A photo of two tigers chewing plastic drums inside Corbett Tiger Reserve, Nainital have worried the netizens and wildlife conservationist. The picture was allegedly taken by a tourist on January 30 but went viral on social media on Friday.
The picture has drawn a lot of anger from netizens, as the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) is a plastic-free zone. It has raised questions on the officials and their lack of responsibility to stop the plastic menace in the zone.
The image has also reached the office of the Corbett National Park where an investigation has been initiated on how the plastic drum reached the area.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Corbett director Rahul said, "One possibility is that the plastic drums must have been dumped by villagers staying alongside the river, and it later entered the reservoir."
Ramganga river which flows from Gairsain in Chamoli district to Ramnagar in Nainital district, passing through large parts of the CTR, is a source of drinking water to animals in the protected reserve.
Dhikala, Corbett, Uttarakhand— Anoop Nautiyal (@Anoopnautiyal1) February 6, 2020
Jan 30, 2020
As tiger cubs playfully engage in the chewing of plastic, grave questions arise on how and why this happens in a plastic banned reserve. Images such as these are cruel reminders about the threat to our wildlife
Pic : Trikansh Sharma pic.twitter.com/yXo0i3Uo9k
The officials are also probing what was present inside those drums. "Initial investigation proved that the drums were empty," Rahul added.
The officials have also undertaken precautionary steps and are observing all the three tigers who were seen near the plastic drums.
"We are monitoring all the tigers seen in the pictures. However, as of now no behavioural changes were noticed in them," Rahul added.
Presence of plastic drum in Ramganga river has not only appalled the CTR administration but has also raised questions on the security of the protected zone.
The state Forest Minister Harak Singh Rawat told the media that the matter was "serious" and he had sought a detailed report on it.
As the world fights against the increasing plastic menace, wildlife has been a constant sufferer of the man-made disaster. The harmful effects of plastic pollution have come to the fore time and again with images of animals from several parts of the world chewing plastic waste disposed of carelessly by humans.
How many such heartbreaking pictures will have to surface before we realise the urgency to give up on using plastic and protecting the environment?