Villagers in Nilgiris district were overwhelmed by joy as the man-eater tigress was finally killed on Wednesday by personnel of the Forest Department and the Special Task Force, who have been searching for it for days.
The team brought the body of the tigress to the office of the Nilgiris North Forest Division. People thronged the roads along which the vehicle passed. The officials stopped the vehicle to reassure them of the man-eater’s death.
They had gone into the forest after the tigress killed a second cow in Kappachi village on Wednesday evening. It belonged to a farmer named Dorai.
The tigress took its new kill to a spot just a few metre from where it had killed a cow on Sunday night. Villagers saw the tiger killing the cow and dragging the carcass from where the cow was grazing as the team involved in the combing operation was returning after searching for the man-eater in the forest.
Soon a team of STF and Forest personnel surrounded the area. The local people also helped them in cornering the animal, official sources told Express. Later, some rounds of fire were heard from the forest and it was soon confirmed that the tigress had been finally killed by STF.
On hearing the news, villagers of Kundasappai, where the tigress killed its third human being, celebrated the success by bursting crackers and beating drums.
Earlier in the morning, people of the area had staged an agitation on the road demanding that the authorities either catch the tigress or kill it after declaring it as a man-eater. Normal life in the villages of the area had been severely affected by the presence of the tigress. People even feared to come out of their houses. Many were reluctant to work on their farms and those earning daily wages were finding it hard to make ends meet.
Several youngsters from three villages, who wanted to put an end to the uncertainty, had gone with the search team into the forest, armed with long sticks.
Chief Wildlife Warden Lakshmi Nararyan appreciated the hard work of the search team in killing the tigress. Whatever has been done so far was done taking into consideration all the aspects of the issue. The search team has been doing a tremendous job under difficult circumstances as the terrain was very tough.
Asked whether he had issued the shoot order, Lakshmi Narayan avoided giving a direct answer. All decisions are taken considering the situation. The top priority is the safety of the people affected by the animal’s presence and the team involved in the search operation, he said.
However, sources said the tigress was neither declared a man-eater nor orders issued to kill it. Norms require the Chief Wildlife Warden to issue such an order. Though the situation demands the killing of the animal, no orders were passed for it until Wednesday, they added.