Monday, 10 July 2017

Irresponsible Journalism!

Please refer to the elderly-used-as-bait article by Mr Keshav Agarwal dated July 4, 2017. (

It is sad that an unfounded news story has been published by a leading newsgroup without any corroborative evidence whatsoever. For the record, there are 300 villages which are located on the fringe of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve. The PTR has a population of nearly 50 big cats and some of these are occasionally spotted outside the core areas as well. The maximum incidents of wildlife-human conflict arise because of increasing encroachment by the local inhabitants into forest territories (whether for collecting firewood, prized mushrooms or merely open defecation). The administration on its part has been trying to saturate these fringe villages with LPG connections and toilets to the extent possible. The fact that the forest cover of the district has shrunk from 68% at the time of Independence to a mere 22% currently speaks about the shrinking habitat for the tigers.

There is no clear age trend in the eighteen or so incidents of man-wildlife conflict in the district this year. However, it needs to be mentioned that the ‘elderly used as bait’ story seems to be a figment of imagination drawing from some vague concept of Towers of Silence. Two things need to be mentioned imperatively at this juncture: one, no compensation is payable for the incidents which occur inside the core reserve areas and secondly, Pilibhit as a largely agricultural district is quite prosperous.

Lastly, the terai woodland forests are ideal habitats and not just tigers but most wildlife (leopards, bears, nilgais, deer etc) abound in the area. It is a matter of immense fortune for the country that tiger population has continued to flourish in this tiger reserve despite all odds. How one wishes that the news report had mentioned the recent loss of two bear cubs due to a speeding vehicle rather than concocting a story out of thin air.

District Magistrate