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Egyptian Vultures: Victims of Myths And Misconception

In one of the most shocking cases of wildlife trade, seven endangered Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus), have been recovered from a man traveling from Kanpur to Manmad in Maharashtra. Wrapped in colourful cloth, the vultures were hidden inside a basket in Pushpak Express when the railway police rounded up the man with the threatened birds. The arrest is likely to unearth a wildlife crime syndicate. This blog will keep you updated on the issue . The scavenger birds are listed as endangered in the IUCN red list  threatened species because of its “rapidly declining"  population world over”. Myths Linked With Vultures Special task force (SIT) of Madhya Pradesh forest department is quizzing Fareed Sheikh (60) who was found in possession of 7 birds from a train at Khandwa railway station. He turned out to be only a   carrier-  like those  in drug trafficking. Fareed said that  Sameer Khan, a resident of  Kanpur, handed him over the vultures and  he was  asked to transfer the co

Are Tigers denied Honourable Death?

 

Should a wild tiger be allowed to die its natural death in the jungle when injured after aterritorial fight or in natural course  or it should be  given medical treatment  when found injured.For long, this question has baffled the wildlife managers, many of whom are of the opinion that a wild tiger should not be denied an honorable death. Let the law of the jungle prevail and there should be no interference with nature.

Treat or Not to Treat: Dilemma Continues 

So a tiger carrying an injury in its natural course of life in the jungle (not due toany human action) – should it be treated with medicines? Though this question has been raised for the past many years, NTCA guidelines prohibit such intervention(of medication). A one-word answer for the question seems to be difficult ,especially in the times when most of the people are concerned moreover thetiger numbers. India along with other 13 tiger range countries has been workingfor the past few years to double the number of the big cat. For TX2- symbolizing doubling the tiger number - 2022 is the deadline.

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“Not only all wildlife managers should answer this question loudly, but also allthose who care about wild tigers, be it NGOs or individual tiger lovers orexperts”, said Uttam Kumar Sharma, the field director of Panna Tiger reserve, raisingthe issue. Panna   national park haswitnessed a successful tiger reintroduction programme after all its tigers hadvanished ( allegedly poached) in 2008.  “Treating injured tigers with antibiotics, painkillers etc. has become an optionand frequently exercised. If a tiger becomes lame, catching it and putting it in a zoo has become a theme: A wild tiger denied an honourable death in the wild! Do weneed to put a stop to these practices? “, Sharma asked.  “Legality apart, the important moral questionis - should it be treated with medicines?”, he reiterated .  A former director of National TigerConservation Authority (NTCA)  had a laconic reply .

Also read Future Tense: Turbulent Time Ahead for Panna Tigers

The  former  senior official said “No”  and explained “ A tiger should not be treated.Theory of survival of the fittest is applicable in the jungle. This is how naturecreates  balance and we should stopinterfering with nature”.  Citing anexample of his park, Uttam Kumar Sharma said,” Two tigers -T7 and P111, bothmore than 11 -year old, who once ruled a large territory have been graduallylosing control because of the age factor. They now exercise control overlimited territory and prey mostly on cattle now”. He said that “New challengersfor their remaining territory like P241, P271 and P142-21, all young maletigers, are constantly challenging them and every now and then territorialfights are taking place. Bruised and battered many times ,T7 and P111 are stillholding on to their last remaining territories.”  But nobody knows till when. They are underconstant threat of not only losing their territory but also their life as anybattle may be their last battle?”, he explains.

Number Game Overshadows Real Issues

There are bigger issues hidden in the dilemma of treat or not to treat, said a senior scientist of the Wildlife Institute of India.  He explains, “We need to understand whyeverybody is   looking concerned over thetiger numbers and rushing to interfere with nature. Why do the park managers find it difficult to explain to their headquarters about the tiger deaths taking placein the natural course in the wild or after the loss of tiger due to territorialfights. Politicians and most of the media need to be educated over the issue”.  Rampant poaching in the past led to a decline in the tiger numbers. Huge funds were also pumped in for tigerconservation and the upkeep of jungles. After questions were raised, it became difficult for governments to answer the reasons behind the shrinking tigernumbers. Many individual researchers also raised questions about “fudging intiger figures”. This also led to technological advancements in tiger census making it more authentic. 

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Populationof the tigers inside the protected areas (tiger reserves) is constantlymonitored, round the year. As India counts its tigers again and a massiveestimation exercise is underway, the focus of tiger census is outside theprotected areas. This is where a tiger is extremely unsafe and most of thepoaching cases also take place in this jungle stretch outside the tigerreserves. The dispersing tiger is electrocuted or poisoned as it crossesagriculture fields and villages.   But inthe number din, the issues of connectivity of the jungles and preservation oftiger corridors were lost. Also lost in the number game is the core question,to treat or not to treat. And an answer is awaited. 

Banner Pic: Source Twitter, Representtional Image  

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