Sunday, May 17, 2015

Inquiry Initiated into Tiger Attacks After Activists Lobby to Keep Big Cat in Ranthambore National Park

Tiger cooling off

India's famed Ranthambore National Park has recently been shaken up after one of its tigers came into spotlight after allegedly attacking and killing a forest guard named Rampal Saini on Friday. The tiger, known as T-24 and "Ustaad", has become a subject of a fair trial for this unfortunate incident and was initially ordered to be transferred to a zoo but the government of Rajasthan delayed the decision after strong complaints by experts and conservationists. Raj Kumar Rinwa, Minister of State for Forests, conveyed wildlife activist representatives that a detailed inquiry would be launched to investigate the causes that led to Friday's incident before taking a final decision to transfer the tiger. He further added that the government would establish a committee of experts to check into different aspects that led to Ustaad's behavior. In addition to Rampal Saini, the tiger had killed three other people earlier yet experts implored to the government that it should not be dubbed a maneater. Furthermore, a second incident occurred within a week in Ranthambore National Park when a tiger, suspected to be a female dubbed T-30, attacked and injured two villagers in the Khandar area on Thursday. The two villagers, Kuldeep Swami and Satish Meena, were rushed to a general hospital in Sawai Madhopur. Mr. Meena was transferred to the Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur because of his critical condition as a result of a head injury and too much bleeding. According to Mr. Swami, both him and Mr. Meena were walking into the forest when two tigers suddenly appeared before them and one of the big cats attacked them. The staff at the national park emphasized that the attacker could be the tigress T-30, who was sighted roaming the area with her cubs. According to officials, the tiger was hiding behind the bushes. As soon as the villagers came to know about the big cat's presence, they started gathering to see it. In spite of the warning, the crowd grew large and the tiger appeared from behind the bushes to attack the two victims.
T-24; the largest tiger in Ranthambore who allegedly attacked and killed a forest guard.

It is extremely shocking and unfortunate that Ranthambore's tigers are a subject to human-wildlife conflicts. Interestingly, they have not been venturing beyond the borders of the national park in search of prey because theoretically that is how most wild animals come into conflict with people. Instead, experts have stressed that the causes of human-tiger conflict in Ranthambore National Park is due to decline in prey base, especially in Keladevi and Sawai Man Singh Wildlife Sanctuaries, on either side of Ranthambore which has affected the tigers' territories. In addition, they have also asserted that mining activities in the area aside from the existence of villages has incited human-tiger conflict in the region. This is why it is highly essential to take crucial measurements to prevent any further conflicts between people and tigers in the vicinity of Ranthambore. Villagers should be persuaded to relocate away from the national park and the adjoining wildlife sanctuaries in order to help minimize any possibilities of human-tiger conflict. Furthermore, the lack of prey base is probably due to illegal poaching and should be tackled by implementing proper security efforts and bringing prey species from other parts of Rajasthan to help bolster their populations in those two wildlife sanctuaries. In addition, forest guards should consider changing their patrolling techniques. That is, instead of patrolling on foot, they should survey the national park via Gypsies. Ranthambore National Park is renowned for being one of the most top-notch tiger reserves in India and anything which affects its tigers would in turn affect India's wildlife as a whole.

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