The National Green Tribunal on Monday directed Madhya Pradesh government to conduct an investigation and find out why three tigers had moved out of the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary to the inhabited areas of Bhopal city.
Reviewing the compliance on a 2014 order issued by the tribunal in the light of recent media reports of tigers moving closer to the state capital, the two-member bench of the green tribunal on Monday also summoned the principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), conservator of forest of Bhopal, director of Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhopal collector and director of town and country planning to remain personally present at the next hearing in the case on November 4.The bench comprised of justices Dalip Singh as the judicial member and AR Yousuf as the expert member.
The NGT on April 4, 2014 had suggested that the state and the Central government agencies should take necessary steps to stop tigers from moving out of their habitats and entering into a conflict with humans. Such incidents were dangerous for both and hence should be addressed with concrete steps, NGT had maintained.
During the hearing, counsel for the state government sought time for filing compliance on the ground that officer in-charge was yet to be appointed by the forest department on tigers straying into inhabited areas of Bhopal. Rejecting the plea, NGT bench said it would like to have the first hand information from the forest officials themselves rather than from the officer in-charge.
Maintaining that recent media reports and statements issued by forest officials have made it clear that three tigers, identified as T1, T2 and TP-1, have ventured out of Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary, NGT directed the director of the sanctuary to conduct an investigation to find out why a territorial wild animal, like tiger, was coming out of the sanctuary.
The tribunal also stated that the state government needed to take a stand on whether Kerwa and Kaliasot areas needed to be protected in the light of their last year’s judgment and increase in tiger population.
Big cat continues to evade forest department team
The two cages with live baits set up by the forest department near Kerwa and Kaliasot on Sunday to trap a tiger that has strayed into the areas failed to produce any positive results on Monday. The forest department team now has brought in two elephants from Satpura National Park to assist in tracking the animal.
The tuskers have been stationed at the forest nursery in Kerwa, sources in the forest department told HT. They said the forest department, however, has not initiated any plan to tranquilise and capture the tiger, but the elephants have been brought to Bhopal to assist the forest officials in tracking the big cat.
“In case the tiger is administered tranquiliser…the elephants would be useful in tracking the tiger if it moves off the road,” said a forest department officer associated with the monitoring.