Indians have harmed tigers more than the colonialists: Goa governor

Saturday, November 13, 2010

PANAJI - Indians, not the colonialists, have let down the tiger, Goa’s governor S.S. Sidhu said Saturday, adding that contrary to forest department’s claims, there was evidence to suggest that tigers exist in Goa’s forests.

“Even the Royal Bengal tiger is endangered because of indiscriminate poaching. In India, it seems, we have done more harm to tigers since Independence, compared to what the colonialists did during their long stay here,” Sidhu said.

Speaking at a function ‘Save tigers of Sahyadri’, Sidhu said that a collective inter-state mechanism was needed to save the national animal from extinction.

Evidence of tigers straying into Goa from Karnataka side of the Sahyadri mountains has been collected by the authorities. It only means there has to collective efforts on the part of Goa, Karnataka and possibly Maharashtra to save tigers,” he said.

Sidhu also said that India’s extensive tiger conservation programmes like the setting up of national parks, tiger reserves and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had failed.

All these initiatives were essentially directed towards protection of tigers and ensuring their unhindered growth, considering the important role they play in preserving the balance in the eco-system. However, all these efforts have not succeeded in preventing poaching, Sidhu said.

Sidhu’s admission of the presence of tigers in Goa comes at a time when the state’s forest department has been repeatedly accused by tiger conservation activists of derailing efforts to convert the three wildlife sanctuaries in the state - Mhadei, Netravali and Bhagwan Mahaveer - into tiger reserves.

Noted wildlife activist Rajendra Kerkar said that forest officials were reluctant to admit the presence of the animal in Goa’s forests under pressure from the Rs.6,000 crore mining industry, which has mines bordering these sanctuaries.

Filed under: Environment

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