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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tiger census from Feb 2 to 7, parks to stay open

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 06.20AM IST NAGPUR: The mega tiger estimation exercise with the help of scientific transect line method will be carried out from February 2 to 7. The principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), S K Khetarpal, issued official directions in this regard on January 19. Earlier, Khetarpal had declared that the exercise would be held in the first week of February but dates were not declared. The exercise will be taken up in four tiger reserves: Tadoba-Andhari, Pench, Melghat and Sahyadri and their buffer areas. Tiger-bearing sanctuaries like Bor, Nagzira, Navegaon and Mansingdeo will also be included. A K Saxena, APCCF (East), will be in charge of Vidarbha while Sahyadri and other areas will be looked after by A K Nigam, APCCF (West). The parks will not be kept closed for tourists during the exercise. V K Sinha, CCF and field director of TATR, said that the exercise, which will include collection of data on transect lines, can be completed between 6am and 9am. "The entry can be delayed but parks will not remain closed," Sinha told TOI. Similarly, A K Mishra, CCF and field director of Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR), said, "There is hardly any tourist pressure here and hence there is no need to close the reserve for tourists." Saxena said that as of now, there are no directions to allow individual volunteers or NGOs to participate in the exercise but it has been left to the respective field director of the parks. Mishra said Melghat and its buffer is big. "Only volunteers with wildlife credentials will be allowed to take part," he added. As per two transects in one beat, there will be around 550 transect lines in MTR. Mishra said two camera traps will be deployed in every 5 sq km. "We will need around 600 cameras," he said. Similarly, Sinha said that TATR and its buffer will also require over 600 camera traps. "There will be over 68 transect lines in 625 sq km TATR," he added. The cameras will be two-sided and placed for 45-60 days. Khetarpal has chalked out the entire programme systematically. Training of field staff has already started and will continue till January 25. Between January 27 and January 29, transect lines will be identified while on January 30 and 31, all doubts of field staff will be cleared. On February 1, stationery and other material will be distributed to the staff. The first three days will be for data collection about presence of herbivores while next three days will be for carnivores. The new tiger census methodology will help know figures of individual tiger reserves. Till now, the numbers included estimation of a protected area and its entire landscape.

Tiger poached in Jharan forest

TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 06.07AM IST CHANDRAPUR: A suspected case of tiger poaching was discovered in compartment No. 121 of Jharan range under FDCM north Chandrapur. Foresters on Monday evening found a partially decomposed carcass of a full grown tiger with several of its body parts including nails and teeth missing. The carcass is around 48 hours old. Forest officers suspect electrocution as cause of death. Confirmed the death regional manager of FDCM north Chandrapur, Sanjay Thakre said, "An electric line passes over the place were the carcass was found, but the exact reason of the death can only be confirmed after the post-mortem," he said. The carcass will be brought to Chandrapur and post-mortem will be carried out at Rambagh Nursery on Tuesday morning.

Rantalodhi villagers relent, agree for rehab

TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 06.07AM IST CHANDRAPUR: With the relocation exercise going on in full gear in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, Rantalohi village, which so far was most reluctant towards rehabilitation, too has responded positively to the rehabilitation call. Around 100 families from Rantalodhi have expressed their consent for relocation out of the tiger reserve. Out of six villages located inside TATR, Rantalodhi and Kolsa villages were most averse to relocation out of tiger reserve. However, 38 families from the partially relocated Kolsa village recently agreed to move out of the reserve with a cash compensation package of Rs10 lakh each. Five of them have practically moved out of Kolsa. Taking the cue, around 100 families of Rantalohi approached the authorities, expressing willingness for relocation. "There are around 140 families in Rantalodhi. Of these, around 100 have approached the rehabilitation department. While some have asked for cash compensation option under Rs10 lakh rehabilitation package, others have opted for rehabilitation with full residential and civic amenities out of TATR. A few of them have also expressed their willingness to go to Bhagwanpur," said field director and CCF, TATR, Vinaykumar Sinha. He said that the initial relocation site selected for Rantalodhi was near Golabhuj village in Sindewahi forest range. However, now they have refused to move to Golabhuj and seeking new site near village Belgata in the same range. This new site is along the Mul-Sindewahi road. There is, however, a hurdle. "A patch of this site falls in the wildlife corridor, while a big chunk of the site is dense jungle and cannot be made available for rehabilitation. Only 100 hectares of open patch is available at this place. Therefore, this place can be considered for relocation only if the families that want to move here make do with the open patch," Sinha said. With some families seeking cash compensation, while others seeking relocation at Bhagwanpur, there is a possibility of managing the remaining families at new site near Belgata. However, if the number of families increases, then people of Rantalodhi will have to look for some other site for relocation. Bhagwanpur a preferred choice Since the commencement of three lift irrigation schemes to provide irrigation facility to Bhagwanpur, this model rehabilitation site of two TATR villages has become the centre of attraction for villagers seeking rehabilitation out of tiger reserve. Some families from Rantalodhi village have asked for rehabilitation at Bhagwanpur, instead of a new site elsewhere. Similarly, five of the families in Kolsa village too have approached forest authorities, seeking relocation at Bhagwanpur. Strong opponent of rehabilitation at Bhagwanpur, Sudhakar Madavi of Kolsa village, too has expressed his willingness to go to Bhagwanpur, after the launch of irrigation schemes. The work of construction of lift irrigation scheme is underway on war-footing at Bhagwanpur and irrigation department is determined to complete its construction before onset of the next summer.

Case against tribals for attacking offices in Dudhwa reserve

PTI | 02:01 PM,Jan 24,2012 Lakhimpur, Jan 24 (PTI) A case has been registered against more than 150 tribals in connection with attacking the office of Bankati range in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve and damaging the houses and properties of the range staff. Those who have been named in the FIR include Ram Chandra Rana, head of tribal village Surma and member of state forest rights monitoring committee and one Rajneesh. In the FIR, it has been alleged that hundreds of Tharus tribals, including men and women living inside the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve stormed into the protected tiger reserve area in Bankati Range to collect fire-woods and other forest produce in the name of Forest Rights Act. When prevented by the DTR staff, they manhandled the authorities, sabotaged the Bankati forest range office and the residences of range staff and took away precious belongings from the staff houses. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has taken strong note of illegal encroachment into protected tiger areas by unauthorised mob of people and asked the government to check such incidents. Irked over the assault by the alleged enchroachers upon the Bankati range office and staff residences there, the Federation of Forest Association has sent a memorandum to the district authorities as well as state forest authorities to arrest the accused and those who provoked the Tharus in the name of Forest Rights Act. Field director, DTR Shailesh Prasad said, "the Bankati incident was the result of nefarious designs by some local influentials, who misguided the people of revenue villages about the Forest Rights Act". He said that a probe from all angles was on in the incident and appropriate action will be taken thereafter. PTI COR AVA PG PMS