Radio collars, 24x7 monitoring of all Sariska tigers, says wildlife board

Recommendations came after one tiger died on March 19 and a tigress went missing on February 21.

jaipur Updated: Apr 24, 2018 22:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
The standing committee of the State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) has also recommended relocation of some villages from the periphery of the tiger reserve.(HT Photo)

Rajasthan’s top body for wildlife management has recommended advanced radio collars for all tigers at Sariska and their round-the-clock monitoring with separate teams to prevent poaching in the game reserve which had lost all its big cats in 2005.

The standing committee of the State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) has also recommended relocation of some villages from the periphery of the tiger reserve.

The recommendations came after one tiger, officially identified as ST-11 died on March 19, and a tigress, ST-5, went missing on February 21. It is yet to be located.

The state government had last month asked the SBWL to enquire and report the reasons for the two incidents and shortcomings in the monitoring system at the Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR), spread over 800 square kilometres in Alwar district.

In its report, the SBWL has recommended immediate replacement of the collars with advanced GPS-enabled VHF collars. The present collars are obsolete and can be tracked only through hand-held antennas carried by forest guards.

GPS-enabled collars will help track the tigers from any location.

The recommendations include monitoring of the tigers 24x7 with individual teams working in shifts, creation of highly diverse intelligence network to prevent illegal acts of snaring and poaching, immediate creation of the Sariska Strike Force, pending for the last 10 years, and creation of a wildlife crime cell under chief conservator of forest with sole purpose of preventing, detecting and investigating wildlife crime.

The committee has also asked the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to sort out all technical problems with their signals and frequencies in order to ensure that when a signal is absent, there is no delay in informing the forest department.

The standing committee is chaired by Ajit Singh, GV Reddy as member secretary and members Dharmendra Khandal, Valmik Thapar and CS Ratnasamy.

Tigers in India are officially recorded by initials of their habitat – ST for Sariska tiger.

The committee also felt the need for immediate relocation of 26 villages located in STR.

“STR is facing grave crisis because of these villages located inside core tiger habitat of STR,” the report said.

The four-year-old tiger ST-11 is believed to have died of strangulation after getting stuck in the trap set by a farmer near his farm at Indok village to stop wild animals from damaging his crop.

“The extinction of tigers in 2005 in STR brought shame to both the state and government of India. This also shocked conservation communities across the world,” the report said.

“The standing committee of SBWL strongly believes that if the above measures are not implemented immediately, the day is not far when the debacle of losing all the tigers of STR may well be repeated in the near future,” it added.

Since the debacle in 2005, tigers were relocated in Sariska in a first-of-its-kind experiment in the world. Following the two incidents, the reserve has 12 tigers, the national animal of India.

First Published: Apr 24, 2018 22:41 IST