- Thursday, 03 January 2013 00:07
- Moushumi Basu | New Delhi
Perturbed over the rising number of tiger deaths in the country, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has for the first time come out with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) or specific guidelines that spell out the basic steps required to be taken at the field level for dealing with incidents of tiger mortality; when carcass has been found or body parts seized.
However, officials from certain State forest departments have expressed doubts on the ultimate efficacy of such advisories, especially when the requisite funds for tiger protection to even pay regular salaries to frontline staff do not reach on time. Instead, there should be more involvement on the part of NTCA in ensuring action at ground level, they suggested.
The advisory issued by SP Yadav, DIG NTCA, mentions that the purpose of this SOP is to ensure that the causative factors are ascertained and taken to logical conclusion in the interest of tiger conservation. This has been worked out based on inputs from field officers, experts and members of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) which have been fine-tuned to meet the present challenges.
In terms of fixing responsibilities, the Field Director would be responsible in case of tiger death in a reserve. For a protected area (national park, wildlife sanctuary) the concerned manager would be answerable. In case of other areas (revenue land/ conservation reserve/ community reserve/ village/ township, the Wildlife warden as per (Wildlife Protection Act (1972) or Divisional Forest Officer/ Deputy Conservator of Forests (under whose jurisdiction the area falls) would be accountable. The overall responsibility at the State level would rest with the Chief Wildlife Warden of the respective State.
Detailed instructions have been given for the procedures to be followed in tiger deaths/ seizure of body parts/ incident reported but no body part or carcass available but for corroborative field evidence.
State forest officials nevertheless pitched for a sound technical base at ground level if these advisories are expected to bear fruits. While elaborate seminars are held on tiger protection in the capital, “the patrolling team does not even have adequate vehicles, which is absolutely necessary”.
Maximum funds are spent for relocation of villages rather than on protection mechanisms. There is a dearth of technical and legal inputs in terms of training or knowhow to conduct effective intelligence based patrolling and investigation, they pointed out.