December dawned in Wayanad with the news of the tiger, which had kept the region on the boil, being eliminated by the task force. People were rejoicing and television channels reporting that Wayanad would sleep peacefully for the first time in two weeks. The twelve year old tiger had strayed into the plantations of Wayanad two weeks earlier and picked on domestic cattle. There was a huge outcry about the failure of Government to safeguard the life and property of citizens. Political parties were on the road blocking National Highway. People were venting their anger with dead cattle displayed on the roads. The administration sprang into action and declared that the animal will be shot, if needed. A combined team of Karnataka and Kerala forest officials tried to tranquilize the animal and eventually shot it dead. The administration gave an explanation that all efforts were made to take the animal alive, but circumstances warranted the extreme step. There is a raging debate whether ‘death penalty’ for a ‘cattle lifter’ is an excessive punishment. The slain tiger did not harm any human being nor showed any inclination to turn a man-eater.

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