K Ullas Karanth, tiger biologist from the Centre for Wildlife Studies, strongly advocates the killing of ‘problematic’ tigers. In an interview with Amit S Upadhye, Karanth said the recent Bandipur incident is not the first, and that the Forest Department must improvise its standard operating procedures when it comes to catching large carnivores.
How do you tackle situations where tigers attack humans on the fringes of tiger reserves?
When there is solid proof that a problematic tiger has lost its natural fear of humans and has preyed on them, it needs to be immediately killed. For the past 20 years, rarely have we seen cases of tigers preying on humans. Not much can be done other than quickly killing the animal and paying compensation.
Do you think the Forest
Departments requires the help of private hunters?
There is no need for officials to seek out and glorify private hunters. They are eager to jump at such chances to promote themselves. There is enough expertise within the Forest Department.
What kind of expertise is required to capture or kill problematic tigers?
Eliminating a problematic tiger should be done only by Forest Department staff. There are many lower-level staff in the department and with the police for job.
What is the reason behind the many man-animal conflict cases being reported at Nagarhole and Bandipur?
Both Bandipur and Nagarahole, like Kanha and other parks, are nearing their saturation point. Natural fluctuations in tiger densities vary from 10-15 tigers per 100 sq-km Some times, a surplus of tigers, either dispersing sub-adults or evicted residents, may emerge in this population dynamics. This is usually not a problem, as these animals either die or find new territories.
Can problematic or excess tigers be translocated to areas with fewer tigers?
No, translocation of problematic tigers is feasible only if there is a habitat with adequate prey and fewer number of tiger. Such opportunities are rare. In a majority of cases, translocation of problematic tigers has led to loss of human life, and ultimately, of the tigers involved.
How can locals be involved in conservation and tackle conflict situations?
Five years ago, a man was killed by a tiger in Maddur. Even today, his family has not been given compensation. So how can you expect villagers to support tiger conservation?