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30 janvier 2013 3 30 /01 /janvier /2013 20:32



MYSORE: It seems to be a never ending war of wits between conservationists and poachers as far as protection of tigers in country's sanctuaries is concerned. Poisoning of tiger in Nagarhole tiger reserve (see detail below) also called as Rajiv Gandhi National park has brought to fore the complications involved in protection of tigers especially in Karnataka where tigers are thriving .

According to official sources both Bandipur and Nagarahole tiger reserves are well managed and protected tiger reserves in the country in addition to having a healthy population of tigers . " These are the two sanctuaries in the country where tiger population is maximum and well shielded from poachers" claims project tiger director B J Hosmath refusing to give heed to theory of any foul play in the poisoning of tiger. Incident has happened by accident and there is no chance of any gang's involvement in it , he added. Neither the habitats are sinking nor there is decline in prey population which is forcing tigers to invade live stocks in human habitats, he clarified, adding that predator -prey ratio is well maintained.

However the wild life experts have a gut feeling that incident is the handiwork of poachers . " Poisoning of the left over livestock is the handiwork of gangsters as they only know the tiger behavior of returning to eat the remaining carcass" Tiger expert Ullas Karanth pointed out , disclosing techniques adopted by gangsters to poach tigers. " It is a chain of people and locals being at the lowest in the poachers rung with middlemen and 'big gun' remaining anonymous at the top of this chain" he disclosed, adding that only thorough investigation will bring out the truth as poisoning of tigers is common in north Indian sanctuaries.

Asked whether shrinking habitat and decline in prey population has made the tigers to invade human habitats and kill livestock, Karanth said as far as Karnataka is concerned neither the habitat has shrunk nor the prey population has dwindled. "Tigers attack the livestock as they are easy food for them compared to other preys" he pointed out adding that tigers killing livestock is not a new phenomenon. Another wild life activist Krupakar said the protection level in tiger sanctuaries of Karnataka is very high compared to other sanctuaries in North India. " In both Bandipur and Nagarahole there is a tiger for every 10 to 11 sq. kms of forest territory which is very high compared to other tiger reserves .


"Poisoning of tiger in Nagarhole tiger reserve" : detail (source : The Hindu, ce jour).

A tiger, which was found dead in the Kakanakote forests (D.B. Kuppe range) of the Nagarahole National Park early this month, was poisoned in what is suspected to be an act of revenge.

The post-mortem report and visceral analysis indicate the presence of zinc phosphide, which is rat poison. This has sent shockwaves among conservationists and Forest Department officials.

This is said to be the first case of a tiger being poisoned in the national park, which is a major tiger reserve and home to about 70 of them.

R. Gokul, Director, Conservator of Forests and Director, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, confirmed that the tiger, which was found dead on January 13 near the Kabini backwaters was poisoned. Its carcass, discovered two weeks ago, was intact, with no sign of external injuries, putting a question mark on cause of death.

Though there was a question of whether poachers had a hand in the death, this has been ruled out as neither the skin nor the claws had been removed. The needle of suspicion points to revenge killing and Mr. Gokul said the animal may have strayed out of its habitat and stalked livestock. Since tigers have a tendency to partially eat their prey and conceal it in bushes to consume over a period of time, the local community may have poisoned the carcass of the cattle, resulting in the tiger’s death, he said.

But the nearest human habitation is nearly 3 km from the spot where the tiger was found, casting doubt on that theory.

However, Mr. Gokul pointed out that tigers generally do not stray from their habitat in Nagarahole as the Kabini backwaters acts as a border between the national park and the adjoining human landscape. But due to severe drought, the backwaters has receded and turned into a grassland, with no demarcation separating the forestland from the outside landscape. “As a result, there is free movement of animals in the absence of a water barrier. We suspect the local community on the fringes may have driven their livestock inside the forests in search of fodder. The tiger may have killed one of the domestic animals and the village people may have subsequently poisoned the carcass as an act of revenge,” said Mr. Gokul.

There have been six incidents of tigers straying out of their habitat this season, which is unusually high. This is attributed to increase in tiger density inside the national park.

The authorities have deployed the Special Tiger Protection Force in the area to keep vigil on the movement of animals in the region. Apart from launching a full-fledged investigation into tiger poisoning, the Forest Department will also interact with the local community adjoining the forests and seek their help in wildlife conservation.


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