Forest dept's mission to tranquilize Wayanad's latest problem tiger begins today

Representational image
Representational image: AFP

Wayanad: The Forest Department is contemplating tranquilizing a tiger that has been evading traps and terrorising Panavally and Tirunelli regions of Wayanad for over a month.

The tiger has reportedly killed several domestic animals, including calves and dogs. D Jayaprasad, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, also the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state, has ordered the option of chemical immobilization of the animal through tranquilizing shots if setting traps does not yield results.

The Forest Department has named the tiger NW-5. As per the 2016 census, the animal roams in the Tirunelli forest zone. The process of capturing the tiger has to be in according to the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) set by the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

The North Wayanad Divisional Forest Officer would be in charge of the operation under the supervision of Chief Conservator of Forests, Northern Circle, Kannur.

According to the order issued by the chief conservator, once the tiger is captured, if healthy, it should be released in the deep forest without delay, by ensuring the minimum trauma to the animal. The order urges the forest department to launch the mission from Monday and complete as early as possible.

Villagers demand action
The order arrived in the wake of a series of protests in the region from villagers. Tirunelli panchayat president, PV Balakrishnan had a narrow escape from the tiger during a joint combing operation in a private coffee plantation. Labourers of the coffee plantation were on an agitation after coming face-to-face with the tiger.

In another incident, the tiger ran into a house nestled on the fringes of the jungle. The residents of Panavally staged a sit-in on the road demanding the immediate capture of the tiger.

Caught in between an elusive tiger and an irate local population, the forest department personnel in the North Wayanad Forest Division had a tought time the past few months.

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