Sariska tiger died of poisoning: Minister

Saturday, December 4, 2010

JAIPUR - A tiger that was found dead in Sariska Tiger Reserve last month had been poisoned, Rajasthan Forest Minister Ram Lal Jaat said here Saturday.

The male translocated tiger, ST-1, was poisoned with organophosphorus insecticide, the minister said.

The forensic report has confirmed poison in the tiger’s body. “Scientists at the Forensic Science Laboratory found organophosphorus insecticide in the viscera sample of the tiger,” Jaat told IANS.

The report was submitted to the government Thursday.

“Investigations are on and the culprits will be arrested soon,” he said.

ST-1 was the first of the five tigers shifted to Sariska in Alwar district from the Ranthambore National Park in Sawai Madhopur district.

The Nov 14 death has raised concerns about the safety of tigers in Sariska, located about 140 km from here.

In 2004-05, the state government and especially the forest department faced criticism from the political and non-political quarters on the disappearance of tigers from Sariska.

A report by the Wildlife Institute of India in March 2005 confirmed that there were indeed no tigers left in Sariska. Rampant poaching was found to be the reason for the dwindling tiger population.

Facing flak from different quarters, the state government decided to relocate tigers from Ranthambore to Sariska, and from 2008 till now, five tigers - two males and three females - were relocated to the reserve.

Wildlife activists while holding the state government responsible for the death of the tiger have called for increasing security for the wild cat in the jungle.

It seems that the government has not learnt from its past mistakes. Even after spending crores of rupees in the last few years nothing seems to have improved in Sariska, People for Animal (PFA) state incharge Babulal Jaju said.

Jaju flayed the government for failing to shift villages situated inside Sariska.

Twenty eight villages having a total population of over 10,000 are situated in Sariska and inspite of government efforts only one village has been relocated so far, he said.

For the safety of the tigers it is necessary that these villages are shifted at the earliest, he said.

Echoing similar views, Naresh Kadyan, the Indian representative for the International Organisation for Animal Protection, an Italy based NGO, said steps should also be taken to ban movement of vehicles from the road that passes through Sariska.

“Take a decision on banning movement of vehicles on the road soon,” Kadyan pleaded.

There have been instances of wild animals being hit by speeding vehicles.

Strong action should be taken against senior officers who have been found neglecting their duties in this case and surveillance should be beefed up in the area, he said.

Illegal mining is also a big threat to the wild animals, he said adding that it should be stopped immediately.

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