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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wildlife experts visit Katarniaghat sanctuary

TNN | Nov 30, 2011, 08.39AM IST BAHRAICH: A team of wildlife experts from London reached Katarniaghat to examine the status of tigers at Katarniaghat wildlife sanctuary. The team members said that the number of tigers is dwindling due to the man-animal conflict. However, the big cats can be conserved by educating the villagers. The expert Phil Davis of the organisation tiger awareness said that he has reached here following his visits in national parks of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Dudhwa national park. He added that danger of extinction is looming large over the Indian tigers due to the man-animal conflict. Davis said that after studying Katarniaghat, he will handover the report to his office and thereafter the organisation would contact the Indian forest ministry and run the operation in national parks and the villages adjoining the reserved forest areas for the awareness of villagers in order to conserve the tigers. Davis added that the number of tigers in Indian forest is about 1000, which is a matter of serious concern. The tigers can be conserved after educating the forest villagers. The tigers are important for the forest and the villagers have to understand this.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tiger cub separates from mother in Corbett

TUESDAY, 29 NOVEMBER 2011 00:23 RAJENDRA S MARKUNA | HALDWANI HITS: 102 A tiger cub, which was separated from its mother a few days ago in the Dhikala zone of the Corbett Tiger Reserve, now has to fight it out alone. Foresters have been closely monitoring the movements of the tiger cub. Corbett officials initially believed that the cub had not separated from the mother. But since it was not certain, movement of the general public and tourists was restricted in the area where the tiger cub was found. Wildlife experts are of the view that wild animals desert their cubs at certain age of their lives to enable them to learn to survive in tougher wild environs. Some others have stated that the mother and the cub are living together in the area. It seems the cub is still with its mother in Dhikala zone of the Corbett Tiger Reserve, though it is a bit weak, said Anil Balooni, vice president, State forest and environment advisory committee, while talking to The Pioneer. The officials are keeping an eye on the tiger cub's movements and efforts are being made to ensure food arrangements for the cub in one of the most visited zone of the Corbett Tiger Reserve. When contacted UC Tiwari, park warden, Corbett Tiger Reserve, told The Pioneer that it seems the tiger cub is not separated from its mother and is still with her. But nothing is clear yet. "Whatever may be the case, we have been closely monitoring the movements of the tiger cub. Efforts are on to feed the tiger cub." Since it is a very sensitive matter and it is not clear whether the tiger cub is separated or still under the mother's care, more external intervention can't be employed to rescue the tiger cub, maintained the wildlife experts. We can't lift the tiger cub at this juncture as it is not certain that the tiger cub is totally separated, informed Tiwari. In the meantime to ensure minimum human intervention in this hitherto highly reserved wildlife sanctuary, the CTR administration has restricted the movements of the tourists /visitors in the Sambhar Road of the Dhikala zone . The restrictions would continue for some time the park warden said. The famous Dhikala zone of the CTR has been opened to public from November 15. Since then hundreds of tourists from different parts of the country and abroad have visited this tourist spot. It was the tourists who informed the foresters about the movements of the aforesaid tiger cub on the Sambhar road alone.

Setting up of Tiger Project

Under the ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger, an amount of Rs. 288.73 lakhs has been provided to the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (Maharashtra) during the 11th Plan period, for voluntary relocation of people living in the notified core / critical tiger habitat of the said reserve. This information was given by the Minister of State for Environment and Forests (independent charge) Shrimati Jayanthi Natarajan in a written reply to a question by . Shri Hansraj G. Ahir in Lok Sabha today.

Tiger poaching in Panna a cause of concern

SATURDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2011 00:39 PIONEER HITS: 467 Though as many as 19 tigers were killed by poachers in Panna Tiger Reserve since 1989 the authorities have failed to trace the poachers. This has been stated in a report by the Panna Tiger Reserve intelligence cell submitted to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, reports Ritesh Mishra As many as 19 tigers have died in the Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) since 1989, but the authorities are yet to trace the poachers that are probably from Satna in Madhya Pradesh and bordering Uttar Pradesh. Besides, many forest officials starting from Forest Guard to Field Director are also under scanner for tiger poaching. This has been stated in a highly-confidential report submitted by the Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) intelligence cell to Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) about the poaching history in and around Panna Tiger Reserve-'Decimation of Panna Tigers'-- on January 28, 2011. The report has further recommended a high-level probe to investigate the role and omissions of PTR Establishment in decline of tigers in Panna. Surprisingly, till now no such probe has been ordered by the department, which reflects the apathy of the Forest Department towards the dwindling numbers of the tigers. The report claims that to crack up the forward linkages from scene of crime may not be possible for the establishment of present Field Director, PTR. Moreover, such an action will invite lot of criticism and allegations from the alleged officers of omission and commission of that time. Hence, it was strongly recommended that a Rs Panna Tiger Reserve High Powered Special Investigation Team' (PTR HPSIT) be constituted by an order of Government of Madhya Pradesh immediately to investigate the Rs Poaching Issues and Nexus between the PTR Establishment and the Poachers, and Omissions and Commissions of Forest Officers as a Cause of Decimation of Tigers. Besides, the poaching history records in and around PTR indicates that the periods between 2002-2007 were turbulent for the tigers and other animals of PTR where the establishment of PTR at least at the range/sub-divisional level of Chandranagar Range and Madla sub-division tried to suppress the cases, even ignoring to resister the cases. The undersigned strongly feels that this angle be investigated thoroughly to ensure the future survival and sustenance of tigers and Tiger Reintroduction Project at PTR. The report further states that the SIT should be constituted with officers of highest integrity and professional ethics. Draft composition of the committee proposed for this HPSIT is enclosed for your perusal. The PTR Intelligence had done this report with an unbiased and dispassionate approach with a single motto of securing the success of Tiger Reintroduction Project and ensuring its perpetual dynamic presence in the landscape. "We cannot offer to lose the remaining tigers from any of the forested landscapes. If possible as a department we should allow this God's creation to disperse and survive in the adjoining areas. I would like to categorically and reiterate that this report does not have personal bias against anybody. All the inferences are based on either material or documentary evidence. Every care was taken to be factual but if there is any deviation the under signed owns full responsibility for such a lapse," wrote Field Director of PTR in a letter attached to the report. History of poaching Behalias /Pardhis were part (and active) of this landscape even from 1989 onwards. They were poaching big carnivores mainly inside the park obviously because of higher densities. It is also clear that the the staff were either lenient or mixed up with this crime nexus. High and mighty feudalistic structure of this landscape successfully coerced to overlook their misdeeds with respect to poaching. On the other hand, Bhusor and Patkoha circles of Chandranagar range have been highly vulnerable to poaching from 1989 onwards. All the six (or five) cases of poaching of 2005 took place in this area. Five out of these six cases took place inside the PTR. Unfortunately, PTR establishment from FG to SDO are party to the omissions and commissions of the crime scene. In spite of the sustained proactive efforts of PTRIC from the last quarter of 2009 seven (each) poaching cases occurred in 2010 and 11 respectively in and around PTR. It is pertinent to point out that seven poaching cases of 2011 happened in just one month. These numbers pertain to known poaching cases including wild animal deaths due to accidents and natural mortality in and around PTR (inclusive of herbivores) between mid 2009 and early 2011 (see Table III). If we take number of unearthed cases into account the figures may touch three digits per year. Methods of Poaching People of this area poach the animals with almost all available methods including shooting with the gun (symbolising feudalistic mighty of the region), poisoning, with the help of dogs, nooses and naked electric wires (by the farming communities in and around PTR) and metal traps (usually by the traditional hunting communities). These methods are really eating into and depleting the herbivore capital of PTR. Present Geharighat and Kishangargh ranges of PNP are example of this situation. The herbivore population is very low in these areas. The metal trap method is employed by the commercial poaching network starting from nomadic traditional poaching communities (scene of crime) to Sansarchand (New Delhi) which has taken care of big cat poaching. Thus, all the methods of poaching has resulted in reduction of prey density and elimination of Panna tigers in the recent part. This is not to deny the fact that sub-adult tigers and some adult tigers should have wandered out of the park before they were able to fight for the prime territories inside PNP and in search of females (whose numbers were nil from mid 2006 onwards) respectively. The analysis clearly focuses one point that the area is infested with heavy poaching. With staff omissions and commissions the crime nexus is complete from the Scene of Crime (PTR) to Sansarchand (New Delhi) including nomadic traditional poaching communities, local tribes and influential people, middle-level traders (Mohammed Rise and Nawab Khan) and Sansarchands. Unless MPFD takes cognisance of this factual truth and puts in place an effective corrective measures without losing time, reintroduced tigers and their progeny are not in safe heaven. The security threats that decimated original Panna tigers will become active and succeeds even for once with respect to tiger poaching the positive efforts till now that resulted in successful reintroduction will get nullified in no time. It is clear from the report that this is a clear cut case of fence eating the crop syndrome and genuine locals loosing heart for PTR. Recommendations made by the report Creation of secure environment to the reintroduced tigers in and around PTR in perpetuity by confirming the final identification of the culprits of the PTR establishment and the actual criminals including traders by constituting PTR High Power Special InvestigationTeam to unfold the full big picture of Panna Debacle and pinning them down . Taking the locals into confidence without whose sacrifice no PA can boast of its existence. For bigger cause of tiger and biodiversity conservation, it is the Hinautians (people of Hinauta village) and Pannaites who loose very many small day-to-day benefits from the forests to connecting their land with railhead for overall development of the landscape. For this, we have to create a corpus fund for development of the local villages and this should be done invariably through PTR establishment so that small to big grudges against park gets rectified to some extent. RTI activist Ajay Dubey's version “I am continuously raising the questions in this regard. Why the department has not ordered a probe in this whole issue even after recommendations from the field. If nothing is done soon, I will make it a public issue. Tiger is related to Goddess Durga and therefore everyone should come forward to protect the feline. About 40 tigers have been killed so far in Panna Region”

