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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

'Problem tigers' an interstate headache

ByK R Rajeev, TNN | Mar 12, 2013, 05.50 AM IST NTCA to adopt Taser tech to immobilize problem tigerHC notice for NTCA and CZA over white tigersTiger, leopard may be killed if posing danger to humans: NTCATigress is recovering at zoo; to be left into forestTiger found dead outside Nagarahole tiger reserve KOZHIKODE: The tiger scare in Wayanad has now taken an interstate dimension. It has emerged that the 'problem tigers' captured by Karnataka forest officials and released close to the Kerala border were involved in the last two man-animal conflicts in Wayanad which left seven persons injured. TOI has learnt that the latest tiger captured at Moodakolli in Wayanad on March 6 was also a problem tiger captured by the Karnataka forest department from the Nagarahole National Park on January 17 after it attacked two people. It was released at the Bandipur National Park, bordering Wayanad, on the same day at a spot which was just 16km from its capture site in Kerala. The identity of the tiger was confirmed by the experts of the Bangalore-based Centre for Wildlife Studies-India (CWS). The term 'problem tiger' is used for any animal that persistently preys on domestic livestock, or has either killed human beings, or is potentially likely to do so immediately. Also, the previous tiger captured from Wayanad on February 2 was caged by the Karnataka forest department following cattle killing complaints and released at a place just 19km from Odappalam where it was later captured by the Kerala forest officials. The bungling by the Kerala forest department in releasing another stray tiger, originally from Nagarhole and captured on November 13 from Wayanad, ended in the shooting down of the big cat on December 2. Kerala forest officials say that the instances of problem tigers released by Karnataka forest department close to the state's boundary leading to conflict situations here called for a total review of the capture-release practice of problem tigers as it has only contributed to transfer of the problem to a new location. Centre for Wildlife Studies director K Ullas Karanth said that all the three tigers were released without following NTCA guidelines. It thus resulted in the sparking off of bigger problems and anti-conservation feelings among the people of Wayanad. He said that the felid captured at Moodakolli on March 6 was a male, around 9-10 years old, identified as NHT-292. The tiger was involved in cattle attacks within the Mysore forest division and at Manchanayakanahalli in January 2013 and had also attacked a villager on January 16. It was mobbed by the villagers at Ankanathpura on January 17 where it attacked a freelance photographer who was taking its snaps. It was released near Doddahalla within the Nisana Begur forest range in Bandipur National Park at 4.30pm the same day. Karanth said that trans-locating the tiger into the Bandipur National Park led to a man-animal conflict situation in Wayanad. "The release actually accentuated and transferred the conflict than solving it," he said. "This tiger, an evicted resident, past its prime, should have been euthanized, or held in captivity permanently. Releasing it again anywhere would surely have led to more conflicts and management problems," he added. Chief conservator of forest O P Kaler said that the National Tiger Conservation Authority directive to radio-collar all released tigers was not followed by the Karnataka forest staff while releasing problem tigers. "The NTCA guidelines are also against releasing injured and old tigers back to the wild. The tiger in question was around 10 years old and has lived its life. Then, what was the need to release the problem tiger," he added.

Ongoing stir at Sariska spells doom for tourism

ByRajendra Sharma, TNN | Mar 12, 2013, 01.30 AM IST Sariska villagers block tourists’ entryVillagers damage man's houseVillagers rescue injured lionAasu homage to agitation martyrsVillagers oppose Angul power plant ALWAR: The ongoing agitation of villagers has spelled doom for tourism industry at Sariska tiger reserve with the mass protest against relocation of their villages entering 13th day on Tuesday. Nearly 2,500 villagers who stay around the national park have been blocking its main entrance not allowing tourists entry since February 28. They threatened on Monday that the stir would be intensified as their peaceful agitation has failed to create any impact on the administration officials. Nearly 50 villages are yet to be relocated from the reserve area. The administration has put a ban on registry of land in these villagers and other surrounding areas which also the villagers are opposing. About 2500 residents of these 50 villages have been organising an indefinite sit-in at the reserve against the alleged "cheating" by the district administration . The villagers alleged that they had called off the agitation in May last year when the district administration agreed on some of their demands including lifting ban on the registry of land, construction of a concrete road and earmarking a grazing area. "But now they have backtracked and are expressing ignorance if any consensus was reached," said Jaikishan Gujjar, a villager. The tourists had started flocking the park after the number of tigers in Sariska reached seven with relocation of two tigers from Ranthambore in January. "More tourists were coming to Sariska as tiger sighting had become comparatively easier after relocation of two more tigers. However, with villagers block the park's entrance, the tourism industry has suffered a beating. Hotel and other bookings have been cancelled in the past 12 days," said Kailash Chand, a tour operator. Since 2008, the farmers in the periphery of the reserve have been showing their anger against the state government and wildlife authorities' decision to relocate them. The villagers leave their cattle to graze in the sanctuary area leading to frequent confrontations with forest guards and officials. It is the third time in the past eight months that the villagers have launched an agitation against the relocation.