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    Published On : Fri, Sep 7th, 2018

    No HC respite for Pandharkawda’s problem tigress

    Representational Pic

    Nagpur: The problem tigress in the jungles of Pandharkawda will be finally shot down as the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court has upheld orders to shoot problem tigress named as T1. Justice BP Dharmadhikari and MG Giradkar on Thursday disposed of civil application filed by wildlife lover Dr Jerryl Banait seeking stay against orders to shoot problem tigress T1 of Pandharkawda.

    However, Sources said there are attempts to challenge the high court order in the apex court. Since June 1, 2016 till August 28, 2018 (26 months) problem tigers have killed 13 villagers, most of the graziers from Ralegaon tehsil under Pandharkawda forest division. Of these deaths, three were reported last month on August 4, 11, and 28.

    The shoot orders were issued by PCCF (wildlife) AK Misra on September 4 after a lot of hue and cry over killing of three villagers in forest areas last month. The order was based on recommendation by a committee constituted as per NTCA sop and headed by deputy conservator (DyCF) KM Abharna.

    The committee, based on camera trap images, pugmarks and direct sightings near the spots, attributed two of the three human kills to the tigress and her two eight month-old cubs. Based on corroborative evidence, Misra issued shoot at sight orders on September 4, for T1 and capture of two cubs.

    Counsel for Dr Banait, Tushar Mandlekar countered the report saying it lacked ‘cogent and conclusive’ evidence. The shoot orders were passed in a single day without even calling DNA analysis of the human deaths and samples collected.

    “The action of forest department was against the NTCA SOP. All the deaths were chance encounters and not intentional killings and calls for comprehensive guidelines to prevent abuse of powers in larger interest of wildlife,” Mandlekar argued. After hour long arguments on Wednesday, the order was reserved for Thursday. The high court upheld the contention of the forest department that SOP was just a guideline and mostly it has been followed as it looks from the evidence submitted.

    The petitioner also raised that those killed were graziers who ventured deep into the forest and violated forest and wildlife laws. Mandlekar harped on SOP but finally the court said people’s lives cannot be put at stake.

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