Corbett tiger: Man-eater or victim?
Thursday, February 12, 2009 (Nainital)
A week ago, a tiger killed a woman who had gone inside the Corbett National Park looking for firewood. The state government was quick to declare the tiger a man-eater issuing orders to have it captured or killed.
Alarmed, the Centre stepped in.
"We were quite concerned as people in the past have also declared them as man-eaters based on one or two mauling and without proper investigation," said Dr Rajesh Gopal, Director, Project Tiger.
While a timely order by the National Tiger Conservation Authority may have saved this tiger, conservationists say what's in store is much worse.
"It's a fate worse than death and everyone is saying good for the tiger and that people must come first. Are they forgetting that a forest are the only thing which gives quality of life to a nation? It is stupid and ridiculous for anyone to walk into a tiger's home and when you get into trouble you pick up an innocent tiger and cage it?" said Valmik Thapar, Member, Tiger Conservation Authority.
While politicians led villagers demanded the killing of the animal, most who gathered to see the animal were not even sure if it was the same tiger.
Entering the park without permission is illegal but few here seem to be worried.
"The forest officials stop us from going in, but we will continue to go in," said Parvati Devi, Resident, Gorakhpur.
As India's national animal continues to be poached, now it seems to be losing its right to survive even in the wild.