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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.