Mancherial: The recent attack on a shepherd by a tiger at Oddugudem village in Vemanapalli mandal of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district has become a cause of concern for the forest dwellers. However, it has left many wondering if tigers belonging to Maharashtra are now slowly heading towards the forests of Mancherial district in search of territory and prey.
The forest officials, who denied movement of big cats in the forests of Vemanapalli mandal for some time, have now confirmed that the attack on a 63-year-old shepherd, Shankar, who was returning home after grazing sheep in the forest area, was the first case of the man-animal conflict in the district. It was not a resident tiger and might have attacked him for suddenly confronting it, they reasoned.
The forest officials recorded pugmarks of a big cat in a stream on the outskirts of Jajulapet village in Vemanapalli mandal, situated around 6-km from the spot of the incident. Led by Mancherial Forest Officer Shivani Dogra, a team of forest officials visited the spot and scanned the wild on Friday and Saturday. A special team was formed for tracking the movement of the big cat and CCTV camera traps were set up to capture its images.
“Tigers of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) and other reserves of neighbouring Maharashtra often stray into the wilderness of Mancherial district. They settle down if they like the forests, which have been their safe havens for quite a long time. We are happy over this sign, which reflects our efforts to conserve the national animal,” Shivani Dogra, Mancherial Forest Officer told ‘Telangana Today’.
Are Asifabad forests crowded with tigers?
Kumram Bheem Asifabad records a considerable migration of big cats from the neighbouring State, considering conducive habitat and prey base. At present, the forests of this district are being inhabited by around 10 carnivores. A tigress gave birth to three cubs recently. Due to overpopulation, the newcomers, entering the wild of this region, are forced to depend on the wild of the Mancherial district, once a destination of majestic animals.
About three big cats are residing in the forests of Mancherial districts. A tiger named K4, with a snare around its abdomen has been residing in the forests of Chennur for over four years. A big cat belonging to Maharashtra strayed into the jungle of the Mancherial district a few months ago. The identity of the latest carnivore, which attacked the shepherd, is yet to be established. Foresters are on the job of capturing images of the national animal.
Locals in tizzy
Locals of Vemanapalli mandal, however, suspected that it could be A2, which developed aberrant behaviour and killed two tribal youngsters — Sidam Vignesh and Pasula Nirmala, in the forests of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district in a month in 2020. They requested the foresters to take steps to prevent human loss as witnessed in the neighbouring district.
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