SC orders Ranthambhore tiger T-24 remain in Sajjangarh for now

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that tiger T-24 "Ustad" who was being translocated from Ranthambhore tiger reserve to a zoo after it was alleged that he had mauled a forest guard will not be moved out out of the Sajjangarh Biological Park.

A bench of Justices A.K.Sikri and Uday Umesh Lalit ordered status quo on a plea by a Pune- based wildlife enthusiast and photographer, Chandra Bhal Singh who had contended that T-24 was being moved out of Ranthambhore tiger reserve in Rajasthan's Sawai Madhopur district without ascertaining whether it was in fact a man-eater or not.

While observing that the "matter involved some serious issues", the court said that it would be decided by the Rajasthan High Court which will hold a hearing on May 28. The petitioner has contended that wildlife authorities were trying to translocate T-24 outside the Ranthambhore tiger reserve without following the procedure under the Wildlife Protection Act for translocation of tigers outside their reserve.

Tiger T-24 hit the news after it was reported that it had allegedly mauled a forest guard who had ventured into the tiger reserve's core area. It was since then shifted to the Sajjangarh reserve in Udaipur district.The petitioner has contended that it is yet to be ascertained whether T-24 or T-74 was the man-eater, and the decision for translocation was taken under public pressure without scientific probe or investigation into the circumstances of the attack.

Tiger T-24 has never attacked any of the thousands of pilgrims that frequent the Ganesh temple in the Ranthambhore Fort, the petition said. "Reason for attack was the encroachment on the tiger's territory," the petitioner argued.

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