In news- Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden recently issued orders to “hunt down” a man-eater tiger tiger identified as MDT 23, that had killed at least four people and more than 20 cattle in Gudalur forest range in the Nilgiris district.
Procedure to remove a man-eater-
- In January 2013, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as well as the National Tiger Conservation Authority came out with the “Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)” to deal with emergencies arising due to straying of tigers in human-dominated landscapes.
- Tigers as well as leopards are categorised under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, with highest statutory protection against hunting under Section 9 (1) of the said Act.
- Such species can be killed if they become dangerous to human life or are so disabled / diseased beyond recovery.
- The declaration of an aberrant tiger / leopard as a man eater requires considerable examination based on field evidence.
- It can be established only after confirming the habituation of the aberrant animal for deliberate stalking of human beings, while avoiding its natural prey.
- The document says that under no circumstances should an animal resorting to cattle depredation be declared as a “man eater”, despite the fact it may venture close to human settlements.
- Under Section 11 (1) (a) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Chief Wildlife Warden of a State alone has the authority to permit hunting of such animals.
- However, she or he has to state in writing the reasons for permitting elimination before hunting.
- The elimination of a tiger / leopard as a man eater should be the last option, after exhausting the option of capturing the animal live as detailed in the Standard Operating Procedure.
- The capture can be done by chemical immobilisation or use of traps and should be sent to a nearest recognised zoo and NOT released in the wild.