Friday, December 30, 2011

Sentinels of the Wild

Recently the Karnataka Government has instituted a special task force to protect the tigers in the reserves. The need for specialized and highly trained task force has become imperative in order to deliver physical protection to tigers and other animals in their natural home. 

I emphasize on the words training and hence acclimatization. I have heard of an incident in Kanha whence a force constituting retired soldiers lost their wits whence accosted by a tiger. Some firing out of fear is also said to have taken place.  I do not know how far this is true but nevertheless such a situation can be visualized easily. 

Since the inception of protected areas protection has been the biggest farce. On my recent visit to Nauradehi WLS I could see intrusion at number of places, and there are fearless wood smugglers involved in felling and smuggling teak.    

The present infrastructure at our tiger reserves is weak the forest guard is a helpless entity and easily succumbs to local pressure or lucrative liaisons. In absence of higher support he merely does his duty without any intervention. I have rarely seen presence of high officials in neighboring reserve forests, same may apply to many protected areas in India. The forest guard are easily overpowered by poaching mafia and wood smugglers in protected areas hence a more supportive mechanism has to come into picture.     

The delay in relocation process is another disabling factor since intrusion and illegal activities in the forests  are done at the behest of criminals from neighboring communities. There are some gangs based in neighboring districts and states who regularly poach in nearby protected areas. These groups are more professional and armed and ruthless towards their objective.

An armed force with war front capability is the need of the day if debacle like Sariska and Panna have to be avoided.