|The proverbial tiger of William Blake can now ‘burn bright in the forest of the night.’ A special tiger protection force has begun operations for the protection of endangered tigers in Bandipur National Park (BNP).|
| The BNP encompasses Madumalai, Satyamangala and Nagarahole. There have been increasing incidents of poaching in the park bordering Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Due to ill-equipped staff, the protection of the tiger and other wild animals took a back seat.|
In accordance with the guidelines the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), a dedicated Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) was sanctioned to tackle the wildlife crime related to the big cats. The State Government and the Forest Department appointed the staff necessary for STPF. Training was imparted to the Force at the Police Training Institute in Bangalore.
The STPF comprises 90 guards, 18 foresters, three range forest officers and is headed by an Assistant Conservator of Forests. Among the trained personnel a team of 47 has begun functioning in Bandipur becoming the first such team in South India. It has also been decided to use the same team for the protection of tigers in Nagarhole National Park. The 47-member team has been divided into three squads and assigned to Melukamanahalli, Titimati and Bandipur of H D Kote forest ranges. The force works round-the-clock in the protection of wildlife.
In Gundlupet, some persons from Kerala have taken land on lease for the cultivation of ginger. There is an allegation that some among them have taken to poaching. Wild animals also get electrocuted due to illegal electrification of fences.
Some poachers who are booked for killing wild animals get bail from the court and then continue poaching. The Special Tiger Protection Force will keep an eye on all these illegal activities.
“The STPF has given strength to the efforts in protecting the tiger. Very soon a second team of the Force will be deployed”, said Dr K T Hanumanthappa, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bandipur Tiger Project.