Corbett Tiger Reserve staffers get shoot-at-sight orders during anti-poaching drive
The facility’s director said the notice was issued on the grounds of ‘self protection’ against armed shooters.
The Corbett Tiger Reserve has granted its staffers with shoot-at-sight orders against poachers in its critical tiger habitat zone, The Times of India reported. The orders were issued on the grounds of “self-protection against poachers carrying arms,” and increased protection for the animals, the facility’s director Parag Madhukar Dhakate said.
The orders follow the Environment Ministry recommendations that the British Broadcasting Corporation’s South Asia correspondent be blacklisted for making a documentary that highlights the government’s aggressive policy in Kaziranga National Park to protect endangered rhinos from poachers.
Based on information received, the Corbett Tiger Reserve’s officials launched a five-day anti-poaching drive. “We have sealed the entry points on the northern and southern borders. Forest workers have been ordered to instantly shoot any poacher or hunter seen with arms in the core critical tiger habitat zone,” Dhakate told The Hindu.
Several other measures including restrictions on villagers, who collect fire wood from the area, entering the reserve and extensive frisking have also been announced. Personnel will use two drones, 388 camera traps and night vision equipment to crackdown on poachers. Sharp shooters and 150 forest department workers have also been deployed as part of the anti-poaching drive. Shoot-at-sight orders have been issued in the past too, Dhakate said.
The Uttarakhand forest department’s data said 112 tigers had died between November 2000 and November 2016, including six poaching deaths, The Hindu reported. Tiger census data recorded in 2015 indicates that Uttarakhand has the second highest tiger population in the country after Karnataka.
In March 2016, Uttarakhand’s special task force busted a poaching racket and seized five tiger skins, four of which are believed to be the remains of the reserve’s tigers, The Times of India reported.