In a first of its kind case, a cyber expert based in Pune tried to hack into the digital collar fitted on a tiger in Madhya Pradesh reserve.
The incident prompted authorities at the Bori-Satpura Tiger Reserve to seek registration of an FIR with a view to a detailed probe into the case.
The matter was discussed on Monday during a meeting of senior officials of Madhya Pradesh wildlife department and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
K. Ramesh of WII, who was present at the meeting, said somebody from Pune had tried to hack into the Iridium Satellite Collar.
The collar on Panna-211 — the code name for the said tiger which was relocated recently from Panna reserve to Satpura — stopped working from July 24, 2013 onwards, according to the minutes of the meeting.
The collar was put on the roughly three-year-old tiger by WII officials.
The tiger was followed using a ‘camera trap’ and was also spotted physically by forest department officials on September 14.
Senior officials have been directed to keep track of the tiger continuously for the next six months. Besides, it was decided that the Iridium collar on the tiger would be replaced by a new Very High Frequency (VHF) collar after it acclimatises to the new environs in the Satpura reserve.
The Iridium collar is still stuck around its neck and will be sent to WII, Dehradun, to find out the reason behind its malfunction, officials said.
“It is a very serious matter. For the first time, a techie has tried to hack a tiger’s collar. It is an attempt to poach tigers in Madhya Pradesh. We want a detailed probe into the matter,” said Bhopal-based wildlife activist Ajay Dubey.
Six tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh — Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Panna, Bori—Satpura, Sanjay Dubri and Pench — have as many as 257 big cats. The tiger population in the country was estimated to be 1,706 as per data collected in 2010.
As many as 58 tigers have died in the past five years due to poaching, territorial fights and old age in the six big cat habitats in Madhya Pradesh.