Saturday, Dec 16, 2017 | Last Update : 11:00 AM IST
To protect the tiger population of about 2,300, the country spends close to Rs 150 crore every year.
Chennai: The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on Saturday cautioned all states with a tiger population to take steps to prevent the circulation of photos of tigers on Facebook and WhatsApp groups with their location.
The circular, issued by assistant inspector general of forests Vaibhav C. Mathur, says that the NTCA has received information that pictures of tigers and their camera traps with locations of tiger reserves are being shared widely on social media. Such information in the public domain has the potential to be used for committing crimes such as poaching, the circular said.
Official sources in the Tamil Nadu forest department said that there were no legal provisions to ban pictures of wild animals being posted on social media, but the objective is to discourage the public from sharing information related to tigers and leopards, which are highly vulnerable to poaching.
“A lot of public money and effort goes into the conservation of big cats. To protect the tiger population of about 2,300, the country spends close to Rs 150 crore every year. India has 70 per cent of the world’s tiger population. In this context, there is a need to maintain secrecy about tiger habitats,” said conservation scientist Dr A. Kumaraguru, a member of the Sathyaman-agalam Tiger Conservation Foundation. Regulating the circulation of wildlife pictures through social media is, however, going to be a tough task for forest officials. Wildlife filmmakers and naturalists do not disclose the location of tigers, as they are aware of the danger that might pose to the wild cats, Dr Kumaraguru said, adding that it was for the public to volunteer and stop circulating wildlife photos. “Wildlife tourism in India attracts thousands of foreigners and they love to click pictures of elephants and tigers. I wonder how they can be regulated,” Dr Kumaraguru added.