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Teeming With Tigers, India Needs To Manage Their Population

India is facing a serious 'problem of plenty'. Rising tiger population in many parts of the country is creating conflict zones. And the tiger- human clashes are going up, alarmingly in many landscapes. The Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) needs to take initiatives to control the situation. Fifty years after the project tiger as India moves on from dwindling tiger population to surplus numbers of the big cats,  the nation needs an active tiger population management plan. As MoEFC&C yet to  become proactive, a team of  tiger catchers continue to carry out search operations for the past over five months to  capture a tigress with four cubs. Thge team members are  scanning Tadoba Andhari Tiger Landscape in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, grappling with the issue of over population of 200 tigers. As many as 53 people lost their lives in Chandrapur in 2022 in tiger attacks while 14 tigers have also died from January 2022 to January this year. This

Ranthambore ,Tadoba Tigers Go Behind Bars , More Awaits Cages


Ranthambore tiger T-104

Increasing incidents of   tiger human conflict is leading to more and more tigers behind bars. Accused of killing three people, a tiger from Ranthambore national park was finally sent to a cage which would be his house for the rest of his life. Another tiger was caught near Tadoba national park and sent to a transit treatment centre where the animal awaits a punishment as a State Committee forest department began a ‘trial’. Hope the committee takes an early decision on the tiger.

T104, The Great Escaper  

Ranthambore tiger T-104

T-104 or Chikoo or Hammir , a ferocious tiger of Ranthambore was  housed for three years in a 5 -bigha  or over 3 hectare enclosure  in the core area of Ranthambore national park for the past three years. The   big cat was fed by the park management while it remained inside the enclosure . But the location where Chikoo was housed is a tiger corridor and  as and when some tiger crosses, a fight took place- between the  wild tiger outside the enclosure and Chikoo inside the  iron grills. This would often lead to injuries to both. In 2019, when T- 104 was tranquilized and  caught, the   state forest department was not able to make a decision abput the tiger's future . Now they have decided to send the animal in a cage to Mukundara tiger reserve near Kota  city of Rajasthan.Named after Hammiradeva, the last Chauhan ruler of Ranthambore, T-104, alias Chikoo’  alias  ‘Hammir’, will be the second tiger to be caged for life after ‘Ustad’ or T24, whose capture and subsequent captivity in 2015 had set off a wave of protests on social media in India and abroad.

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In T-104's case, conservationists recommend sending the tiger to a zoo or rescuing centre with proper veterinary services and handlers of captive animals. T-104 gained notoriety in 2019 when he killed three people in and around Ranthambore in the Sawai Madhopur and Karauli districts. The first victim was a woman who had gone to defecate in a field near her house in the wee hours just before dawn.  The tiger was tranquilised that very day, radio-collared and released him in the core area of the reserve. But the tiger got rid of the collar and moved out of the core area to reach the same village where he was tranquilised and caught.  He was  captured again and sent to the park but he escaped again. Later T-104   killed two more people before he was caught and brought to the 5-bigha -open Ranthambore enclosure.

T103: Case Of Mistaken Identity 

Tadoba tiger T-103

About 500 kms away from Ranthambore  near famous Tadoba tiger reserve,  Brahmpuri  region has become major  man- animal conflict zone. Situated on the edge of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) amidst fragmented forests area , 5 lakh  villagers jostle for space with 100 tiger resulting everyday day conflict with the animal.  Most of the  cases  of the confrontation take place when the villagers  go inside the forest to pick fuelwood or for grazing. Open defecation in the forest also lead to incidents. On August 19, 2022, the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) of TATR tranquilized and captured “T-103_SAM-1,the dreaded tiger of North Bramhapuri forest range” that had  allegedly killed three people "  including two in the same month. After tranquilization, animal was taken  to Transit Treatment Center at Chandrapur .From  here, it would be transferred to Gorewada wildlife rescue centre in Nagpur. 

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“ A state committee of the forest department would decide whether the tiger needs to be transferred to the rescue centre which has a zoo also or will be released in the wild. “ It is a sort of trial”, a department official in Nagpur said.  The officials said that that the tiger was found  deep in human habitation  where three people were killed by a tiger , not sure  whether the same tiger or not". That day this was tranquilised because it was found  deep in the human habitation . There are three more tigers there. Had the tiger  not been  captured, there would have been risk of his life from the villagers”, officials said. This also means that the conflict will continue because if the presence of more tigers in the region. It also means that more tigers are likely to be moved in cages in Brahmpuri in the future.

Serving Lifer: Sundari Is Victim Of Officials' Apathy

Sundari tigress Satkosia

Hope the  officials in Maharashtra will take some lessons   from the case of Sundari, a tigress relocated from Madhya Pradesh to Odisha as a part of the first interstate  tiger  relocation programme  in June 2018, and take an early decision on T-103. Sundari was  translocated  from Bandhavgarh national park to Satkosia tiger reserve of Odisha. A male tiger –Mahaveer- was also brought from Kanha national park as a tiger reintroduction programme in Satlosia. Mahaveer died ( poached)   while  Sundari was involved in conflict with the local villagers ,not willing to accept the presence of the tiger . After  months of conflict, the tigress was captured and sent to a cage where she lived for a long period. She also became used to human presence as she was fed by handlers inside the  cage.

Also readTigress Gets ‘Life Imprisonment’

After prolonged  captivity, she also lost the wild hunting skills and the chances of the tigress going back to the wild became dim. Finally in March 2022 , the authorities decided to sent the  tigress to  prison, a small enclosure in VanVihar national park, an open zoo  cum rescue centre in Bhopal. Officials said that  “ she  cannot be released in wild as she was accustomed to humanpresence  and  developed a tendency of approaching  towards humans ”. Hope   the state committee in Nagpur will take an early decision in the case of T-103-SAM-1 to prevent  ‘life imprisonment’ of another tiger.

Cover Image Courtsey Ranthambore national park 

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