India’s supreme court approves shoot-to kill-order for ‘man-eating tiger’

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by Hoas, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. Hoas

    Hoas AH Fanatic

    Nov 11, 2014
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    Tiger numbers increasing but rapid deforestation creates conflict between animals and humans

    An appeal to prevent forest rangers from executing a

    tiger believed to have killed as many as 13 people has been rejected by India’s supreme court.

    The court has said it would not step in if any attempts to sedate and relocate the animal were unsuccessful.

    The spate of deaths over the last two years has caused panic in Pandharkawada, a town in central India, where bodies have reportedly been found missing limbs and covered in large scratch marks.

    Officials say the female tiger has killed at least five people, while local reports put the number as high as 13.

    Officials said they will also try to tranquilise and relocate the tigress’s two cubs along with a male tiger called T2, which has also been spotted in the area but has not been blamed for any deaths.

    India’s efforts to conserve its tigers have seen an increase in numbers of the animals – up from 1,411 in 2006 to an estimated 2,500 today, meaning India is now home to 60 per cent of the world’s tigers.

    However, the country’s booming population and mushrooming towns and cities have seen forests shrink to become isolated islands, and when tigers attempt to move between them, they are increasingly coming into conflict with humans.
    But activists have questioned whether the tigress was behind all of the deaths as it is very rare for a single tiger to have attacked so many people.

    Forest officials have said they would first try to tranquilise and capture the tigress, known as T1.

    In addition, a crackdown on the beef industry by the Hindu government has left large numbers of abandoned cattle in some areas, meaning tigers often move out of forested reserves to attack the animals.

    Officials have tried to capture T1 on four previous attempts, but each time she has escaped.

    Last week the New York Timesreported rangers were gearing up for a “military-style operation” to deploy rangers with tranquiliser guns on the backs of half a dozen elephants to surround the tiger, capture her and move her to a zoo.

    “If this is unsuccessful, the animal will have to be shot in order to avoid further loss of human life,” forest official Pradip Rahurkar Rahurkar told the BBC Marathi service.

    Local politicians are under pressure to have the tiger shot dead, particularly after three people were reportedly killed in August.

    “I don’t want to kill this beautiful animal,” KM Abharna, a top forestry official in the Pandharkawada area, told the New York Times. “But there’s a hell of a lot of political pressure and a hell of a lot of public pressure.”

  2. Hoas

    Hoas AH Fanatic

    Nov 11, 2014
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    India hunts man-eating tiger blamed for 13 deaths in territory conflict

    'I don’t want to kill this beautiful animal, but there’s a hell of a lot of political pressure and a hell of a lot of public pressure'

    The first victim was an older woman, discovered facedown in a cotton field with huge claw marks dug into her back. The next was an older male
    farmer, his left leg torn off.

    The killings have gone on for more than two years, sowing panic in the hills around Pandharkawada, a town in central India. In mid-August, the mauled body of Vaghuji Kanadhari Raut, a threadbare cattle herder, was found near a rural highway. He was victim number 12.

    DNA tests, camera traps, numerous spottings and pugmarks – tiger footprints – have pinned at least 13 human killings on a single, 5-year-old female tiger that seems to have developed a taste for human flesh and has evaded capture several times.

    At night, young men in the nearby villages carry torches and bamboo sticks and go on patrol. They have roughed up forest guards, furious that authorities can’t stop the killings.

    Experts say it is extremely unusual for a single tiger to have attacked this many people. India’s critically endangered tiger population is soaring, a success for conservation policies, but the animals are being crowded out in a competition with humans for territory.

    Forest rangers are now gearing up for a complex military-style operation to deploy sharpshooters with tranquiliser guns on the backs of half a dozen elephants to surround the tiger, capture her and send her to a zoo.

    But the elephants have yet to arrive, held up by intense bureaucratic infighting among India’s myriad overlapping government agencies that cover wildlife but, between all of them, still don’t seem to have enough resources.

    As the death count rises – three villagers were killed in August – several politicians are demanding that the rangers simply shoot the tiger. But that might not be legal. A wildlife activist seeking to block any such order has taken the matter all the way to India’s Supreme Court, which may hear the case soon.

    In the meantime, rangers have been posted on rickety wooden stands built into jungle trees, ordered to keep their eyes peeled for the tiger. But they don’t even have binoculars.

    “I don’t want to kill this beautiful animal,” said K M Abharna, a top forestry official in the Pandharkawada area, which lies near the borders of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh states. “But there’s a hell of a lot of political pressure and a hell of a lot of public pressure.”

    A crafty man-eating tiger on the loose sounds like something out of a Rudyard Kipling tale. But it is a real and growing problem in today’s India.

    The country’s effort to protect tigers, in a way, is a victim of its own success. Closer monitoring, new technology and stricter wildlife policies have led to a sharp increase in the tiger count, from 1,411 in 2006 to an estimated 2,500 today – more than half of the world’s approximately 4,000 tigers. This growth is causing increased conflict.

    India’s human population and its economy have been rapidly growing as well, steadily filling in rural areas with farms, roads and mushrooming towns like Pandharkawada. Many tigers are now running out of space.

    They are spilling out of their dedicated reserves, roaming along smooth new asphalt highways and skulking through crowded farmland on a search for territory, mates and prey — such as antelope, wild pigs, stray cattle and sometimes people.

