Karnataka’s Kodagu district reported its second death due to a tiger attack on Sunday, in a span of 24 hours. A woman, who was a coffee estate plantation worker, was mauled to death by a tiger when she was at a field to answer nature’s call in the wee hours of Sunday. The woman was around 60 years old.
In the first incident, a 16-year-old boy named Aiyappa, who was the son of another plantation worker, was killed by a tiger on Saturday night in a farm less than two kilometres away from the site of Sunday’s tragedy. He was attacked by the tiger when he went out to fetch some firewood. Residents in the area found his mortal remains devoured by the tiger.
Due to the proximity of the two accident sites, district and forest officials are not ruling out the possibility that the same tiger was behind the two attacks. A team of forest officials, along with trained elephants, are currently carrying out a combing operation to find the tiger.
“Our forest officials are on the ground both on foot and on elephants, trying to track and trace the tiger. We are following the standard operating procedures for capturing tigers. We firmly believe that the same tiger is behind the two incidents. We are also trying to control the crowd, which is naturally anxious over the two incidents,” Vijaykumar Gogi, senior Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Wildlife, told TNM.
“Without capturing the big cat, it is not possible to ascertain if the same tiger was behind the two attacks and also why it is attacking humans. We will study the animal once it is captured and decide if we will let it out again into the wild or rehabilitate it in a zoo-like institution,” he added.
Both incidents have been reported from Ponnampet taluk of the hilly district, which is usually thronged by tourists across the state and outside. The taluk and other parts of south Kodagu have witnessed incidents of human-tiger conflict in recent months. Incidents of cattle falling prey to wild tigers have also come to light recently.
Conservationists blame the recurrance of these incidents due to degrading habitats.