MADIKERI: The tiger saga continues in Kodagu even as villagers speculate that the forest department has caught the wrong tiger. Many tigers are on prowl across the villages of South Kodagu and the forest department has no data on the number of tigers that frequent the villages.
However, the tiger menace reached an alarming state on Sunday after the lives of two estate labourers - a 16-year-old lad and a 60-year-old woman - were lost in tiger attacks. Massive protests from the villagers forced the presence of higher forest officials and the tiger, which they claimed killed two people, was caught by the forest department after over 14 hour-long mission on Sunday. A tigress that had injuries on its ankle was captured and claimed to be the man-eater.
However, the villagers alleged that the forest department had caught the wrong tiger. Their worries were affirmed after the villagers learnt about another tiger attack at Tavalageri village, within one km distance from the spot where the woman was killed.
“The tiger that was caught by the forest department was weak and could barely walk. We were 100% sure that it was not the man-eater,” said Vijay Nanjappa, a resident of T Shettigeri village. He explained that on Sunday night, the tiger which killed two humans, also killed a calf at Tavalageri village.
The villagers also said that the tiger that claimed the lives of two people would not have travelled to Manchalli - where the department captured the tiger. “After the death of the woman, the entire place was crowded and the tiger could not have travelled amid all the din to Manchalli. The department was alerted about a tiger’s presence in Manchalli during noon hours and the entire combing operation shifted there. However, the actual man-eating tiger was hiding just a km away from the spot and this tiger claimed its kill here during night,” said a villager of Srimangala.
CCF Heeralal said, “The captured tiger seemed like the one that hunted down two people. We found the tigress across 3.5 km radius from the incident spot. Also, the tigress was weak and injured, forcing it to attack humans. Nevertheless, we are carrying out combing operations.” Three teams have been formed to carry out combing operations and CCF Heeralal is supervisiing the operation at the spot. A cage has also been placed near a cow barn where the calf was killed at Tavalageri. On Monday morning, a college girl fainted after spotting a tiger inside an estate in Muttageri village and in another incident, two cows were killed in a tiger attack in Kiruguru village of South Kodagu.