After elephant attack, tiger sighting and encounter with bison trigger panic in Kerala’s Wayanad

Days after a radio-collared wild elephant trampled a man to death here, alarming incidents of tiger, bison and elephant herds venturing into human settlements have been reported from this mountainous district of Kerala.

The presence of a tiger was reported from a populated area of Padamala here on Tuesday. A CCTV visual of the big cat crossing a road in the area was released by local television channels. A frightened local woman, who says she almost had a close encounter with the animal in the morning, is yet to recover from the shock.

“I heard a huge sound while I was standing in the backyard of my house. I thought it might be an elephant. But, a tiger passed in a flash of second…it moved so close…I do not know how I escaped,” the shocked woman said.

She said they were already affected by the trauma of the death of Aji, a man who was trampled to death by a wild elephant in the district days ago.

Some people who went to a nearby church for morning prayers also reportedly saw the tiger.

In another incident, a man had a miraculous escape from a charging bison in Chithragiri-Neelimala road in the district on Monday night. Local resident Pradeep was on his way home on a two-wheeler from his workplace around 7.30 pm, when a huge bison came running from the opposite direction through a narrow road. The man had a miraculous escape as he turned his bike to the left side and the animal’s attention got distracted somehow.

In CCTV clip aired by local channels, the animal is seen racing through the narrow road and some women from a nearby house asking Pradeep not to come that way. There were also reports from various districts of the state, including Wayanad, of elephant herds venturing into human settlements.

Separately, a male tiger trapped in a roadside fence in Kottiyoor in Kannur and rescued by forest officials after being tranquilised on Monday, has died, official sources said.

It was found dead while being taken to the zoo on Tuesday, they added. Meanwhile, a mission to capture the elephant that had trampled the Wayanad man is still on.

Forest officials, including Rapid Response Teams (RRT), and three kumkis (trained captive elephants used to capture wild elephants) have been deployed in the area to aid in the wild elephant’s capture.

Locals say that the elephant had crossed the Kerala border from Karnataka and reached the Kuruvadweep locality near here on Saturday morning, and alleged that the Forest department had failed to announce this and warn the people from venturing out.

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