Health issues prompt possible zoo relocation for tiger captured in Wayanad

Two of its teeth are broken, severely impeding its ability to hunt, survive in the wild.
Tholpetty 7 in the cage
Tholpetty 7 in the cagePhoto | Express

KALPETTA: The forest department, which successfully trapped the tiger terrorising Kenichira in Wayanad late on Sunday, is facing a new dilemma. Specifically, it is the big cat’s health that has the forest officials worried.

An examination has revealed that the tiger – identified as Tholpetty 7 – is facing significant health challenges. Notably, two of its teeth are broken, which severely impedes the tiger’s ability to hunt and survive in the wild. In light of this, the forest officials has concluded that releasing the tiger back into its natural habitat would be impractical and also potentially harmful to its well-being.

Discussions are now under way on the possibility of relocating the tiger from its current holding at the Irulam forest department centre to a suitable zoo, given its compromised dental health.

Forest officials highlighted the importance of ensuring the tiger’s long-term welfare while also addressing public safety concerns.

Meanwhile, efforts are being made to reassure local residents and address their concerns related to wildlife. Authorities are expected to continue monitoring the situation closely, with a focus on conservation efforts as well as the well-being of affected communities.

As discussions progress, additional measures may be implemented to mitigate similar incidents and support sustainable coexistence between wildlife and human populations in the region.

The 10-year-old tiger was trapped in one of the specialised cages installed by the department officials in Kenichira in Wayanad’s Poothadi panchayat around 11.05pm on Sunday. The chief wildlife warden had issued an order to tranquilise and capture the tiger, but the need did not arise.

The order to capture the tiger was issued after it killed four cows in Kenichira over three days, sparking protests by local residents. Earlier on Sunday, residents of Kenichira had blocked the Beenachi-Panamaram road with the carcass of one of the cows that the tiger killed, to protest against repeated wildlife attacks.

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