Chronicle Reporter, Seoni
The wildlife special task force (STF) of Madhya Pradesh is mounting pressure on the poaching trade, the death of two tigers in a week in Kanha National Park and Seoni has alarmed the authorities.
The carcass of a tigress was found in Kisali range of Kanha National Park while a decomposed carcass of another tigress, with its paws chopped and jaws removed, was found near Damjhola village in Seoni district.
The two deaths have put the the toll at 30 since January last year.One of the two cases of tiger deaths are not related to poaching as the Kanha tigress died due to territorial fight among the tiger clan as a portion of its stomach was missing and claw marks were found on its body. This suggested that it could have been killed in a territorial fight, a senior forest official said.
The tigress has been identified as T-83, also called Budbudi by the park staff. The postmortem report is awaited to ascertain the exact cause of its death. Field director Sanjay Shukla told mediapersons that a probe is on to ascertain if the tigress had been killed by T-56, another tiger in the area.
In the case of the Seoni death, STF officials said that they have arrested four people from Mohbarra village of Seoni district who killed the tiger for the purpose of using its parts in witchcraft.
Madhya Pradesh wildlife special task force has arrested around two dozen poachers this year involved in the trade and killing of tigers and pangolins, yet the unnatural deaths of precious wildlife is not stopping.
Once called the Tiger State, Madhya Pradesh is home to over twenty per cent of the tiger population in India. It had around 308 tigers as per the 2014 wildlife census.
The state also has highest number of tiger tiger reserves in the country, with six: Panna, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Satpura, Pench and Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
The state is also a hub to poachers who regularly exploit the wildlife in the region with a deep entrenched network around the protected forest areas. According to Ritesh Sirothia, a senior officer with the wildlife STF, “We have identified people in this trade and have nabbed hundreds of them. We are sure to catch the culprits of these incidents who are constantly evolving new ways due to pressure from the forest department.”
Primarily nomadic tribes like Pardis, Bhelias and Bawarias are involved in the trade, but with the recent growth in the business of new species, many educated people are also getting in, said a wildlife officer. The trade is now going online but the poaching remains with the poor and uneducated people living around the forest areas.
The wildlife STF, after the poaching of four tigers in Shahdol-Umaria region, arrested 10 local residents for their involvement in the poaching where electrocuted traps were used by the poachers.
The kingpin of the racket, Suraj Raghuvanshi, too was arrested. On the other hand, two deputy rangers and two beat guards were suspended for dereliction of duty.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which monitors tiger conservation in the country, had shot off a letter to the state forest department on the sudden increase of tiger deaths in the state. So far, 30 tigers deaths have been reported from various protected areas in Madhya Pradesh since January last year.