Indian tiger park 'has no tigers'
Tuesday, 14 July 2009 21:42 UK
One of India's main tiger parks - Panna National Park - has admitted it no longer has any tigers.
The park, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, was part of the country's efforts to save the famous Royal Bengal Tiger from extinction.
State Minister of Forests Rajendra Shukla said that the reserve, which three years ago had 24 tigers, no longer had any.
A special census was conducted in the park by a premier wildlife institute, after the forest authorities reported no sightings of the animals for a long time.
This is the second tiger reserve iin India, after Sariska in Rajasthan, where numbers have dwindled to zero.
While this controversy rages, there have been reports that another national park in Madhya Pradesh, Sanjay National Park, which was included in the tiger project three years ago, also has no tigers left.
Though the programme bore fruit initially, with the decline in numbers checked because of a hunting ban, recent years have seen a phenomenal rise in poaching, which is now organised almost along the lines of drug-smuggling.
The authorities have not been able to put a stop to it, owing to the ever-changing techniques used by the cartels, and corruption within.