Monday, November 28, 2011

Radio collars & tiger mating put Rajasthan foresters in a fix

The 1.5 kg collars probably make it tough for tigers to breed. Collars preventing tigers from breeding? The Rajasthan forest department has been in a fix over removing the radio collars of tigers in Sariska Tiger Reserve. The 1.5 kg collars are apparently threatening the existence of the tigers as the cats have been finding it difficult to mate with the heavy contraption around their necks. Scientists suspect that Ranthambhore National Park tigress T-17, renamed Krishna after champion athlete Krishna Poonia of Rajasthan, and three other females shifted to Sariska were finding the radio collars a burden during mating. Following requests from environmentalists, including state wildlife board member Rajpal Singh, forest officials got rid of T-17's collar last week as the device stopped sending signals 18 months ago. Singh and wildlife enthusiast Dhirendra Godha argued that T-17 had not had a litter but her sister, T-19, who was not collared, gave birth to three cubs around six months ago. Forest officials don't know what to do because once the gadgets are removed the tigers would become vulnerable to poachers. And if they aren't, the tigers wouldn't mate and procreate. None of the three tigresses in Sariska has been able to reproduce though experts haven't detected any hormonal imbalance affecting their fertility. As an experiment, forest officials are now contemplating removing the collar of at least one tigress. Ironically, they have reportedly chosen ST-2, who is eight years old and whose collar has not been sending proper signals for quite some time. Read more at:

Tiger Conservation Plan proposal for Kanha sent to NTCA

SATURDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2011 23:55 RITESH MISHRA | BHOPAL HITS: 202 The Forest Department of the Madhya Pradesh has recently sent the third proposal of Tiger Conservation Plan (TCP) for Kanha Tiger Reserve to National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). Earlier two TCP proposals for two tiger reserves namely Satpura and Pench tiger reserves were sent to (NTCA), while the rest of the three are still pending. However, submission for TCP to NTCA can only be done after the notification of the tiger reserves but till now Panna Tiger Reserve is yet to be notified. “The Government is yet to send the proposals of other three tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh and dilly-dallying is going on in this regard,” said Ajay Dubey, RTI activist, while talking to The Pioneer. He further said it was surprising fact the notification of Panna has not been done by the State Government till now and neither any process has started. “This is the same tiger reserve, which has got a concerning poaching history,” he added. On the other hand, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (wildlife), Madhya Pradesh HS Pabla confirmed that the department has recently sent the third proposal of TCP for Kanha Tiger Reserve and the rest three will be sent soon. Meanwhile, commenting over the dilly-dallying in the case of other three reserves Pabla said, “It takes three to four years to make a plan. We will immediately sent it after the completion” As per the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, as amended in 2006, under Section 38 V (3), there is a provision for preparation of Tiger Conservation Plan. The provision states that the State Government shall prepare a Tiger Conservation Plan including staff development and deployment plan for the proper management of each area referred to in sub-section (I), to ensure two things. Firstly for the protection of tiger reserve and providing site-specific habitat inputs for a viable population of tigers, co-predators and prey animals without distorting the natural prey-predator ecological cycle in the habitat. Secondly, to ensure the ecologically compatible land uses in the tiger reserves and areas linking one protected area or tiger reserve with another for addressing the livelihood concerns of local people, so as to provide dispersal habitats and corridor for spill over population of wild animals from the designated core areas. Besides, the aim of TCP is to make it sure that the forestry operations of regular forest divisions and those adjoining tiger reserves are not incompatible with the needs of tiger conservation.

Tiger reserve forest opposed

November 27, 2011 By DC Correspondent ADILABAD Headmaster, deputy warden suspended The proposed project to develop Kawal wildlife sanctuary as a tiger reserve forest received a blow on Saturday. Hundreds of adivasis gathered at Allinagar village in the midst of the sanctuary under the banner of Girijana Sangham, affiliated to the CPI (M) on Saturday to oppose it. They express their views and strongly opposed the move in the name of developing the tiger reserve forest. The CPI(M) former MP, Mr Midium Bapurao, who has vast experience in tribal issues being an adivasi, interacted with adivasis, at Allinagar village in Malyal gram panchayat of Jannaram mandal. Such a meeting also held with the adivasis of Middechintha and Gandigopalapur villages in Kadam mandal. Four villages have been earmarked in Jannaram mandal for evacuation in the first phase. There are many apprehensions among the adivasis about the rehabilitation and resettlement packages, losing their traditional livelihood, and threat to their culture and traditions. Forest officials are in a hurry for evacuating the adivasi families of Allin-gar, Dongapall, and Malyal villages, located in the sanctuary. Mr Thodasam Prabhakar, the district secretary of Girijana Sang-ham, alleged that forest officials spread rumours that poisonous snakes and a tiger were moving in the forest of Allinagar, Malya, and Dongapalli villages, to scare them out of the sanctuary. It is learnt that the forest officials have identified nearly 40 tribal villages, where adivasis have been residing for a long time, to evacuate them for developing the tiger reserve forest in a phased manner. The forest officials offered Rs.10 lakhs compensation to each family, which agree to come out from the identified four villages in the first phase, and good rehabilitation and resettlement packages. Mr Midium Bapurao said adivasis are the main victims in any project, whether it is opencast mines, Polavar-am project, or developing tiger reserve forest.

NHAI's ongoing work on NH-7 violates Forest Act

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Nov 28, 2011, 11.19AM IST NAGPUR: Even as the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) continues to violate the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) 1980, the forest department is turning a blind eye to the ongoing road widening work on national highway number 7 between Mansar and Chorbahuli near Mansinghdeo Wildlife Sanctuary in the district. The work is part of the 117.058km project from Deolapar on Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra border and includes Kanhan-Tekadi and the new outer ring road touching near Sahara City near Nagpur. While NHAI has completed most of the work, it is yet to get forest clearance in the 39km patch from Deolapar side. The Supreme Court has also not granted relief for four-laning along both the Pench tiger reserves and said the decision will be taken on merit. Yet, after completing work between Tekadi and Mansar, NHAI has started road and canal work near Khumari and Kandri near Chorbahuli. Wildlife experts say the work is in violation of FCA 1980. The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) guideline on FCA regarding projects involving forests as well as non-forests land is very clear. It states: "If a project involves forest as well as non-forest land, work should not be started on non-forest land till approval of the central government for release of forest land under the FCA has been given." Even as MoEF has not granted forest clearance to NHAI, its concessionaire Oriental Nagpur Bypass Construction Private Limited has started work in non-forest land close to Mansinghdeo sanctuary. Talking to TOI, Prashant Bargi, project manager of Oriental, denied four-laning work between Mansar and Chorbahuli has started. "We are doing work on irrigation canal," he added. The truth is that NHAI is not only violating FCA but it is also going against the SC ruling in Lafarge case in March 2011, which states that the government is faced with a 'fait accompli' situation which, in the ultimate analysis, leads to grant of ex-facto clearances. After NH6 between Deori and Lakhni, NHAI is trying to create a 'fait accompli' situation on NH7 by completing the road till MP Pench and till Chorbahuli from Maharashtra side. Later, the NHAI will push for clearances stating that its crores of rupees have been spent. The fate of highway widening from Seoni in MP to Mansar near Ramtek hangs in balance as it cuts tiger corridor between Pench-Kanha-Nagzira-Indravati-Tadoba. The National Tiger Conservation Authority has already opposed the widening and is for alternative route Nagpur-Saoner-Chhindwara-Seoni to save two tiger reserves but this is not acceptable to NHAI. On Maharashtra side, the proposed four-laning from Deolapar to Mansar will cut through Mansinghdeo sanctuary compartment nos 591 (Chorbahuli) and 495 and 496 between Paoni and Manegaon on the left side from Nagpur to Jabalpur. The existing width of the road is 17 metres and NHAI plans to widen it to 60 metres. Besides, the four-laning will break corridor contiguity with compartment number 581, 582, 587, 588, 589, 590, 591 and 592 and also affect continuity of compartments 480, 481 and 485 in Block 'B' and 'C' of Mansinghdeo. Forest officials confirmed that they have not received fresh proposal from NHAI on road widening that is set to damage Mansinghdeo. NHAI project director UM Shambharkar says, "We don't plan to damage any sanctuary compartments. A fresh proposal for clearance will be sent to the MoEF soon." But, both forest officials and wildlife experts say that after the notification of Mansinghdeo, the NHAI will have to move the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) as its proposed road work will fall within 10km from the sanctuary. "Such proposals require sanction from NBWL," a member said.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Not enough to invest in protecting tiger, but invest in local communities: Richard Branson

