Nagpur: The sordid episode surrounding the missing iconic tiger Jai, it seems, is turning murkier with every passing day with “deceitful” and “fraudulent” tactics playing crucial roles over the issue of majestic species. If sources are to be believed, the missing tiger is “dead” but the Forest Department authorities, in a well-planned strategy, are hiding the truth for obvious reasons – to save their own skin. That is why the misleading blitz on the part of foresters. Fixing of radio collar on the stunning beast itself could have played the vital role in the “missing” of Jai, named after Amitabh Bachchan’s character in the blockbuster film Sholay. Incidentally, the Bollywood super star is Tiger Ambassador of Maharashtra Government.
The seven-year old feline is missing since April 18 from Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary.
According to sources, the first radio collar on Jai was first fixed around Pola festival in 2015. But, surprisingly, the radio-collar went non-functional within a very short period of less than a year as against the at least five-year time. Subsequently, the second radio collar was fixed on the heavy-weight tiger in March 2016. But it got “deactivated” in April, according to Forest Department theory what they want us to believe. And here lies the foul play.
Sources say that something “bad” could have happened to Jai in March itself while fixing the radio collar. The beast, for unspecified reasons had got weak (an image of the tiger confirms the fact). And when it was being tranquilized by forest men for fixing of radio collar, an “overdose” of the sedative could have taken the heavy toll. Already weakened, Jai could not have sustained even the “normal” dose of tranquilizer and could have breathed his last sending tremors across the Forest Department bigwigs. What could have followed was the sly burial of the majestic species, and later, launch of a misleading blitz.
Possibility of Jai being eliminated by poacher mafia in connivance with some unscrupulous foresters also could not be ruled out giving birth to a slew of conspiracies on the part of top guns of Forest Department to mislead all and sundry.
The Forest Department authorities left no stone unturned to make world believe that the iconic tiger Jai went missing from its Umred Karhandla Sanctuary since April 18. State Government was misled. Media was misled. NGOs, wildlife volunteers were misled. The animal loving citizens were misled. However, at the same time, the foresters failed to answer a few pointed questions over missing of Jai. Why no efforts were mounted to trace the tiger immediately after they came to know of missing species with the help of antennas? Why no alert was sounded across the vast sanctuary area and other forests to locate the tiger?
“Why need efforts to locate Jai when the tiger is ‘dead’ and buried ‘peacefully” may have been the answer the forest men giving to themselves.”
Questions are also being asked over the quality of the radio collars. How can the German made stuff go defunct within a short period. Were the radio collars China made (inferior)? The satellite-aided radio collar, costing Rs 3.5 lakh with accessories, had reached India from Germany in February. According to Forest authorities what is worrying them is the fact that the radio collar of Jai had developed a snag when tiger passed beneath the high tension power transmission lines making it difficult track it. What an absurd clarification!! Sources say the radio collars fixed on tigers in Panna reserve or any other reserve last at least for five years in any adverse condition.
The disgusting fact is that the Forest Department only focus on tourism, earning and neglect the protection to wildlife.
The missing of Jai brings to the fore the “poaching” of 5-6 Nagzira tigers as well. Neither carcasses of the eliminated tigers were ever found nor the poachers netted. Incidentally, Nagzira was abode of Jai and he used to crisscross vast areas of Umred Karhandla Reserve, too. A tigress in Pench Reserve was poisoned to death obviously by the poachers. Her two cubs were later found dead but one was luckily saved.
July 29 is celebrated as “World Tiger’s Day” across the globe. Do the Forest Department authorities have face to celebrate the day with their heads high?
All said and done, the truth about the missing Jai is known only to the tiger itself as no human being knows what’s really happened to the awful beast. Hope, Jai is alive and unharmed.