The Wildlife Veterinary Officer, Coimbatore Range, N.S. Manoharan said he and his team had studied the pug marks, the nature of attack and also the eating pattern of the meat of the sheep. The preliminary assessment based on these three factors suggested that a pack of 10 jackals or wild dogs might have attacked them.
“The attackers were canine and not feline species such as leopards,” he said. There were gaps in the fence through which the pack would have forced its way into the pen that was located less than a kilometre from the forests. Dr.Manoharan said villagers who were into sheep rearing had put up seven or eight pens between the village and the forests. The sheep were taken too close to the forests for grazing. This enabled the wild animals to pick up the scent of the sheep up to the pens.
There had been earlier instances of attacks on the pens, but the farmers had not reported these because they had lost only a couple of sheep. This time, the toll was heavy: 16 adult sheep, nine sub-adults and 14 kids.
Actually, there were about 70 sheep in the attacked pen. The pack of jackals or wild dogs had bitten and mauled more than half this number.