The day the United Nations announced that the seven billionth person entered the world, I had made my way to Jim Corbett National Park to learn more about the situation facing India's wild tigers. As the global population grows, we face an unprecedented challenge of maintaining balance in our ecosystems and protecting our limited natural resources while sustaining humanity itself. With a seventh of the world's human population, India is at the nexus of this challenge. I came to the subcontinent with a group of entrepreneurs together with conservation organisation WildAid and Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group. We experienced the contrasts of India from the sophistication and glamour of the Formula One Grand Prix to unaffected rural life, from bustling cities of millions with constantly honking horns to the tranquility and alarming beauty of Corbett National Park with serene bird calls and the hum of insects. While India's economic tiger continues to grow unabated despite severe global setbacks, India's wild tiger population is perilously low in number estimated at around 1,600 - and they face threats from deforestation, habitat encroachment, mining and poaching. These threats are not new. But with tremendous development pressure, few around the world have been able to find room for so powerful a neighbour. My friends at WildAid were fortunate enough to meet President Pratibha Patil during this trip, who confirmed her support and commitment to preserving India's icon. The National Tiger Conservation Authority has also increased resources to coordinate and boost efforts, but key responsibility lies with the states. In Panna and Sariska parks, tigers are being reintroduced and are starting to come back. But perhaps most important of all is the tolerance and understanding of the local communities that surround tiger reserves. Contrary to popular belief, human development and conservation are not at odds. Wildlife conservation has been a long-standing passion of mine, and I've had the fortune of spending time in South Africa near Krueger Park as well as many other special places in the world. Near Krueger, we have taken steps to support the wildlife as well as help sustain local communities with economic and health services. We've also partnered wonderful frontline organisations like Peace Parks to create national reserves across borders and with the Ocean Elders to protect ocean habitats and biodiversity globally. Virgin Unite and I have also joined Wild-Aid in their work, which has leveraged iconic Indian personalities such as Sachin Tendulkar, Shahrukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan to raise awareness about conservation. Because the trade in tiger parts is international, we are also working with WildAid beyond India's borders to appeal for an end to all trade in these majestic animals. The Chinese government has also come on board, donating millions of dollars of media space to get that message across. But even that's not enough. Saving the tiger is not just about raising awareness. To save the tiger, you must invest in the surrounding community. And this is where business has a key role to play. By mobilising resources to protect the tigers' migration corridors and supporting the health, education and even the electricity of the surrounding communities so they can lift themselves out of poverty, conservation can be good - not only for the soul - but also for business. If we can harness even a tiny proportion of the entrepreneurial drive that has continued to create tremendous economic growth here in India to conserve nature and the tiger, India will keep its wonderful natural heritage, lead the world in conservation and remain a force for good amidst positive economic growth. I came to India for the chance to catch a glimpse of my favourite animal for the first time in the wild.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Coal mining poses threat to Tadoba tiger reserves

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times Nagpur, November 22, 2011 The arrival of four tiger cubs in Tadoba — considered as one of the flourishing habitats for the striped cats — has brought cheers to the wildlife lovers. However, on the contrary, the rampant coal mining in Chandrapur and its surrounding areas pose a grave threat to tiger conservation and protection. A fact-finding team, comprising environment experts and environment lawyers has issued this warning. Tadoba tiger reserve, one of the country's oldest national parks, was in the news recently for better big cat conservation and birth of 32 tiger cubs in the area since January 2010. The team, comprising wildlife expert Pravin Bhargav, Bishwajit Mohanty and environment lawyer Rahul Choudhary, released its findings and recommendations in a report titled "Undermining Tadoba’s tigers" said that no new mines should be given forest clearance in the region and further expansion of mines in operation in the tiger habitat should be stopped. The team visited the area in September this year and interacted with villagers, miners, environmentalist, government officials and businessmen ; and came out with 66-page report on the issue. The union government has allotted over half a dozen new coal mines in the periphery of Tadoba tiger reserve where already half a dozen coal mines -- including Padmapur and Durgapur coal mines of Western Coalfields and Karnataka EMTA Coal mines -- are operating. They have also warned that tiger reserve risks being completely cut off from surrounding forests by mines and dams, and that the ecological impact will be irreversible and cannot be compensated by afforestation. Tadoba has 79 tigers. The coal mining is threatening connectivity between forest patches that are important for the long-term survival of this tiger population. The report flatly contradicts the recent report of the BK Chaturvedi committee set up by the group of ministers on coal. The Chaturvedi report recommended relaxing environmental safeguards to facilitate an expansion in coal mining, and abandoning the union ministry for environment and forests' classification of 'go' and 'no go' areas. The Chandrapur experience clearly shows that the clearance process is severely flawed, with mines coming up in critical tiger habitat. For the Chaturvedi report to recommend further relaxing clearance procedures is highly irresponsible, said the fact-finding team. "If accepted, the Chaturvedi report’s recommendations will be a death warrant for large forest areas across India and for the wildlife and communities that depend on them," it further warned.

'Tiger death was caused by poaching'

TO Abraham, TNN | Nov 24, 2011, 01.48AM IST YAVATMAL: It's official now. Harishchandra Kamble, assistant conservator of forests of Pandharkawda, confirmed on Tuesday that the death of the tiger on Sunday in Tipeshwar wildlife sanctuary in Yavatmal district was the result of poaching. Although offences have been registered against the as yet unidentified poachers, no arrests have been made. The three to four year old male tiger got strangulated in an iron mesh set up by the poachers on Sunday and it was noticed by passersby in the evening. A report was made to the concerned forest officials who rushed to the incident site and conducted the post mortem. Though the post mortem report is available with the forest officials at Pandharkawda, they are appeared to be reluctant to disclose the cause of the death of the tiger. Chief conservator of forests Devendra Kumar said that he received the post mortem report which confirms that the cause of the death of the tiger was 'abscess and shock'. Some youths in the village initially tried to remove the nails and teeth from the carcass but they were prevented by the elders anticipating legal complications ahead, sources said. The officials have seized the iron mesh from the border of the nullah where the carcass was found but the farmers who owned the farm refused to accept the responsibility of the incident. Wildlife activists said they even examined the manner in which the iron mesh tied with a wooden log was laid and wondered how the tiger got entangled into it and the struggle it made to escape. They alleged that there is regular poaching activity in Tipeshwar sanctuary in connivance with officials. "Poachers from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh often visit the forest and get help of locals," they said.

Tigers may get out of sight for tourists

Neha Shukla, TNN | Nov 24, 2011, 02.07AM IST LUCKNOW: The tiger may become more elusive for tourists in the wildlife sanctuaries. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has filed a plea in the Supreme Court stating that core areas of wildlife reserves be kept out of bounds for tourists and entry restricted only to the buffer or fringe areas. The apex court is likely to decide on the issue in the first week of December. This could be the last season for tourists to have a close look at tigers in Dudhwa national park which opened for public on November 15. If NTCA has its way, the state governments might have to redraw the tourism zones in the tiger reserves since most of them allow tourism in identified routes of core areas. In Dudhwa reserve, the tourism zone spreads over 350 sq km (approximately). It allows tourism inside ranges of Kishenpur, which is completely a core area, besides ranges of Mailani, Sathiana and Sonaripur of Dudhwa. Deputy director, Dudhwa, Ganesh Bhatt said, "If the need occurs, then tourism zone will have to be re-drawn." Dudhwa reserve is spread over an area of 600 sq km and tourist movement is allowed only on identified routes. But till now, tourism in core area is allowed. "Reason was the geographical spread of Dudhwa, it made clear cut distinction between core and buffer areas slightly difficult," said former director, Dudhwa, GC Mishra. Core area is the middle part of a national park or sanctuary and has good wild population w i t h no human disturbance. In any tiger reserve, tourism zone comprises about 20-25% of the best area, with maximum possibilities of seeing wildlife. About 30-35% of the best area is ideally marked as the core area in the management plan. Core zone, tourism zone and eco-restoration zone are three essential parts of a reserve. "The zones can be changed in terms of area in the management plan, but shouldn't include the breeding area," said former Project Tiger director RL Singh. In order to preserve the core area, NTCA had submitted an affidavit in response to a PIL by a Bhopal-based wildlife activist Ajay Dubey, who challenged tourism in core areas of tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh. NTCA says, "Core or critical areas of national parks and sanctuaries are required to be kept as inviolate for the purpose of tiger conservation, without affecting the rights of scheduled tribes or such other forest dwellers." The word 'inviolate' means without any disturbance by human beings, NTCA said. "The core or critical tiger habitats would not be used for any form of tourism, and the ongoing tourism activities in such areas should be phased out in fringe or buffer areas without affecting its corridor value," the authority said. In Dudhwa, however, a section of people feel that banning tourism will not change much in favour of tigers. "The point is to encourage eco-tourism," said member, state wildlife board, VP Singh. Dudhwa tiger reserve comprises three protected areas, 204 sq km of Kishenpur sanctuary, 440 sq km of Katarniaghat and 680 sq km of Dudhwa national park. Kishenpur and Dudhwa national park form the core areas.

Karnataka conducive for growth of tigers: K Ullas Karanth

Published: Wednesday, Nov 23, 2011, 14:18 IST By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA Karnataka is conducive for the growth of tigers, said K Ullas Karanth, director (India), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), who conducted a research on ‘25 years on tiger population’. The study was conducted, in association with Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS) and WCS. Wildlife filmmaker Shekar Dattatri, member of CWS Sanjay Gubbi, and wildlife enthusiast Niren Jain were recognised for their outstanding work in tiger studies. Karanth said: “WCS-India has grown from a single tiger research project in Nagarahole in 1986 to a programme that encompasses major conservation strategies pursued by WCS globally.” Highlighting the achievements, he said: “We conducted the first-ever radio telemetry study in India in 1990 in Nagarahole to understand the tiger ecology and behaviour. Beginning 1991, we pioneered camera trap method to obtain the first reliable estimates of tiger density in 15 reserves across the country. These field surveys assessed predator-prey relationships involving co-predators like leopards and wild dogs, which helped ascertain the role of prey depletion in driving tiger declines across their range.” On the increasing man-animal conflict in Karnataka, Dr George Schaller emeritus, scientist, WCS, USA, said:“Tigers don’t attack human beings unless they are short of food. This is the case in Karnataka as well as everywhere else.

