National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has asked the field directors of tiger reserves on April 22 to ensure the presence of an independent team of observers during post mortems carried out in case of tiger deaths.
Dr Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of the authority, told Hindustan Times, “The order was circulated to ensure transparency in tiger death cases. An independent team will be present during post mortem proceedings to find out the actual reasons of tiger deaths.”
The team will consist of a representative of NTCA, the veterinary officer of the reserve or the district concerned and a non-governmental expert nominated by the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state.
According to NTCA authorities, tiger carcasses should never be burnt after death. “all tiger carcasses should be preserved in a deep freezer till an independent team analyses the cause of death,” NTCA said, adding that it would help fund the purchase of deep freezers, power generators and other accessories under the centrally sponsored scheme of Project Tiger.
Ramesh Pandey, deputy director of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, said, “We are already investigating two cases of tiger poaching at the Kaziranga and Kanha national parks. There are several cases where tiger deaths were termed as natural although they had been killed by poachers.”
The NTCA authorities, too, admitted that the actual reasons of tiger deaths were not investigated transparently. Dr Gopal said, “We need to further strengthen our role. Once the reason of a tiger death is traced, we can plan actions to prevent them.”