Thursday, December 2, 2010

Poaching Threat Sends Ranthambore National Park on High Alert

Tiger in Ranthambore National Park

The Ranthambore National Park in India's Rajasthan state has recently been put on high alert after a series of poaching threats reported by the forest department. Officials, which include forest guards, police, and even eco-developmental groups have been warned to maintain a strict vigil in and around the tiger sanctuary. H.M Bhatia, the chief wildlife warden of Rajasthan, stated that a conservation biologist named Dharmendra Khandal sent an email to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) warning of possible poaching attempts by poachers belonging to an indigenous tribe called the Mongia. According to Khandal, the people from this tribe have been killing wild boar and supplying its meat to Rajasthan's Kota region and other places. They even have 57 illegal guns, and have been occupying around the national park. Upon receiving the information, the members of the park staff made sure they would keep vigil for any suspicious activities occurring within or close to the park's borders. Mr. Bhatia further added that the local police had been asked to help out.

I sure hope that Ranthambore National Park will do whatever it can, in order to deal with poaching in and around it. India's political representatives had already met with other Asian representatives in St. Petersburg at the International Tiger Summit, and all have vowed to double the tiger population by 2022. This means that India has to do whatever it takes to prevent further onslaught of illegal poaching of tigers, or any other wild creature. One national park that has earned credit for protecting its wildlife is Kaziranga National Park in Assam. There, forest guards are given a shoot-to-kill order when confronting the poachers and sacrifice their lives to protect the animals making their home in the floodplains. Elsewhere, authorities have been known to back down for the fear of getting arrested for murder of any poacher(s) attempting to destroy the wildlife. Ranthambore is one of the few most well-known hotspots in India to find tigers. If the authorities do not follow the example of their counter-parts in Kaziranga, then poachers will find it easy to just go and slaughter as many tigers and other wild animals as they please. I personally feel that Ranthambore and any other Indian national park famous for housing wild tigers should follow Kaziranga's example in protecting its wildlife. That way, India will save its tiger population by the next Year of the Tiger.

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