Search This Blog

Thursday, February 16, 2012

People living in wildlife areas causing tiger death, MP govt tells SC

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times New Delhi, February 15, 2012 War of words over on what harms the tigers more --- humans or tourism – has got bigger with Madhya Pradesh blaming people living in tigers reserves for death of big cats and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), an NGO, putting the onus on increased tourism. This was in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Supreme Court by RTI activist Ajay Dubey demanding ban on tourism in core areas of tiger reserves with environment ministry’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) backing the PIL. The NTCA has already issued guidelines asking the states to shift the tourism activity to buffer zone and ban tourism in core areas. An area of 800-1,000 sq kms have be declared as core tiger habitat, where no tourism can be allowed. “In the present circumstances tourism will not sustain in the buffer areas of alone because the buffer areas do not get the level of protection as granted to the core area and hence the density of the wildlife in buffer area is very less,” the state government said in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court. Instead of restricting tourism to buffer zones, the state government argued that relocation of people (around 6,000 families in 41 tiger reserves) living in tiger reserves and imposing restrictions on collection of minor forest produce was a better way to protect tigers. The logic presented was that tourism does not exploit resources on which the wildlife depends like humans and thereby, it has minimum impact on wildlife. Countering the claims of MP government, the WTI told the court that adverse impact of tourism could be seen on tigers in Kanha, Pench and Badhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh in MP, Ranthambore in Rajasthan and Corbett in Uttarakhand. Quoting the tiger task force report of 2005, WTI said there are 21 resorts within one km of the core area of Kanha tiger reserve and another 25 within five kms. It also said that so called restrictions imposed on tourism – distance between two vehicles minimum 500 meters --- is flouted in almost all tiger reserves. The WTI also pointed out sustainable growth of lodges and resorts in the buffer zones around tiger reserves without any planning had turned them into “biggest” threat to viable forest corridors for movement of animals. In addition, these resorts put additional burden on local ecology. Around 93 per cent of the resorts run on locally procured wood and around 50 % using underground water. “There is a critical need to restrict and regulate tourism activities within and outside tiger reserves,” the WTI said, in its application filed before the court. After hearing all the parties on Tuesday, the court decided to appoint Ram Punjwani as amicus (friend of the court) in the case and gave him a month to submit a report to the court.

Greens raise voice against resort near TATR core area

TNN | Feb 16, 2012, 01.25AM IST CHANDRAPUR: Conservationist organization Green Planet Society has raised serious cognisance over tourist resorts that are coming up in the buffer area of the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. The organization has even lodged a complaint with the TATR authorities and the MoEF over the new tourist resort being set up very close to the core area. "A major hotel group from Nagpur has acquired 22 acres of land close to Moharli village on the periphery of TATR core zone. Trees have been chopped and land has been cleared. Around 10 borewells have been dug and construction of rooms has been initiated. The shocking fact is that the place is located mere 100 feet from the core zone and had a movement of tiger in it," alleged president, Green Planet Society, Suresh Chopne. He claimed that they have found tiger faeces on the land acquired for the resort. Chopne informed that there are clear directives of NTCA about not allowing any new resort in two km periphery of core zone in buffer area of tiger reserve. Any commercial construction close to tiger reserve needs approval from revenue department, which is based on the say of forest authorities. "Still some resorts have come up around core zone of tiger reserve despite buffer area was notified around TATR last year. Some of these resorts illegally cater meat and liquor to their customers, which is perilous for wildlife in the area," he said. He held that rising number of resorts in buffer area of TATR is threat to the wildlife and the environment. Hence no further approval should be given to any new resort in buffer area, Chopne demanded. He even threatened to go to the court of law, if situation demands. Field director and CCF, TATR, VK Sinha ratified that the owner of the particular land has initiated construction of rooms. "Our RFO has visited the site and advised the owner of the land to verity whether any such construction fits under the norms of buffer zone with forest authorities and until then refrain from further construction. As per regulation, SDO provides the permission for non-agriculture use of land in such areas, but only after seeking say of forest department. Unless they have clearance of forest authorities, no commercial construction could be allowed in the buffer area," he said. He informed that provisions of sanctuary are applicable to the buffer area. As per provision, forest department has authority to restrict any development which may affect safety and movement of wildlife, conservation of sanctuary and development of habitat. "Stress is laid on the community-based tourism in buffer area. If the case does not fit under the norms, we have all the authority to deny the permission," he said.

Hand-reared tigress gives birth in wild

TNN | Feb 16, 2012, 04.36AM IST BHOPAL: A five year-old tigress, tagged T-4, has become the world's first feline reared in captivity and shifted to the wild to spawn two cubs at Madhya Pradesh's Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR). "This is for the first time in the world that a semi-wild tigress shifted to the wild has adjusted to new environs and begotten cubs. The tigress was born in May 2006 in the Kanha Tiger Reserve and within days had mother had died," PTR field director R S Murthy told TOI. T-4 was reared in an enclosure and fed by the Kanna staffers. The semi-wild tigress was carted out to Panna and released into the wild on March 27 last year. There were apprehensions about the tigress' survival in the wild, given that she was reared in an enclosure. But, she took to the jungle easily. Here she met a translocated tiger, and mated. She delivered two cubs, and one of them was spotted by a PTR official on December 15. T-4 and her two cubs have now started moving out of their den since last week.

Village in Rajasthan relocated to protect tigers

Last Updated: Wednesday, New Delhi: Around 82 families in a village in Rajasthan, have been moved to a new location in a bid to increase the dwindling tiger population, officials say. The village of Umri in the Sariska tiger reserve, is the second village to be relocated to provide a secure habitat for the tigers. The families have been compensated with either a payment of Rs 10 lakh or a combination of land, cash and livestock. The tiger population in India has declined with just 1,700 of the majestic animal in the wild. “The process took place with the cooperation of the families,” said an official. “We expect to relocate all families in different villages inside the reserve by 2013.”

Tiger scare makes canvassing tough in Malihabad

TNN Feb 15, 2012, 02.33AM IST LUCKNOW: Perhaps it is mounting pressure from the candidates contesting from Malihabad that has compelled the forest department to summon a shooter from Hyderabad to tranquilise the roaming tiger. Locals and staff deployed to cordon the area share that candidates are finding it difficult to campaign in some villages due to the tiger which has been on the prowl in Rahmankhera for past one and a half month. The forest department has failed to trap the tiger despite installing cameras in the area. The forest officers from Awadh division (Lucknow) have also been camping here. The department has spent a sizable amount in its tiger-trapping operation but in vain. Local villagers and the employees of Central Institute of Subtropical Horticulture have a consatnt fear of attack from the big cat. Polling in Malihabad is scheduled for February 19. And, there are several villages like Ullaspur and Mandawli which are reeling under the fear of the tiger Chief Wildlife Warden, UP, Mohammad Ehsan, however denied any political pressure to speed up the operation. "There is no such pressure," he said. The entry of shooter from Hyderabad (Name)... has raised fears that the department might be planning to shoot down the tiger. "We hope the department realises its responsibility to tranquilise the tiger safely," said Sanjay Narain, secretary, Tiger and Terrain. Ehsan, however, dismissed this. "There is no plan to shoot down the animal," he said. He o said the department has a very simple plan. "We are focussing on caging the animal. If that does not happen, tranquilising is the next option," he said. On the shooter joining the operation, he said, "It's true he had earlier shot down a man-eating tigress in Faizabad."