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Thursday, December 15, 2011

50-yr-old man killed by tiger

TNN | Dec 14, 2011, 10.27PM IST BAHRAICH: A 50-year-old man was killed when he was attacked by a tiger at Bagulahia farm in Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary here on Wednesday. Divisonal Forest Officer (DFO) Wildlife RK Singh told that the Mahant Yadav went to the forest area on Tuesday to get some fodder when he was attacked by the animal, they said adding he died instantly. According to figures provided by the DFO, 12 people have been killed in attacks by leopards and tigers in the region. 65 people have been killed and 95 were injured in the incidents of leopard and tiger attacks in the villages around Katarniaghat wildlife sanctuary in three years. There are 9 forest gram sabhas and 21 gram sabhas under the Katarniaghat forest where the movement of the leopards and tigers are frequently seen. The leopards and tigers enter these villages quite often in the search of food and water where they not only make prey to the cattles of the villagers but the villagers also fall prey to them occassionally. The recent incident which occurred at Ameersingh purwa of Karikot where a leopard attacked on a four years old girl and ate it alive. This incident has not only created terror in the forest areas but also in the whole district. The workplans were chalked out many at times in order to secure the gram sabhas of around the forests but they were never implemented. Recently the district magistrate (DM)Bahraich pinky jowel held the meeting with the villagers, he had assured them that every possible effort would be made to protect the villagers. For this he had also ordered to prepare a workplan for constructing a ditch around the villages and planting the thorny bushes in it. The work was to be executed by MNREGA. What to mention of executing the work, even the workplan could not be approved. However the entry of the wild animals in the villages has gone up and many persons lost their life.

Manas Tiger Reserve set to regain past glory-PTI

Manas: Battered by militant activities in the early nineties resulting in its listing as a world heritage site in danger, the picturesque Manas tiger reserve is all set to regain its pristine glory, thanks to astute forest and infrastructure management. Conservation initiatives are going in the right direction and the park is all set to attract animal lovers and tourist as it had done two decades back, says Field Director, Anindya Swargiary. The park recently organised a function called "Logistic support for Manas Tiger reserve" that was held in association with WWF where the WWF officials handed over various vital logistic items to the park authorities. Acknowledging that militant activities had taken the park hundred years back in terms of management system, the park director said serious effort was make to bring it back to order. Although the park was one of the biggest tiger reserves in the country, its unique location offers a difference than other parks. Expressing the hope that tiger population had increased, Swargiary said recently nine big cats were traced during a survey by the Wildlife Institute of India while a fresh survey is underway. Alongwith forest officials, several organisations and NGOs are working in tandem to develop and preserve the park in a coherent manner, he said. The field director felt that as the park shares an international boundary with neighbouring Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, coordination with that country's forest authroties was necessary. Infact only the Manas river running through the park is the boundary line with the otherside known as Royal Bhutan tiger reserve. A meeting between forest officials of the two countries was held recently to bring about coordination in the effort to protect forest and wildlife, says Swargiary. Urging Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), the administrators of the area, to sanction more fund, the forest official said a detailed report will be finalised soon outlining all aspects of preservation. Council head of the department of NTC, G C Basumatary says recognition by the world community in bringing back the world heritage site status to Manas was possible due to untiring efforts of the authorities. During the event, Dipankar Ghosh, programme coordinator of WWF stressed on the need to raise the profile of Manas in national and international levels. Assuring all effort from WWF side to help revive the park, Ghosh congratulated the forest authorities for helping the park to develop. Giving a detail account of the activities in the park, BTC deputy chief Khampha Borgoyary says a probe committee has been set up after skeleton of a Rhino which was translocated from the Pabitora wildlife sanctuary was found inside the park. During the event, eight motorcycles, 20 binoculars, 500 mosquito nets, 1000 shoes, 500 jackets and caps, 500 sweaters, 60 torches and 10 charge lights were handed over to the forest staff. Swargiary says plans are on the anvil to develop accomodation and travelling facilities for the tourists to the park. Admitting that of late the park had very few visitors due to lack of transport facilities, the park director says an amibitous plan is being made by the BTC to easy acess to the visitors to the park and their comfortable stay. Meanwhile, local villagers who are living in the fringe of the park are being educated and made aware of the need to protect the environment and wildlife.

