On the scent: India mulls over Calvin Klein cologne to lure man-eating tigress

Scientists in America discovered in 2013 that the smell of Calvin Klein's Obsession For Men was attractive to big cats.
Scientists in America discovered in 2013 that the smell of Calvin Klein's Obsession For Men was attractive to big cats.PHOTO: CALVIN KLEIN

MUMBAI (AFP) - Indian rangers hunting a man-eating tiger are considering deploying an unusual weapon to lure the big cat - Calvin Klein cologne, an official said on Thursday (Oct 11).

A major operation to kill or capture the tigress, which is suspected to have killed up to 13 people in India's western state of Maharashtra, was launched a month ago.

Patrol teams, infrared camera traps and even elephants have all failed to find her so officials are now pondering whether Calvin Klein's Obsession fragrance is the answer.

"Someone suggested using the Calvin Klein perfume as a way to lure her with the scent and one of our officials purchased it.

"It is one of the experiments we may conduct but no decision has been taken yet," forestry official A.K Mishra told AFP.

Scientists in America discovered that the smell of Calvin Klein's Obsession For Men was attractive to big cats in 2013, owing to the presence of a synthetic aroma based on the musk of a civet mammal.

The fragrance has been used before to successfully lure a tiger in Tamil Nadu state, according to Indian media.

The hunt for the tigress - named Avni, which means earth in the local language - began in early September after she was reported to have killed five villagers in the past year.

Officials suspect she may also have been responsible for another eight deaths stretching back to 2016, according to Mishra.

India's highest court last month dismissed appeals by activists that it intervene to stop the rangers from shooting her dead.

Last week one of five elephants taking part in the hunt for the big cat ran astray overnight and trampled a woman to death.

The elephants were being used by armed forest rangers who sat atop the animals as they entered thick forests inaccessible to vehicles.

Tigers do not generally target humans, but some experts believe they can develop a taste for human flesh.

Wildlife activists say attacks occur when humans encroach into tiger corridors.

India is home to more than half of the world's tiger population with 2,226 of the animals roaming its reserves, according to the last count in 2014.