    All across India, islands of forest are shrinking, and the thin green tendrils on the map — tiger corridors — are being cut by more roads and more farms. Tigers are intensely territorial: A male tiger, once it gets big enough, might kill its own mother over turf.

    Each tiger needs miles of thick forest; the size of its territory depends on the availability of prey. In the past decade, India has created nearly two dozen more tiger reserves, bringing the total to 50. But many of them are surrounded by human development on all sides.

    “Our tiger situation is not a success story, it’s a mess,” said Valmik Thapar, one of India’s most renowned tiger experts. “We have a whole bunch of islands, and the corridors in between are wiped out or degraded. Many tiger reserves are nonstarters, with less than five tigers or none at all. And we’re too arrogant to learn from anywhere else.”

    The restrictions on the beef industry in many parts of India could be making the situation even more dangerous. India’s Hindu nationalist governing party, the BJP, has cracked down like no other Indian government on the slaughter of cows, an animal Hindus revere.

    This has created enormous herds of mangy, unproductive, unwanted cattle that herders don’t dare to kill, either because of specific cow protection laws that vary state by state or because they are terrified of being lynched by Hindu extremists.

    In several tiger areas, more prey now lives outside the dedicated tiger reserve than inside. That may be luring tigers out.

    “As soon as the tiger comes out, he sees a lot of cattle,” explained Bilal Habib, an ecology professor and tiger researcher. So the tiger decides to stick around, Bilal said, catalysing a whole cycle of conflict and death.

    In the case of the man-eating tiger, researchers are at a loss to explain why she started attacking humans. She has also killed some cows and horses.

    The rangers call her T-1. They have been keeping track of her since she was a cub; when she was young, they say, her mother was electrocuted. This is another growing problem, as farmers all over India string up crude electric fences to keep wild pigs out of their crops.

    In January, forestry officials applied for what is called a shoot order. But an animal-rights activist from Mumbai who objected to killing T-1 helped to block it. Then T-1 gave birth to two fuzzy tiger cubs, which meant any action taken against her could jeopardise them, too.

    So the rangers equipped themselves with nets and tranquiliser guns and fanned out into the jungles, full of pungent lantana bushes, old gnarled teak trees and clouds of dragonflies hovering in the thick, humid air. Four times, they tried to capture T-1.

    “But she’s very wild,” said Mr Abharna. “And she’s very clever.”

    Each time, she either hid in the tangle of lantana bushes or raced away.

    As the forestry officials wrestle over what to do, wildlife activists keep returning to court to block shoot orders. The activists say the tiger is simply defending her cubs, and that the victims ventured into her territory. They are trying to compel the forestry department to tranquilise T-1 and move her to another area. The Supreme Court may hear the case within days.

    Meanwhile, the elephants, which rangers say are better for such an operation than any four-wheel-drive truck, are expected to arrive any day. The people living near Pandharkawada are losing patience. And they are becoming increasingly terrified.

    “Just kill it,” said Rashika Vishal, the daughter of the herder who was mauled by the highway. “There’s nothing beautiful about this animal. It ate my father and we need to kill it before it kills someone else.”

    As she spoke, tears in her eyes, a dozen other people crowded into the family’s dark little shack and nodded vigorously in agreement. Tiger attacks, they said, were never an issue in the past.

    “When I was a kid, we used to walk around the jungle at night, no problem,” said C S Meshram, a village elder. “I don’t know where these tigers are coming from. But they keep coming.”

  3. Hank2211


    Jan 12, 2010
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    Member of:
    SCI, DU, Pheasants Forever
    Canada, United States, Zimbabwe, South Africa (Eastern Cape; Northern Cape; North West Province, Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo), Namibia, Cameroon, Benin, Ethiopia, Argentina
    The whole world wants to save tigers, and rightly so. But no one cares about those who have to live with tigers - "suck it up" seems to be the approach, while we in North America demand action when coyotes kill our beloved pets.

    If local people cannot be given, or we are not prepared to give them, some interest or stake in wildlife, then we have no business demanding that they carry the burdens so that we can feel good about saving that wildlife.

    I'm not saying that hunting is the only answer (although it is a material part of the answer in Africa), but if we care about tigers, then we have to come up with solutions which are acceptable to those who live with the costs of that wildlife.

  4. tigris115

    tigris115 AH Enthusiast

    Jul 25, 2014
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    Here's what I'd do to try and save India's wildlife. Decrease the birthrate. I suggest using methods like making contraceptives easier to access and giving women a better lease in life so they have fewer kids. I would start by implementing these programs in places that could one day be opened up to connect reserves. Currently, much of India's wildland is fragmented, meaning that animals cannot move freely or expand without coming into conflict with man. It's the problem with the animals of Yellowstone and it's a problem with India's wildlife. So my solution would be to use as many methods as possible like tunnels, bridges, and wildlife corridors to encourage growth in depleted places, genetic drift to prevent inbreeding, and allow animals to move into new areas while avoiding people.

  5. JPbowhunter

    JPbowhunter AH Enthusiast

    Oct 15, 2013
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    Australia, New Zealand
    It's always the same thing, urbanites that have no exposure, understanding or genuine interest in an animal kick and scream when they have to be controlled. They believe them sitting at home and not killing an animal directly is a form of conservation. When it comes to on ground work or a financial committment, i.e. actual conservation it's crickets. Mind you they're off probably complaining about some other social issue.

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