22 Mar 2008, 0555 hrs IST,Nitin Sethi,TNN
NEW DELHI: The tiger is under threat in what everyone thought was its safest den till date the Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand. Since 2006, the park has lost 15 tigers and 16 elephants.
An alarmed Environment Ministry has shot off repeated advisories to the park authorities to tighten the act.
The missives point out that there have been recurring reports of body parts of wild animals being seized in the vicinity of the park which, according to the recent tiger estimation study, reported the highest density of the big cat.
In an indication that the park authorities have not been paying attention to their core duty - patrolling each corner of the park - the Centre has reminded the authorities that the chowki level monitoring records of wild animals is not being maintained.
Such parks all over the country are divided into 'beats' to demarcate patrolling duties for the ground staff. The staff at each beat is expected to keep records of the wildlife sighting while on patrol. It were these records which provided researchers with information that Sariska had in real lost its tigers even though the 'census' recorded increasing numbers each year.
In the case of Corbett, the Union government has also pointed out that the monthly monitoring reports on tiger presence have also not been prepared for the last two years. With the reports and field data missing for more than two years, the task of keeping track and forecasting troubled zones of the park in view of poaching incidents becomes difficult.
To add to the lax protection regime, heavy tourism pressure is distracting the staff from its core duties. The problem is being exacerbated with a retinue of VIP visitors owing to the proximity of the park to Delhi and its high profile in the north Indian tourism circuits.
In order to entertain the VIPs without compromising on the protection regime, the Centre has advised the park director to designate an officer to take care of the needs of tourists and free himself and his field staff from this revenue earning but distracting activity. With the buffer zone of the tiger reserve still not demarcated even though the law requires it, the government has asked the park to focus on scientifically tracking the tigers that are straying out of their traditional areas.
For The Tiger
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