Search This Blog

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tiger population poised to rise in Sathyamangalam

TNN | Mar 20, 2012, 06.22AM IST COIMBATORE: The tiger population in Sathyamangalam forests, which will in all likelihood be declared a tiger reserve soon, is stable and poised for further increase, a just concluded wildlife census revealed. According to Sathyamangalam Divisional Forest Officer N Sathish, the survey confirmed that the tiger population in the area is between 18 and 25. The wildlife census, which began on Friday, concluded on Sunday evening. The census was being conducted with the participation of volunteers of Coimbatore based NGO OSAI, students of Bannariamman Institute of Technology, SEWA voluntary organization in Erode and wildlife enthusiasts. According to him, modern equipment including laser range finders was used for enumeration of wild animals. The surveyors also adopted line-transect direct count, carnivore sign survey, dung count and waterhole count systems to take stock of the animals. According to Sathish, an itemized list of animals would be brought out later after merging data collected by different groups. ``The presence of tigers was confirmed in many areas. In Kettuvadi and Bijilatti, bodies of deer killed by tigers were found. Marks left by tigers on some trees were also documented. Cameras have been installed in various parts of the forest to capture images of tigers,'' he said. According to Sathish, the enumerators found large herds of elephants inside the forest and their number count is around 800. The area is one of the largest havens for Asiatic elephants, he said. The surveyors also found cheetahs, jackals and bears inside the forest. ''A healthy prey base, our strict vigil in forests, conservation efforts and reduction of cattle population in the forest fringes have yielded positive results in Sathyamangalam,'' he said when asked about the growing population of animals. ``Once it gets tiger reserve status, there would be total habitat improvement. There would be projects that would help not only the tigers but also the entire flora and fauna of the region. It is home to one fourth of the elephants in the state. Sathyamangalam is also a migratory path for over 6,000 Asiatic elephants which move from the Nilgiris to Bandipur in Karnataka,'' Sathish said. It also has a large number of black bucks and hyenas.

Toil to trace tiger turns futile

Bagish K Jha, TNN | Mar 20, 2012, 01.18AM IST INDORE: After keeping the forest officials on their toes for more than a month, tiger in Choral forest range is believed to have moved on to some other neighbouring territory. "For the last 15 days, there has been no trace of the tiger. We believe that it might have migrated to adjoining Dewas or Barwani forest ranges. The DFOs of the adjoining areas have been alerted and told to keep a track on the tiger's movement," said chief conservator of forest (CCF) P C Dubey. "Though the big cats keep on straying from one place to another, we are hopeful that the richness of Choral forest range might bring the tiger back. Choral range has thick forest with good prey base, which is the basic characteristic of a tiger's habitat," he added. He further said the landscape management strategy for the protection of big cats is in place and there is a huge possibility that the region may turn into a permanent tiger habitat. The department had confirmed the presence of tiger for the first time on February 4 last on the basis of pug marks, scratches on tree and other evidences. Since then, the department has been keeping a tab on pug marks of the tiger. Also, there were reports of cattle lifting and killing of other animals in the range. Few villagers too claimed to have seen the tiger. But during the last two weeks, none of these was reported. When contacted, former PCCF (Wildlife), P M Lad said, "Choral range did not have tigers for the past 30 years. But the condition of forest has improved significantly over the years. The forest is dense with good water reserve and herbivorous population. However, a big cat takes time to adapt itself to a new area. If any tiger stays in a particular area for more than a-year-and-a-half, then only it can be termed a tiger territory. Former PCCF J J Dutta said the tigers are very particular about their territory and they take long to select and adapt to a new territory. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun had reported about the possible presence of seven tigers in the region for first time in its survey report released in July 2011. The survey had specifically mentioned Dabal Chowki, Kalakund, Choral, Punjarapura, Rajpura and Surtipura as suitable places for tiger habitat in Choral forest range.

