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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.