The government is yet to respond to a recommendation of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for a judicial probe into the killing of a tiger in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.

The NTCA, after an inquiry, found several flaws in the management of the “tiger threat” which culminated in a forest guard gunning down the tiger on December 2, 2012.

The NTCA’s inquiry committee consisting of Assistant Generals of Police (AIG) from its offices in Bangalore, Nagpur, and New Delhi, had, suggested a judicial probe “since the matter concerned the roles of the Forest Department, politicians, media and members of the public”.

In reply to a RTI request by animal rights activist Vinodkumar Damodar, the NTCA stated that the Union Minister for Environment and Forests had written to the Chief Minister suggesting “needful action”.

However, there had not been any action so far except for the transfer of a forest guard. Department officials claimed the transfer of the guard had nothing to do with the killing of the tiger. They told The Hindu they had no knowledge about any action taken against any one based on the NTCA report.

The NTCA officials, on examining video clippings, found that though the tiger could have been captured alive with tranquiliser shots it was unnecessarily gunned down by a forest guard.

A tranquiliser shot was slowly taking effect when the tiger was shot by the forest guard.

Trapped, released

After first reports of the tiger killing cattle in November, the tiger was trapped at Thirunelli on November 14 and on recommendation of a veterinary doctor released on November 15 at the Kurichiyat range, 25 km from where the animal was trapped.

But it started killing cattle again.

The probe team pointed out it was a mistake to release the tiger after it was captured alive since the animal was weak and had bleeding injuries that hampered its normal hunting habits inside the forest.

It also found an order of the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) on how the tiger threat should be tackled ambiguous, particularly the wording of the order which directed “hunt it by tranquiliser or using cages failing which by any other means”.

Ambiguous

The Chief Wildlife Warden’s order was also described as “not focussed and ambiguous” since it was taken as permission to kill the tiger

An impression had gained ground the tiger was a man-eater though the animal had not attacked human beings.

While concluding that “the killing of the tiger is not justified”, the NTCA team also remarked “Joseph (the guard who shot dead the tiger) probably had already determined he should shoot the tiger…” that “the tiger was shot not in charging position but in low lying lateral position from the shooter”.


  • NCTA has recommended a judicial probe

  • Has found flaws in management of tiger threat