BENGALURU: Forest officials have decided to put an end to the commonly adopted gimmick of tiger or leopard sighting to draw tourists to home stays and resorts on forest fringes. In Chikkamagaluru, Range Forest Officer Swathi L on Tuesday filed a complaint against a resort owner and people circulating a message on social media since late Monday night, of two tiger sightings on Golf Club Road in Chikkamagaluru. The CEN police of Chikkamagaluru registered a non-cognisable report. Following this, forest officials picked up two men, Syed Masood and Sameer Husain, for inquiry.
Police and forest officials have also traced Mustaffa, from Bengaluru, who circulated the messages. Other details are being traced, police said. Experts and conservationists said this is not the first time such fake videos and photos are being circulated by home stay and resort owners. “They do this to draw tourists and gain traction on social media. But it is the first time the RFO has acted and got all details deleted immediately. The photo is of two tigers in Tadoba, and was shot in 2019 by a senior IFS officer.”
Last year, a local associated with home stays and resorts had spread a similar rumour of sighting a tiger wandering near the road. The forest department and police had made him issue a written public apology.
Swathi told TNIE that Syed and Sameer were questioned and made to delete the photos and videos. The complaint was registered as people were panicking. Chikkamagaluru is a potential tiger habitat, but the area quoted has no trace of tigers. Conservationists said there is stiff competition to grab tourists.