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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Livestock are easy prey for big cats of Nagarahole Tiger Reserve

By Lawrence Milton, TNN | Jan 31, 2013, 05.25 AM IST MYSORE: Big cats, especially leopards, making a prey of livestock in villages bordering the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve are common. In the last 10 months, around 139 livestock were killed by tigers and leopards in these villages spread across two districts - Mysore and Kodagu. Last year there were 112 killings of livestock by cats in Nagarahole. On an average about 110 livestock are killed by the big cats in villages on the fringes of the national park. As many as 130 villages border Nagarahole. "As our forests are not completely isolated from the villages, wilad animals preying on livestock is common," Nagarahole reserve director R Gokul told TOI. The latest incident was on Tuesday where a cow in Gundethuru bordering Nagarahole was mauled to death, the director said. Gundethuru is less than 500 mts away from the reserved forest. The rise in number of killings this season may be attributed to a tiger which had killed dozens of livestock in Kodagu. Usually, tigers/tigress feed on animals once in three-four days and the big cats revisit to finish off the leftover. "The tiger may have died after consuming meat laced with rat poison. It could be an act by a livestock owner to take revenge against the tiger, which may have strayed into the village and preyed on his livestock," Gokul explains. Past incidents In the last five months Nagarahole alone has witnessed about six incidents of tigers straying out of their habitat. Two of the incidents proved to be fatal. - one at Mysore zoo during the course of treatment in November and another due to poisoning at Nagarahole in January. Nagarahole director R Gokul says a tiger which was captured in H D Kote in August 2012 was relocated to Bannerghatta National park as it was aged and another tiger which attacked a freelance photographer in Kote this month was caught and released into Banidpur forest. Another tigress which too had strayed out of the forest in November was released back into the woods. In early December, a tigress was injured after its paw got wedged in a barbed wire. It is being treated at Mysore Zoo. Investigation Meanwhile, the investigation into the killing of tiger is underway. Gokul claimed he visited villages on the fringes of Nagarahole and have requested cooperation from villagers to tackle the issue of forest fire. Meeting Forest minister C P Yogeshwar has convened a meeting of forest officials in Bangalore on Thursday. The minister is likely to discuss measures taken to prevent forest fires.

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