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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fire halts safari at Nagarahole tiger reserve T

TNN | Feb 28, 2012, 12.06PM IST MYSORE: The forest fire at Nagarahole tiger reserve has put it out of bounds for tourists. The forest department on Monday banned safari in the national park even as the fire continued to rage at the park, destroying vast tracts of land. There are now concerns about the big cats as the forest fire has occurred at the critical tiger habitat of Kallahalla. A wildlife activist said the fire is raging and spreading in the tiger habitat. The forest department is suspecting the involvement of tribals in the fire. PCCF (wildlife) B K Singh told TOI that the safari has been banned. "We will review the situation and take a call on resuming the safari," he explained. Singh is visiting the tiger reserve spread over Mysore and Kodagu districts on Tuesday to take stock of the situation. He said fire has been noticed near Bommadhaadi, which, he said, is in the core area. This happened in the afternoon, after which the forest officials brought the forest fire under control. He suspects it could be an act of persons who are familiar with the forest. "Miscreants have put fire near bamboo groves to cause damage on a large scale," he stated.

Tiger poacher nabbed in Sawai Madhopur

JAIPUR: In a major breakthrough against poaching of tigers, the flying squad of the forest department along with Tiger Watch on Monday nabbed a wanted poacher from Sawai Madhopur. He was involved in poaching of two tigers in Ranthambore and Sariska. Acting on a tip-off, a team of forest officials raided an area near Sawai Man Singh sanctuary and arrested Saalma alias Badri alias Jagdish on Monday evening. "We were on the look out for him for a long time. He is wanted in two cases of poaching of tigers and runs a gang of poachers," Dharmendra Khandal of Tiger Watch said. The forest officials confirming arrest of the poacher added that since 2005 he was residing in and around Dumaria village in Bharatpur district of the state and Ranthambore National Park and Sariska Tiger Reserve were on his target. "Though he was keeping a low profile for the last couple of years, he is an accused in two poaching cases in 1992 and 2005," a forest official said. Tiger Watch claimed they had specific information on the whereabouts of Saalma which they shared with the forest department officials.

Tadoba tourists’ cars damaged, robbed at forest gates

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Feb 28, 2012, 07.39AM IST NAGPUR: In the sort of thing which will give a bad name to tiger tourism, two vehicles of tourists were badly damaged and the valuables inside stolen at Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve's (TATR) Navegaon (Ramdegi) gate on Saturday. Chimur police have arrested Dashrath Chouke, the accused and a habitual offender, from Navegaon village near the gate. He has been remanded to police custody till March 2. But, no action has been taken against forest guard RM Vankar whose role seems to be suspicious in the entire episode. Narrating the harrowing experience, Aakash Gupta, a city lawyer and son of leading lawyer Avinash Gupta, said that he had gone to Tadoba with his family through Navegaon gate on Saturday afternoon. Before entering the park for a round in a Gypsy, he had parked his Innova near the gate, as told by Vankar. Two other tourists including a wildlife photographer Ravi Naidu and his colleague Vijay Sardesai from Hyderabad had also parked their car near Gupta's vehicle. When Gupta and Naidu returned after the excursion at 6.30pm, they found the front and side windscreens of their cars smashed and the valuables and cash stolen. "My suitcase and Rs 7,000 cash were was missing. Naidu's laptop and three bags, one having Rs 10,000, were also missing. The culprit had deflated the front tyres of both cars," said Gupta. When Gupta and Naidu went to the village, they were told by some villagers that it might be the handiwork of Chouke. Both went to Chouke's home and found the stolen material in his house. "When I talked to Vankar, he pleaded ignorance. He was very rude and told us that he was not responsible for what happens outside the gate," alleged Gupta. Gupta later called up Chimur police. When police reached the spot, Vankar was conspicuous by his absence. Cops quizzed Chouke and seized the material that was hidden in a drum. Police failed to recover the cash. Chimur PI Panjabrao Madavi admitted that Vankar's role is suspicious. "It was his moral responsibility to protect tourists' vehicles. When the incident came to light, it should have been informed to senior officials through wireless. The incident should have also been recorded in the logbook. We have issued a notice to Vankar to remain present for an inquiry on Tuesday," said Madavi. A query sent via e-mail to V K Sinha, field director of TATR, was not immediately answered. A message in this regard was also left with his steno in the afternoon.

Now man-tiger conflict on the anvil

By: Jagdish Bhatt Dehradun : Uttarakhand is already facing massive man-elephant conflict as the corridors meant for the migration of the pachyderms have been lost to rampant and illegal constructions. It appears to now be heading for a tiger-man conflict as rampant constructions threaten to close the corridors of migration for the felines in the Corbett National Park area, which the home of the tigers. Informed sources told the Hill Post that about 100 hotels and resorts had been constructed in and around the Corbett National Park. The tragedy was the constructions had gone ahead without taking a no objection certificate (NOC) from the forest department, which is considered essential for construction in the area. How did the concerned authorities sanction the maps for the resorts or hotels, is anyone’s guess. While admitting that the major reason for the hotels and resorts coming up in the region was to attract tourists to the Park, they said that the ecological constraints of the region, the rights of the local residents and the damage to the tiger corridors should also have been taken into consideration before plans for the hotels and resorts were sanctioned by the concerned authorities. They said that during the past few years there had been an increase in poaching activities in the region and one could rule out the involvement of staff and management of the hotels and resorts in the illegal practice. It is not only herbivores used for the pot that are being killed but even leopards and tigers are falling to poachers who then sell the bones and hides to smugglers. Sources said that while the administration was closing its eyes to the number of resorts and hotels opening up in the region, a plan was being evolved to remove the van gujjars, who have been living in these forests for generations, from the Corbett Park area, as they were now being considered a danger to preservation of wild life in the Park.

Tiger leaves trail, gives tormentors the slip

TUESDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2012 00:34 MOUSHUMI BASU | NEW DELHI Pugmarks, rumours, 20 forest men, and a desperate tiger on the move have been the talking point at the Central Tropical Institute of Horticulture, about 15 kms from Lucknow, under Awadh Forest Division, in Uttar Pradesh for nearly two months. This has all the elements of a thriller, which is keeping elephant trackers and forest staff on their toes. The tiger continues to elude them all, and so far efforts to tranquilise the big cat have come a cropper. With the area just about 10-12 kms away from a busy railway track, the tiger is giving the forest department sleepless nights. The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is, however, yet to be invited to tackle the big cat. Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW) Mohammad Ehsaan said, “The tiger seems very comfortable in the area, which is ideal for its habitat with dense scrubland, water bodies and blue bulls.” He said that pugmarks are being regularly observed to track its presence in the area. Fortunately, it has not ventured out and there has been no attack on humans so far, he added. He, however, claimed that no shikari or hunter had been brought to fell the tiger. National Tiger Conservation Authority Deputy Director SP Yadav, who had earlier shot a letter to the CWW against the elimination of the tiger, pointed out, “The operation should be conducted in a very low profile manner.” DFO Awadh Ashok Mishra added, “Our aim is either to cage the tiger or tranquilise it. But this is turning to be a tough task, because, there are thorny lantana bushes as high as10-12 feet high, giving the tiger a natural cover. The high bushes, obstructs the view for using the tranquilising gun,” he said, adding no order to shoot the tiger had been issued as the Big Cat had not harmed any human. He said two camouflaged cages had been laid to lure the tiger. The four-year-old tiger has been roaming inside the 400-acre farm of the Central Subtropical Horticulture Institute of the Union Agriculture Ministry at Rahmankheda, since the first week of January. It had entered the campus from the nearby Pilibhit forest, following the course of River Gomti running across the forest.