Another tiger was saved through meticulously co-ordinated intervention of the International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India team with Assam Forest Department and local administration in Tezpur. Responding to an emergency call from the Western Assam Wildlife Division (WAWD), after a tiger attack on a woman near National Highway 37(A), the IFAW-WTI Mobile Veterinary Service (MVS) team from the Wildlife Rescue Center rushed to the site of the attack at Dolabari.
The MVS team, comprising veterinarian Dr Samshul Ali and two animal keepers, was briefed by forest department staff that the tiger had killed an elderly woman near the national highway while she was returning from her morning prayers. “We scouted the area and found the tiger’s pugmark near a large walled compound”, said Dr Ali; “the personnel who were guarding this compound confirmed that the tiger had been seen inside it.”
The Divisional Forest Officer of the WAWD led the onsite forest department team while the civil police authority was handling crowd control operations. Also on site were senior officials and wildlife volunteers, all of whom were involved in the planning and execution of the operation.
The district administration imposed a curfew in the Dolabari area under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, so that the gathered crowds would disperse. A decision was made to drive the tiger out of the area in the hope of preventing further conflict.
With a view, again, to minimising the chances of harm to either people or the animal, the team decided that the drive would take place in the late evening. “We made a concerted effort to drive the tiger towards Bhumaragori”, said Dr Samshul Ali. “The idea was to facilitate its entry into the forests of Bura Chapori or Laokhowa WLS, or Kaziranga National Park from this area.” The tiger, suspected to be a full-grown adult male, was spotted during the drive but as there was no way of cornering it in the open terrain, it could not be tranquilised.
On its way out of the Dolabari area the tiger attacked a forest department vehicle on a paddy field. It was last seen in the Batamari area where it attacked another person who was moving about in spite of the curfew imposed.
The driving operation concluded at around 12:30 am.
Pugmarks found the next morning near the Brahmaputra River at Maithan (about three kilometres from Batamari) suggested that the drive had been successful and that the tiger had moved towards Bura Chapori WLS. A thorough combing operation was nevertheless conducted in the Dolabari-Batamari area in order to reassure local communities that the tiger was no longer present in that territory.
Forest officials in Bura Chapori have been now been tasked with tracking the tiger to confirm its presence in the wildlife sanctuary.
In the face of growing intolerance to wildlife in densely populated regions, this operation once again proves that judicious crowd control and proactive collaboration of all administration and enforcement agencies are imperative to mitigate human animal conflict.
Article source: IFAW