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Thursday, February 2, 2012

State govts told to ban tourism in key tiger areas

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times Several resorts in and around tiger reserves may cease to exist as the Centre has asked state governments to acquire 800 to 1,000 square kilometers to provide core inviolate (empty) area for tigers and ban tourism there. In new guidelines issued to relocate 6,000 families in 41 tiger reserves in India, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has told the state governments that even private land includes estates should be acquired for creating inviolate space. "The above component has been included under the Project Tiger scheme for providing 100 % central assistance to states to acquire such areas, if necessary, for making the core/critical tiger habitat inviolate," the NTCA guidelines issued last week said. A study by Dehradun based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has shown that this much inviolate area is required for a viable population of 20 breeding tigresses. The NTCA believes that having them in core area will help in sustaining a population of 75-100 tigers in a reserve. "We can have a sustainable tiger population of 3,000," a NTCA official said. In a bid to achieve the goal, the NTCA told the state governments to acquire land and relocate people by paying a compensation of up to Rs 10 lakh from the core area for declaring it inviolate. "A detailed guideline has been issued on how to relocate people in conformation with the Forest Rights Act and rejuvenate the land," the official said. Resorts and guest houses around smaller tiger reserves such as Kanha in Madhya Pradesh and Ranthambore in Uttar Pradesh would get acquired, if the state governments implement the guideline. However, hospitability industry around bigger reserves such as Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand will not be affected. Tourism may further suffer as the guideline asks shifting of tourism from the core tiger areas to the buffer zone so check adverse impact of human interference on animals. The NTCA has blamed excessive unregulated tourism for falling tiger population in many reserves. Vishal Singh of Travel Operators for Tigers, a body of lodge owners around tiger reserves in India said their data showed that tiger population had either increased or stabilised where tourism was allowed and accused NTCA of failing to put its house in order. "Falling tiger population is not because of tourism but other conservation issues which NTCA has failed to address," he said. The NTCA has linked further release of funds for tiger conservation with implementation of these guidelines.

Prowling big cat remains elusive even after a month

TNN | Feb 2, 2012, 05.06AM IST LUCKNOW: A month has finished since the forest officials began efforts to trap the prowling tiger in Kakori. However, no success has come their way yet. The forest officials are still camping in the area. The department is being assisted by a team from the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) as well. The WTI team had joined the operation on January 10 to provide technical assistance to the forest department to trap the tiger. However, neither department nor WTI team has been able to locate the tiger. The sources in the department claim that it has cost government a good amount of money already. "And an additional amount has been asked for too," said sources. The last kill made by the tiger, about two days back, was located 2 km away from the CISH campus, where the tiger had taken refuge for the last 20 days or so. It indicated that the feline could have moved away from the spot. On Wednesday, however, the forest department could not find out the current location of the big cat. The department has planned to lay one big net to trap the wandering tiger, as enclosures have proved to be almost futile. The enclosures have been put at the same place where the tiger had killed a blue bull, inside the CISH campus. "We had set up a 'machaan' also but the tiger did not come out of the dense cover. It had instead dragged the kill inside the forest area," said a forest official in Kakori. The tiger is believed to have strayed from south Kheri and covered more than 250 km, to have reached its present location. The operation seems to be heading the same way, as the one in 2009, in which a stray tigress from Pilibhit was shot dead, after forest department failed to trap it safely. Meanwhile, the change of guard at the forest department might give the operation a fresh lease of life. Chief wildlife warden (CWW) B K Patnaik retired on Tuesday. Mohammad Ehsan has taken the charge of CWW now.

Wildlife Institute team probes death of tiger cubs

TNN | Feb 1, 2012, 11.10PM IST KANPUR: A two-member team from Wildlife Institute of India (WII) visited Kanpur zoo on Wednesday to ascertain why the tiger cubs died of kidney failure. The team had been sent by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), which is probing the matter as to how did the three tiger cubs born to Tigress Trusha died of a similar disease. The cubs were born on May 30 last year but died one after the other. The post-mortem examinations of all the three cubs had one thing in common. The cause of death was renal failure. The team members inspected the enclosures of the tiger cubs. Pradeep K Malik and Pradeep Chandra Tyagi, the two scientists from WII inspected Kanpur zoo and stated the conditions to be satisfactory. Talking to mediapersons on Wednesday evening, the two scientists mentioned that they were satisfied with the condition of the enclosures. There are ample chances of improvement, they added. The WII scientists also saw the IVRI reports which stated that the tiger cubs had died due to kidney failure. It was to be probed how the cubs contracted the disease. "We will talk to scientists in Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) to know why the cubs contracted infection in the kidneys. We will seek a detailed report from them," Malik said. Zoo director K Praveen Rao said that the scientists from WII, Dehradun, saw the enclosure of the tiger cubs and suggested that improvements can be made. The two scientists spoke to the zoo veterinarians and discussed with them how the cubs contracted infection in the kidneys.