State, NTCA lock horns over tiger shifting to Mukundra
NTCA seeks action against officials for flouting wildlife Act; state questions bar on translocationUpdated: May 06, 2018 21:42 IST
The shifting of a tiger from the Ramgarh Vishdhari sanctuary in Bundi to the Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve (MHTR) has snowballed into a confrontation of sorts between the Rajasthan government and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
The translocated tiger, T-91, had strayed into the Vishdhari sanctuary from Ranthambore Tiger Reserve.
Taking objection to the shifting of T-91 from the Vishdhari sanctuary, NTCA asked the Rajasthan chief secretary to take disciplinary action against the officials for violating the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 during the translocation. The apex tiger body’s letter said T-91 was captured near the sanctuary for translocation to MHTR without prior concurrence of NTCA.
The letter said the in-principle approval for re-introduction of tigers at the MHTR was kept in abeyance. NTCA had approved relocation of three Ranthambhore tigers -- two female and a male – to MHTR in September last year.
In reply, the state government recently shot off a letter to NTCA, questioning the bar on shifting of tigers to the Mukundra reserve. The letter with a 12-point poser was sent in response to a communication from NTCA seeking action against forest officials responsible for shifting T-91 to MHTR on April 3.
“MHTR was declared a national park in 2013, but NTCA did not extend any technical or financial support to the state government for introduction of tiger in this tiger reserve,” former chief secretary NC Goel wrote to NTCA member secretary Anup Kumar Nayak on April 25. Goel retired on April 30.
NTCA kept relocation of tigers from Ranthambore to Mukundra in abeyance on March 26 after a 6-day inspection of the new reserve by a deputy inspector general of forest (DIGF).
“The report of this inspection was not shared with the Rajasthan government and NTCA unilaterally decided to put off tiger relocation,” stated the chief secretary’s letter, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times.
“We would like to know who authorised DIG NTCA to conduct this inspection and was CWLW (chief wildlife warden) consulted or even informed of this inspection?” Goel asked.
“What is there in this inspection report that compelled NTCA to, all of a sudden, take this extreme action in haste, without even talking to the state government… and therefore showing total disregard to the respective role and place of the state government and NTCA in the scheme of things.”
The state government is upset over NTCA’s suspension of its approval for shifting three Ranthambore tigers to Mukundra. The tiger that was shifted from Bundi was originally in Ranthambore, but had been straying since November 2017.
“Instead of enabling and facilitating the state government and rejoicing on the fact that we rescued a strayed tiger, why should NTCA embark on a disabling mode?” the letter asked.
“Under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, the chief wildlife warden is fully competent to take decisions about capturing, translocating or shifting a tiger, or for that matter any animal, that has strayed from its natural habitat, causing danger to itself and to the human population.”
Goel’s letter ended on a reconciliatory note: “Best would be that we meet, discuss and thrash out whatever is amiss on either side. The state government and the NTCA has common objective of conserving tiger, tiger habitat, and related eco-systems.”
NTCA refused to comment on the letter. “The issue is under consideration,” said Nayak, additional director general of forest (project tiger).
First Published: May 06, 2018 21:41 IST