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Rajasthan, MP in soup ahead of International Tiger Day

 



The Pioneer, New Delhi, 27th July, 2015

 

 Controversy has erupted in two tiger range States of the country, just ahead of the International Tiger Day on July 29. In Rajasthan, the State forest department is under the scanner of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for secretly shifting a tiger from Ranthambore to a zoo in Udaipur after it killed a forest guard in May. In its report to the State Government, the NTCA has said that the tiger must be brought back and reintroduced into the wild, either in Ranthambhore or some other protected tiger habitat. 

 

Further, in Madhya Pradesh, a recent CAG report has said that poor planning and inadequate management has claimed the lives of several tigers and other endangered species as  great Indian bustard. In its 13 page report, the NTCA  said   while shifting the tiger the statutory prior permission of the central government was  not  obtained. A three-member committee had been constituted to examine the circumstances  that led to the  translocation of  tiger T-24  also called “Ustad” to Udaipur Zoo. 

 

The committee while  trying to go through the details of the incident found  that the NTCA was kept  in the dark about the shifting. The only communication it received from the authorities of  Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve prior to the shifting was a simple text message about the attack on the forest guard. The forest guard was killed by the tiger on May 9. 

 

According to sources, the NTCA had immediately responded to the SMS and sent a written directive to file a detailed report on priority basis on May 12. The authorities however, submitted a report on May 26, almost a fortnight after they had already shifted the tiger nearly  460 km from its Ranthambore territory to an Udaipur biological park .

 

In its report the NTCA committee  has termed the shifting against the norms and standard operating procedure (SOP). It was done without keeping the NTCA in the loop. The report  further found that all the fatal attacks involving T-24 occurred within the territory of the tiger involving human beings in close proximity. It clarified that the tiger can not be held guilty of killing the forest guard without a proper enquiry.

 

The report stresses that the tiger did not qualify to be a maneater and the incident may be more closely described as consequence of a chance encounter due to “excessive human proximity to the tiger in his defined habitat”. In another report, CAG has blamed  Madhya Pradesh Forest department for tiger deaths during the period 2009-2014. As per the report, “Reasons for death of tigers such as disease, poaching, poisoning and electrocution which were controllable indicate weakness in preventive measures of the department.”

 

It further said, “Of the 69 cases of  tiger death 18 cases or 26% pertains to Bandhavgarh tiger reserve. The range of Tala in Bandhavgarh reserve having an area of 109.74 sq km housed 34 tigers i.e 3.23 sq km available for each tiger though an area of 10 sq km was estimated for each tiger as per  NTCA  guidelines.

 

“Thus there was insufficient space for tigers. This could be reason for territorial fights, cannibalism and resulting in dispersal in adjoining villages,” CAG said. Of the total 69 tiger death, 55cases were test checked by CAG. In the light of the above situations, wildlife experts have expressed concern over the lapses in tiger conservation in the country. “On one hand while the country takes pride in having the highest number of tigers in the country, such instances  coming before International Tiger Day is not encouraging” . They further asserted, that at a time when every tiger in the wild counts  its conservation value is lost  on being shifted to a zoo. Hence, it should be avoided at all costs, they added. 

 

http://www.dailypioneer.com/nation/rajasthan-mp-in-soup-ahead-of-international-tiger-day.html