Hyderabad: Sharpshooter Shafath Khan wins Life Time Achievement award for culling 10K antelopes

Shafath Ali Khan has been engaged as a ‘resource person’ for eight State Forest Departments in the country.

By J.S. Ifthekhar  Published on  6 Jun 2023 5:50 AM GMT
Sharpshooter Shafath Khan

Hyderabad: It may raise the hackles of animal conservationists but the Hyderabad sharpshooter Nawab Shafath Ali Khan has been honored for culling blue bulls (antelopes) in Bihar. The other day he was presented the Life Time Achievement award by the Vaishali District Magistrate and Collector, Yeshapal Meena, for bringing “normalcy in the lives and livelihood” of lakhs of affected farmers.

In the last one year, Shafath Ali Khan is stated to have shot down more than ten thousand rogue and crop-damaging blue bulls, particularly in Bihar’s Vaishali district bringing immense relief to the farmers. Manje Lal Rai, chairman, Mukhia Sangh, Viashali, joined the felicitation accorded to the Hyderabad marksman. A day before he was presented a certificate of appreciation by the Rotary Club of Malegaon Fort for his exemplary work in the field of wildlife conservation and for mitigating man-animal conflict across the country.

Because of his shooting skills, Shafath Ali Khan has been engaged as a ‘resource person’ for eight State Forest Departments in the country. Ever since he successfully shot man-eaters, his services have also been availed by the forest departments for training their personnel in the art of precision shooting of the tranquilizing gun. Of course, he has also received much flak from conservationists who dub him as ‘trigger happy’. Shafath Ali Khan, however, dismisses the criticism saying he eliminates the animals not on his own but on specific orders of the government.

In recent years farmers in Bihar, Maharashtra, and Telangana have seen a spurt in blue bulls raiding agricultural fields damaging standing crops, and bringing loss and misery to the farmers. During the last one decade the Asian antelopes, also known as ‘Nilgai’ have multiplied greatly and wreaked havoc on agricultural fields. Farmers in the districts of Muzaffarpur, Bhojpur, Vaishali, Samistipur, and Champaran have had a tough time dealing with the blue bull menace. The rampaging herds of Nilgai have damaged paddy, wheat, and vegetables causing huge losses to the farming community, it is said.

“Blue Bulls come under Schedule III of the Wildlife Protection Act and the State governments can issue orders to eliminate them when they pose danger to human life and property. “In February 2022, the Bihar government through a GO delegated powers of the Chief Wildlife Warden to the Mukhyas to issue orders for culling the antelopes”, says the hunter, who has been working in Bihar since 2012.

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