A straying tigress that had been captured from the Thelampetta forest under the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) by Forest and Wildlife Department officials on Tuesday night is being translocated to the wildlife rehabilitation centre of the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thiruvananthapuram district. The process started on Wednesday morning.
The big cat was creating panic among the residents of the Thelampetta and Moolamkavu areas, near Sulthan Bathery, over the past few days after it entered human habitats and attacked cattle.
The forest personnel had laid a trap in the Thelampetta area in the Sulthan Bathery forest range on Tuesday evening after it killed two head of cattle.
The team, led by N.T. Sajan, Deputy Conservator of Forests and WWS Warden, put the remains of the cattle that had been killed by the tiger around 6.30 p.m. in the cage as bait. The animal walked into the trap around 10 p.m. The predator was shifted to the office of the Warden of the WWS, nearly 6 km away.
The animal was taken to Thiruvananthapuram after a team of experts led by Arun Zachariah, forest veterinary surgeon, examined the animal and declared it to be healthy. Mr Sajan told The Hindu that a team of veterinary experts and forest officials would escort the 10-year-old tigress in separate vehicles during the journey.
He said the animal had lost four canine teeth and that might have led it to hunt cattle in the villages.
B.N. Anjan Kumar, Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife, Palakkad) reached the spot to supervise the operation.
Mr Anjan Kumar said that they had planned to shift the big cat to Thiruvananthapuram zoo earlier, but the decision was changed after the zoo authorities said the facility had space constraints, Mr Anjan Kumar said.
“If the animal is released into the wild, it would not be able to hunt since it has lost its canines,” Mr Anjan Kumar said, adding that such a situation might result in the animal entering human habitats again in search of easy prey.