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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Simlipal's wait for tiger force continues

TNN | Jan 3, 2012, 09.54AM IST BARIPADA: Simlipal is yet to get its Special Tiger Protection Force even though the Centre had taken the decision to have it two years ago. Though Bandipur in Karnataka and a few tiger reserves in Maharashtra have already established their Special Tiger Protection Force, some formalities have delayed the launch of the project in Simlipal, said Anup Kumar Nayak, field director of the tiger reserve-cum-regional chief conservator of forests (Baripada). Nayak also said the state government, on its part, should give legal immunity to Simlipal Special Tiger Protection Force (SSTPF) personnel to use firearms to combat "tiger poaching and other related offences within the tiger habitat". Sources said the Tiger Force Assistant Conservator of Forests will remain the commander of SSTPF, while the field director will remain in-charge of the overall command of the Force. Though the SSTPF is meant to be funded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), it needs the formal nod of the state finance department for implementation, Nayak said. Delay in getting this approval is one of the reasons for delay in launching of the project, Nayak added. The SSTPF will have three platoons, each under a tiger force range officer and assisted by six tiger force Forester and 30 special tiger guards. Its total recurring cost will be Rs 1.62 crore per annum with the non-recurring expenses working out to be Rs 1.9 crore approximately. The SSTPF foresters and forest guards will be trained by the state police as well as central paramilitary forces based on a special syllabus for skill development, combating poaching and intelligence-based enforcement in a forest terrain. The Simlipal Tiger Reserve sprawls over 2,750 sq km came to be known as the poachers' paradise when in mid-2010 after wildlife activists exposed 'mass killing' of elephants prompting the NTCA to appoint a 'probe team'. A survey conducted by Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India between March 26 and May 27, 2007 revealed that there were only 30 Royal Bengal Tigers in Simlipal. In 2004, the forest department put the number of big cats at 101 during a survey carried out under the pugmark method. The present scenario also presents largescale killing of sambars, deers and wild boars, the prey animals of tigers.

Tiger population in Uttarakhand may have increased

Jagdish Bhatt | January 2, 2012 | Comments | | Print Dehradun : While this small mountain state may literally have been a graveyard for tigers during last year with about 19 felines having been killed, there is reason for wildlife lovers to celebrate. The good news in the beginning of the New Year is that tiger numbers may be increasing in the Uttarakhand. Credence to this lies in the fact that pictures of the carnivore were captured in the CCTVs that had been installed in the Rajaji Park, where the felines were hardly visible over the years, though there were leopards that had been seen on the prowl. Wildlife experts at the Wildlife Institute of India feel that the number of tigers may have actually increased in the Corbett National Park, because of which some of the animals may have migrated to the Rajaji Park. Experts at the Institute said that some 60 odd CCTVs had been placed at strategic places in the Chilla and Gohari ranges of the Rajaji Park. The reason was that over the last decade or so though pug marks of tigers had been visible in the Park area, but there were no sights or traces of even uneaten kills to ascertain that the carnivores had made the forests their home. They said that with the pictures of the animals captured in the CCTVs, there were reasons to believe that a couple or even two tiger couples may have moved to Rajai from the adjoining Corbett National Park. This has obviously happened as the tiger population in Corbett has gone up and some of the felines have mover our to get more territory, as basically the cats are territorial animals, they confided. Experts of the Institute said that so far the CCTVs had only been out up at the Chilla and Gohari ranges of the Rajaji Park, but after seeing the visuals of the tigers on the CCTVs, they were now intending to install some more CCTVs in the Motichur, Kansro and Ramgarh ranges of the Park, as there was all possibility that some more felines may have shifted to these also, as they are all part of one huge forest block. They said that following the results got from the CCTVs that would be installed in these three ranges the future course of action would be decided. “If there are visuals of the felines sighted on these CCTVs, there will be reasons to believe that the number of tigers have gone up more than marginally forcing the felines to seek new territories, and then will be installing more CCTVs in the other ranges of the park, which include, Dhaulkhand (east), Dhaulkhand (west) and Chillawalli”, they added.