Fourth park tiger killed in a week!

The Hindu , Friday, December 24, 2004
Correspondent : Staff Reporter
BHOPAL, DEC. 23. One more tiger was killed in the Thuepani beat falling under the Gumtara range of the Pench National Park on Sunday night. With this latest killing, the total number of tigers found killed inside the Pench National Park and its buffer area has gone up to four within just one week.

Earlier the carcass of a tigress and her cub, slaughtered by poachers, was found in the buffer area of Pench National Park on December 17. On the basis of

information passed by an informer after this poaching incident, a resident of Kurai village was arrested as he was found possessing few tiger nails. During

interrogation, he passed information that led to the seizure of another tiger's skeletal remains from Kurai Ghati deep inside the Pench National Park on Sunday.

The number of tigers poached or killed under mysterious circumstances in the Pench National Park and its buffer area has gone up to four after the villagers from Thuepani village saw the body of one more tiger lying near the Japtikhapa Nullah on Monday morning. This spot is about nine kilometers from the

Totladoh dam.

The Thuepani villagers, who were among the first to spot the tiger's body on Monday morning have been firm in stating that the tiger had a bullet wound on its

head. According to informed sources, the forest staff that subsequently reached the spot from Totladoh tried to hush up this whole case by just completing the

formality of a post-mortem and hurriedly burning its remains.

In their official records, forest department sources have pointed out, the forest authorities are now showing it as a natural death caused by some wound

that could have been inflicted during a fight with another tiger over control of territory.

While the State Chief Wildlife Warden, P.C. Shukla was not available for comments as he was on tour, the State Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, A.P.

Dwivedi told The Hindu today that the Chief Conservator Wildlife, Suhas Kumar has rushed to Pench to study the ground situation and submit a report at

the earliest.

He confirmed that the number of tigers found killed inside the Pench National Park in the last one week has gone up to four. He denied on the basis of preliminary reports that the fourth tiger found killed near Thuepani village had been shot dead.

In May 1996 the Chief Wildlife Warden, Madhya Pradesh had granted permits for fishing in Totladoh reservoir inside Pench to 305 persons displaced due to the construction of the Pench Hydro-electric Project Dam.

These permits had been challenged by the Delhi-based Animal and Environment Legal Defense Fund on the plea that they were violative of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. After the Supreme Court had passed its judgement on the Pench National Park case on March 5, 1997, access to the Totladoh reservoir (for controlled fishing by the dam affected people) was allowed only on the Totladoh-Thuepani road.

Ever since Thuepani, which falls in the Chhindwara district, has become an easy entry-point for those crossing the Maharashtra border and entering Pench from Chirrevani village on the Madhya Pradesh/Maharashtra border.

SOURCE : The Hindu, Friday, December 24, 2004

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