Expert coming to end K4’s agony

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi sending expert tranquilizer to help free big cat from snare

By Author  |  Published: 13th Jun 2018  12:55 amUpdated: 13th Jun 2018  3:49 pm
Union Minister Maneka Gandhi sending expert tranquilizer Wasif Jamshed to help free K4 from snare.

Hyderabad:  Wasif Jamshed, an expert in tracking tigers and tranquilizing, has been asked to lead the efforts to save K4, the tigress in Chennur forests stuck with a poacher’s snare.

It was reliably learnt that on Tuesday, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi called Forest Department officials in Telangana to find out why no concrete steps were taken for months after they came to know about the tigress’ plight. She also informed them that she was sending Wasif Jamshed, an expert in tracking and tranquilizing wild animals, to Telangana to track K4 and tranquilize it at the soonest so it can be freed from the snare.

On Saturday last, Telangana Today reported how K4, one of the four cubs born to Phalguna, the female tigress that has made the Kagaznagar forest home, has been suffering for months and has a wound as a result of a poacher’s wire snare stuck around its abdomen. The report and an accompanying video on Telangana Today’s website went viral and was shared widely on Facebook and Twitter.

Hooda’s concern

Among those who joined the efforts to help save K4 were actor Randeep Hooda who retweeted a post from ‘IamSam’, who posted an image from Telangana Today video tagging among others Maneka Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Hooda tweeted saying “can this be investigated asap pls” and tagged, among others, the Indian Forest Service Association.

Telangana Today has also learnt that among those who made enquiries with the State Forest Department about K4 were the office of Governor ESL Narasimhan, some forest and wildlife officers from other States as well as the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

Incidentally, though the Forest Department was aware that the tigress had a snare stuck around its back as far back as last October, it was only this January that officials agreed to do something about it after coming under pressure from a team of wildlife experts.

Casual approach

Though it was decided in January to take steps to catch the tigress and remove the snare, it was only a month later that cages were procured as per protocol to try and trap the animal. It was discovered that the tigress did approach the cages with bait inside at least twice but did not enter them.

When it was found that this attempt was turning futile, it was decided by a committee of officials and wildlife experts that live bait should be used to lure the tigress. And once it takes the bait two or three times, then tranquilize it, examine the animal and remove the snare, squeezing its abdomen.

And though officials said last week that four bait animals had been tied at different locations, it was learnt that as on Tuesday, only two baits were placed.