Wherever wild tiger populations survive and come into contact with landscapes dominated by humans,they pose a threat by preying on livestock ,and less commonly on people.
In most parts of India people are remarkably tolerant of wildlife damage compared with elsewhere in the world ,but sometimes in conflict situations ,local antagonism against tigers often erupts into a serious problem.
A six-year-old tigress suspected of having killed 13 people over the past two years in the hills of central India was shot dead by hunters under controversial circumstances last week.While the killing of two ninth-month-old cubs triggered celebrations by villagers in the area stalked by the big cat,wildlife activists were furious – and with good reason.
The latest incident in the man-animal conflict,which comes just days after another tigress was blamed for killing a woman whose post mortem report was inconclusive ,shows that we need to get a better dealing with such cases.
“If a rat enters our house,do we think twice before killing it?Yes,the tiger is no comparison to the rat when it comes to its position in the wild.”
Like humans ,every tiger and every animal is unique.Some are extra cautious,some friendly and some ,due to no fault of theirs,or that of that humans,turn out to be man-eaters.
The Supreme Court has declared that if the Maharashtra Forest Department fails to sedate/tranquilise the man-eater ,the apex court will not stand in its way of shooting the animal to kill it .
While animal rights activists feel strongly against culling ,it does not make a difference to conservation whether a tiger is packed off to a zoo or killed.In both cases it is one tiger less in the wild.
It is in such cases that we need to rethink the black and white of killing natural treasures like tigers.The species is important to conserve our wildlife.
Even as their number has risen to over 2500 now,making India the home to 60% of the world’s tigers,rare instances that like the recent case of Maharashtra can result in tarnishing the name of the species as a whole.
“Let’s step in the villagers’ shoes”
To think of everyday waking up every day with the fear of your family member being mauled in your neighbourhood by a tiger is unimaginable.
With India’s dense human and tiger population,the conflict is inevitable.News about man-animal conflict is churned put in the media everyday.
Beautiful animals like the tigers and leopards have already been branded to be ferocious and an enemy to man for no fault of theirs.A majority of them prove that they can coexist with humans as long as we don’t pose a threat to their safety.
Now ,the choice is ours-do we save a tiger from the jaws of death? Or do we sacrifice it for the greater good of the tiger species?