WTI – IFAW – Kishanpur Man-Eater Gets a Lease on Life

Kishanpur tiger after its capture_photo by Anil Kumar Singh_WTI_resize
Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary (Uttar Pradesh), March 3, 2009:
The Uttar Pradesh Forest Department assisted by the Wildlife Trust of IndiaInternational Fund for Animal Welfare (WTI-IFAW) has successfully captured the tiger that created widespread panic around Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary near Dhudhwa Tiger Reserve in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, close to the Indo-Nepal border. In the last two months it had killed five people and eaten human flesh. It was declared a man-eater in the last week of February 2009, after it took its fifth victim in mid-February.

The tiger, a young male, was tranquilized and restrained alive, last evening, by a team of UP Forest Department and WTI-IFAW experts on elephant back. The team had been tracking the animal since 28 February evening. The sedative drug shot was administered by WTI-IFAW veterinarian Dr Anjan Talukdar, when the tiger returned as expected, to the remains of its kill hidden near Maharajnagar village, South Lakhimpur Kheri Forest Division, near Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary.

The sedated tiger had to be transported out of the tranquilization site on elephant back, supervised by Dr.Talukdar, Anil Singh and forest department officials, as the marshy grassland terrain prevented movement of transport crates. In the forest camp, the sedation was reverted after the tiger was safely confined in a cage. The tiger is estimated to be 3 years old and apart from a minor injury probably sustained in a predation attempt, it has been found to be in good health.

Dr Anjan Talukdar examines the trap cage_Kishanpur_UP_photo Dinesh Pandey_resize
The success of this operation has been a victory for the Forest Department and the WTI-IFAW teams that have been on location both in Faizabad and Kishanpur in Uttar Pradesh for several weeks to assist the Forest Department in capturing the tigers alive. Team members have spent weeks on location tracking the tigers in adverse and volatile conditions, with understandably hostile villagers.

The Kishanpur incident comes less than a week after the other tiger, declared a man-eater, was shot dead in Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh. Although several capture attempts were made in Faizabad too, the thick undergrowth among other ground conditions made live capture difficult.

“This (live capture) is a great conservation victory and morale booster for all of us who have spent months trying to save these tigers that strayed out into human settlements in Uttar Pradesh. Our WTI-IFAW team members including Dr Anil K Singh, Dr Samir K Sinha, Dr NVK Ashraf, Dr Anjan Talukdar, Dr Prasanta Boro, Dinesh Pandey and Sheren Shrestha, assisted in the live capture attempts of the Forest Department in Faizabad as well as Kishanpur. We at WTI-IFAW are relieved that this tiger was saved from being shot; but the frequency of straying tigers in conflict with humans is a concern we all need to think about and deal with” said Ashok Kumar, Vice-chairman, WTI.

Preparing the trap cage to capture the tiger_Kishanpur_UP_photo by Dinesh Pandey_resize
In Lucknow, Chief Wildlife Warden BK Patnaik, UP Forest Department told IANS, “This is a major success for us as we could avoid its killing even though it appeared to have turned into a confirmed man-eater… WTI expert had been on the tiger’s trail for almost a month.” Dr. Anjan Talukdar, experienced in tranquilizing wild animals, reached the site in early February, to assist the operation. Following an analysis of the field conditions in Kishanpur, Dr. Talukdar had expressed optimism at the possibility of successful tranquilization. Despite the challenges faced this has now been achieved.

“Collaboration between Government and NGOs is important for conservation and we have been ably assisted by WTI-IFAW in this. We have to formulate a Man Tiger Conflict Resolution project and work towards reducing conflict” said State CWLW B K Patnaik. On the future of displaced tigers Mr. Patnaik said “Man-eaters would need to be observed in quarantine and any possible relocation of tigers has to be done under IUCN guideline protocols.”

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This story was filed from the Wildlife Trust of India's Shibani Chaudhury, Head Communications & Campaigns.

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