India lost 5 tigers a month this year: NTCA report

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN Nov 23, 2011, 07.02AM IST NAGPUR: Even though the number of tigers has increased from 1,411 (2006) to 1,706 (2010) in the last four years, India is losing five tigers a month with the death toll in the wild already crossing the half century mark this year. According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which takes stock of all deaths, over 51 tigers have been killed or poached between January 5 and November 20. In fact, 31 deaths were recorded after the release of the NTCA report - Status of tigers in India - by former minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh on March 28 earlier this year. The report painted a rosy picture with tiger numbers showing a 20% increase but experts say that the speed with which tiger deaths are being registered is alarming. Of the 51 deaths reported so far, 42 are from the wild and the other nine relate to poaching as body parts like skin, nails, bones and teeth have been seized. Of these deaths, 14 alone have been recorded in Uttrakhand, 4 each in Maharashtra, MP and Chhattisgarh, and 3 in Karnataka. With more than a month to go for the end of the year, the 42 deaths of tigers equals figures of 2010. The numbers registered by the NTCA are on the lower side as they don't include several missing tigresses whose abandoned cubs are then forced to lead a life in captivity either in a zoo or rescue centre. On Monday there were reports from Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh about a tiger dying under mysterious circumstances. An overdose of tranquiliser is being attributed to the reason.Some like Nitin Desai, the Central India head of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, feels that even the wildcats rescued from the wild should be counted as a loss. "The chances of them being reintroduced in the wild and surviving are rare," he said citing the incident of the three tigers in Bor Sanctuary in Wardha district, which were rescued and are now more than two years old. An array of reasons like natural, infighting, injuries and poaching have been attributed as cause of deaths. However, at times officials also try to hide the real cause. For example, in the latest death of the Tipeshwar Sanctuary tiger in Yavatmal district on Sunday, the animal was entangled in a wire trap laid by poachers for herbivores. But officials claim that the tiger died a natural death when it got strangulated. Samir Sinha, head of TRAFFIC-India which monitors illegal wildlife trade, said with about half the world's wild tigers, "we in India hold a very major and challenging responsibility to protect our national animal". "While the loss of every tiger should be cause for worry, we must also be prepared to accept that any population will have a certain level of mortality. More than the numbers, it's the nature and cause of death that's the concern," he added. The tiger death in Tipeshwar was perhaps "entirely avoidable". "Persons responsible should be dealt severely under the law," Sinha said. The TRAFFIC head said the forest department needs not only to strengthen its presence in the area but also to reach out to wider sections of the society on educating them about such incidents and their impacts, so that they can be avoided in future. "Given their precarious situation in the wild, every unnatural death of a wild tiger is cause for worry," said Sinha. Conservationists say even as death of every tiger counts, the positive side of the issue is there have been reports of 20 new cubs from Tadoba-Andhari, Pench (MP) and Bandhavgarh tiger reserves in Central India. Extrapolate to other tiger habitats, and the rise in numbers could be significant.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tranquillizer overdose kills tiger

Deshdeep Saxena, TNN | Nov 22, 2011, 04.26AM IST BHOPAL: A tiger died under mysterious circumstances at the Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh on Monday. Tagged as B2, the 14-year-old tiger was found in an injured state in Ghunghuti region bordering the tiger reserve and died while being transported to the national park. Witness said B2 had sustained deep wounds that appeared 15 days old. A park official had tranquillized the tiger and it was being transported to Tala range of the national park, when it died. "The old tiger may not havebeen able to withstand the tranquillizer," a source said, adding the tiger was very old and had not killed any animal for the last many days. "Its stomach was almost empty and it probably might have died of either starvation or a combination of old age, starvation and the tranquillizer," the source said. Chief wildlife warden H S Pabla said he was waiting for the postmortem report.

4 new-born tiger cubs spotted in Tadoba

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times The birth of four more tiger cubs in Tadoba tiger reserves in Chandrapur, some 150 kms from Nagpur in eastern Maharashtra announced the 'roar'ing success for the tiger conservation efforts. The field director of Tadoba tiger reserves, Vinaykumar Sinha, said that four newborn tiger cubs were spotted in a camera trap (automated camera to capture photographs of wild animals) last week in Moharli forest range. With this, Tadoba has probably become the first tiger reserve in the country where 32 newborn tiger cubs were spotted since January 2010. Sinha said that the population of big cats in the reserves, including its buffer zone, has now reached 69. "There is more hope for India's tiger conservation," he said and informed that 17 cubs were spotted in April-July last year alone. The four cubs were seen over the past two months in Moharli area, the latest sighting being on Wednesday, Sinha added. It is believed that a tigress gave birth in September this year. The camera trap also captured tigress moving around with her two-three month cubs. A tigress takes her cubs out in the open only when they were strong enough, he pointed out. "When the news of newborn cubs came to us, the wildlife wing installed cameras to know the position and movement of the tigresses and the cubs. The forest guards were monitoring the movements of the tigress and the cubs regularly in the range," Sinha said. More camera traps have been installed in the forest areas to confirm if there were more cubs. Sinha said there could be possibilities of newcomers in the reserves in the days to come. He, however, denied disclosing the location of two big cats for security reasons. The two tigresses are being keenly monitored since then, he informed. The Tadoba Tiger Reserve is spread over 623 sq kms of high hills and lush valleys covered with dense teak and bamboo forests. The reserve is also home to wild dogs, leopards, sloth bears, bisons, and hyenas and jungle cats, apart from 69 tigers. Meanwhile, a full-grown tiger was found on Sunday evening near Bothbahattar village, adjacent of Tipeshwar wildlife sanctuary, some 210 kms from Nagpur in Yavatmal district. A preliminary investigation revealed that it might be the handiwork of poachers. The chief conservator of forests (Wildlife), A Ashraf, confirmed the death of tiger and informed that a four-member committee was constituted to investigate the cause of the death of beast.

Tiger strangulated itself in fencing wire, say officials

TO Abraham, TNN | Nov 22, 2011, 03.19AM IST YAVATMAL: The three-year-old male tiger which was trapped in the fencing wires of a farm, died due to strangulation and not poisoning or hunting, according to forest officials. However, sources told TOI that the tiger got entangled in the wire trap, meant for wild boar and herbivores. The incident occurred in a farm in Bodh Bahatar village under the Patan Bori forest range of Pandharkawda tehsil of Yavatmal district on Sunday. "The incident might have been occurred in early morning hours but was noticed at around 4pm," informed the Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) Devendra Kumar of Yavatmal, who was personally present during the post mortem. "The carcass of the wild beast is intact. It is neither poisoning nor hunting," he added. The villagers have put up strong iron wire mesh to fence their farms, to protect crops from the herbivores. The tiger might have got trapped between the wires and in the struggle to get out of it, strangulated itself, Kumar said. The village is over 200 metres down the boundaries of the Tipeshwar wild life sanctuary. However, sources in the forest department indicated that this was a real case of poaching due to wire trap. The post mortem of the beast was conducted by a panel of veterinary doctors including Dr Harsh Dhanvate of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) of Nagpur, on Monday. ''As per the guidelines of NTCA of India, post mortem of a tiger should be performed by a panel of veterinary doctors, one of whom must be from NTCA," Kumar said. He added that the Project Director of Pench Tiger Reserve and CCF wild life Ashraf Arakal from Nagpur, DCF of Pandharkawda DB Shrikande, and ACF HL Kamble were present during the post mortem of the beast. The carcass of the tiger was burned and the autopsy report is awaited, he added. When asked about the death toll of tigers in the district, Kumar said, "This is the first incident and it happened accidentally. We have the record of 3-4 leopard deaths in different parts of the district." He added that in normal cases, Tipeshwar is not the habitat of tigers. "But we have been noticing the presence of tigers in Tipeshwar sanctuary for the last 3-4 years. They might have migrated from the forest of the adjoining district of Chandrapur," he said.

GoI calls for development of Eco-Tourism at Valmiki Tiger Reserve by Bihar govt

Monday, November 21, 2011, 16:00 Hrs [IST] By HBI Staff | Mumbai The Government of India (GoI) has suggested that the Government of Bihar should put forth a proposal for developing Eco-Tourism at Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) on the priority list of tourism-related works. The state government needs central assistance in the next fiscal, 2012-13 for this development project. The suggestion was made by Kumud Dubey, a representative of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India who took part in a meeting in Patna recently. The meeting was convened by the Department of Environment and Forests, Government of India to discuss the report of the PK Sen Committee. The decision to set the committee under the chairmanship of PK Sen, a Padma awardee and retired Indian Forest Service officer, was taken in the previous meeting of the State Wildlife Board in April this year. Dubey is a member of this committee, according to a report in The Telegraph. The suggestion assumes significance because the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India would start preparing detailed documents in December, on the basis of which it would chart out its priorities for the next fiscal. If developing Eco-Tourism in VTR features in the document, it would lead to central assistance. Moreover, such a support would boost the state government’s effort to develop Eco-Tourism in the reserve. “We have directed VTR officials to prepare a detailed project report for developing Eco-Tourism in the reserve so that if the Centre agrees to give fund to develop Eco-Tourism in the reserve, a detailed proposal can be sent there immediately,” said DK Shukla, Chief Wildlife Warden, Government of Bihar who also holds the charge of Managing Director, Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation. Developing Eco-Tourism in VTR would certainly feature in the list of projects which Bihar would submit to the Centre, according to Shukla. Shukla said that the VTR officials had also been asked to incorporate details about the areas which they intended to open for tourists in the under-preparation tiger conservation plan. During the course of the meeting, Dubey also suggested that the forest department officials to carry out a study to assess the tourism zone “carrying capacity”, as it had been observed in other tiger reserves that the number of tourists visiting them was in excess to their carrying capacity. “We have taken this advice very seriously and will outsource the work to an agency specialising in such work so that the content of the study could be incorporated in the detailed project report which would be sent for central approval,” Shukla said. Terming the discussions in the meeting as very fruitful, VTR director Santosh Tiwari said that if the Centre agreed to support the eco-tourism project in VTR, it would be a big boost as central funds along with state funds would make things easier as far as developing facilities for ensuring a comfortable stay of tourists coming to the reserve was concerned.

