From the Hunter’s Mouth: Breathtaking Encounter with India’s Most Wanted Manhunter

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Appreciating my efforts, the Chief Wildlife Warden, BK Patnaik, issued a certificate which stated, “Nawab Shafath Ali Khan had handled a dangerous situation which the Forest Department could not, with utmost courage and bravery and ended the terror of the man-eater by eliminating it and thereby saving human lives as well as livestock.” However, it was probably a watershed moment in my professional life.

While contemplating the bewitching spirit of the Indian jungle, I wished the hunt had gone differently, giving me the chance to capture this cat alive. After this dramatic and poignant experience, I was determined to commit myself to promoting tranquilization using my professional experience in the field.

It was then that Wildlife Tranqui Force, an NGO devoted solely to the art and science of tranquilization, was born, under the able leadership of Hitesh Malhotra, Head of Forestry Force, Andhra Pradesh (Retd), and Senior Veterinarian Dr. M. Navin. Kumar, Deputy Director of Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad.

Subsequently, we have trained Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers, veterinarians and frontline forestry personnel in nine states, mitigating human-wildlife conflict even at high security institutions such as international airports. I am proud to tell the reader that our NGO has skillfully captured rogue elephants, sloth bears that had taken up residence in human habitations and become a threat to local communities, a man-eating tiger in Maharashtra, a leopard in Karnataka who entered a house where a 19-year-old girl was nursing her baby on the outskirts of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, and several other dangerous animals in life or death situations to quickly resolve these conflicts.

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