Other States get a scent of plans to save big cats

It may be recalled that it was first reported in these columns on September 27 that Calvin Klein’s Obsession For Men perfume was being planned to be used to attempt to attract K4.

By Author  |  Published: 14th Oct 2018  12:06 amUpdated: 14th Oct 2018  12:14 am
big cats
The injured tigress, K4, in Mancherial district.

Hyderabad: The Telangana State Forest Department’s attempts to save the life of injured tigress K4 in Mancherial district using a commercially available perfume as a lure so it can be safely tranquilized and a wire snare from around its abdomen removed, appears to have inspired other States also to take up similar experiments to catch big cats to prevent potential man-animal conflict situations.

It may be recalled that it was first reported in these columns on September 27 that Calvin Klein’s Obsession For Men perfume was being planned to be used to attempt to attract K4. The perfume is one of the tools among several other methods that the department is working with to save the life of the tigress, one of the first born in Telangana State.

The Telangana Forest Department plan has attracted a lot of media attention with many national and international media outlets including newspapers, television and radio networks, picking up the story about using the perfume to attract tigers, particularly in reference to T1, a tigress in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra that has been designated to be shot on charges of being a ‘man-eater’.

The national and international media attention to using the Calvin Klein perfume, meanwhile, has also set off a debate in conservation circles on just how secretive any new tool to save the life of a big cat should be. A senior wildlife official told Telangana Today that the media attention to the story was very worrisome in some ways because there is always the possibility of poachers, who are after big cats, using this or similar perfumes, to trap the big cats.

Officials dealing with challenging situations of preventing potential man-animal conflict situations in other States, meanwhile, have said that this was a method worth trying if it means saving the life of a tiger or a leopard. In the Mukundara Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, there are plans to use the perfume to try and catch three leopards which have been seen at times moving close to human habitations.

“This is a new technique which will cause no harm to the animal. As long as we do this carefully, we might be able to lure animals into a cage and not even have to tranquilize them,” Dr Tejinder Singh, a wildlife veterinarian working at the reserve told Telangana Today. “This is about being proactive and using a new method to try and save lives of these leopards as well as provide relief to the people in the area,” he added,

Similarly, there are plans to use the perfume to see if it will work on a leopard in the Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand too. Meanwhile, in the neighbouring Maharashtra, wildlife officials monitoring the efforts to shoot T1, which is a mother with two 10 month old cubs, have also said they have plans to use the perfume to lure the tigress so it can be shot as per court orders.