AboutZoos, Since 2008


Shoot to kill ….….….. the tiger poacher!

pub­lished 26 May 2012 | mod­i­fied 05 Decem­ber 2012

India’s state Maha­rash­tra has declared war on ani­mal poach­ing by allow­ing for­est guards to shoot hunters on sight in an effort to curb ram­pant attacks on tigers and other wildlife.

The gov­ern­ment in Maha­rash­tra says injur­ing or killing sus­pected poach­ers will no longer be con­sid­ered a crime.

For­est guards should not be booked for human rights vio­la­tions when they have taken action against poachers
Maha­rash­tra For­est Min­is­ter Patan­grao Kadam »

The state also will send more rangers and jeeps into the for­est, and will offer secret pay­ments to inform­ers who give tips about poach­ers and ani­mal smug­glers, the min­is­ter said.

Accord­ing to the Wildlife Pro­tec­tion Soci­ety of India, 14 tigers have been killed by poach­ers in India so far this year — one more than in all of 2011. Eight of this year’s tiger poach­ing deaths in India occurred in Maha­rash­tra, includ­ing one whose body was found last week chopped into pieces with its head and paws miss­ing in Tadoba Tiger Reserve. For­est offi­cials have also found traps in the reserve, where about 40 tigers live.

amur tiger Tiger parts

These poach­ers have lost all fear. They just go in and poach what they want because they know the risks are low
Divyab­hanus­inh Chavda, head of India’s WWF »

In many of India’s reserves, guards are armed with lit­tle more than sticks. No tiger poach­ers have ever been shot in Maha­rash­tra, though cases of ille­gal log­gers and fish­er­men being shot have led to charges against for­est guards, accord­ing to the state’s chief wildlife war­den, S.W.H. Naqvi. But the threat could act as a sig­nif­i­cant deter­rent to wildlife crim­i­nals, con­ser­va­tion­ists said. A sim­i­lar mea­sure allow­ing guards to fire on poach­ers in Assam has helped the north­east state’s pop­u­la­tion of endan­gered one-​horned rhi­nos recover.

India faces intense inter­na­tional scrutiny over its tiger con­ser­va­tion, as it holds half of the world’s esti­mated 3,200 tigers in dozens of wildlife reserves set up since the 1970s, when hunt­ing was banned.

Ille­gal poach­ing remains a stub­born and seri­ous threat, with tiger parts in par­tic­u­lar fetch­ing high prices on the black mar­ket because of demand dri­ven by tra­di­tional Chi­nese med­i­cine practitioners.

But the tiger is not the only species endan­gered by poach­ing. As a mat­ter of fact, a recent study pub­lished in Bio­log­i­cal Con­ser­va­tion on hunt­ing in India noted 114 species of mam­mals were being actively hunted across the coun­try, with dozens of birds and rep­tiles also under attack.

There has been an onslaught going on in India. It’s a seri­ous threat to wildlife, along with habi­tat encroach­ment and for­est degra­da­tion. A lot of species are cling­ing to sur­vival in remote areas
(William Lau­rance, a con­ser­va­tion biol­o­gist at James Cook Uni­ver­sity in Aus­tralia and co-​author of the study)

Accord­ing to this study, some of the most ram­pant hunt­ing is occur­ring in the east­ern Himalayas, where high num­bers of army troops are deployed and some hunt for sport, and in the north­east near the porous bor­der with China and Myan­mar, where hunt­ing is a way of life and some­times an eco­nomic neces­sity for tribal communities.

“The remark­able thing in India is that there is still any­thing alive at all with 1.2 bil­lion peo­ple,” Lau­rance said. “As pop­u­la­tions grow, an increase in hunt­ing pres­sure is a clas­sic thing that happens.”

The above news item is reprinted from mate­ri­als avail­able at Asso­ci­ated Press via Wildlife Pro­tec­tion Soci­ety of India. Orig­i­nal text may be edited for con­tent and length.

(Sources: Asso­ci­ated Press, 23.05.2012; WPSI)

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Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

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