To check fudging, dead tigers to be deep frozen
Neha Sinha Posted online: Friday , May 01, 2009 at 0251 hrs
New Delhi : To save the tiger, each dead tiger in India will now be put in deep freeze. In a bid to fix accountability for tiger deaths — and check the practice of buring unnatural tiger deaths as natural — the National Tiger Conservation Authority has mandated a postmortem protocol: each dead tiger will be stored and “studied” by an “independent team.” Each injured tiger, too, will be treated by this team.
This comes after as many as 30 tiger deaths this year with many deaths being suspect. Since November, at least five tigers have died in Kaziranga, more than six in Kanha, and two deaths have been reported from Pilibhit, adjoining a tiger reserve. While it was claimed that the Kaziranga deaths occurred due to a turf fight, an investigation found at least some deaths were caused by poisoning.
Says the NTCA directive, signed by Member Secretary Rajesh Gopal: “Time and again, due to rapid disposal of tiger carcasses by burning, criticism is being received from various quarters...To ensure transparency, all tiger carcasses should be preserved in deep freeze until an independent team analyses the cause.”
The team includes an NTCA official, a state veterinary doctor, a non-governmental tiger expert nominated by the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state. The NTCA will provide Central funding for deep freeze and generator facilities.
“We want every tiger death to have a professional, detailed explanation and come with a sense of accountability,” said Gopal.