Confidential Report Obtained Through RTI Reveals Poacher-Official Nexus in Panna

A report by Field Director R.S. Murthy, Panna Tiger Reserve to the Chief Wildlife Warden, H.S. Pabla outlines a strong poacher-official nexus leading all the way to the dreaded poacher Sansarchand, as the reason for the decline of tigers in Panna. The report claims that all six tigers poached in 2005 had the collusion of the forest staff. The officials also colluded with local hunting tribes like the Pardhis and the Bahelias, as well as with national and international mafia by not registering cases or suppressing them. The report warns that unless this is addressed, reintroduced tigers and their progenies were also not safe. The report recommends the constitution of a “Panna Tiger Reserve-High Power Special Investigation Team” as well as the transfer of range officers of the Chandranagar and Mandla ranges. The Chief Wildlife Warden has said that the report contained a lot of unsubstantiated claims and so it has been sent back to the Field Director for review and reconsideration. The field director has said that he has supplemented the report with statements from forest staff and officials. The confidential report has been obtained by an RTI application filed by wildlife activist Ajay Dube.

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