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Updated: September 10, 2013 22:13 IST

Hyderabad's very own Khan, now takes aim at blue bulls

J. S. Ifthekhar
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Shafath Ali Khan in Hyderabad.
Shafath Ali Khan in Hyderabad.

The Hyderabadi marksman has received an SOS from the Bihar government to ‘cull’ the animals

After leopards, his next target is blue bulls. Even as he rushed home after an 18-day ordeal in tackling man-eater leopards in Himachal Pradesh, the Hyderabadi marksman Nawab Shafath Ali Khan has received an SOS from the Bihar government. This time to ‘cull’ blue bulls in different parts of the State.

The Asian antelopes, also known as ‘Nilgai’ are giving a tough time to farmers in Bihar damaging standing crops. During the last 10 years the blue bulls have multiplied greatly and they are now wreaking havoc on the agricultural fields, forest officials there reportedly said. Mr. Khan is a shooter whose services are availed of by forest departments of different States to train their personnel in the art of precision shooting of tranquilising gun ever since he had successfully shot the man-eaters. He has already imparted training to Rangers, Deputy Rangers and Forest Guards in Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and even the Hyderabad Nehru Zoological Park.

Having received much flak from conservationists, Mr. Khan says tranquilising man-eaters in the hilly terrain is next to impossible. The syringe which carries compressed medicine has to hit the hind quarters of the animal and not the neck or thoracic region.

“Incorrect placement of the tranquilising dart will result in the death of the animal,” he explains.

The scientific method of identifying the territory of man-eaters, using Google, was followed in the Thunag village of Himachal Pradesh.

The pug marks lifted after using the Plaster of Paris method gave a wealth of information about the gender, size and age of the wild cats. “On one occasion, two leopards with their cubs were sighted in the man-eater territory. But I spared them giving them the benefit of doubt,” says Mr. Khan, indicating he is not trigger-happy as being made out.

Serious problem

In recent months he has also culled some ‘rogue’ antelopes in Rajgir town in Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s home district of Nalanda in Bihar. Now, the forest authorities have asked him to rush to tackle the problem in other areas. The burgeoning blue bulls have created serious problem particularly in the districts of Muzaffarpur, Bhojpur, Vaishali, Samistipur and Champaran. “Fresh orders have been issued to cull 10 more blue bulls,” confirmed Basheer Ahmed Khan, Chief Wildlife Warden, Bihar.

The government had empowered the Collectors and Sub-Divisional Magistrates to issue the ‘shoot orders’ under Section 11 (A) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

“Nilgais come under Schedule III of the Act and the State government can issue orders to eliminate them when they become dangerous to human life and property,” Mr. Khan said.

However, the culling orders are given in a restricted way and with certain conditions. The Hyderabadi ‘hunter’ had culled 10 blue bulls during May and five in February. The Rajgir Wildlife Sanctuary spread over 36 sq. km has sufficient prey base for the predators and the culling of the blue bulls would in no way affect them, Mr. Khan said.

Antelopes take shelter on the banks of the Panchnave River during day and raid the fields in the night, he said, adding that the rampaging herds of Nilgai have destroyed paddy, wheat and vegetables in the last few months causing huge losses to the farmers.

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The should leagalise hunting, that is the only way. The revenue from hunting should be used for wildlife welfare. Culling is NOT the option HUNTING is.This is a common practice in all other countries and hunting DOES NOT cause loss of wildlife, that is a common paradox as it is seen elsewhere.The proof is the number of animals who have faced extinction but come out due to the Peoples concerns through legalized hunting and proper wildlife management. The most recent example is the markhor sheep in pakistan.
Some people think this is not humane etc,.etc,. but if you visit these places and see the farmers plight you will know the seriousness of the problem. People sit in their armchairs and dictate how we should live our life. I live in a remote area and thrived here. I love wildlife to the core and would be more saddened by their "vanishing" than you sitting in your apartments.
Thank you for reading.

from:  Danish Ali
Posted on: Sep 12, 2013 at 22:37 IST

Man thinks he is authorized to control populations of animals calling them Rouge, Pest etc... We dont think that we are also ANIMALS and have to share space with others ANIMALS on this earth.

from:  Mallikarjun
Posted on: Sep 12, 2013 at 10:53 IST

Why vilify Mr. Khan? The state govts are asking for his help.

