The Tamil Nadu Forest Department had launched an operation to track down and capture the tiger that had reportedly killed four persons recently.

Gudalur tiger T-23 captured by TN forest officials lying in a cage
news Wildlife Friday, October 15, 2021 - 16:23

T-23, the tiger that has reportedly killed four persons, was captured alive by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department in The Nilgiris district on Friday, October 15. Forest Department officials who were on the hunt for the tiger finally captured it after tranquilising it using a dart in Mayar forest in Masinagudi, The Nilgiris. The search and capture of the tiger brings to an end the 21-day hunt.

On Thursday night, forest officials had spotted T-23 in the Theppakadu region. Two tranquiliser darts were reportedly shot at the tiger. Yet, the elusive tiger managed to escape into the forest, forcing forest officials to intensify efforts to capture it on Friday morning. Subsequently on Friday afternoon, T-23 was spotted in the Mayar forest region and officials managed to capture it by shooting it with a third tranquiliser dart. During this operation, one forest employee reportedly sustained injuries. Arrangements are being made to take T-23 to the Mudumalai Theppakadu Elephant Camp.

It is perhaps the first time that a man-eating tiger has been captured alive in The Nilgiris. Three man-eating tigers have been killed in earlier operations. This comes after the Madras High Court had on October 5 directed the state Forest Department not to kill the tiger, and instead to capture it alive. The court that was hearing a petition filed by People for Cattle in India (PFCI), an animal rights group, also ordered the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to put less personnel on the ground for the operation as frequent movement of people would pose a threat to the wildlife in the region.

On October 1, the Tamil Nadu Chief Wildlife Warden had issued orders to hunt or kill T-23 after it killed four persons and several livestock in Gudalur. The order to hunt the tiger was issued under Section 11 (1) (a) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 – which gives sanction to the Chief Warden to kill or hunt any animal falling under Schedule 1 of the Act (including tigers), if it poses danger to human life. “The said tiger MDT 23 has clearly become dangerous to the human lives in the area. People of that area are also demanding capture or killing the tiger,” the order stated.

Special teams were formed to capture the tiger, while the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden of Kerala were also called in to help with the operation.

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