Spotting a tiger is as elusive as it can be. But for the bikers cruising through a wildlife sanctuary in Kerala’s Wayanad, it was a close encounter of dangerous kind that leave anybody in sweats. The scary video that has gone viral shows a full-grown tiger chasing down the bikers. According to media reports, the riders were travelling through Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary in Wayanad when the captured the frightening moment. Shared on Facebook by the Forests and Wildlife Protection Society (FAWPS), the riders were actually patrolling the sanctuary after they got a tip-off about a tiger in the area.
According to a report by The Hindustan times, “a moderator from FAWPS said that the people riding the bike were Forest Department officials. They went to patrol the area upon receiving information about a tiger sighting.” The clip has also been shared on Instagram with over one lakh views. According to an Indian Express report, the video was filmed by a forest official from South Wayanad division’s Chethalath range.
A wildlife expert, however, says that the tiger was not exactly chasing the bikers. Wildlife writer Prerna Singh Bindra said that it was a ‘mock charge.’ “This. An hour before I passed on this road, the #tiger did. It's not an attack. It's a mock charge on a #highway that cuts through a #wildlife #sanctuary. B aware of #wildlife ,follow rules when passing through #wild habitats.dont panic, give the animal space to avoid conflict,” Bindra wrote on Twitter. According 2014 census, tiger populations in northern Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand is going south. As per the “Status of Tigers in India, 2014” report, released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on January 20, except for the states of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand, most of the tiger-range states have shown a substantial increase in tiger population.
“We are working on the estimation. It’s too early to predict the numbers, but considering the efforts of the ministry of environment, forest and climate (MoEFCC), the NTCA and the states that have put efforts towards saving tigers, we are hopeful of healthy figures,” Qamar Qureshi, senior scientist working on the estimation, said.