Corbett tiger deaths remain controversial

Posted on: June 16th, 2012

Wildlife activists are alleging that four tigers, including three cubs, have died in the Corbett national park since June 7, but officials are trying to conceal these deaths.

Member secretary of People For Animals, Uttarakhand, Gauri Maulekhi who has also received an e-mail from a forest guard with pictures of what are the decomposed remains of a tiger purported to have been poached in the Bijrani range of Corbett on June 7 has alleged that the Corbett officials are involved in a major cover-up and are not allowing forest guards and nature guides to enter the forest with mobile phones with cameras.

However, Corbett officials are denying this, saying that these are rumours being spread by people with vested interests. On June 7, four tiger cubs were found burnt to death near an army depot in Terai west forest division. However, it seems that these were not the only tiger fatalities in Uttarakhand this month. In a letter sent to the National Tiger Conservation Authority member secretary Rajesh Gopal, Maulekhi has said that three more cubs were burnt to death at the Rattapani Saufuti area between the Bijrani and Sarpduli ranges of Corbett on June 10.

“The Corbett authorities are denying this but sources in the lower ranks of the staff have confirmed it. The injured tiger at Bhojpani in Kalagarh range has also died as has been reported to us by forest workers. It had a severely injured hind leg. With the ‘open season’ being enjoyed in Corbett by poachers, one can safely assume that it had been a victim of a steel trap.”

She further states, “The Corbett director Ranjan Misra and warden UC Tiwari have forbidden forest guards and nature guides from carrying mobile phones with cameras to the national park as it gives them a chance to report back to us in case a mishap is being covered up by the authorities.

The three burnt cubs, when found were also photographed by the guards but the park warden made sure that the pictures were deleted, thereby issuing arbitrary orders that no guard will carry mobile phones. The effort and time being invested in preventing PFA from getting information may be better utilised in nabbing the poachers,” she adds.

Apart from this a forest guard has also complained to the PFA about a tiger poached in Corbett on June 7. In the e-mail sent to the organisation the forest guard has stated that he does not trust his senior officers as they are trying to conceal this death wherein poachers left with the pelt and bones of the big cat.

Meanwhile, the Corbett director has denied these allegations averring that these are motivated by ulterior motives. “Our staff knows how to do their job and they are doing it well. The tiger in Kalagarh is aged and hence moving slower than usual and we are monitoring it and have not banned staff from carrying mobile phones in the forest areas,” Mishra said.

Src: Daily Pioneer

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