayaram branched across the range and carried out combing operations in different teams.

Speaking to Deccan Herald from HD Kote, Jayaram said, “The tiger is a 5-year-old male tiger and had its territory within the DB Kuppe range. It has also been established that the same tiger was responsible for the two deaths. We have darted and tranquillized the tiger near Thimmana Hosa Haadi and it is currently being brought to Koorgalli Rescue and Rehabilitation centre where it will be kept.”

A pre-dawn operation to trace the tiger

The killing of 60-year-old Kencha, a tribal from the nearby hamlet had left locals fuming at the department as it was reportedly the third such death in the last one month. The collective protest by the locals had left forest department under intense pressure and there were demands to issue shoot-at-sight orders to kill the 'man-eating’ tiger. However, buying time from the villagers and local representatives, the forest department embarked on a mission to trace and capture the tiger.

Sources in the department confirmed to DH that officials had been working for over two-days to collect details about the movement of the tiger. “It was first located in camera in 2016 as a just grown up adult and coded in our records. We divided ourselves into different teams to trace the tiger. While a few rode into the forests on elephant back, a few others trekked through their way into the woods,” Jayaram explained.

Starting at as early as 6:00 am, the teams carried out intense search operation and by 12:30 pm they spotted the tiger and surrounded it. “At about 1:30 pm it was darted and tranquilised,” Jayaram explained. Unlike other search operations, veterinarians were successful in sedating the cat with one dart. “As we surrounded, we noticed slight movements and another dose of tranquillizer was given and administered treatment at the spot. After diagnosing its conditions and noting down other parameters, it was sent to Koorgalli,” Jayaram revealed. 

The team led by PCCF (Wildlife) Jayaram included CCF Madikeri, DCF Mysuru, Member Secretary, Zoo Authority of Karnataka, Project Tiger Director, Nagarahole National Park, Executive Director of Mysuru Zoo and other teams of ACFs and RFOs from adjoining ranges.

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