NGOs pressuring Project Tiger officials
5 Jul 2009, 2224 hrs IST, M B Maramkal, TNN
MYSORE: Are the Project Tiger officials in the state working under duress from NGOs? The death of the tigress that was shifted from Nagarhole National Park to Bhadra Tiger Reserve has given rise to such questions. For sources in forest department say that the tigress was shifted at the behest of an NGO to help a researcher.
Sources told TOI that the researcher wanted to track its movements at Bhadra as he expected opposition to his plans from local people at Nagarhole. In early ’90s wildlife activists from Mysore and Kodagu had vehemently opposed research on tigers by researcher Ullas Karanth and had succeeded in forcing him to wind up his tigers’ radio collaring project.
It was said that officials of Project Tiger, including PCCF (wildlife) and chief wildlife warden B K Singh, were against the shifting of the tiger from Nagarhole as they had strong suspicion of the big cat not adopting itself to the new environment. “Our suspicions have come true,” said a forest department official.
“But they were helpless as they were under tremendous pressure from people connected with tiger conservation in New Delhi,” a source revealed. Even the Bhadra forest reserve forest officials came to know about tigress’ death through the researcher who was tracking its movements.
However, PCCF (wildlife) B K Singh denied there was any external pressure in shifting the tigress to Bhadra. “The decision to shift the tiger was done with our wisdom and knowledge,” he said.
Expert on wildlife and tigers Vidhay Atre from Pune said the tigress might have died of `capture myopathy’. Giving a clean chit to the Project Tiger officials, she stressed the need for a detailed study of tigers and the way to deal with such situations in a scientific way. “The country lacks information on this front,” she said.