The Wildlife Conservation Society commends the village of Nidugumba in Karnataka State in southwest India for its swift action to save an injured tiger that had become caught in a barbed wire fence last week.
The female adult tiger was discovered on a coffee plantation on Dec. 4 with its left paw entangled. The coffee planter and other community members quickly called authorities while preventing the tiger from being harassed. Big cats, when caught in snares or fences, struggle fiercely and often further injure themselves.
A team of forest rangers and veterinarians arrived and tranquilized the cat and untangled it from the fence. The tigress is now undergoing a close examination at the Mysore Zoo to assess her injuries, age, and health status so that an informed decision can be made about her future.
"WCS India applauds the village of Nidugumba for their exemplary restraint and positive conservation attitude, and compliments the staff and officers of the Karnataka Forest Department for their model handling of a situation that could easily have turned into a tragedy for the tiger as well as humans," said Dr. Ullas Karanth, WCS Director for Science -- Asia. "Too often, in situations involving a large predator that is accidentally cornered in human-dominated landscapes, people can swiftly form mobs and attack the animal as well as impede forest officials handling the situation. This often ends tragically with the death of the big cat and sometimes injuries to people and forest staff."
Just two days before on Dec. 2, a cornered tiger near Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala State, which is in south of Nagarahole National Park, was shot dead by officials amid chaos created by a mob.
Nidugumba is about 1.2 kilometers (0.75 miles) away from the edge of Nagarahole National Park, known to hold high densities of tigers (10-12 animals per 100 km2/38.6 square miles). WCS long-term studies show that, beyond a certain density, tigers disperse outside the park into other areas. While this is potentially positive for tiger conservation, it increases the chances of tigers coming into contact with humans.
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