KALEPTTA: There is no definite data on the number of tigers in Wayanad. But the increasing cases of attacks on domestic animals show that the population of big cats is growing in the wild-agrarian district.
In 2013-2014, there were 115 cases of cattle-lifting (total compensation Rs 25,71,000) whereas in 2015 there were 94 incidents ( Rs 20,25,500). In 2016 and 2017 till date, there were over 150 incidents of cattle lifting, as per the data of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.
This week alone the human habitats adjacent to Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary witnessed five incidents of cattle lifting by tigers, killing a cow and a bull. Forest officials reveal that the incidents are increasing.
The officials hint at around 100 tigers roaming in the region while the data of the national tiger report- 2014 says that the WWS has 76 tigers against 136 in the entire state. According to the report the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) has 45 tigers whereas the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve has 26 tigers. As per the report, the Muthumalai-Bandipur-Nagarhole-Wayanad jungle expanse has the single largest tiger population of around 570 tigers.
Wildlife expert Dr P. Easa told DC that the increase in the number of big cats may not be the reason for the increase in attacks on cattle. The number of easy prey like cattle might have increased in the adjacent area and the penetration of cattle-grazing into jungle also might have aggravated the situation, he pointed out.
“The possibility of cattle-tiger interaction might have increased,” he added. On the increase in tiger population, Mr Easa said “the increase is only a possibility.” The number of tiger deaths also is increasing showing the population is taking care of itself.