WII set to reunite tiger with its mom
29 Dec 2008, 0338 hrs IST, Neha Shukla, TNN
LUCKNOW: There is hope anew that the young tiger might welcome the new year in the company of its mother in Pilibhit. The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has joined the operation to rescue and take back the wandering feline to the wild after the failure of the forest department to do so.
The two member WII team consists of a veterinary expert and a biologist. The team will work in co-operation with the forest officials.
Meanwhile, the tiger is currently hiding in Faizabad district’s Ramjanakpur village. It had killed a blue bull in the patch of jungle along the village on Sunday.
From the time of its moving out from Pilibhit area on November 11, the tiger has now entered the fifth forest division on Saturday after passing through Shahjahanpur, Sitapur, Barabanki and Lucknow. WII might succeed in restraining the tiger from moving any further. The forest officials in Faizabad have been ordered not to disturb the big cat in moving away from its current location.
The involvement of WII can make the department follow the national guidelines formed by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). If tested on NTCA’s guidelines, then the ongoing operation has already been a failure. Such operations require a set of well-defined preventive and control measures but the department did not follow any one of these.
The tiger could have been caught in Gauriaghat — where it got trapped within an area of 400 metre of scrubland on December 13 — had the department taken these measures seriously. The tiger had entered the patch around 12 in the noon and stayed till 5.00 in the morning. The department claims to have kept round-the-clock vigil over the area and yet the tiger managed to move to the next spot.
There is a need to deploy tracking squads comprising frontline staff and experienced local people and to plot day-to-day movement of the wayward animal. But, in this case the tiger has been ahead of the tracking team leaving the forest officials confused.
The wild goose chase can be given some direction if the department constitutes an advisory committee involving experienced trackers, field staff and NGOs. The committee can be of help in ascertaining the sex, age, physical deformities and behaviour of the carnivore. However, the major part of this operation was conducted secretly with wildlife organisations being isolated from the entire exercise.
Whenever tigers move out in human areas, the forest department is supposed to deploy workforce to prevent local people from trespassing in the area but this simple preventive measure was missing in this case. The measure could have prevented the death of a 14-year old boy in Bastauli village.