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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Time again, for the big cats to be counted

TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 02.41AM IST BHOPAL: A big cat census covering all tiger reserves of the country, including the six in Madhya Pradesh (MP), is slated for next year, a top official said. It would now be an annual affair. Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Dharmendra Shukla said the national tiger conservation authority (NTCA) has decided to do the census annually in the reserves, from next year. Shukla said the census in the state would be done in cooperation with the Wildlife Institute of India ( WII). However, he added, the tiger counting being carried out in the forest areas every four years would also continue in tandem. "In the run up to the census, a two-day regional training workshop for forest department officials of MP, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra has been organised in state's Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) from December 28," according to Shukla. Logistics, however, are still not in place. Shukla said the census exercise will take some time since the cameras and others modern equipment for the job have yet to be acquired. "We are going to collect data on the big cat using cameras on the transit routes and then analyse it," he said. "We have been assigned the task of collecting and analysing the data,'' he added. As a prelude to the census operation, a two-day regional training workshop for forest department officials of MP, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra has been organised in state's Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) from December 28. ""More than 100 forest department officials drawn from Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and MP are going to take part in the workshop," Panna park's deputy director V S Parihar said. The big cat census will cover Kanha, Pench, Bandhavgarh, Satpura, Panna and Sanjay Dubri tiger reserves. FEWER ROARS IN MP MP has lost its pre-eminent tag as the country's tiger state to Karnataka, with the population of this magnificient feline in the state declining to 257 by 2011, from 300 tigers in 2008. Panna lost its tigers to poachers by early 2009. Forest officials, however, refuse to accept that the striped cat's numbers had declined in Kanha and claim that something must have gone wrong with the last tiger census. On the other hand, the tiger population had increased to 300 in Karnataka according to the tiger census of 2001, up from from 290 in 2008. Tiger census report of 2008 Tiger census report of 2011 Tiger Reserves Kanha 89 60 Bandhavgarh 47 59 Panna 24 03 Satpura 39 43 Pench (MP-Maharashtra) 33 65 Sanjay Dubri Not known 05

No merger of Project Tiger with other schemes

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 06.30AM IST NAGPUR: The planning commission's proposal to merge three centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) - Project Tiger, Project Elephant and the Integrated Development under Wildlife Habitat ( IDWH) into one, has been dropped. This was revealed by minister for environment and forest Jayanthi Natarajan to the members at the recently-held standing committee meeting of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL). Although Natarajan did not respond to a mail sent to her on the issue, members attending the meeting were informed about the move when the issue figured in the Delhi meeting. "Now the government is not merging all the three schemes," Natarajan is learnt to have told the NBWL. TOI on September 29, had reported that merger of three schemes would hit tigers hard. The move was strongly opposed by all nine members of NBWL. The NBWL is the highest body to decide on all wildlife issues. The NBWL members have thanked Natarajan and plan panel deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia for showing great concern towards the serious implications of the merger of the three schemes. A subcommittee headed by BK Chaturvedi was set by the planning commission to restructure the CSS. Chaturvedi, who is a member of the planning commission, had discussed the issue with the MoEF on July 29, 2011. The committee's brief was to find ways to enhance flexibility, scale and efficiency of the scheme. Panic buttons were pressed when on August 17, Indrani Chandrasekharan, adviser to planning commission, wrote to MoEF secretary T Chatterjee to take action in the matter. She had stated that the merger was decided to include conservation of lions and rhinos too. However, on September 17, all the 9 NBWL members wrote a strongly-worded letter to Ahluwalia expressing shock. The letter was signed by MK Ranjitsinh, Bittu Sahgal, Kishor Rithe, Prerna Bindra, TR Shankar Raman, Divyabhanusinh Chavda, Biswajit Mohanty, Asad Rahmani and Bibhab Kumar Talukdar. The members felt that schemes like 'Project Tiger' and 'Project Elephant' should have their own identity. Such a merger would be a retrograde step and would adversely impact efforts to conserve wildlife and tiger, which is the national animal. Project Tiger was initiated at the instance of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1973 and, therefore, has been in existence long before the MoEF itself was established in 1985. "With over 1,700 tigers as estimated in the figures announced earlier this year, India not only has more than half the tigers of the world but also has the largest number of Asiatic elephants. Such a merger would have been suicidal," a section of members told TOI.

Tiger kills woman

PTI | 05:12 PM,Dec 26,2011 Lakhimpur (UP), Dec 26 (PTI) A 65-year-old woman was killed by a tiger in Matera reserve forest area in Dhaurehra range here, an official said today. The mutilated body of Maikin, a resident of Pratappur village, was found early this morning, Dhaurehra Range Officer N N Pandey said. The woman went to the forest reserve area on Kheri-Bahraich border last evening to collect firewoods but did not return, he said. Maikin's body with one leg eaten up by the tiger was found by her family members, Pandey said.