Update from Kaziranga on tigress shooting13th December 2011
Firoz Ahmed, a tiger expert based in Kaziranga , India whose work is supported by DSWF and TigerTime relays reports regularly on tiger activity in Assam's national parks.
After the shocking incident last week when a stray tigress was shot at and received 8-10 bullets DSWF has received the latest news from the front line.
After the tiger was killed, Firoz was immediately asked by the NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority) to lead an inquiry team to investigate why and how she was killed. He stated ‘I rushed back to Kaziranga as soon as I heard the news. I quickly realised that no one knew who was in command throughout the operation’.
The tigress had killed a pig and was resting in the village, but was 100 metres from a school and 50 metres from villagers. It is said that‘some adventurous youth were reportedly disturbing the tiger’, which may have started to aggravate her. The tigress started to move on from the area when ‘a local video reporter approached the tiger and got too close as she tried to cross the highway’. This led to the tiger seeing the reporter and the armed police that had congregated and she then started to chase them. The police helped the reporter when the tigress ‘jumped on him and pushed him to the ground and then walked away’. Firoz believes that the ‘police panicked and shot the tiger while she was walking away’.
There is now a government inquiry into the incident and to look into why the operation failed and why the tiger was killed. In Firoz’s report, he expresses his frustration at how the operation was carried out and recommends that ‘urgent measures need to be carried out so that similar future incidents can be minimized and the success rate of rescuing a stray tiger can be increased’.
This was an upsetting event that could have been prevented. However, lessons will be learned from this to make sure it does not happen again. Firoz, with the help of DSWF and TigerTime will continue to update us on the situation in Kaziranga and push for change so in the future stray tigers can be transported to a safer area, and not killed.
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