SULTAN BATHERY : A day after the farmers in Sultan Bathery launched a day and night protest, the forest department deployed two kumki elephants and a drone to support the search to capture the tiger that has been attacking cattle in Cheeral since September 25. The Joint Action Committee of farmers withdrew the day-and-night protest that started in front of Thottamoola forest station after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Forest Minister A K Saseendran promised immediate steps to capture the tiger. Joint action committee chairman K R Sajan and convener M A Suresh met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday and explained the hardship of the farmers who have been living under constant fear for the past one month.
“The chief minister promised to deploy additional rapid response teams and to conduct a night search to catch the tiger. The compensation for farmers who lost their milch cows will be increased to Rs 1 lakh. The farmers who lost calves will get a compensation of Rs 60,000. He assured to install 30 more cameras and more cages to trap the tiger. Besides, the forest minister and chief conservator of forest will visit Cheeral,” said K R Sajan.
Meanwhile, a meeting of top forest officers held at Sultan Bathery Forest inspection Bungalow decided to mobilise forces and intensify the search to capture the tiger.“In view of increasing human-animal conflicts, we have decided to prepare a conflict mitigation plan for Wayanad district. As an immediate step, we will strengthen perambulation. The plan is to bring an additional rapid response team (RRT) from Thamarassery to intensify the search. We also decided to work in coordination with the forest team of Madumalai Tiger Reserve as it has been noticed that the tiger escaped to Gudalur division when we intensify search,” said Chief conservator of Forest (CCF - North) K S Deepa, who has been appointed nodal officer to coordinate the search operations.
“Two kumki elephants have been brought to aid the search for the tiger. We will be using drone camera also for effective perambulation. Presently we have placed four cages at various locations and two more cages will be brought soon. The RRT from Thamarassery will join the search the next day itself. We have brought 30 camera traps from Parambikulam which are being placed at various locations to track the tiger. We hope the big cat will be caught immediately,” said Wayanad wildlife Warden K Abdul Azeez.