on the national tiger conservation authority and its strange disdain for laws…

today’s ET has this story on the NTCA — the national tiger conservation authority.

“On July 9, India’s ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) issued an intriguing circular. It sought candidates for an apex position in tiger conservation — additional director general (Project Tiger) and member secretary at the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) — both roles being performed by one person. The qualifying parameters were strangely specific: Only “IFS (Indian Forest Service) officers of 1979 to 1982 batches are eligible”.”

take a closer look and all manner of other irregularities become evident — mostly around the NTCA pretending to do good work even as it mainly gets used to house a clutch of handpicked mandarins. needless to say, the brunt of these decisions is borne by the country’s already lacerated biodiversity. which is then hidden by cooking up biodiversity numbers.

ps – while working on the story, i was again struck by how unaccountable the moef is. the environment secy, rajesh gopal, prakash javadekar, none of them responded to our questions. i find myself marvelling anew at the berks.

Chickenwire and Chewing Gum

Over the past few weeks, Barun Mitra, a director of the Liberty Institute, has been endorsing a possible move by China to lift its ban on trade in tiger parts. It is, he argues, the only way to save wild tigers — tiger farms in China have no less than 5,000 tigers in captivity; given that tigers “breed easily in captivity, these can quickly ramp that number up to 100,000 tigers in the next 10 to 15 years”; as the market fills with farmed tigers, poaching will become economically unattractive.

In this article eventually published in mint, biologist Vidya ‘Waghoba’ Athreya and I describe his formulation as no more than a half-baked suggestion “held together by little more than the intellectual equivalent of chicken wire and chewing gum.”