What a sad demise of a 20 months old Sub Adult Tigress T27-C1, (KISMAT)

What a sad demise of a 20 months old Sub Adult Tigress T27-C1, (KISMAT)

By Dr. Jerryl Banait

It all started about 4 months back when she had two chance encounters wherein human beings were killed in the jungle. She was hastily labelled as a man-eater.

The FIRST shoot at sight order totally shook me as I still wanted to keep the Tigress T27-C1 alive and bring her to captivity. So I approached the Honourable High Court and filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) with plea to tranquilize her and keep her in captivity. I also objected in the base petition for the appointment of a private hunter to be a part of this operation.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were not followed to declare her as a man eater and establish her identity. Medical and forensic reports were not presented to the Honourable High Court to prove her as a man eater and correctly identify her. The Honourable High Court allowed the plea and quashed the order to kill her on sight. Later, she was successfully tranquillised and brought to Gorewada Rescue Center, Nagpur.

A High level panel consisting of senior forest officials, Wildlife experts, veterinarians etc decided to release her back in the wild. She was released in Bor Reserve Forest in Maharashtra. She was radio collared before her release.

After approximately 50 days she started migrating. She was very active and intelligent. She travelled more than 500kms in approx 25 days and came back in the Bor reserve forest where she initially began her migration. She had developed Homing instinct even at this age. She was missing her home.

During these days, Kismat did two more chance encounters, which resulted in SECOND shoot at sight orders which again did not follow the NTCA guidelines and the SOPs . I went to the Honourable High Court for the SECOND time against this order, with plea to tranquillise her and bring her in captivity. The second shoot at sight order was withdrawn by the High Court's directions.

Within 3 days, fresh orders were released for the THIRD time to shoot the Tigress on sight. I approached the High Court for the THIRD time against this order but miserably failed as the High Court upheld it on subjective satisfaction of the PCCF.

I went to the High Court again and in the meantime started the process of filing my plea with the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the High Court Division bench that had to review the case was not operating as one of the Honourable Judges went on official work outside town. I requested for constituting a special division bench, which was fortunately constituted within a few hours.

We presented our plea for grant of stay but the division bench declined at 5.30 pm.
So I had no other option but to immediately move to Supreme Court for an early hearing.
I immediately booked my tickets for Delhi as it was minute to minute emergency situation. Anything could have happened to the Tigress T27-C1 because the shooters were already in the field ready with their equipment to shoot her.

Early morning I was at the airport for my flight to Delhi. I was to board the flight at 9 am.

I got the saddest news of my life from my father Dr Avinash Banait informing me that my Kismat was electrocuted adjacent to Bor Reserve forest. I went to Nawargaon where the Tigress was kept for post mortem.They finished the post mortem and cremated Tigress Kismat. We lost Kismat to electrocution if not the shooters.

After this incident, I have many questions in my mind. And I would like to put it out for the readers of Democracy News Live:

1. Why were the first shoot at sight orders passed without following NTCA guidelines and SOPs?

2. With the radio collar in place and GPS location of the Tigress , VHF monitoring tracking her each movement, 100 plus ground staff, officials, tranquiliser, sharp shooter, elephants, jeeps etc, how did the electrocution take place despite such monitoring ?
3. Why the area around the movement of T27C1 was not checked?
4. Was it a deliberate attempt to electrocute the Tigress?
5. Why the private hunter is required in such a big department spending crores and crores of rupees of Honest Tax payers?
6. How will we save any Tiger if we start shooting all the Tigers and Tigresses who become problematic?
7. If a Tigress who was being so closely monitored gets electrocuted, how safe are the other wild animals in the state?
8. What is the electricity board doing for the illegal electric fencing by these farmers?
9. How come the Electrocution marks are primarily on the side of her body and not her paws which is more likely that she might put on the wires?

(Dr. Jerryl Banait practises medicine. He is a Guinness and Limca book of world records holder. He has received many awards in field of wildlife conservation and protection.)

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