Central wildlife authorities unhappy with Goa forest officials

May 28th, 2009 - 11:51 am ICT by IANS  

Panaji, May 28 (IANS) Central wildlife authorities are unhappy at the callousness with which the Goa forest officials have handled the tiger poaching incident in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary, where a tiger was brutally caught in a wire-trap and then shot dead.
S.P Yadav, joint director of the Delhi-based National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), told IANS Wednesday that forest officials from Karnataka were the ones who informed them about the poaching of the tiger in Goa.

“It is most unusual. The Goa forest department should have informed us about it officially. We have not received any intimation from them. It is the deputy conservator of forests of Karnataka’s Dandeli Anshi range who reported the incident to us,” Yadav said.

Yadav, who is also posted as deputy inspector general of forests in the Project Tiger, said that the poached tiger could have entered the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary from the neighbouring Dandeli Anshi tiger reserve.

“It is not unusual for tigers to travel such long distances regularly,” he said.

On May 7, Sanjiv Chadha, member of the Supreme Court-appointed Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) on Wildlife, had said that the Goa forest department had kept the committee in the dark about the poaching incident.

“We came to know about the incident only through newspaper reports,” Chadha said.

Wildlife activist Rajendra Kerkar, who exposed the tiger poaching incident along with images of the slain animal, said the killing happened in February this year.

“The tiger was trapped in a steel noose, which cut deep through the animal’s lower torso. The poacher then shot it dead,” Kerkar said, accusing forest department officials of being hand in glove with the local politicians who were in turn sheltering the poachers.

Shashi Kumar, chief conservator of forests, told IANS that although local residents had acknowledged the poaching incident, forest officials were having a tough time collecting hard evidence.

“We still do not have tangible proof of a tiger being poached in our forests apart from a photograph, which shows a slain tiger. But we are trying our best,” said Kumar.

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