Both states together had four tiger deaths in the last two months, three of them in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and one in the BRT Tiger Reserve of Karnataka.
The NTCA had taken objection to the fact that the postmortems were not conducted “as per the protocol” issued by the NTCA to all the tiger states. According to Mr S. Jayachandra, Joint Secretary of Tamil Nadu Green Movement (TNGM) from Tamil Nadu, the NTCA has mandated that all the Schedule I animal postmortems must be attended by an external NGO member appointed by the NTCA itself.
“However, this was not followed in two of the postmortems or questions were raised about the expertise of one of the external NGOs during the recent tiger death in Mudumalai that occurred just after the borders of Bandipur. Shockingly, one of the tiger cubs was beaten by the villagers before it was handed over to the forest officials. The tiger died in just two days,” he pointed out.
Similarly, the conservationists in Karnataka too are questioning the manner in which the tiger death case was handled inside the BRT Tiger Reserve. “The tiger died on September 26 but even those who are following the BRT Tiger Reserve closely were not aware of the death. Last week another leopard death had occurred but nobody outside the Reserve came to know about the development. As it is there is speculation that the senior IFS officials are tracking the phone records of their subordinates and we are demanding that the same effort be put into busting a poaching network,” said a conservationist from Mysore.
The conservationists are also demanding that the video and photographic recordings of tiger postmortems must be made public in the interest of conservation. “When the tigers or other animals are dying of natural causes, then why are the forest officials so reluctant to let the people know that a tiger or a leopard is dead in the reserve,” asked another conservationist.
Shivakumar C M, Assistant Inspector General NTCA, however clarified that the protocols are being followed, but the NTCA is still waiting for the final reports of postmortems from Tamil Nadu.
“The postmortem report from BRT reached me two days after the death and I spoke to the NTCA-appointed member for the tiger postmortem. However, I have asked for a detailed report on the three tiger deaths from Tamil Nadu which may reach us this week,” the officer said.