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Monday, May 21, 2012

Ideas pour in to stop tiger poaching

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | May 21, 2012, 01.44AM IST NAGPUR: Reactions continue to pour in against the brutal poaching of a full-grown tiger at Borda near Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve on Friday. Reacting to Friday's incident, Belinda Wright, executive director of Wildlife Protection Society of India ( WPSI), said the loss of every wild tiger is a major set back for this critically endangered species. "The removal of three tigers from the wild due to poaching in Tadoba landscape tragically illustrates just how inadequate our existing protection measures are. The only short-term remedy for this is intelligence-led enforcement," Wright said. To achieve this, the forest department needs to collaborate closely with skilled enforcement officers from the police department, and experienced NGOs. Modern investigation techniques, including forensics and trained dogs, need to be quickly put in place, she said. Wright said another essential requirement is improved patrolling and monitoring in the field. Prof Nishi Mukherjee, who works with Baiga tribals in Kanha, called for a law to shoot poachers at sight. In Kaziranga tiger reserve in Assam, poachers are shot, he said. The Assam government, like the government of South Africa, knows how much economic sustenance the parks can give to local people. "Nagpur is the 'tiger capital of the world' and the 'gateway to tiger land'. Why must Maharashtra be a soft state within the country? With such flagrant poaching continuing without any accountability, is anyone held responsible?" asks Mukherjee. He said, "If criminals plunder gold from the Reserve Bank of India, will the security keep quiet? Similarly, if poachers plunder tigers and leopards, our forest wealth, should the forest department keep mum? Tigers and leopards are like gold mines and can bring in huge money, but locals have failed to understand this." Wildlife veterinarian Dr AD Kholkute called for close watch on Nagbhid, Talodi, Sindewahi, Mul and Babupeth railway stations and bus stands, from where Bahelia poachers sneak into the forest areas. "Inquire with local cycle stores about any unknown person hiring a cycle and if a local person has introduced him," he suggested. There are coal mines in Chandrapur and majority of the workers are from other states. Officials should inquire about guests visiting these workers. Besides, villagers, particularly shepherds and cowboys, need to be taken into confidence as they know people wander in the forests.

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