Dalma ‘tiger’ could be hyena
Two forest guards have said that on Thursday they saw a tiger killing and carrying away a goat from near the Jhunjka jungle of Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary.
However, senior foresters said the animal could have been a hyena, a few of which are present in the state’s lone elephant abode.
Forest officials found marks of an animal on a dirt track leading to the Jhunjka jungles in East Singhbhum’s Patamda along the Bengal border, but they are not in a hurry to certify that those were of the big cat .
Assistant conservator of forests R.P. Singh told The Telegraph that guards informed him about a tiger killing and carrying away a goat. “But the marks don’t match those of a tiger on first impression. It might be that of a hyena. We are keeping our fingers crossed at the moment and would like to find more details about the big cat’s presence at the sanctuary,” he added.
Singh pointed out that hyenas also have stripes on their body and the forest guards may have mistaken the animal as a tiger.
“The guards were petrified and ran away after spotting the animal. We went to the spot to collect details about the tiger, which is yet to be located,” he said.
The carcass of the goat is yet to be found.
Singh said they were in constant touch with forest guards and villagers. “The tiger will again kill an animal if it is inside the sanctuary. The actual scene about the tiger’s presence should be clear in due course of time,” Singh added.
Sources at the sanctuary revealed that camera traps would be shortly installed near Jhunjka and other strategic locations across the 192sqkm sanctuary. “The camera traps would help us to identify if the animal was indeed a tiger,” a source said.
A total of 30 cameras — which are motion sensitive and click pictures if anything crosses their line of vision — have also arrived at the sanctuary for over four months now.
Forest department source said that the tiger, if it is indeed in Dalma, might have sneaked into the sanctuary from the Dainmari jungles in Galudih in Ghatshila sub-division.
The presence of a tigress at the Dainmari jungles earlier this month had kept foresters on tenterhooks. The tigress had killed an ox and inflicted injury to a cow at Phuljor village adjoining the Dainmari jungles. Three pugmarks of the tigress, which was suspected to have come from the Similipal Tiger Reserve in Mayurbhanj district of neighbouring Odisha, were also found.
Ghatshila forest range officer Dinesh Kumar said over phone that though no one has spotted the tigress, the big cat might have headed towards Dalma sanctuary. “There is a possibility that the tigress might have proceeded to Dalma. But we have not spotted the tigress as yet,” he said.
In August 2016, a few tourists had claimed to have spotted a tigress and a cub in Dalma.