The images of a tigress with a wire snare wrapped around its lower abdomen that had caused a deep wound recently did the rounds on social media, leading users to tweet to authorities, asking them to take action.
The two-and-a-half-year-old tigress, numbered K4, was found in January 2017 by forest officials at the Chennur forest in Telangana’s Mancherial district. K4 was caught in a poacher’s snare, and officials have since been trying to treat the animal.
Forest officials have been tracking the animal, and have been trying to tranquilize the animal in order to remove the snare from the tigress’s lower abdomen.
According to Telangana Today, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi called Forest Department officials in Telangana and enquired about the situation, and is even sending her representative Wasif Jamshed to the forest.
A committee comprising of Kawal Tiger Reserve’s Field Director C Saravanan, two veterinary doctors, an NGO — Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society, the District Forest Officers and the Forest Divisional Officer was put in place close to six months ago. C Saravanan is the chair of this committee.
Speaking to TNM, C Saravanan said that they have been closely monitoring her, and that the picture that did the rounds was from a year ago.
“The tigress got into a snare last January. From that time onwards, we were monitoring her movements. The animal is very active and the wound has also healed now, and it’s not as severe as the photo has been circulated. The animal is active and is making its kill every week. It feeds on the cattle. We are continuously monitoring her movement by engaging camera traps - nearly 200 of them have been engaged. We have also engaged animal trackers to monitor her movement,” he said.
“Once the animal is used to a particular area, then we can go for chemical immobilisation - tranquillizing. We have put live baits in 2-3 locations because we are trying to attract the animal to one particular area so that it will be easy to immobilise and we can go for treatment,” he added.
Imran Siddiqui from the Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society told TNM that the tigress may not be able to breed.
“It is still able to hunt on its own. It's still surviving. But it does not look like it is in a good condition. It cannot breed. It's already two-and-a-half years old and it should start breeding now. Looks like that may not happen and she may not be able to survive for longer periods because of the snare,” he said.
Imran also said that it is an entirely different game to tranquilise an animal in the forest, as compared to a situation such as being trapped in a well.
“It's very difficult to track the animal, as it can hear better than us, and with a snare around, is also more suspecting of everything. It is only possible if we put 15-20 people with darting guns to dart it, when everyone is on its search and are walking for 5-6 days. Also, you can't dart her on foot. We have to wait. If you make her scared, then she will move out from that area or completely get isolated, making it very difficult for us to trace her,” he added.
The K4 tigress was born to a tigress named Phalguna, who gave birth to four cubs in January 2016 in Kagaznagar, outside the tiger reserve, as part of the corridor area.