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Protests in Karnataka district over forest department’s failure to catch tiger that had killed three people

Farmers and various organisations in South Kodagu held a protest march to the District Commissioner’s office as it has been 24 days since the tiger attacked and killed three people.

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP | Bengaluru |
Updated: March 16, 2021 8:13:15 am
Tiger protestKodagu residents protest against the escalating number of man-animal conflicts. (File photo)

The people of South Kodagu organised a protest against the forest department on Monday over its failure to catch or kill the tiger that had killed three people 24 days ago.

The forest department had begun the operation to capture the elusive tiger but has not been able to track it down. They had brought in two expert sharpshooters, but officials said that they have not been able to find the big cat yet. Last week, the Karnataka government had given shoot-at-sight orders to the forest department for the tiger.

People staying in Bellur, Thavalageri, T. Shettigeri, Nemmale and Srimangala — the epicentre of such tiger attacks — are hesitant to come out of their homes and are not going to coffee plantations because of this fear.

Farmers and various organisations held a protest march to the District Commissioner’s office. Addressing the protesters, Kodagu district Commissioner Charulata Somal said the administration is getting regular updates regarding the operation which is getting delayed because of human interferences in the area. The farmers alleged that the District Commissioner has not visited the spot and is not listing to their problems.

Kodagu Rakshana Vedike president Pavan Pemmaiah told indianexpress.com, “This situation would not have come if the forest department had taken early action. Now, those working in the coffee plantations are afraid. No step has been taken by the forest department, legislators and district administrations to control man-animal conflicts in the region.”

Kodagu, a hilly district on the Western Ghats, has been in the news in recent years due to repeated instances of man-animal conflict, which have been a cause of concern for the local residents.

Apart from tiger attacks, many of which have been very serious in nature, conflicts with elephants are also very frequent. According to forest department, the state has reported 434 cases of a tiger attacks on humans or cattle in 2020-21. The areas where these are frequent include Kodagu, Mysuru, Chikkamagaluru, Uttara Kannada and Chamarajanagar districts. There are 524 tigers in Karnataka at present.

A forest department officer said around 150 forest staff have been deployed in South Kodagu to capture the tiger. “Expert sharpshooters from Bengaluru Susheel Kumar G and Tyag Uthappa were appointed. However, they have returned without any success,” the officer told indianexpress.com

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