Monday, October 30, 2017

Tiger Deaths A Sad Plight of A Beleaguered Animal

With the electrocution of a tigress (Jr. Kankati) at Bandhavgarh another critically endangered species loses number. The worse to happen is that she was in custody of  her cubs totally dependent. This would mean a loss of four big cats. Negligence, misfortune, accident whatever is stated the sad story is that no answer has been found to prevent deliberate electrocution by local poachers near the reserves.     

Incidences of ghastly electrocution of this dwindling species is not new yet no solution has been found. The menace continues unabated thanks to burgeoning human population that surrounds reserves in India. Man animal conflict is taking its toll not only in case of big cats but other critically endangered animals as well.  This is a discouraging plight of wildlife conservation in the country.

We have taken over lands after destroying niche habitats in order to survive. This is besides the large number of tracts that are not tilled. Suggestive of bad land use policy unfortunately the issue is not a National imperative. And we continue to overpopulate.  

We talk about human rights even in sensitive regions which have constricted beyond regeneration capability.  We do not justify alternate existence/sustenance in order to preserve if the project does not carry sufficient economic leverage. Wilderness is truly battling survival in India.    

Is conservation a wash off of our guilt?

It could well be because we have not yet inculcated values that accord rights to other life forms. We are shamelessly a human centric society. On one hand we zealously discuss climate change, environment change etc but our actions are diametrically opposed our efforts are sham.  

Not only neglect or disregard for other life forms and nature, our actions, development goals and attitude are totally destructive and devoid of any concern for mother Earth that sustains us. When the rot will be stemmed is anybody's guess.                  

The spiralling downwards of big cat population continues - Panna, Pench, Sariska, Kanha to name some. Numerous tigers are missing - presumed to have been poached.  Although tigers travel a long distance to find new territories this is a rare occurrence. Many such predators vanish due to poaching, habitat destruction, mismanagement, lethargy and inconsideration especially in reserves which are not in the limelight. The vanishing species dies unsung.   

Male tigers rarely switch territories unless until forced to since this may also mean loss of young cubs they have sired. The overtaking male kills them instantly if the female is not able to protect them.  Whence common sense prevails the males do not leave the area they are commanding.   

Recently at Kanha National Park a male tiger in the buffer area was electrocuted, purportedly the wire was stretched to kill small game. The unfortunate tiger walked in. Well who knows! Neglect of small crimes leads to more organised, deadly, and concerted efforts.    

The poachers got away with minor punishment exposing the legal lacunae that exists whence crime against wild animals is concerned. There seems to be a complete lack of political will in giving the vital elements of our ecosystems their due.      

States keep on losing big cats purportedly due to poaching. In spite of all the patrolling and protective measures in place the animal is losing ground. It won't be a surprise if the recent exhilaration of rising numbers turns into deep despondency.     

This is not only a conservation challenge, our pride as a Nation is deeply involved. If we fail or falter we will lose face like never before.  

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