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Monday, May 31, 2010

Bengal Tiger: Of reasoning and solutions

The Jhurjura tigress...a tragic event it has once again highlighted the plight of tigers in India. It has also brought to surface how event centric we are and how we fail to take preemptive and proactive action. We believe in reasoning for rational approach and too much at times. Paradoxically whence circumspect evidence is right at our door step we perform the worst. We believe in burying our heads in the sand and hope the rot stems on its own. 

As a mature democracy we show our concerns in debates, discussions, forums and public platforms. - thankfully there is a voice.  The rot continues as intellectual pursuit to ensuing problem intensifies. The answer is not always found, especially in case of ultra revolutionary, anti democratic and anti national contingencies that of late has become day to day phenomena. 

Declining tiger population is akin to state of emergency, it highlights lack of efficacy and incompetence of Governments and administrative setups in the country. It also highlights one basic fact, how localized democratic urgency dominates the whole scenario in India. If the tiger could vote or if it helped brew the local wine, its persecution could not have taken place so mercilessly.  Tiger poaching is an anti national activity -  the animal is our pride and priceless inheritance.             

We are simply unable to take timely proactive or preemptive actions as is evident from our handling of nefarious activities in our surroundings. We lack the will to go for offensive in order to defend. In case of tiger reserves certain communities (e.g.Bel Pardhi) are more inclined to poaching along side network of seasoned criminals, regular poachers and underground traders. Much more can be done to bring these people to boot as they  leave footprints (evidence) whence involved in nefarious activity. Use of snares and electric wires is increasing as means of killing big cats. How the poachers can lay traps without being caught even once is alarming. 

I have seen at Pench, tiger, bear and bison were electrocuted repeatedly at one spot barely  2 km from Karmajhiri R.H. It is reported that snares are being used in Kanha and Satpura tiger reserves. This could be  happening in all protected areas in Central India.  

The cause of the rot is well known, we all know how and why of the decline of tigers and other endangered species in India. Man animal conflicts, peripheral discontents, encroachment, wood logging are quagmire of issues that the tiger heavens face. But the worst is unchecked poaching that continues in one form or other. The impunity with which tigers in Sariska and Panna were poached is astounding. The failure can best be ascribed to: "Nero fiddled while Rome burned".           

Not exactly! But while the tigers were being poached in one of our Nation's best protected wildlife havens the administration was right there from top to bottom. And not a blotch on their deliverance of duty. Until after! After much explanatory response and counter responsive the revelation of ghastly  truth.  I am not here to blame individual lethargy and incompetence. This article lays emphasis on exposing the inability of our system to deal effectively with contingencies that arise from within. Particularly the case of vanishing tigers. This is of utmost urgency. The anomalies in systemic governance pertaining  to wildlife protection should be rectified with electric cadence. 

If a neighboring country elements can effectively fulfill demand for tiger bones by using sources from within India by exploiting the system...How safe we are in all spheres of life?

It all bores down to the fact that machinery responsible to check and discourage poaching in our tiger reserves is ineffective - due to systemic inefficiency or loop holes. There is no intelligence gathering  up to the scale, whatever is there, it has bore no fruits.   

I know that physically guarding such large sensitive territories is not easy..but than is it so immensely difficult that we loose all the tigers in short period. The most important element in preventing poaching is the beat guard and unfortunately he is the weakest element...prone to intimidation and corruption.  Teams  of trained armed guards well versed in matters of conservation and familiar with wildlife are a must. Similarly  professional wildlife manager's trained to the task are a prerequisite. Devoid of political interference the administration should be hell bent upon protecting the area. Discouragement comes from punitive action which so far has been a big farce in and around our tiger reserves.

Of late some steps have been taken or proposed but then how effective they are time will tell. The tiger's plight depends upon implementation of correct policies with a strong will that puts them in force.             

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