BELAGAVI: With the recent killing of the tiger that terrorised villagers living near Khanapur, the locals are up in arms and seem ready to kill any tiger at sight. This now poses a threat to at least six tigers that are living in the forests.
When Express visited Khanapur, villagers were seen roaming the jungles with guns and other weapons.
While a few of them carry firearms to protect themselves from animals, most of them are said to be looking for an opportunity to hunt. However, most villagers have licenses for their guns.
It all started with the release of a tiger that was captured in Chikkamagaluru into the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary on November 19, 2014.
Shrikant Kamble, a resident of Khanapur, said the villagers who were once concerned about the welfare of the wildlife now seem to have turned against them. “The villagers started hating Department personnel after the man-eater was released into the Khanapur jungles. A few local leaders have brainwashed people against the personnel and encouraged them to kill animals. The situation got worse after the tiger killed a woman,” he said.
The wildlife securing booths of the Forest Department in the jungles are damaged. The authorities blame the villagers for vandalising the booths.
While the villagers of Jamboti, Mudagai and Abnoli among others are out to kill animals, especially tigers, villagers in Mendil say they still care for animals. Krishna Futtu Gaonkar of Mendil said, “We too have sighted tigers around our village, but killing them is not a solution.”
While local leaders are allegedly misguiding the villagers, rumours are complicating the situation.
A forest official, on condition of anonymity, said sensing the seriousness of the situation at Khanapur, the department is planning to conduct awareness campaigns for the villagers.