Sariska tiger death: Forest officials suspended

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 21:25

Jaipur/New Delhi: Two officials of Sariska
reserve forest, where a relocated tiger died, were on Tuesday suspended on the charge of dereliction of duty even as
government ruled out stopping tiger translocating programme
despite coming in for criticism from some wildlife experts.

Concerned over the death of the tiger due to suspected
poisoning in Sariska, Forest and Environment Minister Jairam
Ramesh is visiting Sariska tomorrow to assess the situation
there.

Rajasthan government put District Forest Officer B
Praveen and Assistant Conservator of Forest Mukesh Saini of
Sariska under suspension on the charge of dereliction of duty.

"In preliminary investigation, both were found guilty of
dereliction of duty. They were suspended today," state Forest
and Environment Minister Ramlal Jaat said in Jaipur.

He said a committee headed by a senior officer Mohan Lal
Meena was constituted to probe the death of the tiger which was
located to Sariska from Ranthambore in 2008.

He said the viscera report of the tiger from the Forensic
Science Laboratory has not come yet and the exact cause of the
death of the tiger would become clear after the report comes.

In New Delhi, Ramesh admitted to "governance and
administration failure" which led to the death of the tiger in
Sariska.

"I take responsibility for the death of the tiger in
Sariska sanctuary. I admit that there have been governance
and administration failure. That were the reasons for the
unfortunate death of the big cat," he said.

Ramesh will undertake a day-long tour of Sariska
tomorrow to see the steps taken by the state government for
protection of the remaining tigers there.

Ramesh said it was too early to predict the real
cause for the tiger`s death and the viscera report was
awaited. Sources, however, said the animal died of poisoning.

National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) head
Rajesh Gopal visited Sariska forest and will soon submit the
post-mortem report to the Environment Ministry.

The death of the tiger, which was the first big cat to
be moved to Sariska park two years ago as a part of the
translocation process of the government, has come as a major
set back for the species revival plan.

Since 2008, five tigers have been relocated to
Sariska which had lost all its native species to poachers
during 2005-06.

The minister, however, rejected criticism by some
wildlife experts that the translocation process was to blame
for the death of the big cat in Sariska and said the process
would go on.

"This tragic episode (death of the tiger in Sariska)
will not stop our ongoing trans-location programme which have
been scientifically prepared by the best of experts from
research institutes such as Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
We will go ahead with it as planned," he said.

Jaat also said the state government is planning to
translocate another tiger from Ranthambhore to Sariska.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 21:25

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