Even as a major operation launched by the Bhopal forest division to catch a tiger seen moving in considerably populated Kaliasot-Kerwa areas of Bhopal over past few months remained unsuccessful on Thursday, the opposition to the idea of the tiger being shifted to a national park became strong.
Last week, another tiger that had entered human habitation in Karond locality was caught by forest officials and send to Panna national park. This move was also opposed by activists and some forest officials too, sources said.
On Thursday morning, a large posse of forest officials and workers entered the forest area of Kaliasot and Kerwa, in a big to round up the tiger to a point where it could be caught by a waiting forest team. Earlier on Wednesday too, an attempt to locate the tiger was made.
Barricades were put up on roads leading to Kaliasot-Kerwa area and police personnel stopped people from venturing throughout day. Forest department sources said the operation was called off before sunset as the tiger remained untraceable.
Sources said that there were plans to shift this tiger named T1 to Panna National Park or Satpuda Tiger Reserve. However, another version was that the tiger was only to be radio collared after being caught so that its movement could be tracked.
Opposition to idea of shifting tiger becomes strong
Meanwhile, wildlife activist Ajay Dubey upped ante against alleged move to shift the tiger and sent across an email to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in the matter. Speaking to HT, Dubey charged that the shifting plan was afoot without requisite approval of NTCA.
The NTCA member-secretary Bishan Singh Bonal, replied back to Dubey mail saying that the ‘CWLW (chief wild life warden of MP) was in touch with NTCA on the tigers’.
Dubey replied back to Bonal, mentioned that a petition regarding movement of tigers in proximity of Bhopal and their safety has been filed in MP High Court and the hearing has been scheduled for November 16.
The CWLW, Ravi Shrivastava, when contacted by HT said that the details about operation involving tiger T1 was available with divisional forest officer (DFO) of Bhopal. On issue of proposed shifting, the CWLW said “I would decide on the issue when it comes before me.” The DFO, Bhopal, AK Singh could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
The increased movement of tiger T1 in the populated area has been a matter of excitement and fear among the citizens, especially because the area of movement includes some major educational institutes and popular picnic spots.
The tiger had been regularly spotted by passersby and photographs were shot by common citizens. Apart from threat perception to people, Wildlife activists and some forest officials have expressed concern over safety of the tiger that has not yet attacked any human beings. Dubey said that the failure of the forest department to follow recommendations of a high-level committee on safe habitat for tigers is a big issue.