LUCKNOW: Any tiger death reported from any part of the country will prima-facie be taken as poaching. The latest guidelines issued from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to all the chief wildlife wardens of state forest departments is an effort to make the state governments more accountable.
The states were reporting most of the tiger deaths as "natural", so far, thus, washing their hands off of any further investigation. "Poaching calls for more seriousness and accountability on the part of the states," said SP Yadav, joint director, NTCA, New Delhi. After the latest guidelines, "the onus will be on the field directors to prove otherwise," said the official.
In case, forest officers fail to prove otherwise, it will be recorded as a case of poaching.The guidelines say, even an intact carcass of tiger or a leopard will be taken as a case of poaching. "Poachers poison tigers when they want an intact tiger skin," said the official.
Though census figures show the population of tigers rising all over the country, what cannot be denied is the fact that tigers are highly threatened. Since January 2012, country has lost 36 tigers. Out of which, 16 tiger deaths were reported by way of poaching and seizures, and, for 20 other tiger deaths, cause was not know.
UP reported five tiger deaths. A tiger skin was recovered from Najibabad in Bijnore on February 9 and another tiger was found dead in Amangarh in Bijnore on March 7, the cause of the death was not know for this.
Meanwhile, two tigers were reported dead in Haripur range of Pilibhit on Friday, a decomposed carcass of tiger was found in Kishenpur sanctuary on Sunday. NTCA, however, wants to accord "utmost seriousness" to tiger and leopard deaths in the country.
If a tiger death is classified as occurring due to natural causes, this should be substantiated by adequate field evidence and factual details while reporting to the central authority.
Tiger source areas are targeted by poachers and tigers also become victims of non-targeted killings due to man-tiger conflicts. There is need to ensure adequate caution while classifying tiger deaths due to "natural" causes, says NTCA.
The area from where tiger death has been reported has to be thoroughly combed to ensure that there are no metal traps or snares at the site. Evidence related to unauthorized vehicular movement, use of fire arms, poisoning near water points, natural salt licks and poisoning of livestock kills made by tiger or leopard needs to be investigated.