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International Journal of Environment & Agriculture ISSN 2395 5791


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"किसी राष्ट्र की महानता और नैतिक प्रगति को इस बात से मापा जाता है कि वह अपने यहां जानवरों से किस तरह का सलूक करता है"- मोहनदास करमचन्द गाँधी

ये जंगल तो हमारे मायका हैं

Aug 30, 2010

Ranthambhore Whistle Blower’s Tiger Tale

It seems as though “Shera” the commonwealth games mascot  is fighting for its survival in a system that is now rotten from top to bottom. It is not just that the rot is in the organization of the games it self but the very survival of Shera in the wilderness is now threatened due to the failure of the very system that is supposed to protect him.
 As a young idealist with a Ph D degree in  Life Sciences I landed up at the door step of Legendry Tiger Man Shri Fateh Singh Rathore seven years ago and started work as a wildlife researcher in and around Ranthambhore. In Fateh Singh ji I saw a mentor that taught me many things about conservation but more than anything else it was a kind of commitment that he had for Tigers that inspired me the most. Unfortunately that is no longer seen in most forest officials nowadays. In 1994 when the Supreme Court Empowered Committee was asked to fix responsibility for the missing Tigers in Ranthambhore the reply that the committee gave to the Apex Court was – “It would amount to searching for a scape goat and that this was a system failure.” 

Little did I know then that 16 years latter once again Ranthambhore would be a witness to a system failure that would gravely injure one of the finest Park Rangers in India and endanger the life of a Tiger. On 2oth August 10 I was informed by Goverdhan Meena from Rawal that there was a Tiger in the field in Bhuriphadi Village near the Park and that there were a lot of people near it including forest officials. I rushed to the spot to see what was happening and saw that there was a Tiger cornered in a dead end with people all around it. This Tiger looked very tired and aggressive as if it was fighting for its life. Two shots at tranquilization had been attempted by Mr Daulat Singh (Ranger) and he was resisting taking the 3rd shot as he was worried for the Tiger and the people. However he was ordered by the ACF Mr Sedu Ram to attempt a 3rd shot and it was in trying to do this that he got too close to the Tiger and was grievously injured.

What is shocking is the entire way in which the operation was conducted by the forest officials. There was no announcement system to let the people know what the forest department was trying to do. So the people thought this was some entertainment and gathered all around the Tiger. Even though there was a big police presence there was no one from the forest department directing them as to what they should do. In this scenario  they were trying to do what ever little they could to try and control the mob. However the Tiger was not in one place and would move around and the crowds would move around accordingly further panicking the Tiger.  With no information to the local people and no direction provided  to the police the matter continued to get more and more out of hand. The Park Ranger who was one of the best in India was left at the mercy of a completely inexperienced officer who in turn was taking directions on a wireless set from someone that was not even present on site. It was sheer violation of any standard protocol in such situation were wildlife and people conflict is compounded by large numbers of unmanageable crowds.
As a spectator to this I tried to take as many pictures of the situation as I could so that a record could be made of the situation for future reference. While there were a lot of people that had gathered around the Tiger I did not see anyone throwing stones. But I heard that in the beginning the Park authorities had thrown fire crackers near the Tiger to make him go away and that in this process even some village people had started shouting and throwing stones thinking that this was what the forest department wanted. I was witness to the situation just prior to Daulat Singh getting attacked. The Tiger was completely cornered and hidden in thick cover with nowhere to go. As Daulat Singh approached the Tiger in this situation totally unaware of how close he was to the Tiger he was suddenly attacked by the animal. Immediately after this incident he was left alone by his immediate superior who had ordered him to take the 3rd shot against Daulats recommendation. It was only the quick thinking and brave decision of some of this subordinate staff that saved Daulat from being killed. 

In the many years that I have worked in Ranthambhore my work has taken me from wildlife research to anti poaching activity. When I exposed the story that 18 Tigers were missing inside Ranthambhore in 2004 I got on to the wrong side of the Department as they were as always in total denial. However subsequently the government in its own inquiry found that 21 Tigers were indeed missing further alienating me from the Department. The research of Tiger Watch inside Ranthambhore was stopped without any reason, Shri Fateh Singh was removed from being Honorary Warden and suites were filled against him for recovery of dues inside the Park while he was Hon. Warden and I started receiving threats from them on a regular basis.
Since the 1st expose on the missing Tigers as part of the Tiger Watch anti-poaching cell I have worked tirelessly with the state police to nab over 49 poachers and started working with the Mogiya Tribes (they are the main poaching community living around Ranthambhore) helping educate their children, find alternate employment and provide health care. Today poaching incidents around Ranthambhore have dropped dramatically.

