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Friday, December 16, 2011

Phase IV of tiger census to be 45-days long

Mazhar Ali, TNN | Dec 16, 2011 CHANDRAPUR: Authorities of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) have geared up to carry out phase IV of its tiger monitoring, an extended programme of three earlier phases of tiger estimation exercise, in January and February next year. However, compared earlier phases, it would be an extensive exercise lasting for 45 days, covering tiger reserve, buffer zone and tiger pockets in regular forest areas in Chandrapur circle. Funded by NTCA, phase IV would be carried out in the areas of tiger presence under the supervision of chief wildlife warden. This annual exercise would help to re-ascertain the number of tigers in the reserve and areas around it, their breeding and dispersal pattern. Phase IV monitoring will include eight days of protocol documentation of sign survey, followed by extensive capture-recapture exercise with the help of camera traps and line transact assessment to ascertain the tiger population. "It is 45 days long extensive monitoring programme to access of tiger population. A least three pairs of camera traps would be placed in each beat of forest area. The presence of tigers in particular area will be established by capturing images and it would be verified by recapturing the same tiger's images in camera trap during the exercise," said CCF, TATR, Vinay Sinha. He explained that distance method would be used in transact line assessment and new lines would be made in the areas being freshly accessed for wildlife population. "Phase IV tiger monitoring would be carried out in tiger reserves, its buffer areas and tiger pockets falling in the regular forest areas around tiger reserve. NGO activist would be involved in the monitoring exercise during line transact assessment," he said. He claimed their draft plan and modality for phase IV is ready and they intended to execute monitoring exercise in January and February next years. He however did not give the exact dates of execution of the programme. Sinha claimed that a training programme at officer level has been organized at Panna tiger reserve on December 28 and 29. Officers up to RFO level would be guided in this training programme and they would in turn train the staffers under them at local level for the phase IV tiger monitoring exercise.

Three tiger cubs dead in two days, toll 17

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Dehradun, December 16, 2011 Three tiger cubs have died in different parts of Uttarakhand in the last two days, taking the death toll so far this year to 17 — up from the seven recorded last year. Alarmed wildlife authorities have sought immediate submission of postmortem reports to shore up conservation plans. On Tuesday, the bodies of a male and a female cub were found in Kilpura range of Terai east forest division. Another female cub was found dead in Dhela range of Corbett Tiger Reserve on Wednesday night. According to forest department officials, the cubs might have been separated from their mothers and succumbed to the cold conditions. But officials are not ruling out any possibilities.   Uttarakhand chief wildlife warden SS Sharma said, "I have asked forest officials to submit the postmortem report to me at the earliest. After analysing the reasons for these deaths, I will be in a better position to frame a plan of action for conservation." Earlier this month, HT had reported the rise in tiger deaths in the state.  Rajendra Agarwal, state head of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, said, "It’s surprising that within two days, three tiger cubs have died… If it continues, we could face an alarming situation."

'Power plants will choke Vidarbha development'

Aparna Nair, TNN | Dec 16, 2011, 12.50AM IST NAGPUR: Tiger mascots were prominently displayed as green organisations came together on Thursday to protest the large number of thermal power plants coming up in Vidarbha that would further degrade the environment of the region. Their main demand included the cancelling permissions to 49 power plants slated to come up in Vidarbha. "What is the need of these when we are already self-sufficient in power and exporting energy," asked R B Goenka, convenor Vidarbha Environment Action Group (VEAG). He said that such a large number of thermal plants would affect environment drastically. "The water table will further lower. Water and air pollution will rise drastically. In satellite images you cannot see vegetation in 10 km radius of power plants because of harmful effects," he said. Greenpeace also supported this agitation held near Hislop College through its Junglistan campaign. "Forest around Tadoba are already degrading due to the opencast mines and the power plants. We are questioning the ministry on the need of so many plants in a small region," said Preethi Herman, campaigner, Greenpeace. These power plants may prove to be the doom for Nagpur's development. Paramjit Ahuja, founder member, VEAG said, "In future, each country will have limits on carbon emission. Thus, every region will have its quota. Because of the large number of thermal power plants in the area, the carbon emissions will already be high, prompting the government to stop industrialization in the region." Sudhir Paliwal of VEAG said that the expansion of the Koradi power plant is another matter of concern. "Coal in our country is radioactive and contains heavy metals like mercury. So even after burning, the contamination remains in the ash which is not disposed of properly. Government needs to be conscious about the radioactivity and finalise its acceptable level in coal," he said. Clearly Vidarbha is being made sacrificial goat for other region's development. "These plants are not even going to generate much employment. Parts of the Nagpur metro regions are being demanded for mining. Then how is the city going to be developed," asks Pradeep Behere, president, Srushti Paryavaran Mandal. Vrushali Shrirang of Green Vigil said that quest for sustainable development was the need and resources should be used to meet demand and not to produce surplus. Alternative actions possible The activists said that they were not against development. In order to meet power demands, they suggested alternative ways that would have lower environmental impact and would not be biased against some region's interests. 1. Power plants should be set up where there is requirement of power or near places having coal reserves 2. Go in for 100 MW plants that use air cooling. Thus water used for cooling could be saved 3. Set up underground transmission cables 4. Set up infrastructure corridors