Belagavi: Tension gripped at least six villages on the fringes of Bhimgad forest in Belagavi as chances of the forest department recapturing the tiger released recently in the forest fading by the day. The angry villagers tried to lock the Range Forest Officer’s office in Khanapur.
Branded as a maneater after it killed a woman in Chikkamagaluru, the tiger was released merely 100 metres away from Talewadi village near Khanapur three days ago. Since then, the forest department has not been able to trace the big cat, though it has been radio-collared.
On Monday, a dharna in Khanapur by the residents of six villages, led by Khanapur MLA Arvind Patil, demanding that the tiger be shifted from the forest, turned serious with the villagers trying to lock the office of Range Forest Officer.
Senior forest officials met the agitators and told them that permission was needed from the National Tiger Conservation Authority to trace and catch the tiger.
The protesters demanded that the forest officials arrange bus facilities for schoolchildren in the area.
Sources said that the Forest Department has formed four teams to monitor the movement of the tiger and to ensure that it does not get too close to the villages. Senior officials are in touch with the National Tiger Conservation Authority to take a decision on carrying out an operation to trace and recapture the tiger. The department will be able to take a decision in the next eight days, sources added.
Officials ruled out any threat to the villagers as Bhimgad is a sanctuary and the right place for wild animals to live. On the other side, the ongoing agitation by villagers may gather steam in case the forest department rules out capturing the tiger....