Hyderabad: The Karnataka Forest Department has launched an intensive operation to locate and capture a tiger, believed to be four to six years old and which is suspected to have been responsible for the deaths of two men in the past one month in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in the State. The tiger, is also believed to have been responsible for the killing of at least 14 cattle in the villages abutting the reserve. The latest human victim was a farmer tending to his cattle on Tuesday in Chowdahalli village in the reserve.
A meeting of State Forest Department officials on Wednesday evening at Bandipur decided to install 400 geotagged camera traps in the areas the tiger is believed to be roaming in in the reserve area falling in the Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka. As on Wednesday, 100 camera traps were installed and the rest are expected to be installed in the next day or two.
In all six wildlife veterinarians are to be pressed into service as part of the efforts to tranquilise the tiger safely. On Wednesday, a drone was pressed into service for an aerial survey of the area the tiger was last reported from but it could not capture any evidence of the big cat, according to Karnataka forest department sources.
Simultaneously, it was decided to send scat and other samples collected from the kill sites of the tiger for a DNA analysis while some camera trap images have been sent for cross matching the identity of the tiger.
An official from the National Tiger Conservation Authority is expected to visit Bandipur on Thursday for an on the spot assessment and to discuss further steps to be taken and responsibilities to be given to different officials in the search and capture operation of the tiger.