Elusive tigress kills newborn elephant calf

A tiger captured by a camera trap in Maguvinahalli in Bandipur.

The massive search operation to catch the tigress that is believed to have killed three farmers in a month around Bandipur yielded no results for the fourth consecutive day.

As officials resolved to intensify their search from Sunday, the tigress unleashed terror again on Saturday by preying on a newborn elephant calf in the GS Betta range of Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

Following the discovery of the tigress’ pug marks on a farm on Friday, forest officials were hopeful of catching the big cat on Saturday. Exuding confidence, officials had even summoned four tribals from the Soliga community, who are expert trackers. However, the tribals, after a strenuous, day-long search, returned empty-handed.

A range forest officer who was part of the search operation told DH that the tigress had preyed on a newborn elephant calf.

“We found the blood-stained parts of the carcass of the calf and a trail of blood inside the forest. We are verifying whether the same tigress killed the calf. Despite stiff resistance from the elephant herd, the cat dragged the calf away and feasted on it,” the RFO said.

T Balachandra, field director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, said that on Saturday also personnel assisted by veterinarians and elephants carried out combing operations from Melukamanahalli RFO office to Kakkatalakanna beat around Maguvinahalli and Shivapura.

Meanwhile, officials also discovered that the tigress was captured on camera installed at a private farm around 4.30 am on
Saturday. “The image has also been sent to our ICT wing for verification to ascertain whether it was the same killer tigress,” he clarified.

Mobilising enough equipment to catch the tigress, officials requisitioned darting guns from Nagarahole and BRT Tiger Reserve for the operation.

Will Rana succeed?

Failing to catch the tigress and exhausting all options, the forest department is also considering deploying sniffer dog Rana known for his special tracking skills. The five-year-old German Shepherd is currently recovering from an illness at Bandipur.

“Rana is still recovering from an illness. Ever since his handler was transferred to some other circle, we have not availed of Rana’s services. But we are now considering deploying Rana on the job,” another senior officer of Bandipur Tiger Reserve said.

 

 

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