Kozhikode: There is no let up in the wild animal incursions to the forest fringes of a few Kerala districts.On Saturday a tiger was captured in Wayanad, a day after a farmer was killed by one big cat. More trouble is on the way.
About 10 tigers are likely to stray into the inhabited areas in Wayanad, Aralam in Kannur soon, according to the Department of Forests and Wildlife.
A ‘new’ tiger was spotted near the farm in Aralam, recently. The huge tiger, which seemed to be aged 10 years, was not listed in the Department’s database so far. Two pictures of this tiger, sized larger than usual, have been recorded in the camera. The Forest officials are pondering on further action as it has not been a trouble to the people so far.
As per the Forest Department’s data, there are about 80 tigers within the 344 square kilometres of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. These are the ones recorded on the camera. There could be another 10 that have not been spotted in the camera.
Why frequent sightings of big cates lately
The tigers that reach Kerala are likely coming from the Nagarhole National Park, which is a Tiger Reserve, and the Bandipur National Park, both in Karnataka state.
Only 2 or 3 tigresses usually coexist in the territory of one male tiger. Later, cubs also exist. For another male tiger to enter this territory, it has to defeat the only male tiger here.
The male tigers which are thus injured and defeated usually relocate to areas where they get their prey without much of a struggle. The cubs also get similarly ostracised from the streak once they enter adulthood.
When the new adults try to establish their own territories, the wilds of Wayanad turn out to be a perfect battleground, especially during the months from November to March, when the tigers look for their mates. People letting the cattle graze close to the wilds in such areas also attract the tigers out of the wilds.
A tigress needs 25 sq km, while a tiger needs 80 sq km. In short, there is triple the number of tigers that can be contained in the wilds of Wayanad. Nevertheless, a proportionate number of deer and bison are also there for the tigers to prey on.
There are more tigers in Wayanad than the wilds can contain. However, as there is sufficient prey including deer and bison, the increase in the number of tigers here does not cause much of a headache, Forest officials said.
Six tigers were captured from the inhabited areas of Wayanad over the past ten months. One died, and five have been taken to the rescue centre.
The tiger which was a headache for the forest officials at Kurukkan moola for months together had a serious injury on its neck. Another one captured after that had lost one tooth. Yet another tiger had a critical wound on its limb. The fifth tiger captured was taken to the rescue centre at Wayanad Kuppadi yesterday. This centre can only accommodate 4 tigers and 2 leopards.
The Wildlife Warden can only give orders to capture the tigers that are a danger to human life using tranquiliser shots. Another challenge is where to release the tigers thus captured.