Uttar Pradesh man-eater tiger falls to Hyderabad expert’s bullets (Lead)

February 25th, 2009 - 12:23 am ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Feb 24 (IANS) A stray tiger that was on the prowl in Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad district and its adjoining areas since November last year and had killed five humans, was shot down Tuesday evening by an expert shooter from Hyderabad.
Nawab Safahat Ali Khan, a well known man-animal conflict expert from Hyderabad, did what the Uttar Pradesh forest officials failed to achieve.

The barely two-and-a-half-year old feline, that had strayed out of the forests of Pilibhit sometime in November last year, was shot down around 6.45 p.m. in the forests of Bachuna near Kumarganj in Faizabad district, about 110 km from here.

“We did our best to avoid killing the animal, but eventually we were left with no choice but to shoot down the tiger, that had already killed five human beings and was declared man-eater,” Uttar Pradesh chief wildlife warden B.K. Patnaik told IANS here.

He said the operation, which was launched nearly three months back, could reach its logical conclusion largely on account of the involvement of Nawab Sahafat Ali Khan, who had been invited to assist the state officials.

“Khan is an expert shooter and is known for his skills in containing man-animal conflict in some south Indian states. That is why we sought his assistance, which has eventually borne fruit,” said Patnaik.

The animal had been giving sleepless nights to state wildlife officials ever since it wandered out of its natural habitat, and was on the move across at least five districts including the state capital.

Wildlife enthusiast and Uttarakhand State Wildlife Board member Kaushlendra Singh, who had moved a public suit before the high court to prevent the killing of the tiger, termed the shooting of the tiger as “highly unfortunate and illegal”.

“The officials of the UP forest department need to be taken to task for the extremely shabby handling of the stray tiger, which could have been easily saved. Their manner of dealing with the tiger spoke volumes of the unprofessional approach of the 100-member operation team that had been working under the directions of the state chief wildlife warden,” Singh said.

“The fact that the wildlife department chose to go ahead with its mission of shooting the tiger instead of making serious efforts to trap or tranquilise it, shows that they have little respect even for the high court and did not care to wait for its verdict,” he pointed out.

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