The Forest Department involved in the challenging operation to capture the tiger was thrilled to find the presence of big cats, while examining the 60 odd cameras that were fixed in Masinagudi and Singara Forest Ranges to monitor the tiger movement on Sunday.
“Images of two tigers were captured in the cameras. However, a detailed study by experts on the stripes pattern revealed that they were different tigers and not the wanted MDT-23 tiger. Therefore, the MDT-23 tiger has not been spotted in camera traps at Kargudi, Theppakadu and Mudumalai Ranges in MTR over the last two days,” said an official.
The disappearance of the evasive tiger has left the Forest Department completely clueless. “The tiger MDT-23, which is suspected to have made its last cattle kill on October 8, has not returned again to even consume the carcass. The samples taken from the cow killed by the tiger and the hair taken from the place where the T23 tiger was lying under the bridge were being sent to The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad for an analysis to know if it was its kill,” the official added.
As the MDT-23 tiger is likely to be prowling around in hunger, the Forest Department has enhanced surveillance in forest boundaries to prevent villagers from taking their cattle for grazing.
In a marked change in strategy, the Forest Department has also downsized the teams involved in the combing operation to prevent the tiger from going into hiding due to movement of human beings. Meanwhile, intermittent rains hampered the search operations on Sunday and the department is likely to resume the search on Monday.