NTCA move to counter poaching

A high alert has been declared in the tiger-bearing forest areas of the State as part of a countrywide exercise. Chief Wildlife Warden V. Gopinathan told The Hindu that the alert had been declared following an advice from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to step up vigil in such areas.

The NTCA advice to the Chief Wildlife Wardens and other authorities of tiger range States came in the wake of an incident last week in which a tiger was poached at the Melghat Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. Authorities of the reserve arrested four persons in this connection on Monday.

Rajesh Goyal, Additional Director General of Forests (Project Tiger) and Member Secretary of NTCA, who issued the advice, said that the body parts of the poached tiger could not be recovered and that those arrested had links to an alleged Delhi-based poacher, Ranjit Singh Bhawaria alias Khawalya.

In the wake of the development “it goes without saying that there is a strong possibility of wandering gangs of professional poachers targeting our tiger-bearing forests which in turn calls for due vigil and caution,” Mr. Goyal said in his advice issued on Tuesday.

Mr. Gopinathan said that apart from the two tiger reserves of the State, tigers had been sighted at most of the forests in the State. It meant that a good portion of the State’s forest areas were tiger ranges too. This called for high alert and extra vigil in all forest areas of the State in the wake of the NTCA sounding the alert.

Though the forest areas of Kollam district were not popular as tiger range areas, images of tigers were taken by a camera trap in the Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary of the district. Earlier only circumstantial evidence such as tiger kills and pug marks were cited to show the presence of the big cat in the district. Mr. Gopinathan said that the tiger population of the State was estimated in vicinity of 70 to 100.

More In: Kerala | National