The wild cats at Bhadra Tiger Reserve can breathe easy

Published: Saturday, Nov 19, 2011, 10:36 IST By BK Lakshmikantha | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA Wildlife conservationists have won a legal battle in stalling two projects that would have upset the ecologically fragile shola-grassland forests buffering the Bhadra Tiger Reserve in Chikmagalur district. Organisations such as Bhadra Wildlife Conservation Trust, Nature Conservation Guild, WildCAT-C and WildCANE and local wildlife conservation NGOs in Chikmagalur, have been waging a legal battle against a proposed wind farm and a resort-cum-spa in the region. The state government had, on April 17, 2003, leased 305.37acres to Karnataka Renewal Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) for sub-lease to BB Hills Wind Farm Development for a period of 30 years to set up 124 windmills on the ridges of the Bababudangiri Hills. The government had also sanctioned a resort-cum-spa, promoted by Bangalore-based Brigade Hospitality Services, in collaboration with the Singapore-based Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, in Arishinaguppe village, Chikmagalur. According to Poornesha HC, conservation officer, Wildlife Conservation Society—India Programme, the proposals, if implemented, would have damaged the ecologically fragile ridge of the Bababudangiri hills. The proposed resort would have “intruded into the same habitat critical for tigers and other endangered rainforest fauna.” The wildlife protection groups, guided by conservationist DV Girish had waged a protracted public campaign and legal battles in the courts. They had even approached the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court, which had conducted an inspection of the site and also sought an expert opinion from the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC). Noted tiger ecologist Ullas Karanth, senior scientist of the Wildlife Conservation Society had conducted the review. Karanth had said that all these areas should be notified as deemed forests so that these projects receive proper scrutiny under the Forest Conservation Act.“Until then, the operation of these projects must be stayed,” he said. The FAC had submitted a report to the CEC regarding adverse impacts of these projects on the ecology and wildlife, stating that these areas are home to many endangered wild animals including tiger, leopard, wild dog, gaur, and sambar and also an ideal habitat for many bird species such as Ceylon frogmouth, great-pied hornbill and Malabar-pied hornbill and rufus-bellied hawk eagle. The committee felt such ill-planned projects would cause severe fragmentation of the habitat, besides leading to man–animal conflict. Poornesha said that under advice from Forest Secretariat, the deputy commissioner, Chikmagalur, has ordered the cancellation of lease and withdrawn permission for construction. The commissioner had also passed an order on November 8, withdrawing the permission given to Brigade Group for the construction of the resort and also acquired the leased land. “The WildCAT-C had challenged the lease grant in the court of Chikmagalur, as the proposed land for the resort was in the midst of Shola forests and natural grasslands of Bababudangiri Hills. Taking suo-motu cognizance of this petition the court had cancelled the lease approval given to KREDL,” Poornesha said. He said that in both the cases the areas that were leased out are clearly “deemed forests” as defined by the Supreme Court and by the FAC, hence the areas are required to be declared as Reserve Forests under section 4 of the Karnataka Forest Conservation Act. Therefore the utilisation of this land for non-forestry purposes was gross violation of the SC order. Both the sites are just 8 km from the boundary of core critical tiger habitat notified by National Tiger Conservation Authority and within the eco-sensitive zone proposed for Bhadra Tiger Reserve. Poornesha said their struggle clearly demonstrates how local civil society groups can help recover tiger habitats from reckless development projects.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tigress loses life, poachers gain claws and canines

Supriya Sharma, TNN | Nov 16, 2011, 08.18PM IST It's the losing battle. RAIPUR: India lost another tiger, this time to poachers in Chhattisgarh, who killed a six year old tigress and then pulled out her claws, whiskers and two canines, prized commodities in the international market. While the body of the tigress was found in Chhattisgarh's Bhoramdeo sanctuary late Tuesday night, a post mortem established she had been killed four days ago. "There is an entry wound on one side, but no exit wound. It could be either a bullet injury or made by a sharp weapon," said Ram Prakash, the state's chief wildlife warden who travelled to the spot, 200 kms away from the state capital. However, Meetu Gupta of the NGO Wildlife SOS, who also visited the site, claimed the fracture of the ribs indicated it was a bullet injury. Located in Kawardha district, Bhoramdeo sanctuary is part of a wildlife corridor connecting the famous Kanha national park in Madhya Pradesh with the newly formed Achanakmaar tiger reserve in Chhattisgarh. Forest officials said this tigress was first spotted in Bhoramdeo four months ago. "There were three cattle kills reported in this period. Our patrolling party was keeping a watch on her movements to avoid a situation like Rajnandgoan," said Ram Prakash. Less than two months ago, a village mob in Rajnandgaon rounded up and killed a tigress after she killed a woman and two dozen cattle in the border villages of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. The forest department could have tranquilised the tigress, but if failed to do so. In the latest case, it remained unclear why a specially formed patrolling unit of forest officials failed to detect poachers, or even the tiger killing for four days.

Tiger census from December

The Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) has started preparations for conducting the tiger census which will begin in December. Sanjayankumar, PTR Deputy Director, said that the census will be taken for three months and the officials of the forest department were being given training to conduct the census. He said that camera trapping will be utilised for the purpose and proposals have been submitted for this. At present, the PTR has no camera trapping facility and it has to be made available, he said. The census will be conducted as per the criteria set by the National Tiger Protection Authority. The entire PTR area will be divided into different blocks to conduct the survey and further training will be given to the selected enumerators, Mr.Sanjayankumar said adding that camera trapping facility will help in conducting the survey more accurately and in selected spots it will be set up. The picture taken by the camera could also be used for conservative purposes. The PTR has already collected pictures of 28 tigers using the camera trapping facility. The tigers are identified using the colour line on its body as each one will be unique and is not similar to the colour line on the body of another one. Though in earlier occasions, the animal census was taken in the PTR with the help of volunteers and non-governmental organisations, this time the officials themselves will conduct the survey.

Spotting of tiger kill: vigil intensified in Neyyar sanctuary

G. ANAND The carcass of a wild buffalo with pugmarks around it, indicating the presence of a tiger, found in the Neyyar sanctuary in February. The chance discovery of a tiger kill in Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, near here, has prompted wildlife enforcers to intensify their efforts to further insulate the protected area from trespassers, poachers, illegal hooch brewers and ganja cultivators. Wildlife Warden, Thiruvananthapuram, Jayakumar Sharma said he had seen the rotting and half-eaten carcass of a wild buffalo weighing at least 600 kg near Valliyar while on a trek to survey the endangered Nilgiri Tahr population on Varayattumudi hill in February. All around the carcass were the fresh pugmarks of an adult tiger, which was confirmed recently, he said. Smitha K. Komath, one of the surveyors who accompanied Sharma, said they were first struck by the stench of rotting flesh while arduously trekking uphill. FRESH PUGMARKS “It was raining. The entire spot was muddied. The pugmarks around the carcass seemed very new. One of our team mates Sandeep Das photographed the kill and the uniquely distinguishable pugmarks around it. We were 30 of us in all. The tiger must have heard our group approach and slunk away. We believe that the predator could not have gone far from its kill and must have been watching us,” she said. Mr. Sharma said no wildlife enforcer, forest guard, tribal or watcher had reported the sighting of a tiger in the sanctuary so far. Leopards were often sighted. The department has alerted the Kalakkad-Mundathari wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, which was contiguous to Neyyar, of the kill. Wildlife enforcers said the discovery of the tiger kill was significant as it indicated the possible presence of at least one such top predator in the sanctuary. BOAT PATROL Following the arrest of a person last week on the charge of felling an Indian Kino tree and few acacia saplings inside the sanctuary, wildlife enforcers have deployed three speed boats to patrol the reservoir intensively. The boats are equipped with powerful headlights and have armed guards on board. Forest foot patrols have been intensified. The sanctuary hosted a robust population of wild elephants, gaur, sloth bear, wild boar and Nilgiri Langur. Many of these wild animals were vulnerable to poaching. At least three thousand trekkers annually climbed the 1,890-m high Agasthyarkoodam hill between January and February.

Viscera of tiger cub to be sent to Hyderabad lab

TNN | Nov 16, 2011, 09.49PM IST KANPUR: After the death of a five and a half month old tiger cub on Sunday, the Kanpur zoo authorities are in a state of shock. The top zoo officials had been rejoicing ever since the three tiger cubs were born. The death of two tiger cubs, one died on October 2, has not only come as a huge loss to the country, especially at a time when the count of tigers is declining in the country, but also to the animal lovers who had been frequenting zoo to have a glimpse of the young ones of tigress Trusha and tiger Abhay. The zoo has also received a jolt for the fact that the sudden death of the tiger cub on Sunday has hampered its efforts of animal conservation. Also the situation is shocking for the zoo authorities because the first three months, which are said to be critical for the young ones of the tiger, had passed safely and the cubs were now five and a half months old. This has left the authorities perplexed on the reason for the cub's death.It is because of all these reasons that the zoo authorities have decided to send the viscera of the dead tiger cub to Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (LACONES) in Hyderabad apart from sending it to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly for further tests. Though the postmortem of the tiger cub, who died on Sunday, has been done and cardio-respiratory failure has been stated to be the cause, the zoo authorities do not want to leave any stone upturned about the cause of the death. Talking to TOI, director, Kanpur Zoo, K Praveen Rao said the entire effort was being made to ascertain the cause of death of the tiger cub. He admitted that it would be for the very first time that the viscera of any animal would be sent to LACONES in Hyderabad. Meanwhile, it is important to mention here that On October 2, a male tiger cub had died. After this recent death, the Kanpur zoo is left with only one female tiger cub. It is also important to mention that with the demise of its cub, tigress Trusha is behaving abnormally. Dr UC Srivastava, zoo veterinarian, informed that animals like tigers had short term memory and the tigress would be okay in the next few days.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister bats for tourism in tiger reserves

Bhopal, Nov 16 (IANS) Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan Wednesday met union Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan in New Delhi and urged her not to ban tourism in sanctuaries and tiger reserves, officials said here. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is pending in the Supreme Court to ban tourism in all the national sanctuaries and tiger reserves in the country. Chouhan put forward the argument that the local people's economic development is ensured due to tourism activities in wildlife sanctuaries and the other wildlife also remains safe. The chief minister asked Natarajan to make available Rs.1,130 crore funds of CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority). The state has been provided only Rs.104 crore of the fund during the last two years. The state government has sent for sanction various projects worth Rs.519 crore under CAMPA. Chouhan also demanded Rs.3,300 crore funds for re-settlement of 735 villages from Project Tiger areas. He mentioned that from the point of view of forest reserves, 117 of the villages are highly sensitive. He also demanded for early allotment of coal blocks for various energy projects by maintaining a balance between development and environment. In the meeting, Chouhan told Natarajan that coal blocks have been identified in Mandla in Chhindwara district, Mahan, Ageliya and Ageliya North in Singrauli district and Semariya and Pipariya in Umaria district. Natarajan assured Chouhan that a decision will be taken soon on all the pending projects.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NBWL-MoEF conflict on tiger, elephant corridors

TUESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2011 23:09 PIONEER NEWS SERVICE | NEW DELHI HITS: 98 Resentment was already simmering amongst the members of National board For Wildlife (NBWL) against their gradually diminishing role in the wildlife vs development issue. Now with the Environment Ministry officials raising their voices for further clipping its powers, the Board that is headed by the Prime-Minister now stands face to face against the forest bureaucracy. According to well-placed sources in the Ministry, a proposal has been mooted before the Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan on the circumvention of the mandate of the Board to decide on the clearance of projects pertaining to tiger and elephant reserves. The Ministry should go ahead on its own, the proposal noted. Jayanthi is however yet to take any decision on it. “Though we are shocked to learn of such a proposal from the forest officials, the move has not caught us off-guard”, said a NBWL member on condition of anonymity. The fact that the NBWL was getting reduced to a clearance house and rubber stamp of the Ministry was already evident when as many as 40 proposals were cleared in two hours in the 21st Standing Committee meeting of the Board on April 25, he pointed out. The meeting was a mere formality and was conducted in great haste and less 72 hours were given to study the proposals for assessment. Exasperated several members had written letters to the then Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh expressing their dissent. The flashpoint according to the sources came after the wildlife experts in the standing committee had objected to a number of projects cleared by the Ministry during the tenure of Jairam Ramesh, overruling the objections of the former. The embarrassed forest officials had somehow managed to defend themselves at the meeting aggravating further bitterness. The mandate of the NBWL had been decided by a Supreme Court order which states that all such projects that can impact protected areas, national parks and sanctuaries, need to pass through the scanner of the standing committee of the NWBL before the Government can give them clearance. The demarcated tiger and elephant reserves that add up to 71,000 sq km of some of the best forests of the country are being eyed for several mining and other projects.

Corbett Park bid to mitigate conflict between humans, wild animals

MONDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2011 23:49 PARITOSH KIMOTHI | DEHRADUN HITS: 204 The Corbett National Park which is commemorating its Platinum Jubilee this year not only sustains a high tiger population, but is also a treasure trove of diversity in flora and fauna of the Terai-Bhabar landscape with 55 species of mammals, 33 species of aquatic fauna and about 685 species of birds. However, the authorities also face different challenges like facilitating free movement of wild animals on wildlife corridors and mitigating human-wildlife conflict in ensuring that the wildlife and environment in the first national park of Asia and third in the world thrives in the future. At the time of its establishment in 1936, Corbett covered an area of 323.75 sq km which increased to 1288.31 sq km in 1991 after the addition of the Kalagarh forest division and parts of Ramnagar and Terai West forest divisions. This area of the tiger reserve comprises 821.99 sq km of critical tiger habitat and 466.32 sq km of buffer zone. In the decades since Project Tiger was launched here in 1973, the population of tigers in the Corbett Tiger Reserve landscape has increased to over 200, according to the latest tiger census. Tiger being an apex predator, its conservation leads to the conservation of other flora and fauna. The conservation efforts put in from 1974 to 2011 have resulted in an increase in the population of important species, including elephants, leopards, spotted deer, sambar and barking deer. The Corbett field director Ranjan Kumar Mishra states that the national park presently faces four major challenges which include facilitating free movement of wild animals on wildlife corridors, mitigating human-wildlife conflict, providing quality facilities to tourists and receiving timely allocation of budget. Measures taken for wildlife protection include introduction of an E-eye surveillance system in CTR for the first time anywhere in the tiger reserves of India, to monitor 400 sq km of highly sensitive border area and check any unsolicited intrusion. A total of nine towers will be established with thermal cameras and night vision equipment which can be monitored remotely through computers. This system is aimed at deterring the movements of poachers as their movement will be monitored and recorded. A well-equipped veterinary unit has also been established to treat and rescue injured wild animals. Mishra said that 200 local youths are working under the Operation Lords scheme to protect tigers from poachers in the buffer areas, while 60 ex-army personnel are employed under the Tiger Protection Force to supplement departmental staff for protection of tiger and its habitat. Tourism in Corbett is the backbone of economy in Ramnagar and adjoining areas. In 2000-01, Rs 84.66 lakh revenue was generated from the arrival of 62,632 tourists. This increased to a revenue of Rs 6.42 crore generated from the arrival of 1,89,793 tourists in 2010-11. To further enhance facilities for tourists, internet booking facility will also be inaugurated by the chief minister on November 15. This facility will make it more convenient for tourists to access the five tourist zones and 19 forest rest houses with a total of 192 beds. Measures aimed at enhancing tourism and protecting the environment at the same time include the Mahasheer Conservation Programme under which local people are involved in protection of the Mahasheer fish through the Angling Association. Locals employed in Corbett include 87 guides, 26 room attendants, 176 drivers and a larger number in the private sector. The challenge for the authorities now is to capitalise on existing resources and developing facilities to ensure the protection of wildlife and environment in Corbett while also addressing issues concerning local residents and tourists.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Similipal Tiger Reserve to allow night stay of visitors

PTI | 03:11 PM,Nov 14,2011 Baripada (Odisha), Nov 14 (PTI) Visitors to the Similipal Tiger Reserve would now be able to spend the night at the buffer zone. After remaining closed from March 28, 2009 following Maoist attacks, the park reopened for day tourism on December 22, 2010, but night stay of tourists was disallowed. Visitors would now be able stay nights at Gudugudia and Jamuani in the buffer zone of the sanctuary, endowed with rich bio-diversity, Field Director of the project, Anup Kumar Nayak said. The STR authorities reopened the reserve after the monsoon closure from June 16, 2011, Nayak said. The sanctuary area was closed after attacks by Maoists in the reserve's tourism zone between March 28 to 30, 2009 and again in the first week of April in the same year, official sources said. The Maoists had ransacked tourist rest houses at Chahala, Nawana and other places and caused extensive damage to the VHF wireless communication network, the sources said. Besides day tourism, night halts would also be allowed at Gudugudia and Jamuani in the buffer area, the sources said. Tourists would also be able to go for trekking and bird watching from Gudugudia. Armed police personnel have been deployed near Gudugudia and other places for the safety of tourists.

Ban on night traffic through Bandipur: Karnataka under pressure

November 15, 2011 By Amit S. Upadhye DC Bengaluru Conservationists can take heart. Karnataka is standing firm on the night ban on traffic inside the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Its forest department is likely to write to the Centre in response to its suggestion on lifting the ban, that when close to 65% of all animals killed in road accidents inside Bandipur are hit by speeding vehicles at night, it doesn’t make sense to withdraw it. Vehicles taking the NH 67 from Melkamanahahalli to Kekkanahalla and the NH 212 from Maddur to Moolehole were banned from entering the Bandipur Reserve at night early August on the orders of the Karnataka High Court, leading to a collective sigh of relief among wildlife conservationists concerned about the large numbers of animals run over by them in the dark. Their worry is not without reason. A survey conducted between 2004 and 2008 has revealed that 91 mammals, 75 reptiles and 56 birds were killed due to speeding vehicles in this period, almost double the number killed by poachers in the reserve. “As most carnivores are active at night, herbivores too are on the move. Large animal congregations takes place and animals often crisscross the highways in large numbers. One estimate suggests that close to 1,600 animals, including tigers, leopards and elephants cross the roads in Bandipur at night,” says a conservationist from Mysore, D Raj Kumar, who feels the night ban has come as a huge relief to the animals. He doesn’t see why it should be revoked when there are alternative routes the vehicles can take and two passenger buses from Kerala and Karnataka are still allowed to enter Bandipur at night. Wildlife experts find it hard to understand why the forest department does not maintain records of all road kills and takes note of only tiger and elephant deaths on the highways passing through the reserve. “The deaths of reptiles and birds killed by speeding vehicles are not recorded. The department must begin reporting every road- kill to justify the night ban on traffic inside Bandipur,” underlines one expert. Techies worry about their travel times The night traffic ban at Bandipur Tiger Reserve is not just haunting truck companies and commuters, but also a large group of professionals from Kerala who work in Bengaluru. For them it’s a nightmarish experience to wait for daylight to travel and also extends their holiday by another day, just for travelling. “I understand there are alternative routes if you want to travel to Palakad. But what if we want to reach a town in Kerala situated closer to the Karnataka border? We are spending an extra day just travelling and it’s become a major issue ever since the road was closed for wildlife movement during the night,” says A. Sindhu, a researcher working in Bengaluru. According to Santosh Krishnan, a software engineer from Kerala working at a city-based firm, the alternative routes suggested by the forest department of Karnataka and conservationists are much further away. Conservationists in the state, however, said that the Kerala and Karnataka governments must prepare the alternate roads that go around the tiger reserves. “There are number of roads that can be used to avoid traffic within tiger reserves, but the government and local authorities are not maintaining them. This is done deliberately. If the roads are good there is no problem for commuters to travel during the night,” said Mahesh S., a travel agent from Bengaluru. Several animal deaths are due to speeding vehicles Sanjay Gubbi, Wildlife expert and member of the State Board for Wildlife Highways can have a serious impact on wildlife behavior, survival and movement. This is especially true for the tiger, wild dogs and other ecologically sensitive large species. One of the worst affected are tree dwelling primates and rodents that are isolated in smaller patches when there are breaks in the tree canopy, which not only reduces their forage area but also impacts genetic diversity. The most serious impact are the wildlife deaths caused by speeding vehicles. Such unnatural mortalities can have affect an entire population through loss of breeding individuals especially in species that have low reproductive rates such as the lion-tailed macaque. It has been seen that several wildlife deaths take place at night due to dazzling headlights and speeding vehicles. Nocturnal animals such as the civet, mouse deer, black-naped hare and reptiles are regular victims. So it is a common practice, both in India and many other countries, to close the highways to vehicular traffic at night in key wildlife habitats. This is good for another reason too as night traffic in such reserves can also give scope for timber smuggling and wildlife poaching —poachers caught in the Biligirirangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary have confessed to hunting on the highways of Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Considering the number of wildlife deaths in Bandipur Tiger Reserve as a result of speeding vehicles, the Karntaka High Court ordered the closure of the highways running through it at night. The court’s judgment was also based on the fact that there are alternatives routes available for traffic in the area. Although they may cost a bit more to take, it’s a price we have to pay to save the habitats of our animals. Moreover the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 also makes it mandatory for tiger reserves to be protected at all costs. With only 3.3 per cent of Karnataka’s geographical area declared protected, it is well within the limits of natural justice to restrict vehicular movement in an importabt wildlife habitat at night.