It is indeed tragic that the Nilgais have to be culled. But, we have
encroached a lot into their territory. The farmers livelihoods depend
on their crops. No easy solution. Long term solutions are to create
bigger reserves (we can't really transport Nilgais to other parks -
they are too small, or already at capacity); incentivize forest
proximal villages to not decimate any more forests... cut graft from
corrupt government officials who don't enforce forest cover.

from:  Abhilash
Posted on: Sep 12, 2013 at 00:08 IST

I strongly believe that the proposed action is chosen by the governments after all other suggested non-trigger options either failed or not feasible or too expensive and time consuming.
Shafath Ali Khan is a Nawab by birth (Born in Nawab Family) and there is no reletion between free India and he being a Nawab. Nawab is a Nawab like Brahmin is a Brahmin. Chaturvedi is a Chaturvedi.
We wish Shafat Nawab all the best and thankfull to him for his great services provided for common and needy men in India to protect them and their family lives and immovable properties.

from:  Kaleemullah
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 20:30 IST

Why shooting Animals. If he is shooting with the permission of Authority to make them unconscious to be shift to proper places, then it is OK.

I don't think he is shooting these wild animals for the sake of fun. Hope everybody understand with this logic.

from:  Ahmed
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 18:07 IST

This man is a murder of defenseless wild animals whose only crime is trying to survive. The so called "man-eater" which he so proudly claims he "gave benefit of the doubt", as if he is the God of the land and he is deciding to let this animal live, is an endangered species that is literally wiped out of many parts of India. He is killing those precious animals, that will most likely disappear from the face of the planet because this Khan wants to play Shikari Sambu in the forest with his gun.
In the 21st century, hunting and killing animals, that too endangered animals that are just trying to survive in the small and empty forests is nothing more than barbaric and a grave crime against nature and our future generations. Because of people like Khan, maybe in 100 or 150 years Indian children will only have pictures of tigers, leopards and other animals that once roamed free on this great land of our ancestors for more than a million years.

from:  Mazo
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 17:38 IST

Such a shame for this country. The most dangerous species on earth are us Humans.I dont understand why do we have to encroach more into wildlife territories and suffer from such problems when we could peacefully co-exist.There is no proper mandate from the central or state government to keep these areas strictly free from humans, machinery and cultivation.why do they have to be put down rather than be moved back into wildlife far away from humans.This India is not shining at all.

from:  Vis
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 14:05 IST

As a practising wildlife biologist, working to promote human-wildlife coexistence
in landscapes with carnivores and large wildlife species, I would like to state that the culling (euphemism for killing) nilgai is premature, misguided, and
inappropriate. It seems shameful that the State Government takes recourse to this when we have many better options including deploying wildlife early-warning
systems, implementing compensation and insurance schemes to offset crop
losses, and use a scientific understanding of the real type, magnitude, and
locations of conflict to implement targeted mitigation measures.
Monitoring with pug marks and Google are not the "scientific method" for carnivore studies. Empty claims of "huge losses" and "rogue antelopes" are not a basis for the action chosen. If we really want lasting solutions that have a rational, scientific basis, then we need to look beyond the likes of Mr Khan and trigger-happy bureaucrats who like to shoot off their guns and mouths.

from:  T R Shankar Raman
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 13:19 IST

I was dismayed to read this news report and I think someone (Maneka
Gandhi, are you listening?) should file cases against Nawab Shafath
Ali Khan and the State Governments considering the pertinent Acts.

There are reports that the leopards and cats he killed may have not
been the man-eaters as claimed and that the Forest Department was only
happy to have him kill them to assuage people's sentiments.

Killing these ruminants is a short-sighted strategy, which a trigger-
happy Nawab is only happy to indulge in. What next? Is he going to go
around killing Chital, Gaur, wild boar and bears across the country to
protect farmer's fields?
Time, someone stopped this menace by taking him and the Forest
Departments of these states to court.

from:  Sharad
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 12:07 IST

someone please put an halt to this stupidity of culling wild animals. Why on earth can't these nilgai be captured and relocated to animal sanctuaries across the country...why kill them, WHY??
Also, stop addressing Shafath Ali as Nawab, India is now a free country, been like that for 67 years.

from:  Sridhar Reddy
Posted on: Sep 11, 2013 at 12:01 IST
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