|Wildlife group says radio-collars did not kill tigers
29 July 2009
Natural History Society (BNHS), a premier wildlife body, Wednesday
slammed a 'wildlife intelligence report' that claimed radio-collaring
was the reason for the deaths of around three dozen tigers in Madhya
Pradesh's Panna National Park.
In a statement, BNHS director
Asad Rahmani said that radio-collaring of big cats and other animals in
the wild has been an efficient method in use for over 40 years.
investigating the issue, Rahmani said: 'The BNHS is horrified to know
about the so-called intelligence report which indirectly blames the
researchers. The silence of Madhya Pradesh Forest Department on the
issue is also shocking.'
The recent report blamed
radio-collaring of big ,cats which allegedly hampered their natural
movement, caused neck infections and were used by poachers to locate
Rahmani, who is also member of National Board for
Wildlife, said that in Panna, scientists have used radio-collaring and
telemetry to study the ecology and behaviour of the big cats with the
permission of the government and it has yielded very good understanding
of tiger biology.
The last tiger was collared in Panna in 2002 and its radio-collar battery would have exhausted in two years.
That tiger was seen alive as per records till 2005, while Panna became 'tiger-less' in 2007.
also dismissed as 'baseless' that claim that poachers used
radio-collaring to track the tigers since the imported equipment goes
through customs checks and the frequencies of every radio-collar can
only be tracked by scientists or investigators.
is no way radio-collaring of seven tigers in Panna could lead to the
disappearance of 30-35 tigers,' Rahmani said.
said that there are several tiger sanctuaries in India where big cats
have gone extinct even without the use of radio-collaring.
pointed out that a similar irresponsible cover-up by the authorities
led to the extinction of Bustards in Madhya Pradesh's Karera Sanctuary
though the official figures claimed that 16 birds were still left.
also refuted allegations that excessive use of tranquilizers could have
harmed the tigers since experts from the Wildlife Institute of India
were involved in the project.
'To blame radio-collaring is an
eye-wash that ignored the actual for the decline in tiger population
and seeks a quick-fix scapegoat,' Rahmani declared.
BNHS's support to radio-collaring, Rahmani emphasized that besides
giving valuable insights into the secretive world of big cats in the
wild, radio-tracking actually helps curb the menace of poaching since
tiger movement is constantly monitored and the ones which stray or are
killed are immediately noticed.