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04 September, 2007

'Hunt' on for the elusive Devarayanadurga tiger' (Posted Sep 2007)

Dear Readers,

The following story appeared in the Tumkur Print of The New Indian Express on August 28, 2007. The story is written by Indian Express' Tumkur based corresondent Devaraj B Hirehalli.

Regards,
Ameen

SOURCE: The New Indian Express (Tumkur print), 28 August 2007

---Quote---
'Hunt' on for the elusive Devarayanadurga tiger
By Devaraj B Hirehalli

Tumkur, Aug 27: Wildlife enthusiasts here in Tumkur have been on the 'hunt' for a tiger in Devarayanadurga Reserve Forests since 2000.

No instances of this tiger giving trouble to the people of surrounding villages or to their cattle has been reported so far.

Yet in Sept 2001, the death of a fully grown cow was suspected to be a tiger kill. But this is yet to be confirmed.

Naturally, the dry deciuous Devarayanadurga Hills reserve forest which spreads across 42.47 sq km, also has patches of scrub and a few degraded moist deciduous forests in its valleys. It is evidently a habitat for different species of animals.

In the mid-50s, wildlife activist Kenneth Anderson in his book 'Nine Man-Eaters and One Rouge' claims to have killed a man eating tiger, which he called 'The Hermit of Devarayandurga', in Devarayanadurga Hills forest quotes Ameen Ahmed, an expert from Wildlife Aware Nature Club (WANC) of Tumkur.

In 1996, then Deputy Conservator of Forests Dr Uday Veer Singh, too reportedly sighted a well-grown tiger in Devarayanadurga.

But since 2000, WANC activists and a few people from the villages and surrounding areas claims to have seen pug marks and heard growls of the big cat.

Forest guards Bore Gowda and Chikanna at Devarayanadurga Hills also said they had sighted the tiger resting on a rock often.

But Sanjay Gubbi, another expert in wildlife study, opines that there was no chance of the existence of a tiger in Devarayanadurga hills reserve forests given its ecology, which doesn't suit the tiger.

For a single tiger survive, it needs a density of 500 prey animals atleast and 15 sq km of dense forests for its survival. But the Devarayanadurga hills forest is a habitat for leopards which could survive on even small animals , he said. If at all the migration was to be considered, there was no forest corridor connecting
Devarayanadurga hills which is 180 km away from its nearst tiger habitat which is at Bhadra Tiger Reserve in Chickmagalur district, explained. The pug marks of a leopard during rainy season may be mistaken for tiger's, he said. But the spirit of WANC to search for their 'loving' tiger will never dampen as they have found pug marks as
recently as July 2007. But this needs research by experts.

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