Warangal: Residents of villages in the forest fringes in Mulugu, Mahabubabad and Jayashankar Bhupalpally districts are in the grip of fear after Forest officials confirmed tiger movement in Mulugu district. Going by the several sighting of the big cat in the past one week in Mulugu, it appears the tiger has made the area its home.
Forest Range Officer (FRO) , Mulugu Range, Srujana Kumari said a team of officials including forest beat officers, section officer and others had identified the pug marks of a tiger two km beyond Mulugu forest range. “Since the size of the pugmark is 14 cm long, we can confirm that it is a tiger. We have cautioned the villagers to be careful when they pass through the forest area or going into the forest for cattle grazing,” she added.
Some villagers of Rainigudem, Kannaigudem, Pegadapally, Pathipally and Kothur in Mulugu forest range either spotted the tiger or saw the pugmarks near their village recently, prompting the officials to search for the pugmarks. It is learnt that it is a female tiger with cubs that was moving in the forests. The forest officials, however, have not commented on the number of tigers.
Meanwhile, a tiger was spotted near Oatai village of Kothaguda mandal of Mahabubabad by the villagers on Monday. It is suspected that the tiger that was spotted in Mulugu forest range had entered the Kothaguda forest areas from Jaggannagudem in Mulugu district. It reportedly killed two cattle recently.
A tiger was first sighted in the forest areas of Kothaguda mandal in the first week of November last year followed by identification of pug marks near Apparajupally village of Gudur mandal in the Mahabubabad district.
Much to the joy of wildlife enthusiasts and environmental activists, a tiger was spotted near Azamnagar village Bhupalpally mandal of Jayashankar Bhupalpally district in August last year after more than a decade. A few weeks later, villagers of Kannaiguem also spotted a tiger near their village under Eturnagaram wildlife sanctuary.
Subsequently, after a week, the big cat was spotted in Bhupalpally district, and it is believed that it entered Peddapalli district by crossing Manair River in 2020. Following this, a high-level meeting on protection of tigers was convened in Mulugu by the then Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF), Warangal Range, M J Akbar at Mulugu town on October 22, 2020. The meeting discussed measures to be taken for protection of the tigers including steps to increase the population of herbivores in the region so as to keep the tigers within the forest areas of this region.
Meanwhile, environmental activist and founder of Vana Seva Society (VVS), Potlapally Veerabhadra Rao said they had been informed about tiger movement in the forest areas of Mulugu, Bhupalpally, Mahabubabad and Kothagudem districts for the last one week, and urged the officials to take steps to protect the tiger.
“The forest officials should also take steps to educate the people about the movement of tigers and ensure that no harm is done to the big cat. The officials should also erect signboards cautioning people or passersby about the movement of tigers in these areas. Besides, a wildlife warden should also be appointed exclusively for the protection of tigers in erstwhile Warangal and Khammam districts. The Centre should also declare the forest areas under these districts as a Tiger Reserve,” he added.
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