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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Shoot-at-sight order remains for maneating tigress

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An intrepid man-eating tigress from Brahmapuri may not be long for this world as the Bombay high court today refused to lift shoot-at-sight orders against her.

The tigress has apparently killed two humans and injured four since late July. Forest department officials have failed in their mission to tranquilize the tigress despite roping in outside experts.

The Nagpur bench of the high court refused to stay the principal chief conservator of forests' shoot-at-sight order for the tigress who is in the Bhadkumbh area of the state.

Wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists have questioned the shoot-and-sight order.

The tigress was captured on July 10 from South Brahmapuri because she attacked human beings. She was released on a patch of the Bor Tiger Reserve - that had no other tigers - on July 29, in the hope she would find enough non-human prey.

In the 76 days since her release on July 29, the tigress undertook an extraordinary 500-km journey, through which she was tracked every step of the way thanks to her radio collar. The exercise to monitor her was perhaps the biggest in the country for a problem tigress.

Conservationists said that if the tigress can be shot she can very well be tranquilised.

"If the expert teams cannot tranquillize a radio collared tigress, one can imagine what would have happened if the animal had not been collared. We feel human deaths by the tigress were accidents. Tranquillizing should be the only option and not shooting," said conservationists Uday Patel and Prafulla Bhamburkar.

Nawab Shafat Ali Khan, a sharp shooter and hunter from Hyderabad, who tranquilised the tigress on July 10, said that after her late July release, she has been difficult to spot even though where she was known. That limits the possibility of using tranquiliser darts, or 'darting'.

Khan told TOI two days ago that the tigress was hanging out at places near the water where darting could be dangerous for the animal. Darting cannot be done beyond 32 metres and is impossible after sunset, he said.
"In case of shooting, there are no such restrictions and we can shoot the animal even at 200 metres," said Khan.

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