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Prep Before Cheetahs Become Free Ranging In Kuno National Park

  When another male cheetah, Obaan,joined the two rock stars – Freddie and Elton -- in yet another bigger enclosure of Kuno national park on November 18, only five female cheetahs remained in smaller bomas in the park where they were released on September 17. Like the three males, the five female spotted cats will also be released soon in larger bomas to run and chase their prey to kill. India’s  wildlife authorities accompanied by the experts from the cheetah conservation fund (CCF) from Namibia   have been taking utmost care and caution  before the  cheetahs in Kuno are ultimately made “free -ranging” meaning released in open to move around the entire length and breadth of the park. “Free ranging cheetahs and their monitoring  will be like a grand finale of the Project Cheetah to be played in Kuno for a longer  period in the coming years'", said a senior official of the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFC&C).  Apprehensions, Concerns  on Chee

Tiger In Town Near Corbett Reserve Shot Dead

                                   

An injured tigress was shot dead in a busy market place near the world famous Corbett tiger reserve. Mystery shrouded the cold blooded killing of the big cat .Who killed the tiger- people of Marchula town where the tiger had strayed or the forest department personnel?  The animal could have been easily rescued by a team  of experts located few kms away from the spot.

 10 Gun Shots And The Tigress Was Dead

The tigress was spotted in the night  in the market of Marchula, a town dotted with  resorts and restaurants  catering to  tiger tourism. Though there was no one on the roads of Marchula market, people were heard shouting “maro”   “maro” ( shoot -shoot).   They were also heard shouting “ yeh kal walla hai” ( this is the same  as yesterday (sighting) ). This was followed by gunshots. A gun barrel was also seen coming out from the window of a white four-wheeler which was also charged by the tigress.  Eyewitnesses said  markets were closed and people went indoors after the tiger sighting. Director of the tiger reserve Dr Dheeraj Pandey confirmed that the tigress died of pellets and a forest guard has been booked for the   incident. He said that around 9.15 pm on November 14, the animal had strayed to Marchula. After the tiger sighting, a forest department team  had rushed to the spot.

Also read: Shooting In Valmiki Tiger Reserve: Why More Tigers are Turning Into "Pests"

Mohanchandra Bhatta, Van Daroga ,  fired 8 -rounds  in the air from his 315- bore  service rifle. This was done to scare the tigress to ensure that the animal goes back to jungle but  the situation deteriorated and the animal reached   near the human settlement, Corbett director said . Another two rounds were fired   from a 12-bore service rifle by Dheeraj Singh , a forest guard , and the  bullets were fired on the ground to scare the animal.  This was done because people were standing on rooftops and firing in air would have  risked human life. Pellets from one of the two bullets from Dheeraj’s weapon injured the  tigress and  she died after excess bleeding. Dheeraj Singh has been booked under provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, said the Corbett director. Singh has been attached to the Plain Range Office in Sendhikhal under Uttarakhand’s Kalagarh Tiger Reserve.

Why Was The Tiger Not Tranquilised  

A senior  official of the Union ministry of environment, forest  and climate change said, “ there was a clear violation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)  while handling the crisis in Marchula ''.  Prima facie, it appeared there was no attempt to tranquilise the tigress. In the very first attempt, as is clear from the press statement of the Corbett reserve, gunshots were fired.  “When tiger can be killed by gunshots, it could have been tranquilised also to capture alive”, he explained.  The post-mortem examination of the tigress, conducted on November 15 by a team of veterinary doctors, also confirmed that the big cat died of bullet injuries resulting in excessive bleeding. 

Also readCorbett Controversy: Misplaced Priorities of Politicians

A 10-cm-long porcupine quill was also found penetrated in the animal’s liver and it had damaged the organ badly, the report said. The stomach and intestine of the animal were empty and the lungs were also damaged, it added. The death of the tigress had triggered a blame-game between government officials and local villagers on Tuesday. While the forest department claimed that villagers might have killed the tigress fearing getting attacked by it, local residents claimed that the vehicle used by people who allegedly shot dead the big cat resembled a forest department jeep. A video purportedly showing two shots being fired from a vehicle at the tigress in the Marchula market area was widely circulated on social media on Tuesday. In an increasing number of man tiger conflict, eleven people have been killed in tiger attacks in Uttarakhand this year, according to the the state forest department — the most in the last five years. Two people were killed last year in tiger attacks in the state while  no death tiger attack death was  reported in 2020. There were three  tiger related deaths  in 2019 and six deaths in 2018.

By Deshdeep Saxena 

Tiger Images from the state forest department 

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