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Deccan Herald
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Deccan Herald National Detailed Story
No tigers found in Sariska: CBI
New Delhi, uni:
A report by the agency says poachers in organised cartels kill tigers using sophisticated arms and poisoned baits.
CBI Director U C Mishra said the agency’s special team could not trace a single tiger in the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan.

Mr Mishra said the team headed by Deputy Inspector General (DIG) B K Sharma could neither sight a tiger nor find a pug mark during its visit in March to the tiger reserve.

Talking about the report submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mr Mishra said poaching in the past few months and negligence on the part of state forest department officials had led to tigers being virtually wiped out in many parts of the country.

Dr Singh had directed the CBI to look into the state of affairs in the Sariska Tiger Reserve after reports in newspapers said that most of the tigers in these forests had been poached.

“Tigers are very territorial in nature and the poachers kill them with sophisticated arms at night or with poisoned baits,” the report says.

At least ten tigers had been killed in the reserve in the past year and four poachers were nabbed by the staff of the State Forest Department and Rajasthan Police.

The seven cases filed by the Rajasthan Police against poachers would be taken over by the CBI for further investigation, Mr Mishra said.

The CBI had identified an illegal wildlife trade involving the dreaded smuggler Sansar Chand.

Chand, a member of a hunting tribe, has been booked in at least 25 wildlife cases in various states including Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Inflated figures

In the report, the CBI has suggested measures to improve the state of affairs in tiger reserves in the country, Mr Mishra said. “There are many loopholes in managing tiger reserves in the country. The forest staff are neither properly trained nor they are equipped with proper arms to fight the poachers,” he said, adding that poaching is an organised racket in India.

According to the last census in 2001, the Sariska Tiger Reserve had 26 tigers – a figure that seems very inflated, the report said.

Terming it as a the report “holistic”, he said there was no coordination between the Central Government departments and state forest officials. “The Centre gives the funds, the state manages the forests, but there is no compliance,” he said.

The forests are in state schedules and the Centre does not have any say in their management.

At the last National Wildlife Board meeting, Dr Singh had expressed his concern on the state of affairs in the country’s wildlife reserves and set up a task force to look at the status of tigers.

The task force had been asked to give a report on the current status of Project Tiger and the status of tigers in wildlife parks all over the country.

The prime minister also accepted the board’s suggestion to establish a National Wildlife Crime Prevention and Control Bureau.

The government has banned any gift of animals by heads of state or government to other heads of state or governments or foreign zoos. The board also gave its approval to allow access into protected forest areas for professionals to carry out scientific research.
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