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Thursday, February 7, 2013

NTCA releases advisory on man-animal conflict

By Mazhar Ali, TNN | Feb 7, 2013, 02.16 AM IST HC notice for NTCA and CZA over white tigersNew norms for tiger reservesShutting down metro not the solutionCTET to be held on November 18Anti-nuclear Kudankulam dissenters plan novel New Year's protest CHANDRAPUR: Perturbed by the rising incidents of tiger-man conflict, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has come up with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). SOP is an advisory on the steps that has to be taken while dealing with emergencies arising due to straying of tigers in human settlements. Its purpose is to ensure that the situation is handled in an appropriate manner so as to avoid casualty or injury to human beings, tigers, cattle or property. The procedure has been drawn up after consulting wildlife experts and the field officers. It has been sent to the all the PCCFs, Head of forest force and Chief Wildlife Wardens in the country. According to the SOP, in the event of a big cat straying into human settlement, a committee comprising of the chief wildlife warden, NTCA officials, a veterinarian, representatives of local NGO and the local panchayat has to be immediately formed. This committee will be responsible of providing technical guidance and also will ensure proper monitoring, on a day-to-day basis, in the problem area. Secondly, the big cat and its source area has to be identified. Also, data on livestock depredation and human injury or fatality has to be collected. If it is confirmed that the tiger is repeatedly straying into human settlements or is responsible for attacks on humans or livestocks, then the forest authorities have been advised to trap the animal as per standard procedures. SOP categorically puts the responsibility of maintaining law and order on the district authorities of the area. If successive trapping efforts fail, chemical immobilization of the big cat should be done by an expert team comprising of a veterinarian. In case the tranquillized tiger is healthy and is in its prime then it may be released into a suitable habitat after radio collaring it. However, the chief wildlife warden is vested with the responsibility of making the call on whether to release the animal or not. SOP also cautions that under no circumstances, a tiger should be eliminated by invoking the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, if it is not causing human death. It provides detailed guidelines on declaring a big cat a man-eater.

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