Cameras capture 17 tigers outside Sunderbans reserve area

Krishnendu Mukherjee, TNN | Mar 20, 2012, 07.00AM IST KOLKATA: The first ever camera trap exercise done in the South 24 Parganas forest division has found presence of over 15 tigers. The exercise, done jointly by WWF-India and the state forest department has photo captured 8 individual tigers in the Ramganga range and 9 in the Raidighi range. Sources said tiger presence was found in Dhulibhashani and Chulkathi compartments in Ramganga, while Ajmalmari and Herobhanga compartments in Raidighi range also reported good tiger density. It may be noted that over 462 square kilometres in this part of the mangrove forests will be developed as West Sunderbans Wildlife Sanctuary. According to sources, the entire South 24 Parganas forest division was divided into 4 square kilometres grid to locate tiger pugmarks and scats. "Later, based on pugmarks and scat presence, 20 heat motion sensitive cameras were laid in the Ramganga range covering an area of over 184 square kilometres and 21 trap camera stations were set up in the Raidighi range covering almost 216 square kilometres ," said sources. The exercise for Ramganga was done between January 23 and February 21, while trap cameras were laid and taken out in Raidighi between February 11 and March 12. "While 8 tigers were found in the Ramganga range with a density of 5.24 tigers per 100 square kilometres , Raidighi has recorded presence of 9 tigers till March 12 with a density of over 4 tigers per 100 square kilometres. Total 44 images were captured in Raidighi," said sources, adding that rare leopard cats, jungle cats and fishing cats too were photo captured. The project will also cover Herobhanga under South 24 Parganas forest division and Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary under Sunderbans Tiger Reserve (STR). The officials of WWF-India are meeting state forest minister Hiten Burman and senior officials in the department today to brief them about the updated figures of the big cats photo captured between March 12 and March 19. Sources said that the presence of the tigers will give a boost to the state's plan of developing another wildlife sanctuary in this part of the forests. "The new sanctuary - West Sunderbans Wildlife Sanctuary - will cover Dhulibhashani 1 to 8 and Chulkathi 1 to 8 compartments . The proposed wildlife sanctuary will have Dhulibhashani 1 to its north, Bay of Bengal to its south and rivers Matla and Thakuran to its east and west respectively," said sources, adding that while 224.26 square kilometres will fall under Dhulibhashani, 238.13 square kilometres will come under Chulkathi. "We will issue fresh boat licence certificates (BLCs) to the fishermen who will venture out for fishing in the area," Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve director Pradeep Vyas had said. At present, 3500 licences are given to boat owners in South 24 Parganas forest division and 960 BLCs are issued under Sunderbans Tiger Reserve (STR). It may be noted that the Centre's tiger estimation exercise - Status of Tigers, Co-predators and Prey in India - has recently projected the number of tigers within Sunderbans Tiger Reserve between 64 and 90. Times View Adecent tiger density outside the tiger reserve area shows Sunderbans - one of the last surviving natural tiger habitats in the world - still holds the potential to sustain a healthy tiger population. Only, there should be regular monitoring and better management in the reserve, which will not only clear controversies surrounding the real number of big cats in the mangroves, but will also throw light on the behavioural pattern of the tigers and other rare species in the forests.

Slow operations a boon for stray tiger

TNN Mar 19, 2012, 03.57AM IST LUCKNOW: The lazy pace of tiger-tracking operations at Rahmankhera could allow the big cat an extended stay. Some forest officials, who were part of the operation, have returned from Rahmankhera. The forest department has asked the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) to send in more trained hands to capture the tiger.The big cat has been roaming in Rahmankhera for more than two months. During this period, some senior forest officials, including chief wildlife warden (CWW), have retired from the service. Sources say the slow pace of operations can be linked to these retirements. The incumbent CWW, Mohammad Ehsan, is also due to retire by March end. Another reason for that slow approach is that the department had drawn flak when it killed a stray tigress in 2009. Even NTCA had written to the forest department, directing the officers to follow the NTCA guidelines for tranquilising and trapping stray tigers. The tigress had strayed from Pilibhit, and had turned a man-eater before it was killed. The tiger in Rahmankhera, so far, hasn't ventured into human settlements. Besides, it has also not attacked any human. The patch of forest in Rahmankhera, where tiger is localised, has three villages in close proximity. These villages are Ulrapur, Dugauli and Meethenagar. "Three days back, when the tiger killed a bullock, forest officers again tampered with the kill," said wildlife enthusiast Kaushlendra Singh. Meanwhile, the wildlife enthusiasts plan hold discussions with the department on the ways to save the big cat.

Meant for tigers, camera traps poachers in Kaziranga

Rahul Karmakar/HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times A motion-sensitive camera with automatic sensors placed in Kaziranga National Park for an ongoing tiger census recorded two poachers early on Monday morning. Home to an estimated 2,200 one-horned rhinos, the 860 sq km Kaziranga is a happy hunting ground for wildlife criminals whose network extends to China and Southeast Asia. "We launched a search operation after our forest guards heard gunshots early in the morning near the Sonok anti-poaching camp. We subsequently found one of the two cameras placed for tiger trapping, north of the camp, missing. The other camera had visuals of two armed poachers recorded in it," Ikarmul Mazid, range officer of the park's Burapahar range said. The camera captured the poachers who were inside the Burapahar range adjoining a hill range named Bagser, yet to be made a part of the World Heritage Site despite recommendations from the park authorities. Mazid said each poacher had a sophisticated rifle in the hands and a revolver on the waist. "Their features clearly indicated they were most probably from Nagaland and aged around 25 years," he added. Park officials said the poachers took away one of the cameras possibly after it flashed due to their movement. Last week, a group of poachers were recorded inside Odisha's Simlipal Tiger Reserve. Cameras placed in that wildlife preserve showed poachers armed with bows and arrows. Poachers have made several attempts to kill rhinos in Kaziranga in the past week. "At least four attempts were made with gunshots being heard by our guards. We heard three gunshots on Friday, but we found no casualty after combing the areas," said Kaziranga park director Surajit Dutta.

