Tiger moves away from state capital
16 Dec 2008, 0504 hrs IST, Neha Shukla, TNN
LUCKNOW: A strong will to capture the animal safely is a bigger requirement for tiger rescue operation than the gun-totting team and rescue elephants. This is the only thought that generates out of repeated failures of the forest officials in trapping a young tiger who has been on the move amidst humans for the past two weeks.
The tiger has dodged gun-totting forest team yet again. He has now moved at least 15 km ahead of Gauriaghat thickets in Gosainganj area to village clusters of Mohammadabad and Chamarkalia. The latest kill has been reported from this region as tiger is said to have killed a goat in Fattepur village in the close vicinity of these village clusters. He has got an even perfect habitat as it is almost a jungle area with Gomati flowing adjacent to it.
The combing continued on Monday and those part of the rescue efforts are sure of his existence in the region though the two elephants combing the area are still to indicate his presence there. "The bushes are so thick that the search operation is a difficult task," said a forest official from the spot. The forest staff has been put on the alert and operations will be resumed on Tuesday. While forest team is failing again and again to capture the tiger, the threat for the animal's existence is increasing.
It will not be possible to safeguard the young tiger against the human backlash for long.
The reactions of villagers at Gauriaghat during the two day of operations were enough to prove that animal's life does not matter to them. The animal is present amidst humans and that is the biggest risk for the villagers. In case he attacks men, even for self-defence, he will be branded a man-mauler and that might bring an unhappy end to the whole drama so far.
Meanwhile, forest operations has not been without loopholes all through. The period of more than 12 hours from 5 pm on Saturday till 5 am on Sunday, which allowed tiger complete peace in Gauriaghat's thickets was more than enough for him to move on. Though many from the department are hesitant to speak up but they do not deny that animal most probably changed position during this period.
Besides, an enclosure which was set at least half a kilometre away from the thickets of Gauriaghat where tiger was hiding on Saturday could again be a wrong decision on the part of the team, say experts. The tiger did not even venture in the close proximity of the enclosure, leave alone the goats that were tied to lure him.
When the tiger search operations are successfully conducted during dawn and dusk, forest team waits till sun comes over-head to launch the combing. Once, it is called off after sunset, there is almost no watch of tiger's activity. No wonder, the tiger has eluded the officials each time.
The department's claims have been falling flat on their faces since Saturday when officials sounded more than sure they will trap him. Even on Sunday, they continued combing at Gauriaghat when the tiger had already moved on and rescue elephants had not indicated his presence.
The tiger can be caught only when most of the officials at the spot are of use and not mere the flock that moves around in blue-beacon fitted cars, washing their hands off the situation citing "we are from social forestry division". Is tiger's life a matter of concern for them?