By Rajendra P. Kerkar
Forest department officials are trying to ascertain tiger presence in the Cavrem-Maina area. Officials examined the carcass of a mouse deer to confirm their suspicion, but found no scats or evidence.
Officials also tried to trace the presence of the big cat at a horticultural plantation owned by Vivek Padiyar in Maina, when they were informed about a carcass of a Chital found at the plantation. Ramesh Desai, deputy conservator of forests, wildlife division, speaking to TOI, said, "We tried to collect evidence by installing a camera trap at the site where carcass of chital lay. No carnivorous animals, however, turned up to eat the meat."
Prakash Salelkar, range forest officer, Netravali wildlife sanctuary, who visited the spot and installed the camera trap said, "We brought the camera trap equipments from the Cotigao Sanctuary and installed it at the site, but we did not get any pictures of the wild cat. From the injuries found on the body of chital, it appeared that this deer might have been attacked and killed by an animal like a tiger. We did not find any scat or pugmarks to establish the presence of a tiger.
Kiran Prabhu Malcornekar, a resident of Molcornem said, "The forested areas in Quepem taluka are in close proximity to the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary which is the natural habitat of the tigers. Villagers have sensed the presence of the tiger not only in the sanctuary, but in areas of forest lying outside it's periphery as well.
Anti-mining activist and resident of Cavrem, Nilesh Gaonkar said, "Villagers in forested parts of Cavrem have experienced the presence of a tiger on several occasions. The sacred groves of Cavrem-Maina are the natural habitat for several wild animals."
Camera traps were installed at 15 different locations in Cotigao and Netravali wildlife sanctuaries to cover a distance of 300km in South Goa before the monsoon commenced. This exercise will most probably be repeated in November, a senior forest official said.