Kanha Orphan Tigress Cub Shifted to Panna National Park

By: Rang7 Team November 14, 2011 A six year old tigress orphan cub residing at Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh has now been trans-located to Panna National Park, adding to the cat numbers here. The young tigress named T5 will now join one of her sisters at Panna National Park who had been trans-located from Kanha National Park to Panna National Park about eight months ago. The tigress is one of the three cubs of a tigress who had been killed during a fight with another tiger. T5 had been trans-located from one park to the other by road and was under constant supervision of the wildlife veterinaries. Once brought to Panna National Park the tigress cub was released into the wild and its movements are being constantly monitored by forest officials at Panna Tiger Reserve with the help of signal emitted by a radio collar fitted around the cat. According to officials who have monitored its sister, who has now completely adapted to its surroundings, it will take at least three months for the new resident to adapt to its surroundings and to do things on her own. During the time of translocation, the tigress was tranquilized to travel the 450 kms distance from Kanha to Panna National Park, attached with a radio collar by wildlife specialist from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun and accompanied by wildlife doctors and officials of Kanha National Park to ensure it good health on the way by maintaining its physical parameters. When the mother of T5 died, her two other siblings, her sister and her brother, the third of the three cubs, all the three cubs were housed in a special enclosure in Mukki range in Kanha to prevent them from becoming preys for other animals. Normally the mother trains her cubs in the killing of prey, but if the mother happens to die before such an event, the cubs cannot be released in the wild and are sent to the zoos instead. In this case the two young tigresses had successfully developed their natural instinct of killing prey in the enclosure and were sent to National Parks and Tiger Reserves while the male cub was sent to Van Vihar National Park, which is a zoo located in the centre of Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh. Kanha National Park was set up in 1955 and Panna National Park in 1981. Some years back Panna National Park has lost its tiger population due to wide scale poaching, but effective management has helped to maintain and slowly increase its tiger population over the last few years. While Kanha National Park has about 60 tigers as per the last 2011 tiger census, Panna National Park now has five adult tigers, one male, four females and six cubs. Madhya Pradesh is known to be the state with the largest tiger population in India. The other important National Parks of the state are Bandhavgarh National Park and Pench National Park which is 95% in Madhya Pradesh and 5% in Maharashtra near Nagpur.

Friday, November 11, 2011

State to requisition trap cameras for tiger count

Anindo Dey, TNN | Nov 11, 2011, 06.53AM IST Jaipur: The state will shortly be requisitioning more trap cameras from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) as it embarks on Phase IV of the All India Tiger Estimation exercise along with other tiger reserves of the country. The Phase IV tiger estimation comprises intensive, annual monitoring of important 'source' populations of tigers through trap cameras. According to state forest officials, this process has been on at the Ranthambore national park and some other reserves for the past three or four years. "This year for the first time it will be carried out at all tiger reserves across the country," officials said. We will be needing about 280 trap cameras for Ranthambore and 110 cameras for the Sariska reserve. We already have 100 cameras at Ranthambore and 10 at Sariska. For the remaining we will be writing to the NTCA who will fund us for the same," said U M Sahai, chief wildlife warden, Rajasthan. The NTCA initiative will be implemented across 41 protected areas and is being seen as an important milestone in tiger conservation. Officials said the annual monitoring at each tiger reserve will help get regular updates on the number and health of tiger population across the country, instead of getting the same after three or four years. The Phase IV estimation is expected to begin in December, but before that field directors of all the reserves have been called for a workshop in Delhi by the NTCA on November 25. Officials revealed that though the data will be collected at the reserve level under the chief wildlife warden with help from NHOs but it will be analysed by the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun. "This is the most scientific process to be followed till now for estimation of the tiger population. Trap cameras will be set up every 5 sq km. These cameras will detect any movement and take pictures thus helping us to exactly identify each individual tiger," officials said. The exercise will also include prey population monitoring and will be done only in tiger reserves. The fourth phase will help know mortality, dispersal, breeding and other population dynamics of tigers. During the first eight days, sign survey will be conducted. Depending on results, camera traps will be deployed at probable sites. The exercise will be conducted every year, officials said.

With the onset of winter, big cat turns violent

Bipin Chand Agarwal, TNN | Nov 11, 2011, 08.43AM IST BAHRAICH: The onset of winter makes the leopards and tigers more aggressive, thanks to the beginning of the reproductive period, the wild carnivores feel insecure and as a result, the cases of man-animal conflict generally go up. Speaking to TOI, divisional forest officer (DFO) wildlife RK Singh said, "Prevention of man-animal conflict is the best possible solution. The reproductive period of leopards and tigers start with the onset of winter and in view of this, they cannot afford interference of the human beings in their territory. The time of reproductive period of leopards and tigers starts usually during November end. The three attacks of tigers, which occurred this year was due to their reproductive period, which has already started." He further stated that the villagers need to take precautionary measures to avoid the attacks of tigers till the end of January. They are also being given instructions for the same from time to time, he said and added that the villagers should ensure their security by following the instructions of the forest department. Following the tiger's attack at Khairipurwa village of Nishangarha range, the chief conservator forest (CCF) BK Patnaik visited the incident spot. On Saturday a tiger dragged away a woman to the forest and after several hours her carcass was found. The chief conservator forest met with the victim's family at Khairipurwa village, he also inquired about the incident from DFO Singh and gave necessary orders to trap the tiger. The field director of Dudhwa National Park Shailesh Prasad spotted the pugmarks of the tigers there and inspected the cages installed at various points in Katarniaghat reserve forest area to trap the tigers and leopards.

Crop guards pose grave threat to wild animals

Mazhar Ali, TNN | Nov 11, 2011, 08.18AM IST Chandrapur: Illegal firearms carried by crop guards are posing grave threat to the wildlife in the fringe forest areas. There have been many instances when the crop guards, deployed by the villagers to protect their farms against intruding wildlife, have been found involved in poaching. But, the issue has remained unaddressed since years by both tiger protection cell and forest department. In fresh incident of wildlife poaching, Gurucharansingh Juni deployed as crop guard by villagers of Ekona in Warora tehsil poached a bluebull on Wednesday morning. His two accomplices Shersingh Juni and Mahadeosingh Juni from Jambhulghat village, were arrested by forest officers of Warora with 7kg of bluebull meat near Shegaon while trying to sale it in the evening. Warora RFO Arun Tikhe said that arrested accused have admitted to poaching the bluebull with the help of trained dogs, but possibilities of absconding Gururcharnsingh Juni carrying illegal muzzle loading gun cannot be ruled out. On August 31, a farm guard Jindersingh Kalani had accidentally shot three persons, critically injuring them, with his country made gun (bharmar), while trying to bring down wild boars intruding into a farm adjacent to Minzari village in Chimur tehsil. Later during police interrogation Kalani has confessed of poaching over a dozen wild animals with the help of his illegal firearms. Couple of weeks back, crop guard Surindersingh was caught for poaching wild boar near Nand village in Nagpur forest division. He too is suspected to have poached the boar with the help of illegal muzzle loading gun. In the instances of poaching cases busted by forest officers, accused farm guards belonged to Sikalkar community. Experts feel there are over 3,000 such illegal firearms in the fringe forest areas of Chandrapur district. But, this grave issue has remained unaddressed by the authorities. "Tiger cell has never discussed the issue. It never tried to gather the record of crops guards being recruited by the villages their area. Crop protection guns had often been used for poaching too," said Nitin Desai, Central India director of NGO Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). RFO Tikhe, who busted the poaching, claimed that there is a state government resolution (GR), which allows the farmers to shoot down the intruding wild boar or bluebell into their farm. "But, they need to seek prior permission from concerned RFO for killing the intruding animal. But they need legal firearm to accomplice the task. In case of crop guards, mostly they have illegal firearms, hence nobody comes forward to get permission." he said. BOX Common practice Deployment of crop guard is common practice in villages. Usually villagers prefer the persons who have illegal muzzle loading guns. The crop guards are expected to fire in air, thus making loud noise, to scare away the intruding wild boars and bluebulls that tend to destroy the standing crops. However, the farm guards moving freely around the fringe forest areas, often bring down the wild animals with the help of his gun.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Don't ban tiger tourism: Conservationists

By: AFP Date: 2011-11-09 Place: New Delhi Conservationists and wildlife tour operators warned Monday that moves to restrict tiger tourism in India to protect the endangered big cats would have the opposite effect. "Banning tiger tourism would be a disaster," said Belinda Wright, director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India. "Tourism acts as a conservation tool and also provides income to thousands of people, many of them local to the area of the reserves," Wright told reporters in New Delhi. Conservationists argue that tiger poaching is more prevalent in areas of low tourism because poachers feel they have less chance of being spotted and caught. Tourism also provides revenue for locals who might otherwise turn to poaching as a means of providing for their families. Last year, the Indian National Tiger Conservation Authority proposed phasing out safaris in India's 40 tiger reserves, saying the animals were being "loved to death" by tourists. The idea was abandoned after protests from wildlife experts and tour operators, but the Supreme Court is considering a public-interest litigation case, which argues that tourism in "core" tiger habitats should be banned. Vishal Singh, who heads Travel Operators for Tigers, said the negative impact of tourism on tiger habitats was exaggerated. "Wildlife tourists carry cameras, not axes. They do not poach, do not submerge forests with dams... They are being unjustifiably blamed for killing tigers," Singh said. India, home to half of the world's rapidly dwindling wild tiger population, has been struggling to halt the big cat's decline in the face of poachers, international smuggling networks and powerful mining companies. From an estimated 40,000 animals in India a century ago, the number is now down to around 1,706.

