|ne of the newly arrived tigers in Kagaznagar forest in Adilabad. — Photo: Special Arrangement
The sighting of a tiger in Adilabad district of Telangana, apparently a visitor from neighbouring Tippeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district, has raised both hopes and fears in the Forest Department.
In April, four cubs and a tigress were found in another part of the district, which is contiguous with the Tadoba Andhari tiger reserve. It was seen as a boost for conservation efforts.
The sightings, separated by over 100 km of fragmented landscapes, however, pose a challenge for the Forest Department, as they must allay the apprehension among villagers that their cattle are under threat.
The latest tiger was sighted multiple times by residents over a 5 to 6 km radius in Gollaghat Tamsi, Nipani and Pippalkoti villages of Tamsi mandal. It could have come across the Penganga flowing on the inter-State border near Gollaghat Tamsi, close to Tippeshwar WLS, which has a sizeable tiger population, according to estimates.
After some cattle kills were discovered in these areas, the Forest department set up camera traps and a base camp at Gollaghat Tamsi.
A forest patrol reported seeing the striped cat close to a dry water tank. Another party going towards Gollaghat Tamsi also sighted it.
“The tiger was first seen near Pippalkoti by a farmer, Ashok, some 20 days ago,” said Maneru Mahesh of Nipani who then became wary about taking the country road to his field near a dry water tank. “We are scared to go to our fields,” added farmer Ippa Ramaiah, also from Pippalkoti, who cultivates his field about 6 km from the village.
Fear for their livestock could provoke villagers into poisoning carcasses of cattle killed by the predator, a Forest Department official pointed out. A week ago, a leopard was found dead not far from the area of the tiger sightings. It may have been poisoned, an official said.
The Forest department team led by District Forest Officer Sivala Ramababu is keeping a close watch, and is hoping for a massive awareness campaign to ensure that the corridor to Kawal Tiger Reserve remains open to wildlife. The farmers also had to be assured of quick compensation for cattle kills.