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Monday, March 5, 2012

4 new areas notified as sanctuaries

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Mar 5, 2012, 02.33AM IST NAGPUR: In a big boost for wildlife, and tigers in particular, the state government has notified four new sanctuaries by adding around 350 sq km to the existing 8,100 sq km under the protected area (PA) network. The notifications were issued on February 27 and 28, and March 1, 2012. The areas that have been notified include Umarzari adjoining Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary (152.81 sq km); Navegaon sanctuary around Navegaon National Park (133.88) and new Bor sanctuary around existing Bor Wildlife Sanctuary (61.1 sq km). The notification will pave the way for declaring Navegaon-Nagzira as a tiger reserve and Bor as part of the Pench Tiger Reserve. The state has also renotified 2 sq km area of Nannaj sanctuary, which was the best potential area for Great Indian Bustards (GIBs). When the 8,496.44 sq km bustard sanctuary was denotified to 1,222.61 sq km, the 2 sq km area was also included in it. However, now it has again been notified. Official sources said to compensate the reduction in area of Nannaj sanctuary in Solapur district, the government has come up with four new areas as sanctuaries. Wildlife experts like Kishor Rithe, Bittu Sahgal and Debi Goenka have welcomed the move but said the move is inadequate to actually compensate the loss of protected area. They claimed that it was decided that area to be deleted from Nannaj sanctuary would be compensated by notifying equal area as sanctuaries in Maharashtra. "The GIB sanctuary area was reduced from 8,496.44 sq km to 1,222.61 sq km, whereas government has only declared approximately 350 sq km area as new sanctuaries. Hence, the efforts are not enough," Rithe, who is also member of the National Wildlife Board (NBWL), said. "As per the National Wildlife Action Plan, India should reserve 10% area under wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. After Nannaj denotification, the area in the state has drastically decreased from 4.97% to 2.6% i.e. from 15,332.49 sq km to 8,058.66 sq km - a sharp drop of 60.55%. The government needs to bring more areas under the PA network," said Debi Goenka. "There are three potential areas; Kopela-Kolamarka (Gadchiroli), Umred-Karangla (Nagpur) and some good grassland areas in Marathwada, which can be declared as sanctuaries," said conservationist Bittu Sahgal. According to official sources, Bor sanctuary will be extended to 120.39 sq km. It will include existing sanctuary area of 61 sq km area and adjoining 60.70 sq km (12.24 sq km from Nagpur and 48.46 sq km from Wardha). The 120.39 sq km Bor will be 'satellite' core of 257.23 sq km Pench along with 172.86 sq km Mansinghdeo sanctuary. If entire area of these three PAs is clubbed, Pench will become 550.47 sq km. As per the latest (2010-11) tiger estimation report of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), there are 24 tigers in Pench-Bor landscape. Looking into these tiger-rich areas, former environment minister Jairam Ramesh during his city visit on September 13, 2010, had made it clear that Navegaon-Nagzira and Bor would be declared as tiger reserves.

Mudumalai tiger reserve to be out of bounds for visitors from March 5

TNN Mar 3, 2012, 02.33AM IST UDHAGAMANDALAM: The Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) will be closed for visitors from March 5 due to the prolonged dry spell in the Nilgiris. "We have decided to close the reserve for visitors as the grasslands inside the forest have become very dry," A Ameer Haja, deputy director, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and Mukurthi National Park, said. "However, water bodies inside the forest area have sufficient water to cater to the requirements of the animals," he added. The ban on tourists is mainly because the dry weather often causes fires which could put their lives at risk. A number of fires have been reported from various parts of the MTR in the past one month. According to P Raghuram Singh, chief conservator of forests and field director, MTR and Mukurthi National Park, there were a series of wild fires in the MTR forests last month. "Out of five ranges, three ranges in the forests of MTR suffered damages. However, only bushes and dry grasslands were damaged in the fires," he said. "No tree was burnt as the fire fighters attended to it quickly," he said. Last month, forest officials had cracked a major forest fire case that started on February 13 and destroyed at least 15 acres of dense forest. Two tribal men were arrested on Wednesday for starting the fire. One of the spy cameras installed inside the MTR jungles helped the forest officials to nab the culprits. The footage recorded by the camera revealed that on February 13 at around 10.22am, five persons were wandering inside the jungle collecting 'lichens' and while leaving the forest set fire inside the forest. Every year during the dry season, the MTR is closed for visitors for at least a month. The 312 sq km tiger reserve is home to at least 55 tigers and nearly 900 Asian elephants besides a wide variety of wildlife and vegetation.

‘Clever’ tiger kills bait, doesn’t eat it

TNN | Mar 5, 2012, 02.11AM IST LUCKNOW: The tiger, which is roaming in the Rahmankhera forest for the past two months killed yet another calf on Sunday. However, it did not eat the kill. After killing the bait, it moved back to the scrub jungle. It was on January 8 that its presence was noticed in Rahmankhera, in the Central Institute of Subtropical Horticulture (CISH) premises, for the first time. Since then, there has been no headway in trapping the tiger, though forest officers have been present at the spot for all these months. The team, comprising forest officers and people from WTI are combing the area to tranquilise and trap the tiger, but, there has been no progress. On Saturday, the team had a close encounter with the tiger at Rahmankhera. But, instead of firing a dart at the feline, people who had spotted the tiger came back from the spot, said sources. On Friday, too, it was a similar experience for the team during the combing operation. The tiger had come out of its hide-out, following the elephant which was combing the area. The mahout who was combing the area all alone was scared away by the big cat. "The tiger is seen almost everyday now," said Kaushlendra Singh, from Tiger and Terrain. Wildlife experts have suggested using tiger calls, to bring the hiding tiger out. Tiger calls are recorded roars of the tiger, which when played in the wild, gives the impression about another tiger being present in the area. Since tiger is a territorial animal, it will certainly come out to know about another tiger present in its territory. "This tiger has grown clever over a period of time and knows its current habitat very well," said Rahul Shukla, from Tiger and Terrain.