IMPHAL/TML, Dec 14: The state forest department has no plans to catch the Bengal Tiger roaming in the forests of Tamenglong even as the villagers of Bhalok village and its surroundings fear that the big cat might start attacking them sooner or later.
The wildlife warden`s office in Imphal has said that they have no plans to catch the tiger as there is as yet no possibility of the tiger attacking human beings. Efforts are also on to count the number of tigers dwelling in the area.
“We believe that more than one tiger may be in the jungle,” said the chief wildlife warden, AK Rana during a talk with the IFP. He also observed that the tiger may have migrated or escaped from the forests of neigbouring states of Nagaland or Assam due to the heavy deforestation there which has led to the reduction of its dwelling space.
Villagers on the other hand said that as many as 17 calves including buffalo calves had failed to return since the beginning of this month and they assumed that some of them might have been killed by the full grown Bengal tiger that has been roaming in the vicinity of their village Bhalok since the first week of December this year.
Officials of the state wildlife warden`s office, however, said that the calves may have been missing due to other reasons.
The presence of a tiger near Bhalok village has been officially confirmed after a team of the state forest department visited the village and found pug marks of the big cat which was once announced to be totally extinct from the forests of Manipur.
A villager named Akhuaikhou of Bhalok village said he had witnessed a tiger roaming with his own eyes at Joupi mountain located not so far away from his village.
According to village authorities, most of the villagers have heard the roaring sound of the tiger at night as well as in the evening since the last around one week.
The villagers have stopped going out from their respective homesteads at nightfall and in the early mornings. “Villagers have also been warned not to go out alone in the forests even in the daytime,” the chairman added.
As a precautionary measure and to prevent the tiger from intruding, jungle cutting operation has been launched by the villagers. Around 100 villagers are cutting the jungle between IT road and Joupi mountain where villagers believed the big cat is dwelling.
Even though the deputy commissioner, Tamenglong district issued an order on December 1 not to cause harm or death of the tiger, the villagers are disappointed with the state government officials who have not arrived at the village for hunting and trapping the tiger.
They said that if the authorities fail to do so they would take up their own course of action to relieve the villagers from the prevailing panic running in the village as well as in the neighbouring village.
In the meantime, the state wildlife warden here in Imphal, while appealing to the villagers not to kill the tiger said that the wild cat has the right to live in the forest and so far there is no possibility of attacks on humans by the tiger.
The officials are continuing their campaign to protect the tiger, the chief wildlife warden said.
He also said that the authorities had no plan to catch the tiger. “But we are making the villagers aware on how tigers become maneaters and the need for protecting the big cat. We are also conducting a poster campaign,” he added.
While reacting to the villagers warning that the tiger would be killed if the state authorities failed to catch the tiger, the wildlife warden said, “That is very irresponsible.”
“We are trying our best to convince the villagers not to kill the tiger and allow it to stay in the forest as the tiger dwelling there is not a maneater,” Rana said reiterating that “it is the right of the wild animals to dwell in the forest.”
For The Tiger
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