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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tiger tracking renewed after minister’s nudge

Express news service Posted: Apr 02, 2012 at 0323 hrs IST Lucknow The forest department is renewing its efforts to tranquilise a tiger in the Rehmankheda jungles near Lucknow, following instructions from Minister of State for Zoological Garden Shiv Pratap Yadav. While department officials are arranging for more equipment and help for the operation, experts are worried about the pressure the haste might exert on the beast. The officials are also in a dilemma over the best strategy to capture the big cat, which has been roaming in the forest for the past three months but without hurting humans. Yadav had visited the forest on Thursday and seen the tiger. According to a government press release Yadav had said that the people involved in the operation were not fully trained. He ordered officials to arrange for the required equipment to capture the tiger as soon as possible. The forest department is planning to call two more elephants from Dudhwa National Park to track the tiger. “We have asked for two more elephants so that the three teams, which are taking turns for round-the-clock surveillance in the forest, will have one elephant each,” said J S Asthana, Chief Wildlife Warden, UP. As of now, only one elephant in being used to traverse the forest. “We are also trying to rope in another expert from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, but he is busy with another operation,” he said. Before this, the department had already called Nawab Shafath Ali Khan, the hunter who killed the Faizabad tigress in 2009 when she turned maneater, as well as K L Purohit, Assistant Director of Nandan Kanan Zoological Park, Orissa, for the operation but to no avail. Experts believe that three elephants might create pressure on the tiger, which has been living peacefully in the forest. This may prove detrimental as the tiger may venture out to human habitat. The department is also planning to add two more rope nets to trap the beast. The team has just one rope net, apart from three cages for the beast. “The rope net can cover a larger area, can be easily be shifted,” said a forest official. The caging, otherwise, tends to hurt the animal and makes it impossible for their returned to their original habitat.

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