A partially blind tiger strays into the human habitat of Munnar in Kerala; Trap

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A tiger that attacked human habitats and killed many domestic animals in Munnar area of ​​Kerala’s Idukki district was trapped in a cage set up by the forest department on Wednesday night, forestry officials said.

Munnar Divisional Forest Officer Raju K Francis said the male tiger was around 9 years old and was partially blind as one of the eyes had a severe cataract. He said six expert members trained under National Tiger Conservation Authority guidelines will make a decision on the animal’s future after treatment. Forest department veterinary surgeon Arun Zachariah also inspected the caged animal which was brought to Devikulam Veterinary Research Centre, he said.

“After treatment, the panel will submit a report to the chief wildlife warden and he will make a final decision on whether to release him back into the wild or keep him in a zoo,” he said.

But locals who lost more than a dozen cattle said they would oppose their release into the wild in nearby areas. “We were told that the animal moves within a radius of 40 to 60 km in a few days to look for prey and a mate. Even if it is released at 100 km, there is a chance that it will return to our area for easy prey,” said tea plantation worker Palani Swami, who lost five cows three days ago.

The slaughter of a dozen cattle in Neyamakkad and Kadalar areas in Idukki district had sparked panic and many tea plantation workers were afraid to venture out of their homes over the past two weeks. . Agitated residents blocked the Munnar-Udumalpetta road on Sunday, demanding compensation and immediate action to redress their grievances.

The protest was called off after Devikulam sub-collector Rahul Krishna Sharma assured them of adequate compensation and immediate action to locate and trap the big cat. Forest officials have installed night vision cameras and cages to track the movement and trap it. The forest department deployed more than 100 trained people and animal trackers, which ultimately resulted in the trapping of the feline.

Forest officials suspect the animal from nearby Periyar Tiger Reserve, home to 35 big cats according to the 2017 census, may have landed near human settlements after poor vision affected its hunting prowess. The trapped animal’s pug markings will be taken and compared with other tigers in the area to confirm its identity, they said. According to the 2017 tiger census, there are 190 big cats in Kerala. Parambhikulam, Periyar and Wayand wildlife sanctuaries are their favorite habitats.


  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ramesh Babu is HT’s Bureau Chief in Kerala, with around three decades of experience in journalism.
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