THE CURRENT round of man-animal conflict in the Kishunpur sanctuary ended early on Wednesday morning when Dudhwa National Park (DNP) officials gunned down an old and dying tigress near the Kanp Tanda village, where she had lain motionless in lantana shrubs since Monday.
But why the park officials opted to kill the animal, which was dying of injuries?
“It’s not easy to capture a live beast, especially of this type,” said chief wildlife warden Mohammad Ahsan. “The fact that the tigress was moving was in itself a matter of concern, and no chances could have been taken. There was also a threat of the tigress escaping in thick bushes from where it could have targeted more human beings. Because it was not possible to capture or tranquillise the tigress, we were left with no option but to kill the man-eater,” reiterated Ahsan adding that the action was taken as per the Indian Wildlife Act and not ‘mercy killing.’
But wildlife activists term it as mercy killing. No body wanted to take the risk of trying a tranquilliser, said VP Singh, a wildlife activist in Dudhwa National Park.
He however felt the team of 20 officials and experts could have captured the man-eater and treated it.
The injured tigress, which had killed four persons in the last couple of months, had been lying almost motionless since Tuesday after it had hit a trolley in an attempt to prey on its fifth victim near Kanp–Tanda village. The impact was so severe that the beast suffered serious injuries on its back and was lying in the nearby thick bushes ever since. The condition of the injured tigress could be gauged from the fact that it had moved just about 100 metres in a couple of days, say wildlife activists. Though initially it was decided by a 20-member team to tranquillise the beast, shooter Utkarsh Shukla, according to sources, refused to take the risk on the ground that the fragile tigress was vulnerable.
The matter was referred to Ahsan, who on the basis of enormity of situation issued orders to kill it.
Of its four kills, three persons were killed inside the jungles, while the fourth one was mauled to death in the human habitation, which was a matter to worry, said Ahsan. As regards any solution to end the man-animal conflict, Ahsan said, “We can’t help it at this stage.” Interestingly, the habitation of four villages on the outskirts of Kishanpur wildlife sanctuary — Kanp, Tanda, Maharajnagar and Kishanpur villages —are located such that the villagers in these villages have no other way but to pass through the jungles to reach the world outside. .