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Staff inadequate to guard forest: Chief Wildlife Warden

Panaji: Stating that as long as people continue to reside along the boundaries of the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary, the man-animal conflict is bound to happen, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden Santosh Kumar on Thursday said that the Mhadei sanctuary is 207 sq km in size and, therefore, the department of forests requires more staff to keep a watch on the forest as well as carry out patrolling.

“Even the CCTV cameras cannot keep track of all the occurrences in the sanctuary,” he said.

Speaking to the pressmen, Santosh Kumar said that the population of tigers, who frequent the forest areas along the Goa-Karnataka border, has increased during the recent past, with Wildlife Institute of India observing that there are at least four adult tigers present in this region.

“Nevertheless, the recent death of the four tigers in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary is a matter of great shame for the department of forest,” he admitted.

Speaking further, Santosh Kumar said that the team of forest department is presently in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary investigating the death of the four tigers. “We have also found the remains of a buffalo as well as two porcupines, probably eaten by the tigers,” he stated, pointing out, “We feel that someone has poisoned the buffalo, and the investigation is on in this direction.”

It was also informed that the food requirement of the four tigers, whose carcasses were found in the sanctuary, was heavy.Replying to a question, Santosh Kumar said that the people residing along the periphery of the sanctuary could have interacted with the tigers, as their cattle sometimes move inside the sanctuaries for grazing. “In fact, the claws/ nails of the tigers were found to be removed from their paws by someone,” he added.

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