Madhya Pradesh government may recommend CBI probe into tiger deaths in Panna

PTI Mar 19, 2012, 05.56AM IST BHOPAL: The Madya Pradesh government is likely to recommend a CBI probe into the alleged disappearance and poaching of wild cats from Panna Tiger Reserve based on a report submitted by sanctuary authorities. Sources said the report was submitted to the Madhya Pradesh government last month after a year-long follow up by the state administration and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) with PTR over the issue. They said the report contained all necessary evidence and reasons for tiger deaths and their disappearance from the reserve, adding the State may recommend a CBI probe into at least three such cases between 2005 and 2009 in the PTR. "The report has been submitted to the MP Forest department, which is carrying out discussions with the Home Department to decide on a CBI probe," a senior State government official said. Various social activists and wildlife experts had written to both the State and Central governments to constitute a CBI inquiry into cases of tiger death in PTR. Following the representations, the NTCA had a sought reply from the MP government in this regard early last year. According to another report by the Madhya Pradesh government, there was no tiger in Panna Reserve in the 2009 census carried out by the authorities there. The report says that there were about 20 tigers in 2006. Citing it as an example of 'fence eating the crop', the report strongly recommended a CBI probe into the alleged disappearance of the striped cats. (MORE) PTI AKV EKA SPC

Four day annual tiger census from March 29

PTI | 03:03 PM,Mar 18,2012 Tirunelveli, Mar 18 (PTI): The four day annual census for fixing the tiger population in the Kalakkad–Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) in the Western Ghats will be held from March 29, forest officials said. The objective of census is also to ascertain whether the forest had helped in providing a proper environment for tigers to mate, the officials said in a release. The census will also determine whether the herbivore density at KMTR is at the desired level so that it would form the right prey base. As the National Tiger Conservation Authority had decided to monitor tiger population in reserves annually, KMTR plans to conduct the census by involving volunteers from colleges, it said.

Prowling 'tiger' spreading panic in Bithoor villages

TNN Mar 17, 2012, 04.37AM IST KANPUR: The residents of five villages of Bithoor district are living in fear as the tiger which had attacked farmers on Tuesday and Wednesday, is still traceless. However, district forest officer B R Ahirwar said, "We have found no trace of any tiger in the villages and therefore, we apprehend that the wild animal is either a hyena or a leopard." When asked what is being done to trap the suspected animal, Ahirwar said that the officials of forest department were making efforts to nab the wild animal. It is worth mentioning here that a tiger had fled from Lakhimpur Kheri and reportedly entered the forest area of Bithoor. The villagers are presently living in fear and while out nights awake, armed with iron rods and axes. According to the farmers, the animal which had attacked was huge in size and had large paws. The animal had attacked Manohar Lal and Pankaj, both farmers who were working in their fields.

Save Kosi river corridor, save tigers: WWF

IANS Mar 18, 2012, 08.13PM IST (An ever increasing number of resorts to cater to tourists is threatening the tigers with an increase in the number of conflicts between the big cat and humans. DELHI: Highlighting the importance of the Kosi river corridor in the Corbett tiger reserve in Uttarakhand, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said Sunday that the crucial pathway is facing a threat from upcoming resorts and hotels. Recent photos taken in the corridor, situated in the Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) at the heart of which lies the Corbett tiger reserve, have shown as many as 13 tigers using the pathway. In one of the photos, a tigress with her two sub-adult cubs was camera trapped in west Terai feeding on a domestic cow. "In January 2012, the same tigress was photographed carrying an approximately one-month-old cub in her mouth, further south in the Kosi corridor," said Meraj Anwar, Senior Project Officer, WWF. "The sighting comes a few weeks after the first photo of a tiger crossing the corridor," he added. However, an ever increasing number of resorts to cater to tourists is threatening the tigers with an increase in the number of conflicts between the big cat and humans. "Ramnagar forest division has witnessed increased human-animal conflict over the years owing to human movement in forests and the expansion of tourism in the area, particularly the tourist resorts that have sprung up here in the recent past," said K.D. Kandpal, Landscape Coordinator, TAL. "If unchecked, the resorts mushrooming in the area will choke the corridor and block the free movement of tigers through it. If the tiger in India is to be saved for posterity, the Kosi River tiger corridor needs to be protected at all costs," he added.