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Kumkis join search for tiger that killed two people Kumkis join search for tiger that killed two people

Feb-17-2015 | 0 Comments

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UDHAGAMANDALAM: Two kumki or trained elephants joined the search for the tiger that attacked two people in the last week in Bitherkadu range of forests in Gudalur division in the Nilgiris on Monday as the attempt to the trap the carnivore entered the third day.

A senior official of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) said, "The tiger has moved to MTR region from Bitherkadu forests. One of the teams conducting combing operations sighted the animal in the morning." However, the combing teams did not succeed in trapping the big cat. "The operation will continue on Tuesday," said the official.

On Sunday, five cages with meat as bait were set up to trap the animal. Three teams, including special task force personnel, were involved in the operation. On Saturday, the tiger killed a woman while she was working on a tea estate near Bitherkadu forest area. The villagers of Kaivattam brought the body Bitherkadu town, placed on the road and blocked traffic for over 24 hours. They also attacked a forest officer. Later, the district administration managed to convince them to disperse and sent the body for postmortem.

The same tiger is suspected to be behind the death of a 62-year-old farmer whose mauled body was found in Mukkuthikunni forest in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala last week. The distance between the two spots is about 2km. On Sunday, a mob set fire to six vehicles of the forest department and damaged the forest office in Bitherkadu, demanding that the tiger be killed.

Sources said there has always been friction between the forest department and residents of Pandalur and Gudalur taluks and man-animal conflict or development activity exacerbates it. "The villagers are instigated to protest against the forest department by big land owners who have vested interest in forest land being released for other uses," said a wildlife activist.

He said vandalizing the property of the forest department and assaulting officials physically is condemnable. He pointed out that Gudalur was a dense forest less than 60 years ago. "We have forest boundaries, but those are meant only for human beings not for the animals," he said. "If more police personnel had been deployed in the area after the attacks, the untoward incidents could have been avoided," said the activist.

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