Tiger poaching enquiry report holds Uttarakhand forest officials responsible for laxity

In a poaching incident, on March 13, 2016, five tiger skins, and 136 kilograms of tiger bones were recovered from Haridwar district’s Shyampur area.

Published: July 14, 2018 12:12:31 am
Tiger poaching enquiry report holds Uttarakhand forest officials responsible for laxity In a poaching incident, on March 13, 2016, five tiger skins, and 136 kilograms of tiger bones were recovered from Haridwar district’s Shyampur area.

An enquiry report of a tiger poaching incident from the year 2016 has held former Uttarakhand Chief Wildlife Warden Digvijay Singh Khati and former Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) Director Samir Sinha responsible for “administrative laxity” that resulted in the poaching of tigers. The enquiry was carried out by Uttarakhand Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Jai Raj.

In a poaching incident, on March 13, 2016, five tiger skins, and 136 kilograms of tiger bones were recovered from Haridwar district’s Shyampur area. Later, on March 15, 2016 Rajeev Mehta, who heads the trust ‘Operation Eye of the Tiger-India’, handed over to Khati the articles including spears, bones, blood-stained clothes, polythene bags, salt bags, that were collected by Mehta as evidence of poaching.

However, while Khati failed to conduct a credible enquiry in the matter, Jai Raj’s report which was submitted to the state government on June 28, this year, mentions: “It appears that on his (Khati’s) intimation the evidence was made to disappear. This proves his criminal intent.”

Soon after the incident, a report that was submitted by Khati to the state government mentioned that the poaching happened in UP and not in Uttarakhand. However, Jai Raj’s report says that as per the report of the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India, of the five tiger skins, four belong to tigers who have been photographed in CTR. This proves that atleast four tigers were killed in CTR. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) too has stated that the poaching happened inside Uttarakhand.

“If tiger poaching takes places either inside or outside a reserved area, the responsibility falls on the chief wildlife warden,” Jai Raj’s report states.

The report concludes that Khati and the CTR administration, who have “disowned” the poaching incident, have tried to shy away from their responsibilities. The responsibility of “administrative laxity” that caused poaching of the five tigers falls on the then director of CTR Samir Sinha, the then divisional forest officers of Kalagarh and Lansdowne areas, and the then chief wildlife warden Khati, Jai Raj’s report states.On being queried by the media, Sinha said that he was yet to read the report and Khati denied from commenting.

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