Bengaluru, Oct 13, 2019: An all out search operation to catch the tigress that is said to have killed three farmers in a month around Bandipur yielded no results for the fourth consecutive day. Even as officials resolved to intensify their search from October 13, Sunday, the tigress unleashed terror again on October 12, Saturday by preying on a newborn elephant calf in the GS Betta range of Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
Following the discovery of the tigress’ pug marks on a farm on Oct 11, Friday, forest officials were hopeful of catching the big cat soon. Exuding confidence, the officials had even summoned four tribals from the Soliga community who are expert trackers. However, the tribals, after a strenuous, day-long search, returned empty-handed.
A range forest officer who was part of the search operation told media that the tigress had preyed on a newborn elephant calf. “We found the blood-stained parts of the carcass of the calf and a trail of blood inside the forest. We are verifying whether the same tigress killed the calf. Despite stiff resistance from the elephant herd, the cat dragged the calf away and devoured it,” the RFO said.
T Balachandra, field director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve said that on Oct 12, Saturday also, the personnel assisted by veterinarians and elephants carried out combing operations from Melukamanahalli RFO office to Kakkatalakanna beat around Maguvinahalli and Shivapura.
Meanwhile, officials also discovered that the tigress was captured on the camera installed at a private farm. “The image has also been sent to our ICT wing for verification to ascertain whether it was the same killer tigress,” he clarified.
Mobilising enough equipment to catch the tigress, officials requisitioned darting guns from Nagarahole and BRT Tiger Reserve for the operation. The region is all eyes on this adventure to nab the killer tiger.
The forest department is also considering deploying sniffer dog Rana known for his special tracking skills. The five-year-old German Shepherd is currently recovering from an illness at Bandipur.
“Rana is still recovering from an illness. Ever since his handler was transferred to some other circle, we have not availed of Rana’s services. But we are now considering deploying Rana on the job,” yet another senior officer of Bandipur Tiger Reserve revealed. Public is watching with baited breath.