Absence of proposed protocol stalls relocation of tiger in MP
Press Trust of India
Monday, April 06, 2009 (New Delhi)
The Madhya Pradesh government’s plan to shift a male big cat to Panna Tiger Reserve is not likely to take place for now, in the absence of proposed “protocol” for tiger relocation to be framed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
“No tiger-range state will be allowed to relocate any big cat unless the protocol detailing minute steps needed for the process are formulated. And the Madhya Pradesh government is no exception,” a senior official from National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) said.
He said henceforth the animal will be allowed to be relocated only under the set guidelines enlisted under the proposed tiger relocation plan.
A committee of wildlife experts and NTCA officials has been constituted for the purpose.
The decision to chalk out a blueprint to relocate tigers was in response to allegations by wildlife experts that the Madhya Pradesh Government had overlooked basic norms while shifting two tigresses from Kanha reserve and Bandhavgarh park to Panna sanctuary last month.
Wildlife expert Belinda Wright was among those who had asked the Prime Minister’s Office to intervene in the Madhya Pradesh’s proposed plan to shift a tiger without ensuring conducive environment for the feline in Panna.
“The protocol will have minute details such as which type of animal of what age can be translocated on what conditions,” the NTCA official added.
“Though presently we do have translocation guidelines but the protocol will be like a Bible for the wildlife officials planning to shift the tiger from one reserve to another. They will have to strictly adhere to the norms,” he said.
Madhya Pradesh has faced flak for failing to protect the tiger in Panna Reserve which once had a healthy population of the predator.
A fact-finding team headed by wildlife expert PK Sen and comprising of officials from NTCA and Wildlife Institute of India has been constituted to probe a claim by state government officials that there is one tiger left in the reserve.