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Madras HC to hear PIL against hunting down of 'killer' tiger

 
Madras High Court
Chennai: The Madras High Court will on Tuesday hear a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a Chennai-based animal rights group against the orders to "hunt down" the "killer" tiger at Gudalur.

A bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu will hear the petition filed by the People for Cattle in India (PFCI), against Tamil Nadu Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Shekar Kumar Neeraj's Saturday order to hunt down the tiger which was alleged to be responsible for the killing of four people and 12 cattle.

The PFCI, in its PIL, alleged that the order was not in consonance with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines.

Noting the NTCA was a statutory body set up for protection and conservation of tigers by issuance of advisories and or guidelines to forest authorities in a timely manner, it said that NTCA guidelines have mentioned that the tigers would use agriculture or sugarcane fields to hunt their prey and that such visits might also cause lethal encounters with humans, and "such animals should not be declared as dangerous to human life".

The NTCA also states that confirmed habituated tigers or leopards which stalk human beings and feed on the body are likely to be dangerous to human life but such declaration requires considerable examination based on field evidence, it said.

The petitioner alleged that there was no evidence in the case of MDT23 tiger that it was stalking human being habitually and avoiding natural prey, alleging that the forest officials, due to their inability to catch the animal alive, have ordered to hunt it down.

Meanwhile, the MDT23 tiger was elusive on the ninth day even as five to six teams of the Forest Department were searching for it, with the aid of two Kumki elephants, Udayan and Srinivasan, and three sniffer dogs.

The PCCF issued the shooting order on Saturday after local people conducted protests at Gudalur and Masinagudi following the finding of the carcass of 82-year-old Basavanna, who reportedly attacked, killed, and eaten by the tiger. —IANS