Mera Bharat Mahan? Lion-Tiger connundrum

Posted by: Bittu Sahgal on

Sartaj Singh, Forest Minister, Madhya Pradesh says there are no "surplus" tigers in the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, so he cannot accede to the request from Rajasthan to send a tiger to Sariska Tiger Reserve. Strange. Just a short while ago the same Minister said that Bandhavgarh had surplus tigers, which were successfully relocated to the Panna Tiger Reserve, which had suffered local extinction of tigers in the same way as Sariska.

What is the matter with our politicians and their wildlife attitudes? Sanctuary readers know that Gujarat claims the same thing about lions, which it refuses to send from the Gir National Park, to Palpur-Kuno in Madhya Pradesh. They feel this downgrades the tourism value of "their" wildlife destination -- Gir. A few years ago the Gujarat government mismanaged its Dangs forest and caused the local extinction of tigers there, possiblythe western-most tiger habitat in the world. So where do we go from here? First we cut off forest corridors, causing local extinctions and now we are busy cutting off political corridors that could fix at least some of the problems (temporarily?) that some of the most inept wildlife managers and administrators have combined to created for wildlife in India. Meanwhile, the coal mafia in MP and the limestone mafia in M.P. and Gujarat respectively whittles away at the forests that both animals need so desperately to survive. 

Mera Bharat Mahan?