A tiger on the prowl over the past two weeks in some parts of Wayanad districtâ€™s Mananthavady municipality adjacent to the forest area in the district, has triggered panic among residents in the region besides killing 15 domesticated animals, the latest being a goat on Tuesday, December 14. The district administration has already issued prohibitory orders in the divisions of 11,12,13 and 14 of the municipality and over 150 officials, including forest and police departments have been camping to trap the beast.
"With today's killing, a total of 15 animals have been eaten by the tiger (in the last 17 days). The police are assisting the Forest Department and have jointly installed five traps at different places. However, the animal has eluded them. Prohibitory orders have been issued for four divisions of the Mananthavady Municipality," police said.
Kurukkanmoola resident Johnson, whose goat was killed and devoured by the tiger on Tuesday, told PTI that the residents of the four divisions, who are mostly agriculturists and dairy farmers, are now afraid to step out in the dark. "We are afraid to come out of our house in the dark. My goat was killed yesterday. The situation is the same for the last 17 days. Most of the people are agriculturists and many have domesticated animals like cows, goats, poultry among others," he said.
Johnson said the routine of the people have now changed and cited the example of milking their cows, which they used to do by around 5.30 in the morning. "But now even that has been shifted to 8 AM," he said, as people are afraid to step out before sunrise.
Residents and authorities have begun efforts to capture the tiger. They plan to block its route from the forest area to the human settlements, officials said.
A forest official told PTI that even though there were over 30 cameras installed to capture the image of the tiger, its photo was captured only on Tuesday. Over 50 police officials and nearly 100 forest department officials, including two Divisional Forest Officers are camping in the area, the official said.
The authorities are finding it difficult to locate the tiger using drones as there are coffee plants growing among the tall trees, making it difficult to identify the animal. Officials said that they plan on bringing in Kumki elephants (trained captive elephants used in operations to trap wild animals) to capture the tiger.