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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Security scan at Corbett, 4 other tiger hubs on cards

THURSDAY, 09 FEBRUARY 2012 00:16 PNS | DEHRADUN HITS: 158 The National Tiger Conservation Authority will be conducting security audit in five tiger reserves across the country including the Corbett tiger reserve in Uttarakhand. Though the NTCA deputy inspector general SP Yadav said he was too busy to either recall the names of these tiger reserves or the parameters of the security audit, wildlife activists state that all wildlife and environment in addition to tigers could benefit greatly if the security audit is undertaken efficiently and its recommendations are executed effectively at the ground level. Apart from being India’s national animal, the tiger is also important because its conservation will ensure the conservation of many other animals and the environment. India also holds over half of the world’s tiger population (in the wild) with 1,706 living in the nation according to the latest tiger census report released by the NTCA in March 2011. This makes the security audit of tiger reserves all the more important because inspite of efforts undertaken by the authority and State forest departments, poaching of tigers and other big cats, their prey species and anthropogenic damage in protected areas has continued in many parts of the nation. According to the letter issued by the NTCA to five tiger reserves including Nagarhole tiger reserve in Karnataka, Tadoba-Andheri in Maharashtra, Bandavgarh in Madhya Pradesh, Kaziranga in Assam and Corbett in Uttarakhand in January this year, security audit of these reserves will be undertaken within six months.

PTR tiger count stalled for want of equipment

TNN Feb 4, 2012, 10.35PM IST DALTONGANJ: The fourth phase of the tiger census in Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR) is likely to be delayed. Sources said the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has asked for an estimate of tigers here but for want of infrastructural facilities, the process if likely to be delayed. The PTR does not have digital and trapping cameras in large numbers, global positioning system equipment and range finders. Sources said without these equipment, PTR cannot go for the fourth phase of the count. The tech support is necessary for accuracy of figures. Sources said the number of tigers in PTR has been fudged. In early 1994, there used to be 49 tigers whereas today the PTR struggles to count a little near a dozen big cats. The field director-cum-conservator, S E H Kazmi, conceded, " Right now these equipment are not with the PTR and hence it is difficult to go for any estimation. The fourth phase count is a sophisticated procedure in which all information is to be fed into a software and even a minor inaccuracy will be declared an error." DNA test of scat of tigers is now the main plank of counting its population but there are other things like a range finder. A range finder gives the exact position of wildlife in any tiger reserve. The PTR is segmented into 30 zones and sources said more than half the zones are in highly sensitive areas affected by extremism.

Eco-Pro activists stage agitation

TNN | Feb 9, 2012, 06.15AM IST CHANDRAPUR: Wildlife organization Eco-Pro staged a day-long sit-in agitation before the office of chief conservator of forests (CCF) on Wednesday to press the demand of initiating fire protection works in the forest. However, it turned out that fire protection works have been stranded across the state for lack of grants. The organization is now planning to the take up the matter with the state forest minister. Incidents of fire in forests generally begin in March, and therefore forest authorities accomplish their preparation to tackle the fires by February 15 every year. However, this year, no initiative in this regard has been taken so far due to lack of funds. Alarmed by the delay, Eco-Pro had raised the issue with APCCF (planning and development) Shri Bhagwan during his recent visit here. But as no grants were released for fire protection, Eco-Pro activists led by their president Bandu Dhotre staged the sit-in. "Lack of fire protection works such as fire line cutting and deployment of fire watchers, puts entire forest and wildlife in danger. While precious forest is lost in fires, herbivores too are deprived of their food in the area. Uncontrolled fires also lead to the death of newborns and cubs of wild animals, as they are unable to move away swiftly. Only fire protection measures can help checking this problem, but thanks to lack of funds its works are withheld," said Bandu Dhotre. CCF of Chandrapur circle BSK Reddy agreed that fire protection works are held up due to lack of grants. "The situation is the same across the state as grants are not available to take up fire protection work. We have received a part of aid on Wednesday itself, and it would be immediately released to start the work," he said. Reddy said that they have sought help from Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) for taking up fire protection works in the buffer zone of tiger reserve. TATR is going provide some aid from its tiger protection foundation for fire protection in buffer, he added. Dhotre said that as fire protection works are held up across the state, his organization would take up the issue with the forest minister Patangrao Kadam. More than two dozen activists of Eco-Pro participated in the agitation.