Anywhere else, the incidence of 30 cattle heads being killed by tigers in a span of just five months would have raised a furore, but in Kagaznagar Forest Division in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district however, the trend is a welcome phenomenon.

“The cattle kills are more than a proof that our tiger population, comprising of a mother and four sub adult tigers, is thriving,” observed Kagaznagar Forest Divisional Officer A. Narasimha Reddy as he talked of the well being of wild animals since they were spotted two years ago. “We have now endeavoured to better the kind of protection being given to the big cats through an anti- poaching drive being carried out since October 16,” he revealed, summing up the state of affairs within his jurisdiction.

The mother tigress, Phalguna, had migrated to Sirpur range forests in Kagaznagar Division from the Chandrapur forest in adjoining Maharashtra. She had given birth to the four cubs in October-November 2015.

“As we have a poor prey base, the cubs were brought up feeding on cattle. We are not only monitoring the kills but are paying out compensation to farmers within a week,” the FDO disclosed as he shed light on anti-poaching measures being undertaken to increase protection for the tigers.

The current drive was a result of the alarm caused by the death of a tigress in Bor Tiger Reserve in Wardha of Maharashtra towards the end of July. The tigress which was released in the reserve was electrocuted on live wires set up by farmers to protect their fields from wild boars.

“We took up combing and joint patrolling with staff of electricity department in almost all the forested area of the 1 lakh hectare spread of the five ranges in our Division and seized large number of wooden pegs, electric wires and snares used by poachers. Patrolling of the 50 km length of our borders shared with Maharashtra forests and awareness programmes were conducted in villages in the forests in addition to putting sand smugglers on notice,” Mr. Reddy added detailing the enhanced safety measures.

The Kagaznagar Forest Division is also creating a baseline data to check encroachments in forests which are a threat to movement of tigers in the area. The data would be useful in eviction of encroachments which happened after the Forest Rights Act, 2006 came into being.

Source: October 29, 2017, The Hindu