Entrapped tiger has cataract, won’t be released into the wild: Forest Dept

The tiger has cataract in the left eye. Photo: Manorama Online.

Idukki: The tiger that got trapped in Munnar Rajamala does not have the health status to be released back into the wilds, the Forest Department informed. It has a cataract in the left eye. It is assumed that the tiger could have been attacking the pet animals owing to its difficulty to hunt, with its limited vision. The tiger would be shifted to the rehabilitation centre.

The male tiger fell into one of the cages set by the Forest department at Naimakkad, around 8.30 pm on Tuesday. As many as ten cattle were reported to have been killed in the tiger attack in the past few days. It had also attacked a cow which was let to graze in the Kadalar East division last day, at 12 noon.

Protesting against the rampant wild animal attacks, the local residents staged a road blockade on Munnar- Udumalpettai Inter State road, on the last day. The protestors had kept the carcass of a cow killed by the tiger and blocked the road for about 3 hours.

Hundreds of cattle have been killed in tiger attacks in the area over the past few months. It has been many days since the workers in Munnar Naimakkad East Division lost their sleep. They were living in fear that a roar and growl could be heard from the dark anytime in the middle of the night. Their cattle - their livelihood - could be attacked and killed by the tiger. The tiger which was in Naimakkad Division for two consecutive days had killed many cows and injured one.

One cow each of Antony, Velmurugan and Wilson and 2 cows of Palanisami, all from the East Division, were killed by the tiger. One cow escaped with injuries. The tiger had killed two of Palanisamy’s cows during the wee hours on Sunday. On Sunday night around 11 pm, the tiger reached the cattle shed and killed the cows that were in the shed. On hearing the noise, Solomon and his wife who stays in the Layam (Estate Quarters) nearby opened the door of the cow shed and saw the tiger killing the cow. As they screamed and ran off, the tiger escaped.

Later, it got entrapped in the cage set up at Naimakkad. Three cage traps were set up in Naimakkad to catch the tiger by the Forest Department and a 24-hour control room was opened.

A 20-member team of forest officers was deployed in the area for monitoring, equipped with a gun to administer tranquilizer shots and a drone for surveillance.

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