In Corbett National Park,the repercussions of constant tourism activity are beginning to show,with a tiger being declared a maneater on Saturday. The Uttarakhand forest department has admitted that the north Indian Terai stretch,with the densest tiger population in the world,is reeling under a man-animal conflict on a scale that is unprecedented.
The tiger was declared a maneater after it killed a woman who had entered the buffer zone of the reserve three days ago. It has also attacked two people who were riding a motorbike. We have all options open to deal with this now. It may be eliminated if it cannot be caught, says Vinod Singhal,director,Corbett Tiger Reserve. But the problem,he admits,is man-made. This particular tiger did not tolerate the presence of elephants (carrying tourists) and used to charge at them. He gradually lost his fear of humans. Tourism around the park is a problem. Ideally,it has to be checked, he says.
The Indian Express had earlier reported how tiger conservation in Corbett is taking a hit with the mushrooming of private resorts around what can arguably be called the most famous tiger reserve in the world.
Meanwhile,the Uttar Pradesh Forest department is tracking as many as four tigers that have strayed out for months now,all of which,as per instructions,may be killed in the process. While a man-eater tiger in Faizabad was shot at by a private team on Saturday,the potentially injured animal is still on the loose. Though the situation calls for professional handling,UP has allowed private individuals to take part in the tiger hunts,and had earlier declared a cash reward for anyone who killed the tiger,violating provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act.
Conservationists point out that states are resorting to quick solutions to put an end to the problem of a disturbed animal,by declaring it a maneater. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has laid down strict guidelines for declaring a tiger a maneater and has specified that professional Forest department teams have to deal with the animal.