Seeking to lure the tigress, with Calvin Klein cologne

Over 100 personnel stationed to capture T1 in Pandharkawada forests of Maharashtra

Published - October 24, 2018 09:34 pm IST - Bengaluru

A file photo of animal rights activists during a campaign to save Avni, in New Delhi.

A file photo of animal rights activists during a campaign to save Avni, in New Delhi.

Somewhere in the lush Pandharkawada forests of Maharashtra, a team of forest officials, on the advice of experts, are spraying very expensive cologne on cloth near camera traps in the hope of luring an elusive tigress.

Currently, over 100 personnel have been stationed to capture the five-year-old tigress, known as T1, which has been controversially linked to the deaths of 13 villagers in the past year.

Amidst the chaos and opposition to the operation to kill the tigress, also called Avni, a novel experiment is being undertaken: luring the tigress using Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men. Sunil Limaye, Additional Principal Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), who is coordinating the exercise, says the experiment started on Tuesday night with spraying of cologne in certain places where the tigress had been last spotted.

Tracing the tigress has been difficult, and a camera trap image earlier this week put its location somewhere near Sawarkheda village. “But it would have walked at least four kilometres after that,” said a senior forest department official.

Spurious products

The experiment has been devised by wildlife veterinarian Dr. Prayag H.S., who pitched the idea to the forest department.

He explained that the perfume has chemicals that mimic civetone, a pheromone secreted by civets, which could possibly attract the tigress or its cubs. This, he said, formed the first hurdle for the experiment, since only fakes could be obtained in India, while the original (nearly ₹6,000 for a bottle with sprays that last for eight hours) needed to be bought from abroad.

The idea stems from a 2003 experiment in Bronx Zoo where researcher Pat Thomas tested 24 perfumes on cheetahs to gauge whether the scent can kept them curious and engaged.

In 2015, Dr. Prayag brought the idea to the country, and using the cologne, managed to trap a leopard in Mandya in Karnataka, and a year later, to capture a tiger in Gudalur in Tamil Nadu. In Gudalur, the tiger had come to the bed sprayed with CK’s Obsession, rather than the other four test beds.

He, however, cautioned that this was just an experiment, with no real guarantees of luring the tigress for tranquillisation.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.