Monday, August 23, 2010

The Role of Police in the recent attack

As the Tiger incident unfolds in Ranthambhore many effects of a system failure particularly with regard to the forest officials are coming to the forefront. The Bhuriphadi village which has generally not been hostile towards the forest in the past was already hostile in terms of an earlier incident where some money had changed hands and no receipts were provided. Under these circumstances Daulat Singh was sent to tranquilise this male Tiger that had already been suffering under heavy human disturbance. He was lucky to have had a committed Police Force with him that had little experience of Tiger control but were there to prevent any untoward incident between village and forest officials. This police force was already exhausted due to two days of Municipal election duty but still managed to be there and do the best they could. There was no officer from the Forest Department guiding the police force in any manner and they were left to be mere spectators with no instruction. However they still tried their best to control the mobs. They even tried to convince Daulat Singh to not go and try to tanquilise the Tiger the 2rd time as it was dangerous. Daulat was convinced and tried to tell his immediate superior Mr Sedu Ram Yadav that no more effort to tranquilise should be done as it was dangerous. However Sedu Ram was communicating with his superiors over the wireless and insisted that a 3rd attempt be made. It was against the back drop of this complete lack of understanding of the situation on behalf of the superior officers that Daulat took the risk to make a 3rd attempt. This situation is further compounded by the fact that as soon as Daulat was gravely injured the 1st person to leave the scene of incident was Mr Yadav and behind him disappeared most of the forest officials. It was the police that took stock of things and got Daulat out of the area and sent him to the Hospital. Not only did they do this but they kept a vigil on the Tiger keeping people away from the scene through the night and until the next day when the Tiger has left and gone back into the safety of the Park. During this entire period no forest official or staff stayed at the scene to watch the Tiger. Had the police not been there the villagers would have definitely killed the Tiger and if not that then the Tiger would have killed some of them.

ACF Sedhuram Yadav retreating after attack on Daulat Singh

Time and time again it has been seen that in crucial wildlife management crisis the top official in the Forest Department fail to provide a measured and experienced response. There is no standard operating protocol for such incidents and every action taken is a knee jerk reaction made on the spur of the moment causing needless injury to man and animal.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Tragic day in Ranthambhore.. .

Mr Daulat Singh attacked by the tiger when he went to close while trying to tranquilize him

20th august 2010 was yet another tragic day for the tiger and a brave forest ranger.

T7 (5-year-old) one of the favourite’s tiger of the tourism zone who shared his territory with his own father T2 (10 year old) unfortunately strayed out of the park due to the overgrazing of cattle by Uliana and Bhadlav villagers and entered the agricultural field of Bhuripahadi village.

The Background: At about 3 AM tiger killed one of the buffalo calves of a villager, at about 3.15 AM the villagers discovered this, threw stones on the tiger, pulled away the calf, and informed the forest department.

The forest department reached on site around 5 AM and about three canters of police also reached. By then about 1,500 villagers had gathered around in that area, the men and women of the village were creating unnecessary havoc and pressure on the officers.

Sites of attack which have taken place in the past 4 months

One of the Rangers – Mr Daulat Singh [The most able and efficient ranger of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve] was cornered by villagers and physically abused.

This shoving created stress and strain on the forest rangers. The tiger was equally stressed due to the continuous stone throwing and other noises.

The stressed out tiger trying to find its way out of the crowd back in the forest

The ranger tried to tranquilize the tiger twice but missed the shot, third time around he tried to bend down and check if the tiger was darted but the tiger made a surprise attack.

Daulat Singh Saktawat was gravely injured on hands and face with him losing one eye.

Mr Daulat Singh rescued by the forest guards

He was rushed to the Sawai Madhopur Hospital, which had no electricity in the first place leave alone a sterilized Operation theatre. The state of the hospital was pathetic with no monitoring equipment, no oxygen, no ventilator and room was moist and filthy with fungus on the walls. Crowds of people were allowed to enter at will as if there was some magic show taking place and everyone was invited. Every possible protocol of Emergency Care was violated. Very crude patch up work was being done and that too in the light of a torch and even the torch was not immediately available and was brought by Dharmendra Khandal which was a car light used for Hyena filming. The generator was not working and everything was left to the mercy of God.

Under normal circumstances in such a small District town, the General Hospital would be the logical place to take all emergencies, but here there was an option of the best emergency care that was on the way from the site of injury, which was Ranthambhore Sevika.

The Sevika Hospital was on the way from Bhuriphadi and would save at least 30 minutes time as that is how long it would take to get to the General Hospital. Sevika Hospital is equipped with the best Doctors and equipment and yet the local officials took the unnecessary risk to take one of their brethren to the General Hospital where even electricity was not available.

These were the mistakes made due to the ego and protocol issues by the forest department, however there were some mistakes made on the site of the catastrophe:

No basic emergency equipment was available to combat the situation in such case with mob around; a kit should be available with the foresters, which would contain a loudspeaker to pacify the crowd, safety wear for the team such as helmets, and thick jackets (Which could have prevented this incident due to which Mr Daulat Singh ji lost one of his eye).

The eye lid was stitched with the cheek in the Sawai Madhopur hospital pretty badly and it will take a lot of work and expertise of the plastic surgeon to correct it.

Mr Daulat might not be able to see with one of his eye in the future but the eyes above all of us is looking at the people who let it happen due to their ego's and impassivity.

After the darkness of the night the tiger returned back in the jungle...

In the night the tiger went back to the forest...