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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.