Reported by on 15 September 2012
Wildlife activists accuse director of cover-up

Wildlife activists have accused the director of Corbett National Park of trying to cover up facts related to suspected tiger poaching there. Based on information procured under the Right to Information Act, the People for Animals, Uttarakhand has written a letter to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), seeking the suspension of the director and an independent inquiry into the anomaliesF.

On May 24, the Corbett staff had discovered meat which was suspected of being tiger meat in the Bijrani range along with traps, tents, ration and other articles used by poachers. However, the Corbett authorities filed the report of the discovery of only one trap and the recovery of meat and other articles was not recorded.

On June 5, the officials arrested eight poachers and filed another report recording the seizure of traps and other articles.

According to PFA Uttarakhand member secretary Gauri Maulekhi, “On June 5, the Corbett authorities recorded the seizure of articles found on May 24. The final investigation report filed by the Corbett officials boasts about the efficiency of the staff preventing poaching of tiger or leopard.

However following allegations by wildlife activists and media reports, on June 2, the Corbett National Park director Ranjan Kumar Mishra sent the body part of a wild animal to the Wildlife Institute of India for DNA analysis. In his letter to the WII director, Mishra states that an internal organ, which appears to be the intestine from the burnt body of any unknown wild animal, was recovered on May 24 in Bijrani.” Maulekhi questions why the Corbett director first denied having discovered any animal body part in Bijrani on May 24 but then states just that in his letter to the WII.
In addition to this, the PFA had also sought a copy of the photography and videography conducted while recovering the poacher’s equipment. “Though National Tiger Conservation Authority guidelines make it mandatory for any such seizures in tiger reserves to be videographed, the Corbett authorities did not it. Mishra consistently tried to suppress correct information about the seizures,” she stressed.