Ranchi, Jan 5: Veteran Hyderabad-based hunter Nawab Shafath Ali Khan, who has hunted down hundreds of wild animals since 1976, has been roped in by the Jharkhand forest department to help them in entrapping and tranquillizing the ‘man-eating’ leopard which is responsible for the death of four children in the Garhwa district.
Notably, Khan has been assigned many hunting operations by various state governments including Maharashtra, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh to help in entrapping fearsome animals including tigers, leopards bears and elephants. The Bihar government had roped him in in 2016 to kill nilgais and he says that he had killed more than 250 of them, calling it a “free social service”.
In an interview with Lagatar24.com, he shared his methods of entrapment of dangerous wild animals and why catching a man-eater is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
“We will first have to monitor this leopard that has caused havoc in Garhwa. So far, the animal has not been traced either in the cameras set up by the forest department or in any human sightings. So our priority will be to start things from scratch and try to locate where the animal might be hiding as per the killings done by it,” khan stated.
He added that so far it has been difficult to even get the pug marks of the animal by the designated team. He further said that the forest department has given orders to Khan to tranquillize the animal and not neutralize it.
“Whenever an animal is captured, a complete inspection is done in order to confirm if it is the same man-eater or some normal leopard. If there is any injury, thorn, muscle injury, fracture, or broken canine in the entrapped animal, it indicates that the animal could not hunt naturally so it was coming for humans. After a thorough inspection by the veterinarian, we conclude whether to leave it in a forest far from human habitat or keep it in a zoo or rescue centre depending on the animal’s health,” the veteran hunter explained.
Moreover, he explained that any man-eating animal is an opportunist and they do not consider humans as its primary prey. He said that it is just due to some situations that they hunt down humans and realize that they are even easy prey to hunt and eat as compared to any other animals.
As a sense of fear surrounds the residents of Garhwa after multiple deaths by the man-eating leopard, the veteran hunter suggests that every house in the village should have at least a 15-watt bulb outside so that there is adequate illumination and apart from that the houses should not be surrounded with any grass or bushes. He said that leopards often camouflage themselves in the bushes where they wait for their prey.
The Jharkhand forest department is keeping no stone unturned in order to catch the animal as they have recently brought three cages from Madhya Pradesh to set up as traps across various parts of the forest.