K4, the injured tigress with snare thriving

Efforts to rescue K4 pushed to next summer; wildcat making regular kills and feeding well, say Forest officials

By Author  |  Published: 16th Jun 2019  12:01 am
K4
Tigress K4 at a waterhole on a stream bed. Its abdomen is constricted because of the wire snare, affecting its posture.

Hyderabad: Tigress K4, with a poacher’s wire snare around its abdomen, now about three-and-half to four years old and living in the forests of Mancherial district, appears destined to live with the snare at least for another year, if not for the rest of its life.

With the monsoon expected to set it soon, efforts to rescue the tigress — by catching it after tranquilising it and surgically removing the snare — are expected to be set aside at least till next summer.

It now appears more unlikely than ever that K4 will allow itself to be captured. Failed efforts this summer to track the animal and lure it to locations ideal for tranquilising it, indicate that a repeat of this cycle may well be expected next summer too.

Meanwhile, beating the odds of the snare constricting its abdomen and fears over its impact on the animal’s life, K4 has now grown into an apparently otherwise healthy young tigress. There is no sign of the wound from the snare anymore though the snare itself is believed to have been covered up by healed skin.

“K4 is making regular kills and feeding well. It is constantly on the move and covers up to 20 km to 25 km a day and does not stay in any one spot for more than a few hours. Our field teams are continuously monitoring its movement and tracking it,” Kawal Tiger Reserve Field Director CP Vinod Kumar told Telangana Today.

Mancherial District Forest Officer Shivani Dogra said the wildcat has become even more cautious of people. “It has become extremely wily. It completely avoids any spot visited by people such as locations where we set up machans to tranquilise it. We also attempted masking the presence of our teams near its kills and the spots where we set up machans, but it appears that K4 has become very clever to fall into any trap,” she said.

This in turn, has made any attempt to tranquilise K4 and perform a surgery to remove the snare a near impossible task. With the monsoon rains around the corner, the availability of water in the forest is expected to make it even more difficult to localise the tigress’ movements or launch any attempt to catch it.

It may be recalled that last year too, other than routine monitoring of its movements, no steps were taken to tranquilise the animal during the monsoon. “It looks like K4 has established its territory in the Mancherial forests. But, its movements are unpredictable. It does not follow any particular path or go along areas where it passed through previously. It zigzags through the forest making it very difficult to predict where it might be next for us to try and catch it,” Dogra said.

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