 Over the years the forest department has tried their best to implicate me in some kind of wildlife crime without much success. However I am deeply saddened and shocked to hear news that they are now trying to frame me by saying that I was getting local village people in Bhuriphadi to throw stones at the Tiger so that it could be killed. It is a disgrace that the department should function in this manner threatening the very people that are helping them from dire consequences just because they dare to tell the truth and expose the short fall in the Tiger Conservation effort.  This has happened in the past as well where whistle blowers and Tiger Activists have been targeted and maligned by the very Department that they are trying to help.

Dharmendra Khandal Ph.D.
Conservation Biologist
Tiger Watch
Ranthambhore Road
Sawai Madhopur
Rajasthan- India
email: dharmkhandal@gmail.com


  1. I personally work with Tigerwatch and Dharm Khandal.He is a shining light in the world of Tiger conservation.I hope that people will go to see the work and support the valuable work that is done at ground level,to reduce poaching and give alternative means of living,other than poaching.
    Phil Davis
    Tiger Awareness

  2. Dharm Khandal,is a shining light in Tiger conservation.The work that Tigerwatch does in the field is reducing poaching and educating the young,that an education is the way forward,not poaching.Please support the work they do.
    Phil Davis
    Tiger Awareness

  3. Sedu ram yadav ACF core RTRAugust 30, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    This is totally misinterption of the incidence by mr. Dharmender Khandal.The actual situation of this incident is as follows.
    .By 11 am police and forest personels remove the crowd from one side and tries to disperse the Tiger by fire crackers but tiger did not disperse.Slowly the crowd became uncontrolled and thred some stonnes towards tiger ,shouted like any thing and move towards tiger.The Tiger suddendly run and moved about300 meters with roaring and again sitdown in a bajra crop.The uncontrolled crowd run behind the tiger again surrounded the tiger from all sides.The crowd became totally uncontrolled and and some people mishbehave to Daulat singh ji,Hukum chand ,rajveer singh.rajender singh and other forest personels and tries to snatch the Tranqualising gun also.Some people among crowd tries to snatch Rifle from police people to shoot the tiger.The situation was so crucial that to save the tiger forom uncontrolled crowd,to save the people from aggressive tiger and to save forest personels from crowd we decide to tranqulise the tiger in compulsion.My self with daulat singh ji,Vetniarian Dr.Rajeeve garg decide to dart the tiger and from a sand dune on higer side we sat and access the tiger location .Daulat singh dart the tiger but due to smaall difflection by a leaf of bajra it git on bone part and rebound,again dart the tiger.After 2-3 Minutes someone from crowd threw stone on Tiger ,The get angry and run with roaring.The crowd again run behind the tiger with shouting,once tiger move back and mock charge on the peoplr who were running behind him.The tiger hide in a till crop but agin the uncontrolled crowd surrounde the tilli crop from all sides and gathered on roof of a house,boundaries of field and on tresss fromm all sides.I was surprised to see mr.Dharmender Khandal was also sittin on a tree.I denied to Daulat singh ji ,police persons and villagers that we will not attempt any action towads the tiger till the whole crowd removed from site.My self with police/forest personels was trying to getdown the crowd from trees so that space may be available to move the tiger.Daulat singh ji with three four staff went on a sand dune to access the situation and to see the tiger location.At that moment Mr.Dharmander Khandal instigate the crowd be shouting aganist the forest personels and someone from the crowd threw stone/stick on tiger .The angry tiger run towards the crowd with roarig ,the rowd shouted from allsides than the tiger turned back and jumped towards the dune where daulat singh ji and other forest were.In 3-4 jump the tiger attacked on Dalat singh ji and sevierly injjured him.Forest staff Rajveer and other hit the tiger by their stick to save Daulat singh ji.I with staff rusjed towards Daulat singh ji and immediately put him on Charpai and took up to gypsy location.At that time Daulat singh ji was consious he told me that his blood group is A positve and make the blood arrangement at hospital because he was higly blooding.I requested DCF CORE to make arrangement in hospital by talking respective authority.We reached in Hospital at Sawaimadhopur and make preliminary treatment.DCF CORE make arrangement of state plane by talking to higer officers and authorities to take Daulatsingh ji in Jaipur at SMS Hospital at earliest possible.
    This incident of tiger attack on Daulat sigh ji happened because of Dharmender Khandal who provke the crowd aganist forest personels just in interest of photographs.

  4. In a situation like this, Mr. Khandal, should have helped the forest staff to ease out the situation instead of taking snaps. Quite weird.


    Abhishek Varma


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