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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.