Hyderabad

Mud bath, a means to coax K4 tiger out

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A snare noose that injured the feline, needs to be removed

K4, the slippery tigress of Chennur, will soon have a retinue of men soaked in slime reverently following her trails.

Mud and dung will be the prominent means to camouflage the human scent in pursuit of the animal which has grown extremely wary of human presence.

Foldable machaans

“Our men will erect machaans after taking a mud bath and applying dung on their bodies, so as not to leave traces of human scent lingering on when the tigress arrives to partake her meal,” says an official from the department. Also being ordered online is a special perfume with tiger’s odour, which may be body-sprayed before embarking on the mission.

All these means are routinely employed by wildlife photographers to get up-close shots of their subjects.

In their earlier efforts, the department officials could not capture the feline which had not returned to her kill wary of human scent.

The sub-adult tigress was injured as a cub, when she got trapped in a snare in Kagaznagar division where she was born. The snare, however, remained around her hip as was discovered from camera traps about eight months ago. The wire has only grown tighter as she grew in size.

Fresh wound

With the recent camera traps showing fresh wounds where the noose got extremely tight, the forest officials have recognised the need to act swiftly to capture the tigress, remove the snare and treat her.

A committee constituted under the guidance of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) met and discussed the plan of action to immobilise the animal, and capture her, as earlier attempts to cage her had remained unsuccessful.

“We have to act fast, because, with the onset of monsoon, the operations will become extremely difficult,” says the official.

The plan of action involves localising the cat to a certain area of the forest by tying up baits, and getting her used to killing and feasting on them. Four more baits will be procured for this purpose in addition to the existing four.

“After the tigress kills one bait, we will erect a machaan at the location to see if she returns to the kill. After getting her to believe that it was safe to return to the location, we will tie up a second bait. When she kills it, we will deploy our veterinarians on a vigil, to immobilise her through tranquiliser guns,” he says.

Foldable machaans

Two foldable machaans have been commissioned from Nagpur, which will arrive in a week, while another is being borrowed from Tadoba-Andhari tiger reserve of Maharashtra for the time being.

Besides, a group of expert trackers from Tadoba will arrive and train the staff here in tiger tracking.

Walkie talkies will be used to overcome the problem of mobile phone connectivity due to lack of signals.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 10:26:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/mud-bath-a-means-to-coax-k4-tiger-out/article24256670.ece

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