Forest officials confirm presence of two tigers in Veligonda, Andhra

Forest officials step up vigil after male tiger is believed to have migrated from Giddalur; people asked to be cautious.
Forest department officials have confirmed the entry of a male tiger into the Veligonda forest area in Nellore district.
Forest department officials have confirmed the entry of a male tiger into the Veligonda forest area in Nellore district.File Photo

NELLORE : The forest department officials have confirmed the entry of a male tiger into the Veligonda forest area in Nellore district.

The wild cat is believed to have migrated from the Nallamala forest in the Giddalur area of Prakasam district to the Veligonda forest within the Atmakur range of Nellore district.

The movement of the male tiger has been captured by CCTV cameras in various locations, including Marripadu. Notably, a female tiger has also been roaming the Veligonda forest areas of Udayagiri, Atmakur, and Rapur for the past two years.

With the confirmation of wild cats in the district, the officials have intensified their vigilance and implemented strict measures to prevent any human-wildlife conflicts. Continuous surveillance through CCTV cameras have been set up in numerous locations and warning boards have been installed.

Authorities are taking steps to monitor tiger movements regularly and have conducted awareness programmes for residents of nearby villages, warning them not to venture alone into the forest for cattle grazing. Forest officials clarified that the presence of tigers indicates an increase in all types of wildlife in the area. It has been reported that there’s significant growth in the wildlife population in the forests of Atmakur, Udayagiri, Rapur, Venkatagiri, and other areas of the district.

Recent footage from CCTV cameras set up in the Atmakur range has captured movements of a male tiger, leopards, bears, foxes, wild boars, peacocks, sambars, deer, and various other animals.

Additionally, special training programmes have already been conducted for forest staff, focusing primarily on measures to protect wildlife from poachers. In light of the impending establishment of a Tiger Zone, district forest officials and staff have already initiated related efforts.

District Forest Officer (DFO) Avula Chandrasekhar advised that district residents and travellers on the Mumbai National Highway need not worry. However, he cautioned against venturing into the forest alone.

He also stated that on June 23, 2024 around 2 pm, cameras captured footage of a female tiger and another tiger roaming in the area.

It may be noted here that, forest officials were put on high alert after a driver reported a tiger attack on a car along the national highway in the Padamatinaidupalle area on June 17. While authorities maintain that a tiger was not responsible for the incident, they have confirmed the presence of male tiger paw prints in the vicinity of the accident site. Hair samples collected from the scene were sent to the laboratory in Srisailam for analysis.

In response to the situation, approximately 60 CCTV cameras have been installed at various locations throughout the forest, including hidden areas and water sources. Forest department officials are reviewing the video footage on a weekly basis, regularly recycling the cameras to ensure comprehensive coverage.

Steps taken to avoid man-animal conflict

  •  Setting up of CCTVs at several locations

  •  Monitoring movements of tiger regularly

  •  Conducting awareness programmes for locals

  •  Organising spl training programmes for forest staff

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The New Indian Express