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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tiger cub injured in Bandipur

Lawrence Milton, TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 04.26AM IST MYSORE: Forest department officials who have noticed an injured tiger cub at Bandipur tiger reserve are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the injury does not threaten its life. Authorities are keeping close tabs on the injured 15-month-old male cub, which is with its mother and three other cubs. The cub is slightly injured in its hip region and the wound is approximately 4-5cm in diameter, an official said. The injured cub, however, is licking its wound which is a good indication. The injured tiger cub was sighted by visitors during a safari in the national park last week and it was brought to the notice of the authorities. Bandipur forest officials who inspected it from a distance and confirmed that the cub was suffering from an injury. The cub, however, was not struggling to move around, they said. The mother and its cubs were roaming near the safari area till Monday, but officials seem to have lost track of them on Tuesday. Officials who wanted to know the nature of the injury and how serious it was, decided to photograph the injured cub, which was done last weekend. Later, the pictures of the cub's wound were circulated among experts and their counterparts in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu forest department to seek suggestions and to take a decision on what needs to be done to treat the cub. An expert attached to Bannerghatta National Park, Bangalore, has suggested monitoring the injured cub till the wound heals. He is claimed to have said as of now intervention to treat the cub is not necessary because the cub is licking the injured part and it is a sign of healing. Meanwhile, another expert from Madumalai National Park, abutting Bandipur National park, suspects that the tiger cub was injured while hunting for wild boar, spotted deer or sambar or while sharing food with other cubs. Usually, tiger cubs start separating from their mother at this age and the inexperienced and young cats try their luck in hunting and may have been injured. The injury does not appear serious but it should be monitored. Bandipur National Park DCF K T Hanumanthappa, who confirmed to TOI that the tiger cub was injured in the region, said they are keeping close tabs to ensure the cub is healthy. To a query, the official said they are yet to decide on whether they need to step in.

Village vacated for big cats

SUNNY SEBASTIAN Almost five years after the first relocation of a village, inhabitants of another settlement inside the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan's Alwar district have moved out lock, stock and barrel, allowing more space for the wild animals and the existing population of tigers. The residents of Umri, village of Gujjar settlers, left last week for Rundh Mozpur, some 40 km away. “The village they cleared comes to some 2 sq km but that has facilitated some 50 sq km of inviolate space for the wild animals in Sariska,” said P.S. Somasekhar, Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Rajasthan. “This is the second village to move out completely from the park. The whole process was peaceful with the full cooperation of the families involved,” he said. Sariska, much in the news in recent times for all the wrong reasons — perhaps, barring the experimental wild-to-wild re-introduction of tigers — is devoid of the status of a National Park because of the presence of 11 villages in the proposed area. Umri had a population of about 250, and cattle heads, double that number. “The families accepted the option of taking agricultural land as compensation. Each of the family gets six bighas of land and about Rs. 2 lakh as financial assistance in building a house. We have made arrangements for water supply and electricity to the new village,” said Mr. Somasekhar. The families have been divided into clusters of four for allotment of land. Mr. Somasekhar was the Field Director in Sariska when the first village, Baghani, moved out in 2007-08 to Barod Rundh, a locality in Alwar district not far from the Jaipur-Delhi stretch of the National Highway. After five years outside the forest, the residents of Barod Rundh are happy now about their decision. In fact, the good rehabilitation package given to the first village by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) seemingly helped others also to come forward. “We are finished with the work of clearing the settlement. The JCBs which brought down the houses have gone back. The villagers have collected what all they wanted from their settlements,” said Raghuveer Singh Shekhawat, Field Director, Sariska, speaking to The Hindu on phone. “Initially at least some families wanted more time. A little bit of persuasion from a visiting Forest Minister Bina Kak and the fact that the mustard crops they have planted in their newly allocated land are ripening made them go — rather happily, I would say,” Mr. Shekhawat noted. It appears that the shifting of Umri would have a cascading effect. “Rodkayla and Dabli villages are in the process of moving out. Eighty per cent of the families are done,” informed Mr. Shekhawat. Another four villages – Kiraska, Devri, Rourkala, and Hamirpur — are in various stages of relocation. In Kiraska, 80 families have moved out and 16 others have taken the second instalment of the package. “At this speed we expect the shifting to be complete in 2012-13,” Mr. Shekhawat observed. “February-March is the best time for shifting. Thereafter April-May-June.” There is a tailpiece to this happy ending. Mr. Shekhawat testifies that two big cats — ST 4 and ST 5 — were spotted in the habitation cleared by humans and the cattle. “They were there all these past three days rushing to the place as if they were waiting for the humans to leave,” he observed.