July 7, 2017
The photograph of a wild cat clicked by photographer Nilanjan Ray has been doing rounds for the last two days. Ray, from Bengaluru, had stated that he captured the picture of the rare tiger while he was driving down the Nilgiris Bio Reserve Road.
Wildlife enthusiasts are however puzzled as to how Ray was permitted to drive in the reserve forest area.
“If a person is going as a tourist he can take a guide along with him. But the forest reserve road is a restricted area and nobody is allowed to enter, not even tourists. The ferns in the photograph indicate that the location is that it is near the Lakkidi Lake in Avalanche . These are highly restricted areas. How did the photographer get permission to enter the area? He has entered a restricted zone in his own vehicle with a forest guide. He says he saw another tiger along with the pigmented tiger. So probably the forest guide has been tracking the tiger and helped the photographer capture it,” said a wildlife enthusiast, who did not want to be named.
“A local daily has clearly mentioned that the photo was captured at Upper Bhavani, which is Avalanche. The Forest Department usually does not allow anybody to enter the reserved forest area. The Government normally arranges for ‘Safari’ trips – in a 20-seater vehicle. Nilanjan has managed to enter the restricted area with an insider’s help. Now we can do nothing about it,” said a wildlife photographer, who too did not want to be identified.
However, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve Field Director Srinivas R. Reddy said Nilanjan had done nothing wrong. “The exact area where the image was captured has not been mentioned anywhere in the news reports. It has been mentioned as Forest Reserve Road in Nilgiris biosphere. We know where the picture was shot. And we will not disclose the location,” Reddy told The Covai Post.