Even as five special teams, including forest officers from Kerala and Karnataka have been pressed into service, the Tamil Nadu forest department is clueless on the ‘killer’ MDT 23 tiger, believed to have killed four humans and 12 cattle.
The tiger continues to be elusive. The forest and police departments have blocked the main road at the Theppakdu region in Masinagudi and Singara due to the possibilities of the tiger reaching the village settlements in search of prey.
The search operation for the ‘killer’ tiger has reached the 12th day and the forest department on Wednesday said ‘they are in the right direction and are tracking the pug marks and other movements of the tiger’.
The Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered the forest department not to kill the tiger as it may not be a ‘man eater’. The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PPCF) of Tamil Nadu, Shekar Kumar Neeraj told media persons on Wednesday evening that the forest department is on the right track and has used drones and sniffer dogs to trace it. He also said that the department would immediately get hold of the tiger by tranquilizing it.
The people of the area are, in the meanwhile, restless following the order of the Madras High Court not to go for the kill as well as the forest department not being able to catch the tiger even after several days of relentless efforts.
Subramanian Sankar, a homestay owner at Gudalore and Manasinagudi while speaking to IANS said, “The tiger has to be caught at any cost. Local people know the forest and its surrounding areas and the animals much better. They vouch that the tiger has killed humans and 12 cattle and are fearful.
“The fear of the tiger has totally curtailed our business and blocking of roads and preventing movement of people has led to a situation wherein we will have to shut shop. For a smooth life of people in the area, the department should act fast and catch hold of the tiger.”
The heavy rains and fog have increased difficulties in the search operation and the forest department feels that the tiger is scavenging the leftovers of other animals for its feed. The tiger is injured and is not in a position to hunt and, hence it reached the village settlements for its food, including domesticated animals, the forest department has said earlier..
The forest department of Tamil Nadu is using the services of two kumki elephants, Udayan and Srinivasan as well as three elite sniffer dogs from Karnataka to nab the tiger.