The Tamil Nadu Forest Department’s operation to capture or hunt an elusive tiger in Gudalur, officially known as T-23, that reportedly killed several livestock and four humans, is still underway.
Chief Wildlife Warden Shekar Kumar Niraj IFS on October 1 ordered to hunt the tiger under Section 11 (1) (a) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The section gives the Chief Warden authority to issue orders to kill or hunt any animal falling under Schedule 1 of the Act (including tigers), if it poses danger to human life.
According to reports, the said tiger had killed a 56-year-old man V Chandran on September 24. And on Friday, October 1, another person was killed in Singara range under the Gudalur Forest division.
Subsequently, owing to demands from villagers and pressure from all quarters, the Chief Warden on October 1 passed the order to hunt the tiger following all the guidelines of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
Speaking to TNM, Chief Wildlife Warden Shekar Kumar Niraj said, “The operation to capture the tiger is underway. One of our tracking teams spotted the tiger at 12:30 pm on Saturday. But he was nowhere to be seen after that.”
“NTCA norms do not allow tiger capture after 6pm. Hence we have halted the capture for today. However, all teams, a total of 80 people from experts to doctors are on alert. And automatic cameras too will continue surveillance,”added the Chief Warden.
Further the forest department said that as the operation will resume tomorrow, residents of more than ten areas, including Masinagudi and Singara, have been banned from walking outside tonight. And on Saturday afternoon, the forest department officials also blocked vehicular movement between Theppakadu and Masinagudi.
Meanwhile, a case has been filed at the Madras High Court against the order to shoot T-23. Sangeeta Dogra, a wildlife activist from Delhi filed an online writ petition at the court.