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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Nagarahole tiger gets back into its den

HM Aravind, TNN | Aug 20, 2012, 10.58PM IST MYSORE: The tiger that entered human habitat bordering Nagarahole national park creating panic has silently slid back into the woods safely in the wee hours on Monday. Though the big cat has left, the forest department is not taking chance and has kept the cage at the site where it hid even as the villagers are a worried lot. The officials have asked them to be cautious but are not thinking to relocate it, something which the wildlife experts also endorsed. Though the exact age of the tiger cannot be ascertained by the officials, they believe it to have passed its prime. Attacking cattle and returning to the same area within 48 hours is the basis for their suspicion. The officials believe that the cat is old leading it to come out of the forest cover in search of easy food at the forest fringe in Dasanapura, 50 kms from Mysore. A field level staff said they have plans to nab the tiger if it resurfaces in the human habitat. The tiger went back to the woods in the wee hours. Hope it'll not come back to the village again, additional principal conservator of forests B J Hosamath told TOI. Asked whether they have plan to catch the tiger, he said: "Why should we? There is no need. The cat has walked back into its den and we hope it'll not get back again." When contacted, tiger expert Samba Kumar of Bangalore-based Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS) said Nagarahole has one of the highest density of tiger population in India. The productive population is also high, he said. According to our studies, there are 12 tigers per 100 sq kms. Territorial issues could have pushed the tiger to come out of the forested area, the expert with noted tiger biologist Ullas Karanth led CWS, stated. The forest department should adopt scientific means like camera trapping to get the images of the tiger that has wandered out of the woods. Based on the details, we can conclude its age and the behaviour, he explained. Experts said given healthy prey-predator base, Nagarahole's 643 sq kms is not sufficient for the tiger population. They said unless the age of the tiger is established well beyond doubt, it is difficult to predict why it came into human habitation. It could be either that it is aged or that it is young cub trying to establish its territory. A wildlife activist, who has worked in Nagarahole and Bandipur tiger reserves and wished not to be named, said it is difficult to predict the age of the cats by looking at them. Only scientific methods will reveal it, he stated adding the database available with the CWS can be relied upon the determine the age. The experts pointed out that a tiger continuously attacked cattle in and around Sunkadakatte in Nagarahole when the officials believed it to be old. But when it was finally trapped, it was revealed that it was two years old after the details were run through the CWS database. Later it was relocated to Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, they stated. Some four years back an aged tiger was found attacking cattle in Kutta in Kodagu.

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