By D.N. Singh –
A series of recent happenings in the wildlife in Odisha has sent out one message that in this department the left hand does not know what the wildlife right is doing. The wildlife wing’s image has already taken a severe beating over the death of seven elephants in Dhenkanal district. Then, the issue of the tigress Sundari, who was on a prowl in Satkosia sanctuary, has further added to the disorder that prevails within, as teams after teams only visit the sanctuary just to tranquilise the irate animal but without any success so far. But the irony is that, reportedly, the department has not been able to discover a person from within with the right expertise on tranquilisation nor is able to track the tigress let alone capture it.
Now the most fabulous disorder that dogged the wildlife department is the unearthing of the tiger carcass in the Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary in Bargarh district. The animal was killed on October 28 and the poachers had buried the carcass. But nobody had a smell of it.
However, the forest minister of Odisha was in a hurry to say that it was a leopard. Either the minister got wrong feedback or the wildlife people did not know the difference between a Royal Bengal Tiger (RBT) and a leopard! Both the things are amazing.
The divisional forest officer (DFO) of the Bargarh division was heard confirming that it was the carcass of an RBT and so it was corroborated by the arrested poachers themselves. The wildlife people also reveal that the tiger that was buried had its paws chopped off and whiskers plucked by the poachers. It was also stated that the carcass was headless. But, was it so difficult to make out if the body of the killed animal had stripes or spots.
Till recently, Debrigarh being a habitat for tigers was unheard of. When the poachers have landed there, killed an RBT and took away the paws and whiskers, it is evident that they knew about the return such things fetch at the markets like China and Taiwan. And it cannot be ruled out that the tigers are on target for long and the kills are going on in connivance with the forest people.
However, the nutshell outcome of this entire episode is that a team from the National Tiger Conservation Authority is coming and the carcass samples are being couriered to two places outside for investigations. And, lo and behold, the state crime branch is reaching there soon.
And in this huge mishmash, the only take away is that a forest guard has been placed under suspension!