With two instances of tiger poaching in Kawal Tiger Reserve in erstwhile unified Adilabad district coming to light within a month, a wildlife activist has knocked the doors of Telangana High Court seeking direction to save the tigers from poachers.
A wildlife activist, Diya Sur, filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition requesting the court to declare the “inaction and failure of” Telangana and Central governments as illegal and arbitrary. The petitioner submitted to the court that an independent committee be appointed to study the present systems of management in Kawal Tiger Reserve. Such committee should also analyse the measures undertaken to check poaching, encroachments, timber smuggling and sand mining along with probing death and disappearance of tigers from Kawal Tiger Reserve.
The activist also presented to the HC to issue an order to Telangana government, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden to create proper Tiger Reserve and manage it in compliance with the guidelines of National Wildlife Action Plan and the Tiger Conservation Plan as approved by the National Tiger Conservation Authority. The petitioner also requested the HC to ensure the State and the Central governments came out with time-bound plans to curb all illegal activities in Tiger Reserves.
The protocols under the Kawal Tiger Conservation Plan like setting up unified command of core zones and buffer zones under separate Divisional Forest Officers should be implemented, the wildlife conservationist requested. A unified field command of the Field Director for the entire reserve forest must be created, the petitioner said. Measures like a special strike force for curbing poaching, stepping up patrolling and a dedicated force to eradicate electrocution systems used by poachers, must be grounded.
Electrocution was one of the main reasons for the death of tigers. People living in buffer zones of tiger reserves and forests were wrongly assuming that setting up electric fences to protect their crops from wild boars was legal, the petitioner said. The petitioner claimed that more than 15 tigers were reportedly missing since the formation of Kawal Tiger Reserve in 2012. The Forest officials had recovered more than five skins or carcasses of the tigers suggesting that they were poached in past two years, the wildlife activist said.