Tigress hunt: No support for tranquilisers but all help for 'killer'

Oct 11, 2018, 12:08 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

That's the allegation that activists are levelling against Maharashtra forest department, which has renewed hunt for tigress T1 with controversial shooter

Tigress hunt: No support for tranquilisers but all help for 'killer'
Shafat Ali Khan is allegedly suggesting the very methods to trap the tigress that had been earlier recommended by experts to the forest department

While the trigger-happy nawab, who is in Pandharkawda for the operation to capture tigress T1, is using various techniques to lure her, including the use of CK Mens' perfume and sniffer dogs, a wildlife veterinarian told mid-day that these methods were suggested earlier to the forest department, but neither was used. Now, the forest department is helping the controversial shooter, who is using the same techniques.

Expert veterinarian Dr Prayag H S, senior PhD research scholar, KVAFSU-Bengaluru and Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, had gone to Pandharkawda in December 2017 and January 2018, and given some scientific suggestions to the Maharashtra Forest Department, based on which the tigress could be tracked and captured. However, this previous operation led by the forest department to capture the tigress was abandoned soon in January 2018, as it was found that she had cubs who were very young. But the forest department did not try to capture her later until there were cases wherein humans were found killed.

A power glider has also been brought in to assist in the hunt
A power glider has also been brought in to assist in the hunt

Earlier suggestions
"When I visited Pandharkawda, I had given enough practical time-tested suggestions to the forest department, in order to catch the tigress T 1, after ruling out pregnancy since we suspected her to be pregnant/lactating. The suggestions included use of CK Men's perfume, the use of sniffer dogs, etc. but they did not take the advice seriously, though it was based on scientific facts. Now the forest department is now using same techniques to lure the tigress on the advice of the controversial shikari, who does not have any scientific or field knowledge," said Dr Prayag.

He added, "I was forced to work with the Nawab in one big cat capture operation at Bandipura Tiger Reserve. In fact he has published that operation as his, in his infamous book, which is full of such plagiarised work. If the department had listened to our suggestions 10 months back, the issue would have been resolved then and four innocent lives would have been saved."

Dogs to help
With the Madhya Pradesh team and its elephants having now returned, the Maharashtra FD is relying on the Nawab and his men, apart from the veterinary teams from Maharashtra. Two Cane Corso dogs have been brought to Pandharkawda to help in the operation to catch T 1and her cubs. Well-known golfer Jyoti Randhawa from Delhi, who is also a dog trainer, will handle them in the field. While these hunting dogs are used to flush out wild boars, their effectiveness in cornering the tigress will be found only when they come face to face with her. They have also not started to use the perfume.

Talking to mid-day, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Maharashtra, PCCF A K Misra said, "The forest department teams along with the veterinarians are trying their best to catch T 1 and her cubs. Two Cane Corso dogs have been brought from Hyderabad to assist us in the operation." It is being said that the dogs will be used in the field from Thursday morning. Assistant Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (APCCF) Sunil Limaye said, "More than 50 people from the forest department including veterinarians and an on ground patrolling team are searching for the tigress and her cubs. A power glider has also been brought and it will help to locate the tigress and her cubs."

Earlier suggestions to the FD on capturing T1
A copy of the email written by Dr Prayag HS to the forest department in the first week of January 2018, suggesting methods to capture T1 is in possession of mid-day. The letter says, 'As discussed in the meeting called by CCF Sir, the ideas given like luring, ambush, chasing will be implemented.

1A. Luring: we had requested to get CK men's cologne spray, which has been used to attract big cats. It can be tried with adequate precautions as in the article I had sent to you.

2B.Tiger urine: we have used it in our capture operations with success. Now that Peter (a dog) is being used to track the tigresses' urine, smell he will be a great asset.

3C: Human blood: People have used in human blood as bait to lure, however it is advisable if the tiger is not a confirmed man killer or eater, for it might develop tendencies which can lead to fatalities.

4D: audio clip of tiger call: This has been used successfully by our team and can be tried. 5E: soft toys as bait

Also Read: Tigress hunt: Trigger-happy shooter Nawab Shafat Ali Khan rejoins hunt for rogue T1

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