Hunt for ‘man-eating tigers’ or political witch hunt?

Bahar Dutt

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New Delhi: In an unprecedented man-animal conflict situation, shoot at sight orders had been given for four tigers in North India. First it was a tiger in Uttar Pradesh which was categorised a man eater and then in Uttaranchal. Now are tigers increasingly turning man-eaters or is there political pressure on to capture them?

An angry National Tiger Consrevation Authroity (NTCA) has now stepped in to investigate the matter.

“We have asked the state government to trap the animal. Why should they declare it as a man-eater,” questions Member Secretary, NTCA, Rajesh Gopal.

The recent debate has been sparked off after a tiger from the Corbett National Park was declared a man eater. This, after the tiger mauled a woman to death after she had entered the forest area. The animal was then sent to Nainital Zoo.

But when is it that a tiger can be man eater? Experts say it can only happen in the following cases:

When a tiger has consumed the kill it makes

When the tiger habitually kills humans

When the tiger is old or disabled and unable to hunt

However, in the case of the tiger in Corbett none of these were true. Then why was the animal trapped?

“The animal was not a man eater, then why was it trapped? Every tiger that enters village, if you keep on trapping then where will the wild tigers go,” demands Tiger expert, P K Sen.

Soucers in fact have informed CNN-IBN the pressure came straight from the CM’s office to trap the animal on the demand for revenge killing from the local people.

Should the Uttaranchal government have given in to pressure from the locals and trapped an animal which was in fact not a danger ? These are questions now being raised in a state which once took pride for running the best tiger reserve in the country.

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