ENVIS Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

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Eight tigers die in 5 months in Uttarakhand

The Pioneer, Dehradun, 1th June, 2013
The deaths of eight tigers in Uttarakhand so far this year has set the alarm bells ringing as activists point that with eight tigers already dying in five months, the total tiger fatalities this year are likely to be higher than last year when 11 tiger deaths were recorded.

Recently, two tigers were found dead in the Corbett tiger landscape within two days. The first was found dead near a water hole in Dhela range of Corbett Tiger Reserve on Monday while another was found dead on Wednesday in the Ampokhra range of Terai west division.

The corbett director is treating the death on Monday as suspicious and it is being investigated. Meanwhile, the activists stress that the Chief Minister who also heads the Environment and Forest as the department is failing to ensure the desired level of wildlife protection and tackle the increasing cases of revenge killings.

Corbett director Samir Sinha said," The death in Dhela is suspicious and is being investigated but there are some areas which are sensitive so we have intensified patrolling and started checking water holes regularly. We are focusing on preventive measures . This area has one of the highest tiger density in the world so deaths will occur but it is most important for us to ascertain that the deaths are not unnatural," he stressed.

Replying to a question on whether he is satisfied with the patrolling in corbett, Sinha said, "I am not paid to be satisfied and complacent so I am not satisfied. We will focus on strengthening the observance of standard operating procedures," he said.

According to figures provided by the Wildlife Protection Society of India, 24 tiger deaths were reported in Uttarakhand in 2011, 11 deaths in 2012 and eight deaths so far this year.

WPSI State in-Charge Rajendra Agrawal said that the Forest department `s intelligence system in ineffective and the department apear uninterested in improving wildlife security.

An alarming proportion of the tiger deaths are results of revenge killings by either villagers or Van Gujjars but the authorities have failed to check this ," he said. Former vice -chairman of the State Forest and Environment Advisory Committee and present State spokesman of the BJP, Anil Baluni said that it was surprising that in spite of the tiger deaths, the Chief Minister who heads the forest and wildlife portfolio has neither expressed concern nor called a meeting with officials to discuss the issue.

PFA Uttarkhand member secretary Guari Maulekhi said that the beat patrolling system of the department is defunct and should be replaced by the patrolling system adopted by the Indo_tibetan Border Police to reduce chances of anomalies in patrolling.