BENGALURU: Forest Department officials who sighted the tiger to be captured in banana fields near Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Gopalaswamy Betta range, were unsuccessful in catching it, as it managed to escape. Officials are now optimistic and all geared up to dart and capture the tiger today, and put an end to the operation.
The officials were earlier confused whether it was a male or a female, but on Thursday, they revealed that it is, in fact, a male. They admitted that there are three males and one female in the vicinity, which lead to the confusion.
A ground staffer said the three young males were trying to mark their territory, hunt for food and woo the female. While searching for food, the casualties occurred.
Sanjai Mohan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife, confirmed to TNIE that the tiger is a male. It was earlier assumed that it was female, but pugmark analysis and camera trap image verification have proved otherwise. An attempt was made to capture the tiger on Thursday, but officials were unsuccessful as the animal was swift. Mohan said that it was too early to conclude if the animal suffers from any injury or canine loss. “Pugmarks do not reveal so much. But since it rained well on Wednesday night, the tiger is leaving its trails behind, as the soil is moist,” he said, adding that the animal is not a man-eater - it has killed two people, but not eaten them.
He also added that many people were giving the department suggestions on how to capture the tiger, but the staffers know what’s best, and have to act as per the situation, keeping the National Tiger Conservation Authority guidelines in mind.
Officials confident of capturing animal
T Balachandra, director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, said that six elephants and four veterinary doctors have been put on the job. With mounting pressure, another veterinary doctor has been called to join the operation. “Combing work will be done from all sides, and we are confident that the animal will be captured tomorrow, as all GPS coordinates and territories have been marked out. Mahouts atop trained elephants, jeeps and live bait (dogs) have been stationed at strategic places to capture the animal,” he said.