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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Debacle at Pench - Poaching of Tigers

The poaching of Bagin Nala Tigress and her cubs reminds me of my first visit to the park at River Pench. 

In that bright sunny day I could feel that I was in a tiger heaven just as Kipling had penned in his famous Jungle Book. I could imagine Mowgli along with the wolf pack waving at me from behind the dense canopy that lined attentively all along the road to Karmajhiri.  

The forest ranger had given me a lift generously from Khawasa but was in no mood to elaborate what lay all along us. In his deep husky drawl he informed me, "animals here are larger." And then there was silence as we moved on to the final destination the forest rest house.    

Those enamored by negative fall out of tourism..there were no hotels then as tourism was in infancy.  Few people from Nagpur made day visits for excursions.  

Seoni Hills and surrounding forests of Chindwara were once abode of the tigers and teemed with wildlife. Most of the forests have been denuded in the last few decades, but the ecosystem is still intact in the Pench Tiger Reserve that engulfs Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra border region on the Jabalpur Nagpur highway.  

The tiger was in the precarious state whence I arrived at Pench. Along with the tiger, other animals were being electrocuted using the 11 KVA line that passed through. The villagers had access through the park, possibly translocation had still not taken place?

The charred remains of the tiger unnerved me no end, the seat of the administration at that time was Karmajhiri barely two kilometers away. Other animals besides a poacher were charred to death using this hideous method.

The countenance of those responsible for protection of  wilderness was, at best could be described as shocking. There were more explanation for the events than action...
Tigress Pench

Tigress with cubs at Pench
and as we see in India all things gradually fizzle out. It did.

The shocking incidence at Pench is suggestive of prevailing presence of  the poaching fraternity, and nothing has been done regarding this. The wildlife is still in danger thanks to ineffective mechanisms and lack of will to foresee what threats are emerging. Is there a proactive strategy in place?   

The animals are surviving somehow, but a noose hangs around them all the time. After engaging abundant resource we could not prevent the murder of the most popular tigress. The fate of  many a big cats hangs in balance...entirely at the mercy of humans. 

Photo Credit: Dharmagiri
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