Apoorva Joshi

PhD student - Michigan State University; Independent journalist - environment, science and international news.

Fellow - International League of Conservation Writers.

Member - Society of Environmental Journalists, International Communication Association.

More Updates from Bandhavgarh Strike scene

At about 11:30 last night, the Tigress with the limp in one of her legs, Chorbehera, came VERY close to where the guides' podium is. The guides on strike were sitting on this podium when they saw her chase a cow with whatever amount running she could manage [owing to the fact that she limps]. When she came very close to where they were, she went back inside the forest and decided not to attack the cow. However, at around 1 am, she ventured back out and walked along one of the rivers towards a village up ahead. This Tigress, who has been limping for quite a while now, has STILL not received even a HINT of treatment from the Forest Department even after being informed about the injury. She is now killing cattle regularly and is also taking her cubs there to feed. The cubs, are getting used to feeding on cow meat instead of learning the essential skill of hunting deer and other usual prey within the park limits. This is a SURE indication that the man-animal conflict, which has already gone bad, is only getting worse this way. When you CAN control something, why be plain ignorant and risk the future of several innocent cattle, humans, and more importantly, that poor Tigress and her young, dependent cubs!
Secondly, one of the guides named Tejpratap Singh, who is one of the ten guides on a hunger strike, fell severely ill due to not having eaten for the last 2 days. He was taken to a hospital in an ambulance earlier today after an Inspector realized that his health was a major cause of worry. He was put on saline, and once discharged, was brought back to Bandhavgarh. He has resumed his position on the podium to go back on strike. The Director of the park, and all other officials are aware of this strike and yet, even after 2 full days, no one from the department has visited the guides and tried to sort out matters. The Director has said that he doesn't have the time to talk to these guides as he is too busy with whatever it is he is doing. Even today, vehicles entered the park without guides. The Director has got no problem whatsoever with vehicles randomly entering the park. And THIS, people, is our prestigious Tiger Reserve.

However, sadly, as twisted as this situation may be, for the guides, it is not a win-win situation. Them being on strike at a time when the census has begun in MP is a reason sick enough for the management to accuse them of not performing their duties or whatever, and the management is known to have framed innocent people before. There is enough reason to believe they will continue to do so. If these guys get framed and sacked, they will lose their entire livelihood and the jerks who will be hired as new guides in exchange will be family and friends of the park managers who knows nothing about the park. The people who can genuinely help, are NOT being given their due and we need to stand up for them.

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