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Panic-stricken villagers force Karnataka govt to kill tiger

30 Dec 2014 03:00am IST

Report by
TEAM HERALD

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30 Dec 2014 03:00am IST

Report by
TEAM HERALD

Goa offered assistance to trap and tranquilize the tiger, Karnataka denies any assistance offered; Two women, one from Chikmagalur and another from Khanapur were killed by the tiger

BICHOLIM/BELGAUM: The Karnataka government was forced to shoot dead a tiger between the eyes following opposition by the villagers in trapping the magnificent beast after it attacked and killed a woman in Khanapur, Karnataka.

Tiger experts say that the tiger was not allowed to eat its earlier kills resulting in it remaining hungry and forcing it to move towards softer prey – a woman – and create panic among the villagers.

Richard D’Souza (Chief Conservator of Forest) told Herald that they had sent Parab because he is an expert and “we (Goa) had better equipment. He was willing to tranquilize the tiger.”

“I would have got the tiger tranquilized because our gun is of 80 mts range while theirs is of 20 mts. Parab was willing to trap it using a cage with a goat in it as bait but the Karnataka government did not allow him to participate. He was just a witness,” D’Souza said.

Karnataka officials confirmed that the tiger was killed at Kongla village in Karnataka on Sunday at about 6.30 pm.

An officer on condition of anonymity said that it took almost a month for the officials to spot the tiger. Opposition against the tiger was on after the villagers led by the local MLA staged a ‘dharna.’ This became serious only when a woman was attacked and killed by the wild cat in Khanapur.

According to officials about 350 officials from almost all fields including Special Task Force, Mysore Tiger experts were involved in combing the forests. The tiger was relocated from Chikmagalur and probably it was not able to adjust to the new habitat. They blamed the tiger experts, as they were not able to spot the tiger for almost a month.

Officials who assisted the team said the Karnataka government and the forest department should have taken care before relocating the tiger into the new habitat. Tiger relocation should have been done only after a proper study. The decision was taken in a haste. The assessment of the area and the forest should have been done before this endangered species was let out into the forest, they argued, adding that killing was not the only option, and this decision was taken in a haste. If proper study was done, it would have saved not just the woman who was killed, but also the tiger, they added.

Meanwhile, Karnataka forest officials have denied any assistance from their Goan counterparts. “We have all kinds of advanced equipments including long range tranquiliser guns. Hence, we never sought any assistance from Goa,” Deputy Conservator of Forests Madhav Ambady told Herald.

“There was no other solution other than killing the tiger as it had tasted human blood. Since last 40 days we tried to save the animal by setting the trap, however, since it was trapped earlier, it was evading the same. It had created reign of terror amongst the villagers in the region to the extent that schools were closed, harvesting was kept on hold and villagers had to remain in their homes before sunset till sunrise,” DCF Ambady told Herald when asked whether there was no other solution other than killing the tiger.

It may be recalled that the big cat had killed a woman at Pandarahalli in Chikmagalur district last month and was caught on November 15 and was to be set free at Dandeli forest in Karwar district. However, after stiff opposition from villagers there it was released in Khanapur forests on November 19.

However, recently the wild cat killed another woman near Khanapur. 23-year-old Anjana Hanabar, was mauled to death on December 24 that irked the villagers in the region who had staged a strong protest demanding immediate measures to kill the animal after which government of Karnataka had issued shoot at sight orders against the animal.



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