By P. Naveen
Cyber poachers are on the prowl in tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh, hacking into the satellite collars from faraway Pune.
Forest officials in Madhya Pradesh are foxed by the first-of-its-kind of cybercrime where poachers tried to breach the Iridium GPS Satellite Collar of a big cat in Satpura-Bori tiger reserve in Hoshangabad.
Cyber criminals broke into login-ID of the email account in which the location data of the collar-fitted tiger Panna-211 is sent via iridium satellite transceiver. Only three people have legal access to the location data of the tiger's collar - Dr K Ramesh, scientist with Wildlife Institute of India (WII) Dehradun, Dr R Srinivas Murty, field director of Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) and Shekar, a senior research fellow at the reserve. MP forest officials who even fail to lodge cases on poaching, are in a fix to tackle this case. There are several questions dogging the forest department.
Should the FIR be lodged in Maharashtra where hacking attempt was made or in MP where the tiger lives? Who will lodge the complaint - Wildlife Institute of India (WII) which fitted the radio collar or authorities of PTR or WII-Dehradun that secures password for accessing data on tiger's location?
Also, there is confusion on whether a case should be registered under Section 66 (hacking for criminal purpose) of Information Technology (IT) Act or Section 9 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 for a poaching attempt.
Principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) and chief wildlife warden (CCF) Narendra Kumar said, "The complaint will be lodged by WII as the tiger was hooked onto the collar by them". More....