SIT to probe tigers’ disappearance | india | Hindustan Times
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SIT to probe tigers’ disappearance

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has appointed a special investigative team (SIT) for probing the disappearance of tigers from Panna National Park in Madhya Pradesh. Rahul Noronha & Chetan Chauhan report.

india Updated: Mar 26, 2009 23:45 IST

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has appointed a special investigative team (SIT) for probing the disappearance of tigers from Panna National Park in Madhya Pradesh.

Former director of Project Tiger P.K. Sen, who heads the SIT, said, “There is a fear that from 15 tigers about two years ago, there is only one left in the reserve now.”

He told Hindustan Times after receiving the formal order from NTCA, “It is a matter of national concern as to where the tigers have disappeared.”

The SIT, to submit its report in 90 days, will fix responsibility of officials, besides probing whether local forest officials played a role in the disappearance of tigers. Sen said, “This is precisely our mandate and we will seek views of independent experts on it.”

The team has been constituted after leading tiger experts of India urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a thorough probe into the matter. It also came four years after a Supreme Court-appointed committee had warned that tigers were vanishing from Panna reserve.

Hindustan Times first reported in November 2008 that there could possibly be only one tiger left at Panna before the translocation of two tigresses from Bandhavgarh and Kanha reserves in the state.

Wildlife Institute of India also reported to the environment ministry this month that there was a possibility of only one tiger left at Panna.

The team consists of a former Wildlife Crime Bureau official, a scientist from the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India and an official of the NTCA. The state government would also have a nominee on the team.