Search This Blog

Friday, January 13, 2012

Submergence threat to Palamu Tiger Reserve

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 05.48AM IST Another development project, though long in the pipeline, is set to take its toll on a tiger habitat. The upcoming North Koel irrigation project has been assessed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) as potentially harmful for Jharkhand's Palamu Tiger Reserve. NTCA maintained that nearly 119 sq km of forest area is likely to be submerged if the project gets a go-ahead and the gates of the dam are allowed to be closed. "The report, finalized last month, was put up on public domain a couple of days ago. A substantial portion of the core area in the tiger reserve, approximately 360 hectares, is facing the threat of submergence. This is about 11.5% of the total area," said S P Yadav, deputy inspector general of NTCA, a body under the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF). It may be noted that the total area of PTR is 1,026 sq km, of which 414 sq km is the core area. A committee, constituted by NTCA, visited the site May last year and spoke to the villagers of Latu and Kujrum, inside the core area, before preparing the final report. One of the members of the panel, P K Sen, said the project is not possible since a huge area of the forest land will be under threat. Conceptualized in 1972, the initial project cost was fixed at Rs 35 crore. But it started facing hurdles after Jharkhand was formed. While Jharkhand never wanted the dam fearing the loss of forest cover, Bihar kept pushing it. The project is expected to benefit roughly 1,11,800 hectares of agricultural land in Aurangabad and Gaya districts in Bihar, which would justify an expenditure of Rs 750 crore on the project. "Though there are reports that a section of the people are trying to revive the project, it has to be held up to save the forests," said Sen, also the ex-director of Project Tiger and PTR. According to the report, the area under threat is the prime tiger habitat and it is rich in wildlife and biodiversity. "These forests are the breeding grounds of Schedule I animals like tigers, leopards and elephants. Due to submergence, traditional migratory routes of elephants will also be blocked," it added. According to Yadav, apart from wildlife, 17 villages will also be submerged if the dam gates are closed. "If these people are not resettled taking into consideration the instant policy and Forest Rights Act, they might encroach upon the forest areas of the reserve," he added. According to section 38 V (4) (i) of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, critical tiger habitats have to be maintained as inviolate for tiger conservation.

Wandering big cat remains elusive

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 04.35AM IST LUCKNOW: The tiger, which had strayed from South Kheri, and has come to Rahmankhera, in Lucknow, is still to be spotted by experts from WTI team or the forest officers. But, the clear imprints of pugmarks have confirmed the presence of the big cat in the area. On Wednesday morning, a forest guard at the place had heard the tiger growling. "Since tiger is a territorial animal, it growls habitually," said Rahul Shukla, former honorary wildlife warden, Dudhwa, who is helping the forest department in tiger tracking operation. The carcass of a blue bull which was found at Rahmankhera pointed out that it could be the first prey of the tiger. No new kill has been spotted. The big cat, however, has eaten away the blue bull completely. It's only that the hooves and the bones have been left at the place. It was on January 1 that the presence of the tiger was first noticed in Hardoi. On Sunday, pugmarks were seen in Kakori. The experts are trying to localise the tiger so that it does not stray further. The big cat is said to have taken a long route. It could have transgressed from South Kheri, moved through Gola, Hardoi, backfields of Sandila, Kakori to it's present location in Rahmankhera. It's present location is a semi-habited area. Besides, it has lot of tiger's natural prey, blue bulls, present.

Nearly 1K cameras for tiger census in Feb

Vijay Pinjarkar | Jan 12, 2012, 01.35AM IST NAGPUR: The fourth phase of tiger estimation exercise will be carried out in four state tiger reserves and its buffer areas in the first week of February. With 800-1000 camera traps to be set up, the exercise will help know the tiger numbers in each reserve. Although modalities like how many camera traps and other gear would be needed to complete the exercise is yet to be finalized, SK Khetarpal, the state's principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), said, "Tentatively, transect line exercise will begin in February." In the estimation exercise carried out in 2010, Maharashtra has 169 tigers. This is a rise from 103 tigers in 2006. The national tally stands at 1706. 62 deaths have been recorded in 2011. Census in tiger reserves all over India is expected to be completed before the onset of summer. The decision was taken on Wednesday by Khetarpal after a marathon meeting of senior officials from all the wildlife circles. Barring Melghat, officials from other three wildlife circles - Nagpur, Nashik and Mumbai attended the meeting. The exercise will also be taken up in tiger-bearing sanctuaries and national parks and areas in the Nagpur Circle comprising Gondia, Bhandara, Wardha and Nagpur where there is huge tiger presence. The cameras will be two-sided and placed at 4 sq km each for 45-60 days i.e 1,000 nights. After the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) adopted the new tiger census methodology in 2006, figures of individual tiger reserves have not been declared. The numbers included estimation of a protected area (PA) and its entire landscape.

Bait for tiger stolen, officials locate it in villager’s house

Source: DNA | Last Updated 05:45(13/01/12) Bhopal: The flying squad of the forest department recovered a goat which was stolen from a trap laid for a tiger that had strayed into the Kerwa Dam area. At least three trap cages have been placed near Kerwa dam area by forest officials with goats as bait to trap the tiger. The goat from one of the traps was found missing at Rasulia village near the dam on Wednesday morning. Initially forest officials suspected that the goat must have been preyed upon by the tiger. But with no evidence of the tiger attack at the site, officials suspected that it was a handiwork of a local villager. Based on a tip-off, the flying squad of the forest department raided house of Heeralal and found their bait intact. Sources said Heeralal had concealed the goat inside his house. The accused was handed over to the Ratibad police station where a case was registered against him under Section 399 of the Indian Penal Code. The forest officials also surprised over the tiger’s behaviour as it is not making an attempt to kill their bait despite going close to it. They are now planning to use elephant to shove away the feline.

Five held: Leopard skin, tiger's skull seized

Tags: Leopard skin, Five held, tiger`s skull Erode: Five persons have been arrested in three separate cases and leopard skin and a tiger's skeleton recovered from them, forest officials said today. Two poachers were arrested yesterday in Karamadai village near Coimbatore on charges of possessing leopard skin. Forest officials said the skin had bullet marks on it indicating that it was shot by poachers. Another person was arrested at Kavindapady, 25 km from Erode, for trying to sell a tiger's skull and skeleton. Two persons were arrested for attempting to sell a wild cat similar to a leopard cub. The wild cat, kept in a cage at Vaipady village, was rescued and taken to the forest ranger office, officials added.