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Stone Pelting on Tiger Cubs :Kanha Pench Corridor Becomes Conflict Zone

 Two tiger cubs- less than 6 month old- escaped the fury of a 5000 strong mob in a village located in Kanha-Pench corridor . Villagers tried to kill them by pelting stones when the cubs had reached a water body to quench their thirst. This issue  has highlighted again the plight of the fragmented tiger corridors. It also reminds the urgency to restore their sanctity. People Shouted Kill the Cubs Kill the Cubs  Wildlife is most vulnerable during summer, due to scarcity of resources. Water is the key limited resource inside jungles . Special monitoring ofwater holes should be carried out all along the corridors, to effectively deter such incidents, poaching of herbivores and poisoning of tigers and othercarnivores. In the scorching summer, the two cubs also reached a nearby waterbody . In the adjacent forest , the villagers were plucking tendu leaves- a minor forest produce  to  roll beedi , a thin cigarette or mini-cigar filled with tobacco flake and commonly wrapped in a tendu leaf. Th

Death of a Superstar Highlights Signifiance of Tiger Corridors

                                                         

A superstar-tiger of Panna National Park popularly known as Hira was poached. Code named 234-31,Hira was about 2 years of age and was perhaps headed towards Ranipur wildlifesanctuary in Chitrakoot Uttar Pradesh when he was electrocuted and de-skinned brutally by the poachers. For thousands of tourists and wildlife photographers,Hira along with his sibling Panna assumed a status of superstars because of thefrequent sightings and the photo opportunities they provided to the visitors of Akola wildlife tourist zone in the buffer area of the park.  They were born in November 2019 to Tigress P234 in her third litter. Panna,  the sibling of Hira, is still entertaining  the tourists. 

Tiger Unsafe Outside Protected Area


As Hira was radio collared, his whereabouts were known tothe forest department. But tigers are not monitored on an hourly or day to daybasis. After leaving the Akola zone on July 24 , Hira remained in Panna’s  north division forest for about a month. Laterhe entered the jungles of the adjoining Satna and continued moving. He was found dead about 90 to 100 kms away from the Akola zone.   Expertsbelieve that   in the absence of a jungle corridor, the tigermovement was not smooth. “ This is the reason why most of the tigers are poached or electrocuted when they move out from protected areas. 

Also read: Photo Ops Over, Tigers Leave the Fans

This incident has once again highlighted the importance of tiger corridors, especially in Panna landscape where a river linking project and proposed diamond mining have threatened the jungles and  its tigers.”Hira’s last satellite location and GPS readings were registered on October 13. “After this the collar stopped sending the location and we thought it might have developed some technical problem. When it did not send signals for 3 to 4 days,   an alert was sounded for the officials of Satna”. 


Department officials said that the radio collar generally survives for 6 to 7 months and the one around his neck was about 9 to 10 months old.  No one could say with certainty about the destination of the tiger, but the route undertaken by him would have led him to  Ranipur wildlife sanctuary near Chitrakoot, a jungle  in Uttar Pradesh known for sheltering the tigers dispersing from  Panna in the past also.

Professional Poachers  


Perhaps, a handiworkof poachers, very active in Satna and Katni – the two districts close to Panna and Bandhavgarh National Parks, the tiger was killed brutally.  “After poaching, the body was disposed off ina nearby water body. The radio collar was also thrown.”  

Also read: Avni's killing: Core Issue of Tiger Corridors Lost in Oblivion

Experts believe that “only those whounderstand the value of the tiger skin   can de-skin the animal. Had it been the caseof accidental electrocution, the whole body would have been disposed off.” Fieldstaff of the forest department spotted the radio collar and it was only then the death of Hira was confirmed. Three persons were also arrested. But department sources said that there is more than meets the eye and the poaching case requires a thorough investigation. The incident should also  be a wake up call for the department as it shows the active presence of poachers  ahead of the favourable poaching period of November to January. 
Cover Pic: Representational Image

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