Hyderabad: A lone tiger looking for territory has forced mining companies and forest department officials to work together -- a rather rare occurrence -- in Adilabad district of Telangana.
A three-year-old male tiger from Maharashtra, most likely in search of territory, was spotted several times near the Khairaguru open cast coal mine. The forest department communicated with the Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL), which owns the mine, to ensure no harm comes to the tiger.
The company embraced the challenge of having a tiger around its mines and even stopped some of its night operations in the past three weeks or so to ensure the tiger gets some peace and room to go on its way.
“We are actually delighted to have a tiger on our land. For us this is a validation of our afforestation activities on overburden deposits (soil, rock etc that lies above a coal seam or ore body) on which we have grown tens of thousands of trees. These overburden ‘hills’ are now like proper forests and we are happy that a tiger believes it can move around in this area,” a senior SCCL official told Deccan Chronicle.
According to Kawal tiger reserve field director C.P. Vinod Kumar, it is very likely that the tiger is attempting to cross the mining area and move towards the reserve. “We asked SCCL officials to help us keep the animal safe. They responded positively and are taking steps based on our advice to keep the tiger safe,” Kumar said.
The presence of the tiger came to light from videos shot by SCCL workers and posted on social media sites. Forest officials though have been tracking the tiger since the beginning of this month when it entered the state. “Three teams of foresters are working in shifts round the clock and keeping track of the tiger. We hope it will find its way to the forests near Kawal soon,” Kumar said.
Following a request from the forest department, SCCL has urged its staff not to film the tiger if they come across it. “We also advised them not to share any pictures of the animal anymore. We also suspended some night operations when asked to do so to allow the tiger to move freely near the mines,” an SSCL official said.
SCCL has also put the brakes on its huge dumper trucks with capacities ranging from 35 to 60 tonnes each, to prevent a possible accident.
“The forest officials requested that we cut down speeds. Since we cannot put speed breakers on the roads, we came up with a different solution,” the SCCL official said. A number of 200 litre metal drums were rolled out and set up asy barricades on the roads that run in and out of the mines to slow down the trucks.
“It is not just us officials. Even our staff is delighted to have a tiger amidst us. They are very excited but are also being careful as we are cautioning them regularly that though it is a fascinating animal, if it is disturbed, it may turn on people. We do not want a conflict situation and we too hope that it will safely move to a forest area,” the SCCL official said....