Hyderabad: The Karnataka Forest Department has refused to accept the services offered by the father and son wildlife hunter duo of Shafat Ali Khan and Asghar Ali Khan from the city, to track and catch a tiger in Bandipur Tiger Reserve. The department on Tuesday evening said it fixed a 24 hour to 48 hour window to capture or kill the tiger, that is believed to have killed two persons in the past one month in addition to 14 cattle.
Conservator of Forests, Bandipur Tiger Reserve T Balachandra told Telangana Today that Shafat Ali Khan offered his and his son’s ‘services’ to track and catch the tiger. “We were informed about their controversial involvements in some past cases and informed them their services are not required by us. Our department staff is handling the issue,” Balachandra said.
It may be recalled that the roles of Shafat Ali Khan and Asghar Ali Khan came under very sharp criticism in the case relating to the tigress T1, aka Avni, that was declared a man eater and which was shot dead by Asghar in November last year in Yavatmal district. The circumstances surrounding the killing of Avni led to a nation-wide uproar though the shooter was later absolved of any wrong doing by an official appointed by the Maharashtra Forest Department to probe the killing.
Shafat and Asgar Ali Khan were on Wednesday spotted in the area where the tiger had killed a man, Shivalingappa, tending to his cattle on Tuesday in Chowdhalli village on Gundulpet taluk of Charamarajanagar district in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
Interestingly, Shafat Ali Khan, the secretary of Wildlife Tranquiforce which ‘offers’ training and ‘services’ to forest departments in using tranquilizing guns, was operating on his own and not as part of the NGO, it’s president Hitesh Malhotra, a former senior forest department official in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh told Telangana Today. “Unless any operation is approved officially through the proper channels of the NGO, it remains a private service offered by him,” Malhotra said. Since the licence for the tranquliser gun was issued for the NGO, it cannot be operated by anyone, including Shafat or the wildlife veterinarian Dr Naveen Kumar who is listed as the NGO’s treasurer in the Tranquiforce website, without proper written permissions, he explained.
Balchandra also said the tiger that killed the two men was identified and it would be tracked and captured by department staff and its wildlife veterinarians. He was later reported to have clarified that the first goal is to capture the tiger alive and only in the unforeseen event of it attacking anyone during the capture operation, would the option to shoot it would be exercised.
Exclusive Videos show Bandipur conservator of forests T Balachandra explaining about steps being taken to capture tiger that is believed to have killed two men in past one month