Sherni encounters nervousness among biologists and wildlife officials



This All India Indian Forest Officers’ Association tweet has been trending among young IFS officials in India for more than a week. The recently released film Sherni, starring Vidya Balan as the no-nonsense forest officer of the district caring for a tigress and her cubs, has been well received by a section of Indian wildlife officers and independent biologists based in TN. “The scenes in the film Sherni are the story of the tigress Anvi, who was killed in an encounter. But this is almost a reminder of what happened in Mudumalai in 2015.

Although this film is about Anvi, almost the same thing happened in TN in 2015. The trigger-happy special task force was given more importance than the darts team trained by wild animals. Once we failed and we didn’t have enough time to catch the tiger alive, ”recalls a forest officer who was part of the team that couldn’t do much to protect the“ alleged ogre ”who allegedly had three villagers in the area Nilgiri Biosphere killed. The film also sparked the minds of forest officials and biologists to remember their dedicated nature conservationists, such as the first IFS officer in TN, Aruna Basu Sarcar, who was responsible for dealing with the timber mafia in the 90s and retired Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) CK Sreedharan, who opposed the neutrino project in the tiger reserve. “Conservation and development cannot go hand in hand, and the political bosses should see to it that the balance is not lost,” says the well-known botanist and professor of taxonomy, D. Narasimhan.

“It was the clear political will of the late Prime Minister M Karunanidhi and the right advice from the former PCCF CK Sreedharan that stopped the neutrino laboratory project in the heart of a tiger reserve. The neutrino would have wiped out the tiger and the mountain ecosystem, ”Narasimhan adds. “We are always caught between conservation and development. But we believe in some powerful factors that will reduce the conflict and increase the tiger population and prey base during the next wildlife census, ”says a senior forest official. “The declaration of private forests along wildlife corridors, restricted tourism activities in tiger reserves, strategic plans to relocate tribesmen from tiger reserves, and excess seasonal rainfall are some of the positives that we look forward to as short-term gains,” said the official. “Tigers and elephants know their way around the jungle, but their migration is a problem as new dams, railroad tracks and large-scale mining operations are being added to their habitat and we have long-term problems,” the official added.


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