Elusive tiger continues to worry forest officials
11 Dec 2008, 0538 hrs IST, Neha Shukla, TNN
LUCKNOW: Let us spare the forest officials of any blame, at least this time round. Though not doing much to contain the tiger's movement and trap him, they have succeeded, for once, in predicting his route rightly. The tiger who had lost his way into the sugarcane fields, far-off from the forest area, has reached Barabanki.
The forest office of Barabanki has confirmed his presence in the Kiratpur village of the division. The pugmarks of a mature tiger were seen in Kiratpur village on Tuesday evening but since then, "he is almost inactive,'' said AP Tripathi, divisional forest officer (DFO), Barabanki.
"The tiger is not moving at all, neither the staff nor the villagers have spotted him so far,'' added DFO. The staff, he said, has been manning the periphery of the sugarcane fields. The tiger had killed a prey in the villages near Mahmoodabad tehsil of Sitapur while moving through that area but Barabanki is still to report a tiger-kill. He might hunt for prey late in the evening.
Although much of the prediction is based on speculations, in all probability, this is the same tiger which had killed a man and injured another in Deoria range of Pilibhit forest on November 11. He had then moved over to Shahjahanpur as incidents of tiger-kill were reported from the adjoining areas then on. However, during his stay at other places, he has not killed or injured a man.
Going by the pattern of his movement, the tiger has been moving 10 to 15 kilometres almost every other night and that is making it difficult for the forest team to trap him. From Pilibhit to Shahjahanpur, Sitapur and now Barabanki it has travelled quite a long distance of 200 kilometres and experts do not see any chances of the animal taking a reverse direction and returning to the forest area. "It is a remote possibility because it has come quite far away from the forest,'' said GC Mishra, former field director, Dudhwa.
However, the officials of Barabanki do not see him taking a turn to Lucknow by any chance. It is heading towards south-east and that might take him to the river Ghaghra. What next? "Tigers are good swimmers and this one might swim over to Katarniaghat forest,'' said DFO.
Meanwhile, the officials of Pilibhit shared that the tigers from Mala and Deoria ranges keep venturing out as the prey-base in these ranges comprises Neelgai and pigs. And these two animals have a tendency to move out in the sugarcane fields. Consequently, the tigers follow their prey into these fields.
The incident could be a parallel to one in which a tiger had come up to Kukrail forest, close to Lucknow, way back in late 1980s. It was finally shot down by the forest officials. In the said case though, it is still difficult to say what will happen but experts and even officials are of the view that the tiger might be in for a different fate.