The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Andhra Pradesh State Wildlife authorities are all set to launch a ‘rescue operation’ of the stranded adult Royal Bengal Tiger along the Polavaram project canal in Kakinada district on Friday, as the animal appears to have lost the route back to its natural habitat despites its repeated attempts.
“On June 1, the male tiger attempted to venture into the natural habitat towards the end of the Thotapalli Reserve Forest (TRF) in Prathipadu area in Kakinada district. However, It might have sensed some hurdles to its movement into the forest cover and returned towards a village”, Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife-Rajamundry) C. Selvam told The Hindu.
The same day, the wildlife authorities recorded a few pug marks along the track between the tiger’s last sighting location (May 29) and the Thotapalli Reserve Forest.
However, on the night of June 1, the tiger resorted to fresh cattle kill in a casuarina plantation at Uttarkanchi village on Thursday. It left a clue on its presence near the village after it returned from the TRF entry area. The estimated distance between the two sites, where the cattle were killed by the tiger (reported on May 29 and June 1) is six km.
Following the cattle kill, wildlife authorities alerted the local communities on the tiger’s movements and prepared to launch the ‘rescue operation’ on Friday.
“The NTCA has formed a committee and sent an external expert to assist the rescue operation as per the existing protocols prescribed by the NTCA. The external expert-cum-NTCA Nominee will be part of the decision-making process of the rescue operation to be carried out by the State Forest Department’, said Mr. Selvam.
A live bait would be offered in the cages to be kept in the strategic locations where its pug marks had been recorded. “In the next phase of the operation, the tiger will be trapped in the cage,” Mr. Selvam explained.
The three-and-half to four-year-old tiger was very healthy when it was sighted last on May 29 in a camera trap. However, veterinarians observed that it had been relying upon cattle for prey that was no longer safe for its health.