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Bijnor maneater dodges hunters & spying drone.

Two state governments have mobilised resources against it. The best shikaris are on its trail. An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ( UAV) has been pressed into service. But the man- eating tigress of Bijnor has not even been seen yet, let alone shot or trapped.

With seven human kills to its credit, the big cat has been able to dodge every land and air hunt by the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and steadily heighten the sense of panic across the forested Moradabad- Bijnor region that is a stepping stone to the lower Himalayas.

In the latest attempt to locate the tigress, the administration has installed four dozen additional camera traps. The Dehradun- based Wildlife Institute of India ( WII) is providing technical assistance in the operation and teams are presently installing the equipment in Bijnor and Amangarh forest ranges of Uttar Pradesh as well as the Kalagarh range of Uttarakhand. " Our teams have reached the affected area and we will be using over 50 trap cameras for tracking the animal's movement," said Senior Wildlife Scientist, WII, Dr Y. S. Jhala.

Given the animal's record, doubt hangs heavy on likelihood of the camera traps tracing it.

The UP Forest Department had recently used a UAV in the operations.

UAVs are in use around the world, including in the AfPak zone where they rain missiles on terrorists, but this is the first instance of one being sent after a man- eating animal. " We used the UAV for high- resolution aerial mapping. Using the images taken by the unmanned aerial vehicle, we have prepared an interactive map. This map will help us identifying the exact spot where any animal movement is reported," said an optimistic Kamlesh Kumar, Moradabad's forest conservator.

The animal was tracked along Jim Corbett National Park by Prashant Singh from Dehradun, Samarjit Singh of Kuchesar in Bulandshahr and Sudhir Raghav from Naroli in Moradabad.

Mohammad Ghazi, the BSP MLA of Barhapur in Bijnor, too launched an elaborate campaign surrounded by half- adozen armed supporters, proudly displaying rifles of varied makes. Forest officials also recruited two elephants in their efforts to track down the tiger.

The cat has allegedly killed seven people -- one in Sambhal, and three each in Moradabad and Bijnor.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Mar 5, 2014
Words:386
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