ADILABAD: Man-animal conflict is more noticeable in the erstwhile Adilabad district now than ever before. Just two days ago, a suspected tiger attacked and killed one Sidam Shimbu, a tribal in Khanapur in Wankidi mandal in Kumurambheem-Asifabad district. In 2020, tigers made a meal of two tribals. Officials have sent samples of pugmarks to forensic lab to ascertain whether it was a tiger or a leopard which killed Shimbu.
The people in villages are afraid of stepping out once the sun sets. Even during the day, they are scared of going to their fields.The forest officials agree that the wild animals are foraying into human settlements as their habitat is being disturbed increasingly. Khanapur village is close to the border with Maharashtra.
The villagers have lost faith in the forest department to mitigate the lurking danger after its failure in catching the man-eater in 2020. The tiger finally reportedly migrated to Maharashtra. This time also, the people think that the staff would not be able to do anything but watch helplessly as the tiger has a free run of the forest area.
The officials say that the wild animals are entering human habitations because their habitat is being disturbed and the area they live is shrinking even as the population of tigers and leopards is increasing. Tigers in Tadoba and Thippeshwar tiger reserves in Maharashtra are migrating to the erstwhile Adilabad district. Their area is shrinking because of the encroachment of forest lands in the name of podu cultivation.
In the erstwhile Adilabad district, the government received applications for ownership rights on one lakh acres. Prior to the bifurcation of the State, the then AP government issued pattas for about one lakh acres to tribals to continue podu cultivation. At present, the officials are doing a survey of forest lands which is causing a lot of disturbance in the tigers’ habitat.
The migration of tigers has been increasing from Thadoba tiger reserve in Maharashtra state to Khagaznagar for quite some time now. The tigers cross Pranahita river, Tipeshwar Tiger reserves in Maharashtra and after crossing Penganga, they enter the erstwhile Adilabad district.
The forest department officials said the migration is taking place as the male tigers are in search of females for mating. A female tiger was spotted moving with three cubs in Bheempur mandal forest area in Adilabad district recently. The forest officials arranged a camp in Khanapur, Kannerghaon where they fixed CCTV camera trap to identify the movement of the tiger across the Maharashtra-Telangana border.