Mitigate man-animal conflict: tiger conservation authority

Chhattisgarh tigress could have been saved from mob death on September 24

 
By Aparna Pallavi
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Following investigation into the killing of a tigress by the residents of  village Bakhrutola in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh on September 24, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) assistant inspector general, Sanjay Pathak, has said  that  better coordination between the revenue, forest and police departments could have prevented the incident.


The tigress, which had been released by the Maharashtra forest department in the Navegaonbandh National Park close to the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border after being treated for injuries, had been moving close to villages for several weeks
The area in which the animal was finally killed was naxalite-affected, it was not possible for the department to send more than five guards to the site. The guards were helpless against the 5,000 strong mob which had collected to kill the tigress, says NTCA
The entire responsibility of rescuing the tigress was left to the lower staff and no senior official made any move, say activists
Despite killing 19 domestic animals in 57 days, officials did not think it necessary to check the movements of the animal
Forest personnel could not shoot a sedative dart at the animal even from a bare distance of 20 m, says he, which finally provoked the mob to attack the tigress, say activists
 
Pathak, while  addressing the media last week, said the tigress, had been released by the Maharashtra forest department in the Navegaonbandh National Park close to the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border after being treated for injuries. Instead of moving in the wild and hunting prey, the tigress had been moving close to villages for several weeks, and had killed 19 domestic animals during that period. The fact-finding team of NTCA team felt this behaviour (sticking close to human habitat) was not normal.

Pathak says the department’s decision to release the tigress into the wild was not a wrong one, and that the follow-up on the animal’s movements had been carried out periodically. However, since the area in which the animal was finally killed was naxalite-affected, it was not possible for the department to send more than five guards to the site. The guards were helpless against the 5,000 strong mob which had collected to kill the tigress, he said while trying to defend the forest department. Pathak said there was need for urgent measures to mitigate man-animal conflict and raise local people’s awareness regarding importance of wildlife.

However, wildlife activists have squarely blamed forest officials of Rajnandgaon for sheer neglect in handling the situation. Dilip Gode, secretary of Vidarbha Nature Conservation Society, says the entire responsibility of rescuing the animal was left to the lower staff and no senior official made any move.

He says despite killing 19 domestic animals in 57 days, officials did not think it necessary to check the movements of the animal. Even on the fateful day, forest officials were first alerted about the presence of the animal in Bakhrutola at 6 a m, and repeatedly afterwards, but no forest official turned up till 11 a m, by which time the mob had already gathered. Also, forest personnel could not shoot a sedative dart at the animal even from a bare distance of 20 metres, says he, which finally provoked the mob to attack the tigress.

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