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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.