No bath, no shaving

Forest staff waiting to trap killer tiger get ‘dirty’

KANDI BHEEMANNA TEMPLE (Komaram Bheem Asifabad): These are hard times for the team of forest staff engaged in trapping the tiger that killed two persons in the forests on the outskirts of Papannapet village in Bejjur mandal late last year.

Forest officials say the tiger migrated from the Chandrapur area in Maharashtra and has spread panic in the state for the past few weeks. They have identified eight locations where the tiger movement was noticed. The tiger has also killed several animals.

A total of 62 animal trackers are on the job. Among them, 22 animal trackers are at the base camp in addition to the 15 other staff placed there.

Tigers are known to sense the normal scent of a human body from a distance and keep away. The caked up dirt and sweat of the unbathed forest personnel, it is believed, camouflages the scent of humans and will not warn the tiger away. Tigers can also sense perfumes, aftershaves and other cosmetics. So, the forest staff on the rescue operation are avoiding shaving, they say.

Forest officials are also keeping packs of cow dung in the area and sprinking water on these at intervals to spread the smell so as to attract the tiger to the manchan set up on a watchtower. There, a trap has been set up for the tiger. Once the tiger reaches the spot, the shooter and the veterinary doctors would tranquilize the tiger.

The forest team comprising veterinary doctors and a shooter, among others, is placed in such a way that it will reach a location within half an hour, along with trap cages, after noticing a tiger movement. Their plan is to trap the tiger after tranquilizing it via firing shots from a distance. The tranquilisation shot would be done as and when the tiger remains in the same position for at least ten minutes.

Forest officials cordoned off the area and are not allowing anyone including the media there. The rescue operations are planned as per the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

C.P. Vinod Kumar, conservator of forests of Adilabad circle and Kawal tiger reserve field director, who is personally monitoring the rescue operations, said the tiger is likely to return to the site within three to four days after killing an animal.

He said the tiger trapping operations would be done only after sunrise and conclude before sunset. “Trapping the tiger will take time. It depends on the movement of the tiger.” If the present tiger rescue operations do not succeed, it will be resumed after 15 days.

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