'No tigers here': why Goa is in denial about its big cat population

Officials claim there are no tigers in Goa. But the poisoning of a mother and three cubs has forced the issue into the open

As a child living in the Vagheri hills at the foot of the Western Ghats, Rajendra Kerkar would often hear the majestic roar of tigers echo across the mountains. It was never greeted with fear by the villagers in this remote corner of northern Goa; the name Vagheri translates as “home of the tigers” and coexistence with India’s national animal was part of their way of life.

Yet according to state authorities, these tigers do not exist; or if they do, they are just passing through. Unlike other states in India, where the presence of tigers has been celebrated, embraced and in many cases exploited for tourism, Goa’s tigers have instead been subjected to a strange charade, whereby their existence has repeatedly been denied or covered up by those in government.

Officials and local community leaders have been feeding the fear of tiger reserves to locals to serve their own agenda

Related: India’s wild tiger population rises 33% in four years

There are local leaders and officials that tell us when our cattle are attacked by tigers, we need to not talk about it

Related: More than 1,000 people killed in India as human and wildlife habitats collide

Continue reading…
Source: The Guardian
'No tigers here': why Goa is in denial about its big cat population