The Kerala forest department is on high alert after a tiger killed a farmer near Vakery in Wayanad district on Saturday. The authorities have set up a cage and are engaged in extensive surveillance to capture the animal, which is suspected to be a man-eater.
Tiger attack sparks protests by locals
The incident took place on Saturday when 36-year-old T Prajeesh, who had gone out near a forest area to gather grass for his cattle, was attacked by the tiger. The locals found his mutilated body, which had been dragged by the tiger closer to the forest. They also found pug marks of the tiger near the spot.
The tiger attack sparked protests by the locals, who demanded immediate action from the forest department to catch the animal. They blocked the road and staged a sit-in, alleging that the authorities had failed to protect the lives and livelihoods of the people living near the forest.
Forest department orders to capture or kill the tiger
The forest department initially ordered to tranquilise and capture the animal, but the massive protests by the locals forced the authorities to invoke the “shoot-to-kill” option if efforts to catch it alive became futile. The order read, “If the animal cannot be captured or tranquilised, and it is established as a man-eater, then it should be killed, as it has become dangerous to human life in the region.”
The forest department has set up a cage in an area where they suspect the animal to be. They have also planted camera traps to detect the movements of the tiger. So far, they have not got any solid visuals. The forest officials are engaged in continuous surveillance and perambulation exercises. All teams are on standby.
Veterinary teams and experts on the spot
The forest department has also deployed teams of veterinary officials and experts on the spot in case the tiger is successfully tranquilised. They will examine the animal and decide whether to relocate it to a safe place or keep it in captivity.
The forest officials have also appealed to the public to cooperate with them and not to venture into the forest areas without permission. They have assured that they will take all possible steps to ensure the safety of the people and the wildlife.
Tiger population and conflicts in Kerala
According to a tiger census conducted in 2016, Kerala had 58 tigers in the Periyar and Parambikulam tiger reserves. The state government had said in the Assembly that it was taking measures to conserve the tiger population and prevent human-animal conflicts.
However, the incidents of tiger attacks have increased in the recent years, especially in the Wayanad district, which shares its borders with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The district has a high density of wildlife and human population, leading to frequent clashes over land and resources.