Controversy over killing of tiger in KNP continues

 BOKAKHAT, Dec 14 – The resentment over the killing of a Royal Bengal tiger at Bochagaon by police constables on December 5 took a new turn with NGOs, police and Forest department differing on the matter. It may be mentioned that the Royal Bengal tiger had created panic in the fringe villages of the Kaziranga National Park since the last two weeks as a result of which the persons had to suffer losses. Later, the tiger was reportedly killed by police constables in self-defence and to protect the life and property of the villagers. After going through the proper investigation and post mortem by concerned Forest official and Veterinary doctors the carcass of the tiger was burnt. Meanwhile, the Kaziranga National Park and the National Tiger Conservation Authority of India have launched an inquiry into the incident. Local people lodged complaints that the Kaziranga Park authorities had been informed about the panic created by the tiger for the last 15 days but the Forest department did not take any positive steps due to which the unwanted situation took place. On the other hand, local people including leading citizens and dignitaries of different socio-cultural organisations of Kaziranga and Bokakhat have expressed strong resentment over the news published in some newspapers acusing the villagers as the killers of the Royal Bengal tiger in the park area. They clarified in a press meet that neither the police nor the local people intentionally killed the tiger but only under compulsion. Hema Borah, president of the Four-Lane Demand Committee, spoke against the Government decision for not connecting Bokakhat and Jakhalabandha with the Four-lane plea. Addressing the mediapersons, most of the dignaitaries representing their organisations vehemently opposed the decision of the Government for declaring KNP as another project Tiger site. Dipak Hazarika, joint secretary of AJYCP’s central committee, Bitupan Saikia, secretary of Bokakhat subdivisional unit of AASU, Lila Tamuli, president of Kaziranga Sports Association, Nagen Saikia of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Deva Pratim Borah of Four-Lane Demand Committee and Tulshi Bordoloi of Kaziranga Jeep Safari Union addressed the meet and appealed to the media to write in the greater interest of the Kaziranga area, highlighting the major problem and facts. Nilu Acharjee, Swapan Nath and Achyut Hazarika from among the scribes presented short speeches in response to the situation.

Political posturing, encroachments are eating into Mhadei's tiger territory Paul Fernandes, Rajendra P Kerkar & Murari Shetye, TNN

Caranzol: The issue of settlements and encroachments within the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary and its fringes, coupled with political posturing, is slowly eating into tiger territory. In 1999, the official appointed to hear stakeholders affected by the sanctuary's notification received a total of 117 claims from residents of villages falling within the sanctuary. A few years later, figures provided in the North Goa working plan indicated encroachments of around 1,539.71 ha in 21 villages under the Valpoi range and four villages under the Keri range of the sanctuary. "Though there are no proper records regarding encroachments, the satellite imagery (with 1999 as cut-off) can be used to determine fresh incursions within the sanctuary's limits," a government official said. On June 3, 1999, the government notified 44 sq km of the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary's 208 sq km area under Section 26A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. This area had been earlier declared a reserve forest and was clear of encumbrances. The remainder 164 sq km was notified under Section 18 of the same Act as it included encroachments. "Notifying the area under this mode meant the claims of those interested in the land could be heard," an official explained. P V Savant was appointed as the revenue officer and collector for the sanctuary and was directed to hear claims of aggrieved stakeholders. He received 10 claims, including eight from individual families, two separately from a group of 96 villagers from Zarme and 13 from Thane-Dongurli and Ivrem-Buzuruco of Thane Dongurli panchayat, staking claim to forest lands. In their deposition, the claimants stated they had developed and brought specific areas in forest land under cashew plantation. They were in possession of the land for two to four decades and sustained their families on cashew and other produce, they informed Savant. Some prayed that they should be granted occupancy right as per the land revenue code and rules, even though they could not produce documentary evidence. The form I & XIV they produced to support their cases indicated that they were classified encroachers on government land. Savant observed, among other remarks, that the state should review the proposal of including Zarme and Ivrem-Buzuruco in the sanctuary as lots of land was occupied by encroachers. The government had, incidentally, granted occupancy rights to 104 persons during 1983, 1984 and 1985. Of these, 99 cases are in the sanctuary. The extent of area granted under occupancy rights varies from 850 sq m to 1,5250 sq m. While the government has granted rights to some farmers, a process of regularization is still in progress by the revenue department, say sources. As per records, sanads (occupancy rights) were issued in 42 cases prior to 1980 in Ivrem Buzuruco. While survey numbers were mentioned in the sanads in respect of one person in two cases, none were mentioned in the other 40 cases. Savant had noted in an order: "...considering the ground reality of large areas of proposed sanctuary under cashew plantations the state is advised to review the sanctuary proposal." He further urged the government to prevent further encroachments by demarcating old and new encroachments. But forest officials say that doing this will change the boundaries of the sanctuary. The government subsequently appointed a committee headed by Hemant Karapurkar to examine the rationale for de-notification of the two sanctuaries (Neturlim wildlife sanctuary in Sanguem had been notified along with Mhadei). The Karapurkar committee had stated in its report that 1,826 families are affected by the proposal in Mhadei. "However, the committee did not provide either the list of the persons or the survey numbers of those claiming to be affected," alleges Claude Alvares, director, NGO Goa Foundation. Forest minister Felipe Neri Rodrigues was not available for comment, while additional principal conservator of forests Shashi Kumar avoided any discussion on the issue. The government's indecision is only aggravating the problem, forest officials and greens both agree. A forest official conceded, "It is not helping the cause of the tiger nor the people in keeping the issue burning." Environmentalists suggest that the government has to decide the issue of encroachments within the sanctuary. Fixing a cut-off period to draw a line between old and new encroachments is advisable, they say. "The government has to approach the Supreme Court and seek its advice on the matter," says Talulah D'Silva of Mission Green, Goa. This NGO had initiated an e-petition with an appeal to declare the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary as a tiger reserve and a second one, seeking local support for it.