Palamu Tiger Reserve offers Rs 5,000 for information about big cats

Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR) officials on Friday announced a cash reward of Rs 5,000 for providing credible information about presence or movement of tigers inside the state’s only home for tigers.

“A cash award has been announced for giving information about tigers with twin objectives. First, we have to make sure if PTR has tigers, so as to decide our next course of action. Secondly, there are reports that field staff members are not discharging their duties properly. In this case, it’s an alarm call for them,” Das pointed out.

The PTR has not recorded any evidence of presence of a tiger since February this year when a tigress was found dead in the Betla National Park, the tourist zone of the reserve, spread over an area of 1,129 square km in Latehar and Garhwa districts. According to the latest tiger estimation data released by the Union ministry of environment, there was no tiger in the reserve.

PTR field director YK Das said, “We have not recorded any evidence about a tiger’s presence in the PTR since the tigress was found dead in February. We found some tiger scats in May and sent them for testing but reports are awaited.”

Das, however, expressed hope that the tiger population can be revived if all stakeholders come together. Das said, “One good thing about the PTR is that the habitat is still in a good condition.”

The move by the forest officials assumes significance amid outcry by wildlife experts about lack of proper monitoring of wildlife in the reserve forest by the staff.

Noted wildlife expert and secretary of the nature conservation society Dr DS Srivastava said, “They (the PTR officials) are not getting reports, as there has been very little monitoring of wildlife. Even the lower rung forest employees like forest guards consider themselves to be officers.”

Suggesting ways out of this imbroglio, Srivastava said, “The situation has to be changed and the locals should be made a party to the management of the reserve so as to revive its lost glory.”

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