Curious case of wildlife crusaders defending poachers!

Curious case of wildlife crusaders defending poachers!

Submitted by alvin on Sat, 2016-03-05 10:59 Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government's hostility towards non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in India is understandable. These so-called crusaders are not only destroying the religious and social fabric of our country, they are also assisting poachers to decimate the endangered tiger.Take the case of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a registered NGO in Karnataka. WCS has been accused of supporting Selvakumar and Jayachandran, who the Karnataka forest department believe are party to a poaching syndicate.Curiously, Jayachandran is part of Wildcane, a Nilgiri-based NGO, which is allegedly funded by the WCS.  The story goes back to October 1, 2015, when Selvakumar was caught red-handed while in possession of tiger bones at Punjanur, a wildlife range in the Billigiri Ranganathaswamy Temple tiger reserve. Intriguingly, WCS defended Selvakumar tooth and nail, maintaining that he had been sent as a decoy to lure and trap poachers operating in the periphery of Tamil Nadu (Satyamangalam tiger reserve) and Karnataka border.But during interrogation, Selvakumar confessed that he had been asked by Jayachandran and Murugesh to get tiger parts. With the hope of earning some money through the deal, Selvakumar had assigned the job of procuring tiger bones to Shekar.Promised a huge sum for the illegal booty, Shekar and his accomplices killed a tiger in the Satyamangalam range. Initially, tiger nails were delivered to Selvakumar and Jayachandran through Jadayan.But as luck would have it, Jadayan was arrested by the Satyamangalam forest staff. Subsequently, Shekar, Palanisamy, Murthy, Nanjappa, Marimuttu and Vadivelan were arrested in late October.At the insistence of Jayachandran, Selvakumar cajoled Shekar’s accomplices to deliver the bones. That is when Selvakumar was apprehended at Punjanur. He was in possession of 43 tiger bones and a nail.  Despite being arrested (FOC 02/ 2015-16) inside Karnataka territory, Selvakumar has been desperately trying to get the case transferred to Tamil Nadu.Jaychandran, the man who should be held responsible for the tiger death, is on the run. Apparently, Jaychandran is feared by the Tamil Nadu forest department as he is friendly with local MLA and MPs. Wow!Union minister Prakash Jawdekar is privy to the case. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) should compel the Tamil Nadu forest department, which filed a FOC ten days after Selvakumar had been arrested, to allow its Karnataka counterpart to complete the investigation.Let’s return to the role of NGOs. Why is WCS supporting Selvakumar and Jayachandran? Call records reveal that two of WCS’ field officers – based in Hunsur and Bangalore – had been constantly in touch with the accused. Why?In their desperation to be in the news (to attract foreign funds), NGOs have time and again offered huge sums of money to trap poachers through decoys. But in the process, tigers have been killed. Invariably, poachers get away scot-free for lack of evidence, or through political patronage.NGOs are expected to assist the government in protecting and conserving our forests and wildlife. Instead, they are destroying the very species that provides them sustenance (tiger funds). As protection (special tiger protection force), vigilance (forest cell) and investigative mechanisms are already in place, the ministry for environment, forests and climate change should constrain NGOs from indulging in policing activities. Sooner, the better.Else, more tigers would bite the bullet, thanks to greedy NGOs like the WCS.