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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Namdhapa Park to have a tiger protection force

PTI | 12:12 PM,Dec 28,2011 Utpal Boruah Itanagar, Dec 28 (PTI) With the Arunachal Pradesh governmment deciding to raise a tiger protection force, the sprawling Namdapha National Park, a tiger reserve under Project Tiger, can expect the rampant encroachment and poaching to come down substantially. The tiger reserve, spread over 1985 Sqare km in Changlang district, has been facing the twin problems for much too long to be ignored and the raising of the force would be of great help, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest B S Sajwan said told PTI. The force would be set up on the lines of one for the Pakke Tiger Project of East Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh, Sajwan said. “With this, not only will the unemployed youths in the buffer zones get employment, but the reserve and its habitat can be kept from the clutches of poachers and encroachers,” he observed. The state government is also keen to thoroughly revamp the tiger reserve with a slew of development projects to be undertaken soon. The main problem faced by the Namdhapa Tiger Reserve since 2005 is the encroachment into its core area by 444 Lisu families of Vijaynagar Administrative Circle, adjacent to the reserve, belonging to 84 families at five locations. The authorities had carried out evictions in the past, but the success rate was low owing to lack of manpower and resources. Presently, the staff comprised a mere 24 forest guards and eight foresters manning the park which has a core area of 1,807.82 square km. The remaining 177.18 square km is a reserve forest.

No merger of Project Tiger with other schemes: MoEF

TUESDAY, 27 DECEMBER 2011 22:34 PIONEER NEWS SERVICE | NEW DELHI HITS: 73 The Planning Commission’s proposal to merge three Centrally-sponsored schemes of Project Tiger, Project Elephant and the Integrated Development under Wildlife Habitat into one, has been junked by the Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF). Members of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the decision of Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan was conveyed in a recent Standing Committee meeting of the board. Maintaining that it has come as a relief, the members pointed out that the nature of schemes of “Project Tiger” and “Project Elephant” are completely different from each other with their own respective identities. Their mergre would have created an adverse impact on the conservation of both the National Animal as well as the National Heritage Animal, they felt. Concerns were raised when the Planning Committee set up a subcommittee, chaired by its member BK Chaturvedi, to restructure the three Centrally-sponsored schemes. According to sources, Chaturvedi had discussed the issue with MoEF, to work out a solution for ensuring flexibility and efficiency of the schemes. Indrani Chandrasekharan, adviser to Planning Commission, wrote to MoEF secretary T Chatterjee to take action in the matter. The sources maintained that she had even gone a step ahead stating that the mergre was also proposed to include the conservation of lions and rhinos. This rang alarm bells among the NBWL members who wrote a strongly-worded letter to Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia mentioning of the serious implications of the mergre of the three schemes. 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 pointed out that as per the figures of 1700 big cats announced early this year, India is the home range country of more than half the tiger population of the world. It also has the largest number of Asiatic elephants. The importance of Project tiger can be assessed from the fact that it was initiated at the instance of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi way back in 1973 and had existed much long before than MoEF itself that was established in 1985.

NTCA to conduct tiger census in India annually

The annual census would be conducted in the tiger reserves of India, including six in Madhya Pradesh, namely Kanha, Pench, Bandhavgarh, Satpura, Panna and Sanjay Dubri tiger reserves, sources added. However, the ongoing practice of counting the big cats in the forest areas every four years would also continue in tandem, they said. In Madhya Pradesh, the census would be conducted in cooperation with the Wildlife Institute of India ( WII). However, logistics for the exercise is yet to be put in place, sources said, adding that cameras and others equipment for the task had not been purchased so far. "We are going to collect the data on the big cat using cameras on the transit routes and then analyse it. We have been assigned the task of collecting and analysing the data," sources said. According to them, as a prelude to the census operation, a two-day regional training workshop for the forest department officials in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra has been organised in Panna Tiger Reserve from tomorrow. "More than 100 forest department officials from Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh will take part in the workshop," they said.

