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Maneater hunt: Himachal Pradesh govt gives nawab marching orders

CHANDIGARH: Acting on the orders of forest and wildlife minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) A K Gulati has withdrawn the controversialNawabShafath Ali Khan of Hyderabad from the maneating leopard's hunt at Thunag in Mandidistrict of Himachal Pradesh. The Nawab has shot two leopards and a cub in the stint atThunag, but doubts remain whether the two dead male cats were actually maneaters.

"I have told the principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) to remove Khan from the hunt and ensure that Himachali shikaris do the job," Bharmori told TOI from Shimla. The controversial hunt had even been brought to the notice of chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who heads the 
Himachal state wildlife advisory board.

Mandi conservator of forests Harshvardhan Kathuria told TOI: "The nawab left Thunag for his home on Friday."

The Nawab had allegedly shot another 
maneating leopard at Bunalidhar/Keuli village on Wednesday morning near the house where two leopard attacks on humans had taken place earlier. "The leopard was shot close to the house where the attacks took place earlier. However, if another human is attacked after this, it would imply that there are more maneaters in the area. Our teams will monitor the situation for another 10 days," said Kathuria.

"The postmortem report of the leopard shot on Wednesday shows it to be of 35kg and 6 feet — from nose to tail. It had just emerged from adolescence. A leopard of that size can at most kill a child, not an adult male or woman like Mani Devi or Kashmir Singh," said sources. The post-mortem on the first leopard shot by Nawab on August 11 had also not given any conclusive evidence of it being a maneater.

The Times of India (24-08-2013)