The Hyderabadi ‘shikari' is back home after 10 days of nerve wracking time tailing the ferocious tiger in Awadh forest division – just 15 kms from Lucknow.
Nawab Shafat Ali Khan has not succeeded in tranquilising the tiger which strayed in the CISH campus in Rehmankheda but the techniques adopted by him have brightened the chances of taming the feline.
In the wee hours of Wednesday the tiger killed yet another bait, a buffalo calf, the sixth so far but escaped before it could be tranquilised. A nocturnal animal, the tiger is venturing out only in the night posing a challenge to the tranquilising team.
“The thick bushes make it worse for precision shooting. Even a blade of grass can deflect the fired syringe”, says Mr. Khan who rushed back Tuesday night to see his ailing mother.
In a change of tactic, he has introduced a plastic chair in place of a ‘machan' to keep a vigil.
The chair can be placed atop a tree in just five minutes while a ‘machan' takes an hour to erect. “The chances of the tiger not getting disturbed and coming back to get the kill are bright now”, says Mr. Khan.
Another new methodology adopted is to place the bait early in the morning to lure the tiger when it is relatively easy to fire the tranquilising gun. Till now the four member wildlife team used to set the bait in the afternoon and wait till evening in vain.
An important breakthrough in the 40-day operation is zeroing in on the tiger's pugmark. Its study showed that it is a male tiger of 5 years with a weight roughly between 160 to 170 kg.
“This is an important data to calculate the right dose of drug to tranquilise it. A greater dose might prove fatal and a lesser one ineffective”, says Mr. Khan who knows all about wildlife.
He is aware of the objections being raised in wildlife circles about requisitioning the services of a hunter to tame the tiger. But he feels a professional huntsman is necessary as an ‘emergency backup'. Not necessary that the ‘shikari' will shoot the animal. “He can fire a shot in the air or on the ground just before a charging tiger to stop it”, says Mr. Khan.
Importantly, the team has succeeded in keeping the tiger from straying into Lucknow and throwing the election process haywire. Election over, Mr. Khan plans to join the operation next week.