Missing tiger: Teams to wind up search operations

G RAJENDRA, TNN | Nov 10, 2011, 01.52PM IST MADIKERI: The tiger search operation team on Wednesday breathed a sigh of relief after they sighted pugmarks of the elusive tiger, which had spread terror in and around Konageri village, about 500 meters from Kallalla forest area near the Nagarhole Games Sanctuary. The team is expected to wind up the search operations by Thursday afternoon. After studying the pugmarks, the team comprising district wild life deputy conservator of forests, Motappa, Hunsur wild life division assistant conservator of forests K D Belliappa, Virajpet deputy conservator of forests Kanthraj, and range forest officers Shrinivasa Naik, Neharu and Mandanna, reached the conclusion that the tiger might have entered the kallalla forest. The team assumed that the animal reached the place early morning on Wednesday. According to officers of the department of forest, the tiger has returned to Kothur village where it started its hunt on October 20. The pugmarks indicate that it chose the same route, which he had taken to reach konageri village where he killed a cow on last Monday, on his way back to the forest. According to the expert team, the animal started moving from Konageri Aiyappakadu area in the wee hours of Monday towards Gandhi Thammaiah's estate in Kothur village. "From there it entered Cheppudira Tyago Monnappa's coffee estate. The pugmarks show that, it then reached Mallangere Maramma Temple Road crossing the paddy fields of Malachira Manju. From here, it crossed Kanoor-Bommadu Road in Balele village and reached a place about 500 meters away from the Kallalla forest," said one official.

Tiger hunter arrested

PTI | 12:11 AM,Nov 10,2011 Alwar, Nov 9 (PTI) Forest department officials today arrested a man in connection with the killing of two tigers in 2005 here. Noor was nabbed in Malakhere area and will be produced before a local court tomorrow in the district, officials said. He was allegedly involved in the killing of the big cats in Sariska Tiger Park, according to senior forest official R S Shekhawat.

Bhadra reserve to adopt Jim Corbett methods

Express News Service , The New Indian Express BANGALORE:� As part of the Tiger Conservation Plan 2011-2021, senior state forest officials working for the cause of wildlife held a discussion regarding management of Bhadra Tiger Reserve here on Tuesday. K Ullas Karanth, director, Wildlife Conservation Society, India Programme, came up with the suggestion that modifying the habitat artificially and translocating the tiger would not be helpful in solving the issues of the tiger. He said, “The prey density for wild tigers is good around the Bhadra region, hence grazing pressures can be reduced.” At present the reserve area, spread across an area of 500 sq km has a total of 25 tigers. Bhadra Tiger Reserve further has the capacity to double its number density within 20 years, he said. Management of lantana and other diseases caused by vehicular movement in the reserve area was also discussed. A senior forest official said, “The Jim Corbett National Park in Nainital has developed an interesting way of managing lantana, we are planning to adopt a similar procedure at Bhadra Tiger Reserve.” “All the recommendations that came up will be submitted to the National Tiger Conservation Authority in a month,” he said.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stop tourism in core tiger areas: Govt to SC

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times A jeep ride to have a glimpse of a tiger deep inside Corbett or Ranthambore or Kanha tiger reserves may become history if the Supreme Court accepts the government’s argument that tourism needs to be shifted out of the core areas to fringe and buffer zones to protect the big cat from adverse impact of human interference. In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has said that “core critical tiger habitats” have to be kept inviolate and only management interventions can be allowed by the state governments in the said area. “In such areas if tourism activity are taking place, they are required to be phased out in the fringe/buffer zones,” the NTCA, the statutory body mandated to provide safe habitat to 1,706 tigers in 40 tiger reserves, has told the court. The NTCA has declared core areas as “inviolate” from any human interference. In most of the tiger reserves, tourists are allowed inside the core tiger critical areas without adequate regulation, creating nuisance for tigers. A recent Wildlife Institute of India report had said that most of 1,706 tigers were in the core areas that are the best habitat for big cats to survive, if human intervention can be minimised. “Human living in tiger reserves pose the biggest danger not the tourism,” said Belinda Wright of Wildlife Protection Society of India, who owns a lodge in Kanha tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh, at a press conference organized by Travel Operators for Tigers before the hearing in the case on Wednesday. At least two tigers have been killed by vehicles used by tourists in Bandhavgarh tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh in the last few years. Prerna Singh Bindra, wildlife conservationist said in her report on Corbett that the tourism inside the core tiger area was unsustainable and lodges have blocked the corridor used by tigers to move from the park to Ramnagar forest division and vice-versa. Lodges have been constructed in the buffer zone of Ramthambore tiger reserve and Periyar tiger reserve in Kerala. The travel operators brought a tribal, Sansai Baigai from Kanha, to claim that they have financially benefited from tiger tourism even though the operators had opposed settlement of their traditional rights in tiger reserves. “I am not in favour of Forest Rights Act in protected areas,” Wright said, while the operators failed to inform about the revenue shared by them with the local communities. NTCA’s affidavit quotes Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 to say that core areas in protected areas have to be kept inviolate for purpose of tiger conservation without affecting the rights of tribals or forest dwellers. The world “inviolate” means without any disturbance by human beings and each tiger reserve should have inviolate space of 800-1,200 sq kms for a viable population. The tour operators claimed the NTCA decision, if upheld by the Supreme Court, will harm the tigers than benefiting them.

Tigers poached in connivance with forst staff at Panna: Government report

TNN | Nov 9, 2011, 03.58AM IST In a detailed investigation, carried out by the field director, who is in-charge of Panna Tiger Reserve, it emerged that forest staff on occasions were involved in destroying evidence of poaching. NEW DELHI: Tigers in Madhya Pradesh's Panna Tiger Reserve were poached in connivance with forest officials, an internal state government report has admitted. But the state government, despite repeated requests from the Union environment and forests ministry, has refused to constitute a CBI probe as was done in the wipe-out of the elusive wild cats in Rajasthan's Sariska Tiger Reserve. The report submitted in January to the state government - a scathing indictment of the forest department for hiding facts and acting in collusion with poaching networks - came to light, thanks to an application by Madhya Pradesh-based RTI activist Ajay Dubey. In a detailed investigation, carried out by the field director, who is in-charge of Panna Tiger Reserve, it emerged that forest staff on occasions were involved in destroying evidence of poaching. In one case, forest officers, the field director said, took a bribe to suppress evidence of poaching. He has demanded a thorough investigation into forest officials working in cahoots with poaching gangs that operate in Panna. The officer notes that there are sufficient evidence to show active involvement of staff in poaching, and also in destroying of evidence in some cases. The report notes that at least once the ``mighty feudal structure played its part in manipulating" the case. To make matters worse, when well-connected people were caught poaching, they were let off by senior forest officials. The current field director has recommended that forest officials - starting from forest guards to his predecessor- be interrogated. "The area is infested with heavy poaching. With staff's omissions and commissions the crime nexus is complete from the scene of crime to New Delhi," he records. The local population has no sympathy left for tigers or the reserve because the creation of the park has hit them hard, the official says and warns that no park can survive without empathy from them.

Tiger kills pregnant cow in Kodagu district

Express News Service , The New Indian Express MADIKERI: The tiger menace in the district surfaced again when a pregnant cow was hunted in Kongeri on Monday. The tiger dragged the carcass of the cow for over 10 m and ate almost 10 kg of meat, it is said. As per the instructions of Assembly Speaker K G Bopaiah, Chief Wildlife Warden and principal chief conservator of forests (Wildlife) B K Singh arrived at the spot� on Monday evening to receive information about the tiger menace. Sources in the Forest Department said that a decision may be taken to shoot the tiger at sight as it may attack human beings too, under Section 11(A) of the Wildlife Act. But killing the tiger will be the last resort. An expert shooter from Hassan, medicine shooter from Mysore zoo and other doctors will assist the team to catch the tiger. The fact that the tiger also came to one of the cages set up, touched the goat inside it but did not harm it has surprised officials.

Bandhavgarh tiger park faces fund crunch, staff shortage

PTI Nov 7, 2011, 03.00PM IST BANDHAVGARH (MP): Shortage of more than 100 trained foresters coupled with fund crunch to shift about a dozen villages from the core area of Bandhavgarh National Park, which has the highest density of tigers, are posing a grave problem for its authorities. "There is a need for minimum 240 staff including forest guards, range officers and foresters here to properly maintain the reserve park but we have only about 100 staff to do the job," CK Patil, field director of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, said. Situated in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh, the core area of the park is spread over 716 sq km. According to the latest census, there are 59 tigers in the park, an increase of 12 from 2006. Known for its highest density of Royal Bengal tigers in the world, there are still 12 villages inside the core area Bandhavgarh forest. "There were a total 14 villages inside the core area and till now we could shift only one village and the process for shifting another is in the process. We need to relocate all these villages otherwise it would be difficult to prevent man-animal conflict and protect wildlife," Patil said. According to the relocation scheme, every family gets Rs 10 lakh as compensation for shifting out from the core area. There are about 2,500 families residing in the area. "We need Rs 250 crore for shifting these villages out of the core forest area. We are not able to expedite it due to the severe fund crunch," the field director said.