The five-year-old female tiger, known as T1, is suspected of killing 13 people over two years near Pandharkawada, a town in the western state of Maharashtra. Three of its victims were recorded last month, wildlife officials said.
Officials have unsuccessfully attempted to catch the tiger over the last two years. Last week, India’s forest department used five elephants as bait. However, one of the elephants escaped and trampled through a nearby village and killed a woman, according to local reports.
Sunil Limaye, a wildlife official involved in the hunt, said his team is deciding whether to use Calvin Klein’s Obsession cologne as a last-ditch effort to catch the big cat, according to The Guardian.
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“We have been told the cologne can work as a good scent bait for the tigress. So we will spray the perfume on the trees and ground and see what happens,” Limaye told BBC News.
The cologne contains a synthetic version of a scent called civetone, a pheromone that’s derived from the glands of a cat-like mammal called the civet and is used in many musky colognes.
And big cats seem to go crazy around the scent.
In 2010, Wildlife Conservation Society researchers at New York’s Bronx Zoo sprayed a number of fragrances inside the tiger, snow leopard, and cheetah enclosures.
They discovered that Calvin Klein Obsession for Men incited the biggest response from the cats. However, Obsession for Women didn’t create the same excitement.
Miguel Ordeñana, a biologist with the Natural History Museum, said experts believe big cats like this scent because the civetone “resembles some sort of territorial marking … so it responds by rubbing its own scent on it.”
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Last month India’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal from activists who tried to stop wildlife officials from killing the tiger because the rangers lacked the “requisite expertise” to capture the animal.
It’s illegal to attempt to kill an endangered tiger in India, except in self-defence or with specific permission under the Wildlife Protection Act.
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Forest rangers say they’ll try to tranquillize the tiger first, but the Supreme Court ruling gives them a lethal option if they fail to capture it.
India is home to approximately 60 per cent of the world’s endangered Bengal tigers. Their numbers were in rapid decline for decades, but India turned that trend around by founding the National Tiger Conservation Authority in 2006. The tiger population has grown from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,226 in 2014, according to the latest census.
The booming tiger population has occasionally brought the animals into conflict with the 1.3 billion humans who live in India.
— With files from Global News’
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