Monday, June 16, 2008

Staff shortages 'are putting India's tigers at risk'

Mon 16 June 2008 14:00 UK — Asia,Big Cats

Big cats in one of India's oldest national parks could be at risk from poachers because there are not enough staff to effectively protect them, a report has warned.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) reported that wildlife officials believe the acute staff shortages at Corbett National Park in the north of India could put the area's tiger population at risk of poaching.

Park Director Rajeev Bhartri told the news agency that "forty per cent of the total staff strength is yet to be filled" at the reserve.

In fact, an unnamed source suggested that the park is still looking for 102 forest guards for the park. This source explained that many previous members of staff left the park during a recent reorganisation of the state forest department.

He explained to the PTI: "When given an option they preferred to join Western Circle, thus creating a huge gap in the park as new recruitment or replacement is still pending."

Recent reports suggested that tiger populations in Corbett National Park were increasing. However, it appears poaching efforts are also on the rise. Last month, the PTI reported that the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau stopped three separate attempts to poach the big cats.

Currently, experts believe between 1,300 and 1,500 Bengal tigers survive on the Indian subcontinent.

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