HC refuses interim stay to shooting order against Yavatmal tigress

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Sep 2018 09:59:30


Staff Reporter,


Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused to grant interim stay to fresh shoot-at-sight order issued against the menacing tigress (T-1) in Pandharkawda Area of Yavatmal district. The latest order was passed on September 4 by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) as a matter of last resort in view of three human deaths in the month of August.

The order narrates in detail the efforts made by forest department to capture the problem animal and expressed inability to nab the beast due to “undulated terrain that restricts the movement of vehicle inside the forest; deep gorges that limits the movement of staff; pebbly and stony terrain; honey combing pattern of agricultural field and forests; heavy dense lantana undergrowth.” Due to these factors, it is difficult to reach animal in darting distance, the order issued under section 11 (1)(a) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 authorising the Forest staff to tranquilise and capture the problem tigress T-1 and if that is not possible then shoot the tigress.

Wildlife enthusiast Dr Jerryl Banait who had moved the High Court against last order passed on January 29, once again filed a civil application opposing the shoot-at-sight order questioning the reasoning of PCCF and claimed that it was not sufficient to eliminate tigress on the basis of such scanty evidence.

However, a division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Murlidhar Giratkar while refusing to stay the order, kept the matter for hearing on Thursday.
The petitioner claimed that guidelines issued by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) were not properly followed and identification of tigress was not done in accordance with the prescribed standards. According to petitioner, identification of wild animal is to be done by a committee in a scientific manner by considering the camera trap photographs, pug marks besides DNA profiling of scats and hairs along with panchnama and post mortem report. The counsel for the petitioner Adv. Tushar Mandlekar argued that there is no conclusive and cogent evidence to attribute these human deaths to tigress T-1. The petitioners contended that tigress T-1 is not a habituated man killer and PCCF also failed to make differentiation between chance encounters and habituated kill and hence this is not a fit case for eliminating tigress.

However, the order passed by PCCF clearly mentioned that T-1 tigress has become man-eater and for past several months had deviated to human habitat and was responsible for earlier round of 10 deaths and 3 deaths in last 24 days. This may lead to a scary scenario of man-animal conflict in long run will be very difficult to manage and will have an adverse impact on future safety and conservation of other wildlife, the order claimed. Adv Tushar Mandlekar appeared for the petitioner. Special Counsel Kartik Shukul represented forest department.



4 teams to tranquilise menacing tigress

Special Correspondent

Forest Department at Yavatmal has planned to deploy four teams to tranquilise the problem T1 tigress that has created havoc in Ralegaon tehsil of Yavatmal district by killing 13 persons during the last over two years.
P G Rahurkar, Chief Conservator of Forest, told ‘The Hitavada’ on Wednesday that one team has arrived from Brahmapuri for taking up the job while two teams from Buldana and Amravati would arrive on Thursday morning. Each team consists of forestmen and veterinary doctor, he added.
The teams are being formed following order issued by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) issued on first tranquilising the problem animal in order to capture it. As a last resort, the team would follow the shoot-at-sight instruction.
Rahurkar said, the teams would move in the tiger-bearing area from Thursday at 9.30 am, especially in Maregaon Forest Range and Mahuda jungle under Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra, where the tigress is said to have attacked and killed majority of persons and in nearby areas from June 1, 2016 onhwards.
Since the area is hilly terrain, undulating with backwaters of the dam, it has become a difficult task to locate the tigress. Therefore, the department has called four elephants from Madhya Pradesh and trainers to assist the tranquilising job. Besides this tigress, there are movements of her two cubs of around 10 months and T2 tiger. Camera traps have been installed at strategic points to locate the beast.