MADIKERI: The dreaded “man-eater” of Kodagu, which prowled forest fringes for a month and claimed three lives and several cattle heads, was found dead on Friday, barely 20km from the south Kodagu estate where it killed an 8-year-old boy.
Amid protests by farmers who demanded proof that it was indeed the killer tiger, forest officials said its stripes matched those of the big cat lurking in the forests and the carcass bore gunshot wounds too, from the shots fired by sharpshooters on March 8.
The male tiger’s carcass was found in an elephant trench in Lakkunda village near Belluru, where the animal had last attacked the boy on March 8. Kodagu chief conservator of forests Takhat Singh Ranawat said: “As per the skin pattern of the identified U285 tiger, the carcass was recognised. All NTCA guidelines will be followed. Sharpshooters shot at the tiger during combing operations near Belluru.The tiger sped away and died of injuries six days later.” The carcass, found about four days after the death, was decomposed and delayed identification, officials said.
Members of the local unit of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha reached the spot and demanded proof that the carcass was of the tiger on the prowl, pointing out that earlier, a captured tigress had been wrongly dubbed the “man-eater”. An argument ensued as the CCF said combing operations would be stopped for the time being as the carcass has been found.
“After this tiger was shot on March 8, several cows were killed in tiger attacks and even on Friday, two cattle kills were reported in the district. How can we believe the dead tiger is the man-eater?” said KRRS’ Ponnampet unit president Alemada Manjunath. “Our protest will continue till the official report as per NTCA rules confirms with scientific proof that this tiger was the man-eater,” said Hudikeri unit president Changunanda Sooraj.
The Kodagu tiger was identified from the 2013 census, when it was about 4 years old. It was captured in CCTV cameras near sites of recent cattle kills. Dr Mujeeb, who conducted the postmortem, said pellets were spread over the chest and stomach of the tiger, which was about 12 years old. It died four days ago, he confirmed.