The jury is out & here are excerpts from the report tabled by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which exonerates Tiger T-24 (Ustad) from all charges.
1) The orders issued by the Field Director to identify the animal and its monitoring does not fully conform to the prescribed constitution of the committee.
2) It could be observed from the instances that there were considerable time periods between the attacks involving T-24 on human beings in its territory. However, for the rest of the period over the years, the said Tiger was living on natural prey base in its territory. It may also be observed that in all the incidents the human beings went very close to the Tiger in its territory, paving the way for chance encounters.
3) The order (for capture & translocation) issued by the Chief Wildlife Warden of Rajasthan does not state the reasons for translocation of the animal and the alternatives considered in connection with the relocation of the Tiger.
4) It was observed that all the fatal attacks involving T-24 occurred inside the territory of the Tiger involving human beings in close proximity. It could also be observed that the Tiger territory located inside the core area of the Tiger reserve is highly disturbed with high level of human presence & human movements which are to be addressed comprehensively.
5) It is observed that the park authorities sent a text message “Today at 4.00 p.m, a local forest guard Shri. Rampal Mali has been attacked by Tiger near entrance of the park and a detailed report shall be sent shortly” to NTCA on the day of the incident.
6) It could be observed that neither written approval from NTCA was obtained by the State Government in the matter nor any report was submitted by the park authorities until 26th of May, a good 10 days post the incident.
7) Prior permission of the NTCA / Central Government was not obtained by the Chief Wildlife Warden in the case.
8) The Order (capture & translocation) issued by the Chief Wildlife Warden of Rajasthan does not speak about the reasons for arriving at the conclusion as to why T-24 cannot be rehabilitated in the wild as required under Section 11 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
9) Such an animal (T-24) with previous history involving fatal human attacks should have been monitored continuously by radio collaring as per SOP (Standard operating procedures) issued by the NTCA.
Conclusions of the report submitted by the NTCA :