The Supreme Court on Monday sought the response of the Centre and others on a plea seeking to save endangered tigers whose numbers are dwindling across the country. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued notice to Ministry of Environment, National Board for Wildlife and the National Tiger Conservation Authority on the plea which has also sought relocation of persons living near tiger reserves.
The petition, filed by advocate Anupam Tripathi, said tigers were being killed either by poisoning by locals or the authorities, shooting by forest guards or by poaching. “The poisoning of tigers with pesticide by vengeful villagers is threatening the survival of big cats. Farmers who lose their cows and buffaloes to the big cats are lacing pesticides on the carcasses of their cattle to kill the predators,” it said.
The petition has sought conducting of regular census in every tiger reserve across the country to identify, document and calculate the number of villages including the villagers in each one of these parks and tiger reserves. It has also sought strict guidelines to the forest guards and all the officers working in and around the tiger reserves and national parks.
The PIL sought a direction to the Centre to carry out artificial breeding and cross breeding techniques for tigers in a systemic manner to help artificially and by human intervention, to improve the tiger population. The petition claimed that the State is responsible to protect and improve the environment for the tigers and other wild animals but the data on tiger killing so far shows that it has failed miserably to do so.