|NTCA issues new protocol on tiger mortality
THE TIMES OF INDIA
9 May 2009
Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which is facing
severe criticism time and again due to rapid disposal of tiger
carcasses by burning, has issued a fresh protocol for ensuring
transparency in cases relating to tiger mortality.
protocol issued to all the principal chief conservators of forests
(PCCFs ) and field directors of tiger reserves is apart from the
detailed advisory containing post-mortem format for carcasses of wild
animals found inside the tiger reserves. All the tiger reserves have
been asked to follow these guidelines meticulously in the interest of
Rajesh Gopal, member-secretary of the
NTCA, a statutory body under the ministry of environment & forests
(MoEF), has advised forest officials to ensure that all tiger carcasses
are preserved in a deep freeze till an independent team analyses the
cause of death.
The protocol says that every tiger death
should be thoroughly examined by an independent team, including an
authorised representative of the NTCA, a veterinary officer of the
tiger reserve or from the district, a non-governmental expert nominated
by the chief wildlife warden.
Gopal has asked the concerned
officials to immediately report incidents of tiger mortality by
telephone/fax, followed by a detailed post-mortem report in the
prescribed format along with the report of the independent team to the
Presently, none the three tiger reserves in the region
Tadoba-Andhari, Pench and Melghat have deep freeze facility. However,
NTCA has decided to provide funds to procure a deep freeze fit for the
size of a tiger and a generator along with accessories under the
centrally sponsored scheme (CSS) of Project Tiger. "The directives will
ensure minimum errors in the post-mortem process making it
transparent," said Gopal.
"It's a good protocol," said Nitin
Desai, Central India director for Wildlife Protection Society of India
(WPSI). "The presence of an expert at the time of post-mortem is
necessary to know the exact cause of death. Many times vets fail to
identify whether the tiger death was due to a failed poaching attempt.
In such cases, if experts do not intervene, poachers get away with the
crime," Desai added.
The WPSI director said that many vets are
not exposed to remote wildlife areas where deaths occur. In such cases,
they could get the wrong reasons for the death. The NTCA directions
will bring in more transparency in the post-mortem process.
section of conservationists on condition of anonymity say: "Some
officials have a tendency to hide things and hence never let the truth
come out. The protocol will now bring transparency in reasons for tiger