Sundari’s capture shows Avni could have lived

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Sundari’s capture shows Avni could have lived

Express News Service

ANGUL: Maharashtra Government, which is currently under fire for putting down a ‘man-eater’ tigress, could take a leaf out of the strategy adopted by Odisha authorities to capture Sundari in Majhipara forest of Satkosia Tiger Reserve.

Relentless efforts by doctors of Nandankanan Zoological Park and Satkosia TR since October 23 to capture the tigress, which had killed two persons, paid off as Sundari was successfully tranquillised on November 6 with help from trained elephant Jasoda. But the story was different in Maharashtra where tigress Avni, believed to be responsible for deaths of 13 persons, was shot dead by a sharp shooter after several attempts to tranquillise the big cat failed.

Thought to be an impossible task by many, the mission to capture the elusive Sundari turned out to be a success story with Jasoda being the game changer. After several failed attempts, including that of the two teams from Madhya Pradesh, the authorities decided to rope in the trained elephant from Chandaka for the mission.

In an exclusive interview with The Express, Satkosia veterinary doctor Kishore Chandra Sahu said he along with his Nanadankanan counterpart Sarat Sahu rode on the back of Jasoda to the forest area where the tigress was believed to be hiding.

“On Tuesday morning, we along with forest officials and a tracking team set out from Purunakote guest house towards Majhipara jungle. On the previous night, we had tied a buffalo some feet away from the place where the tigress was spotted. Sundari took the bait and also consumed some part of it. This made us believe that the animal must be well within the area,” said the Satkosia doctor who tranquillised the tigress.

As the elephant was reluctant to go near the buffalo’s carcass due to the smell, a forest vehicle was called in. “While we took the vehicle into the forest, Jasoda followed us after the mahout managed to pacify it,” he said.

Sensing the presence of Sundari, the tracking team waited for a while before carrying out its strategy. Kishore said he rode the elephant while Sarat stayed back in the vehicle with a dart gun. “When the tigress was about 60 feet away, I fired a dart at her. It hit her on the back following which she ran towards the river. We followed her with the help of the tracking team and found her unconscious a few yards away,” the vet said.

Another dart was fired at Sundari to ensure that she posed no threat to the tracking team. After checking the big cat’s pulse, Kishore and his team put her in a stretcher. “Her blood pressure was checked, and temperature measured. Saline and some drugs were also administered. When all the parameters were found to be correct, she was put in a cage,” he said.

The tigress was given a revival dose in the cage and after 10 minutes, she regained her consciousness following which she was brought to Raigoda enclosure.

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