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Tiger panel suggests steps to ease conflict
- Post-mortem indicates poisoning: Official

Jorhat, Feb. 27: The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has suggested installation of more surveillance towers and power fencing at Orang National Park to mitigate the increasing man-animal conflict.

D.P. Bankwal, head of the Guwahati regional office of NTCA, said the increasing man-tiger conflict in and around Orang had become a cause for serious concern and that the state government should send a slew of proposals to the authority, which could then arrange for funds so that measures can be taken to mitigate these conflicts.

“Installing a few surveillance towers and power fencing would be a few such measures which could come in handy,” Bankwal, who visited the national park today, said.

The suggestion comes a day after the carcass of a tigress was recovered from the park, making it the third Royal Bengal tiger to have been found dead in Orang this month. The carcass of a tiger was found on February 9 and that of a tigress was found two days later.

It is suspected that villagers residing near the park’s periphery poisoned the big cats in retaliation to attacks on cattle. This has happened earlier too.

Bankwal said the post-mortem conducted today on the carcass found yesterday indicated poisoning. “We are still awaiting the forensic report but there are indications that the three tigers were poisoned.”

He said since all three were young tigers and there were no injury marks on any of the carcasses, it could be assumed that the animals had died of poisoning.

The NTCA official said it was difficult to stop the increasing man-tiger conflict at Orang as the population of tigers was increasing in the smallest national park in the state. “The density of tigers at Orang is one of the highest in the country after Corbett National Park. As such, they stray and come into conflict with villagers living in the fringe areas,” he said.

The divisional forest officer of Orang, Sushil K. Daila, said they had erected a 3km power fence at Panchnoi, where two of the three tiger carcasses were found, a few years back but goons had uprooted it. “The conflict between animals and villagers had come down after the fence was erected but it was unfortunately damaged by miscreants.”

Daila said despite several measures being taken by the park authorities, like awareness meetings and paying ex gratia to villagers for cattle killed by tigers, man-animal conflict had not come down to the desired level.

“We have also increased patrolling in and around the park to check straying of animals,” he added.