Plan for tiger reserve to be sent to Union Ministry for approval

S. RAMESH A tiger that was captured in monitoring cameras installed in Sathyamangalam forests in Erode district. Photo: Special Arrangment Forest Department has identified core and buffer zones The proposal for the creation of a tiger reserve in Sathyamangalam forests has reached an advanced stage and is expected to land in the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for approval by the end of January 2012. The Forest Department has completed identifying the core and buffer zones for the tiger reserve, a significant step before the creation of an exclusive protection zone for the big cats. A total of 1.41 lakh hectares in Sathyamangalam forests have been earmarked for the reserve. Of the total area, the core zone comprises 91,726.9 hectares. The forest officials are now studying the cattle and human population in the area. “We have seven forest settlements and 12 revenue settlements inside the area. The data collection is nearing completion and we are going to conduct a stakeholders meeting with the participation of residents from these settlements soon,” Conservator of Forests, Erode Circle D. Arun told The Hindu. “The forest region in this part of the State has a healthy tiger population. The Sathyamangalam wildlife sanctuary is home to at least 28 tigers and this has been confirmed by the study conducted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF),” Mr. Arun said. The creation of the reserve will enable the wildlife managers to ensure greater protection to the wild cats. Tourists and the minimal construction activities will be allowed only in the buffer zone, while forest officials alone will be permitted entry in the areas falling under the core zone. The authorities in the Central government are very positive on the creation of a tiger reserve in Sathyamangalam. “We have submitted a proposal to the union ministry seeking Rs. 32 lakh to install cameras in different parts of the forests. Currently, the WWF has installed cameras covering about 250 sq km area. We need to cover more areas and monitor the movement of tigers for further data collection and analysis. The camera trap images will also help us identify the movement of poachers. We expect the Centre to sanction the proposal very soon,” Mr. Arun pointed out.

MoEF defers clearance for Suryachakra power plant in MP

Press Trust of India / Hyderabad December 28, 2011, 10:53 IST In a setback to Suryachakra Power Venture, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has deferred clearance for a 1,320-MW coal-based power plant being developed by the company in Madhya Pradesh as it apparently falls within the buffer zone of a tiger reserve. Suryachakra Power Venture is a subsidiary of BSE-listed Suryachakra Power Corporation Ltd. This is the third city-based enterprise to run into an MOEF roadblock. Last year, the MOEF had cancelled the environmental clearance issued to Nagarjuna Construction Company Ltd (NCCL) for its proposed 2,640-MW power plant in Srikakulam district, in Andhra Pradesh. Similarly, the ministry recently issued orders to East Coast Energy Pvt Ltd (ECEPL), another city-based power producer, to halt work on its 2,640-MW Bhavanapadu thermal power project in Srikakulam district in AP, as several serious complaints had poured in against the company and these were under investigation. In the case of the Suryachakra plant, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) under the MOEF was of the opinion that the project may fall within the buffer area of the Sanjay Gandhi Tiger Reserve proposed to be set up in Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh. The committee ordered the company to obtain a no-objection certificate from the concerned authorities in the Wildlife Department. According to the company, land acquisition for the project is yet to be completed and allocation of a coal linkage is being considered within the Ministry of Coal. "The committee noted that even though the project proponent claims there are no national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, tiger/biosphere reserves, etc, within 10 km of the site, prima facie, it appears the project may be falling within the proposed buffer of the Sanjay Gandhi Tiger Reserve," the EAC said in its observation.

Tiger kills rhino in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve

PTI | 07:12 PM,Dec 27,2011 Lakhimpur (UP), Dec 27 (PTI) A six-year-old rhino was attacked and killed by a tiger in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, its deputy director said here today. "The park authorities came to know of the rhino killing by a tiger, when its partially eaten carcass was recovered near Salukapur," Ganesh Bhat, DTR deputy director, said. This is the second incident of a tiger attack on an adult rhino, he said. Earlier, a tiger had attacked and injured a female rhino in Dudhwa.

Karnataka tigers get commando security

TUESDAY, 27 DECEMBER 2011 21:24 KESTUR VASUKI | BANGALORE HITS: 108 Karnataka will have a commando force — Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) — to protect its diminishing big cat population from smugglers and poachers, for the first time in India. Come January 4, this special unit will guard tiger reserves on direction of the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF). Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Karnataka BK Singh told The Pioneer that the force will protect over 300 tigers and their habitat. According to Singh, this STPF has 58 personnel comprising an assistant conservator of forests (ACF), three range forest officers (RFOs), 14 foresters and 40 forest guards. This force is fully trained to handle modern weapons. He said, “This special squad is undergoing training at police school in Yelahanka. This one-and-a-half-month training will end on January 3 and they will be deployed at tiger reserves to prevent poaching. This novel initiative will help save tigers.” According to statistics, since January 2006, more than 48 tigers have died in Karnataka, 25 tigers killed by poachers. The STPF, equipped with modern weapons, binoculars and wireless sets, is expected to prove a serious deterrent. “The 13-week training includes physical, unarmed combat, weapons, field engineering, map reading, disaster management, first aid and crowd control management,” said Singh. According to forest department records, three and two tigers were poached in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Karnataka is the most tiger dense State. The recent census in Karnataka shows six major reserves, with a population of over 300 tigers, of the total 1,700 in the country. In 2008, the Centre had given a one-time grant of Rs50 crore to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for raising, arming and deploying STPFs in 13 sensitive tiger reserves — Dudhwa-Katerniaghat, Corbett, Ranthambore, Pench, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pakke, Bandipur, Tadoba Andhari, Mudumalai, Kaziranga and Simlipal.