BENGALURU: Just after the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) released its revised guidelines, veterinarians are now questioning why no decision was taken with regard to lactating or pregnant carnivores.
According to Karnataka Forest Department officials, NTCA needs to issue guidelines on what needs to be done if a tiger has strayed out of a defined forest area and is searching for a new territory. This has become more important after some cases of sub-adult tigers venturing outside forest areas in search of a new territory resulted in man-animal conflicts. The decision on these two subjects and many others will be taken at the NTCA meeting to be held on Thursday and Friday, where heads of all the tiger reserves will participate.
A veterinarian working with the forest department said: "When Avani was shot down in Maharashtra last November, veterinarians on the ground had said that Avani’s cubs should be captured first as she is lactating. However, forest officials denied it. One of Avani’s cub is in captivity and the fate of the other one is unknown. NTCA must put its foot down and lay down the rules."
On November 11, the NTCA issued revised guidelines and standard operating procedures to deal with emergencies arising due to straying of tigers in human habitation. In the guidelines, the NTCA stated that tigers should no more be addressed as man-eaters, instead it should be said that the 'animal is dangerous to human life'. The guidelines also stated that veterinarians proficient in animal anaesthesia should be involved in capturing the animal, not outsiders.
Senior wildlife veterinarian Dr Prayag HS said it is a good thing to stop calling these tigers man eaters. He said in case of Avani and the recently captured tiger in Bandipur, there was no DNA evidence to prove that the tigers were man eaters.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife, Sanjai Mohan said this is the right time to discuss about strengthening the periphery of tiger reserves, which is already happening in case of Bhadra and Nagarhole. It should also be considered to declare Kudremukh as a tiger reserve, he said.