People are the Tigers Worst Enemy

GUWAHATI: The recent killing of a tigress nearKaziranga National ParkĀ has once again highlighted the failure in carrying out rescue operations and proper crowd control mechanism, which could have, otherwise, saved the endangered species and also prevent humans from sustaining injuries in big cat attacks.

Tigers being highly territorial, chances of their straying out of protected areas are very high. Every time a big cat strays into a human settlement, it becomes more vulnerable to conflicts with humans, often resulting in retaliatory killings or shooting.

On Monday, about 14 rounds of bullets were fired at the tigress allegedly by armed police personnel when she started attacking people. The animal had strayed out of Kaziranga and sneaked into Bosagaon on the fringes of the park.

In November, 2010, security forces had to gun down a full-grown tiger after the big cat mauled two persons to death and injured a policeman grievously at Nagabandha village of Morigaon district. In 2009, another tiger was shot dead after it killed two persons at Jakhalabanda in Nagaon district.

In all these incidents of tiger deaths, successful rescue operations were badly hampered because of unruly crowd. Mob-like situation and lack of co-ordination between the forest department and the district administration had prevented rescue operations.

“Straying out of tiger is a normal phenomenon. But when it comes out of the park, it comes into conflict with humans. In such a situation, crowd management becomes the biggest problem for carrying out rescue operations. The unruly crowd behaviour agitates the animal and results into human casualties or injuries,” said a park official.

With the rise in human-tiger conflicts, especially on the fringes of Kaziranga following straying out of big cats, wildlife conservations are asking for putting a protocol in place to deal with such situations. “Once we have a protocol, it will define the roles of different agencies for dealing with such a situation,” saidĀ Aaranyak wildlife biologistĀ M Firoz Ahmed.

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