By Avani Kumar Verma
It is the usual tiger time again. On the one hand, the media, people and officials are going ga-ga over few direct tiger sightings reported from all over India in the ongoing Tiger Census.
On the other are the grim reminders of the human-tiger conflict that has resurfaced in the form of recent happenings in Bandipur and Nagarhole National Parks in Karnataka which have reported five cases of human killings by tigers in the last one month keeping the authorities and villagers on tenterhook.
The problem seems to be far from over despite catching one such alleged murderous animal. These incidents have prompted the state government to undertake a long over due measure of setting up a dedicated staff of sharp shooters and trained departmental vets to tackle above type of exigencies. This ought to have been done long back. Nevertheless this step will instill confidence among people in the villages living on forest fringes that have been on war path with the forest department.
Then there were media reports in Karnataka of about 400 cameras being donated by a global tech service provider for fixing them in one of the prime national parks of the state to ostensibly closely monitor the health and well-being of the 60-odd tigers reported to be living in the above-mentioned national park. It is a moot point whether such an invasion in the privacy of tiger land is ecologically and scientifically desirable. There is another small matter that some of such donors have tourism and resort running interests. But these are beside the point.
What is noteworthy is that the tiger management is becoming high tech with the use of camera traps, GPS path finders, DNA mapping and the likes becoming essential tool-kits of the foresters and wild life managers. And why not? Are we not living in the age where technology is paramount and not seen being with it would make one feel not only out of the league but would perhaps be suicidal. So it is good that a lot of emphasis is being given to technology in wild life management in general and tiger management in particular.
But it would be of utmost importance to not only train and upgrade the skills of the staff in the usage of the modern tools but also in its proper maintenance. More....