Will this help somewhere to combat poaching?
The killing of a tiger in Maharashtra a couple of days ago appears to have been the last straw for the state government desperately trying to protect its 169 tigers. Yesterday they ordered forest guards and rangers to shoot poachers on sight. Anyone now venturing into a core tiger reserve with a gun risks being shot down.
Forest guards to be protected from prosecution in shoot on sight actions.
While the law to allow forest guards to shoot poachers has been around for about 10 years the forest guards have not taken advantage of the powers because they feared being prosecuted under human rights legislation. All that has now changed. The state government has promised that forest guards and rangers will be protected from any human rights activist actions if they undertake ‘preventative shootings‘.
“The death caused by preventive shooting will not be treated as offence under the Indian Penal Code. We have made a legal provision to safeguard our staff from any excesses by so-called human right activists,” Maharashtra forest minister Patangrao Kadam told reporters yesterday.
“Human rights groups come in the way if there is any such action, but there is need to save the tigers.” He continued, “If the staff spots poachers committing an offence, they have been given orders to shoot on sight. They should sound a warning asking them to surrender, however if the poachers fail to do so, they should be shot.”
Weapons and training to be given to guards in tiger reserves and sensitive areas.
In order to ensure the shoot on sight policy is effective a series of training courses are being organised for rangers and forest guards in the most sensitive locations. At the moment forest guards are armed for self-protection but of the 11,000 guards only 1,000 have fire-arms training. The plans will see thousands more forest guards trained in the use of fire-arms.
The state has seen a big increase in poaching attempts on tigers in recent months. The latest was the discovery of a tiger 4 days ago in the Pench Tiger Reserve. The tiger had been chopped up into 11 parts and made ready for processing and transport.
Local poachers have advance orders for 25 tigers.
Of great concern is the intelligence gathered by the local law enforcement agencies which indicates that local poachers had advance orders for another 25 tigers to be poached.
The new shoot on sight policy is the latest in a series of action in Maharashtra State to try and combat the increasing poaching. Pench Tiger Reserve has seen an extra 90 forest guards assigned to the area.
Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, which saw the loss of 2 tigers at the end of April in wire snares, has had an extra 70 forest guards assigned to it. In addition the chief conservation officer for Tadoba-Andhari has been transferred from his position and replaced.
The forest guards of the two tiger reserves will also find it much easier to move around on patrol as 100 extra jeeps are being bought to support them in their anti-poaching patrols.
The state government has also created a fund to reward people (up to 50 lakh or £570) who provide information on poachers and poaching activities.
Indian wildlife rangers ordered to shoot poachers on sight | Wildlife News