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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kawal Sanctuary notified as Tiger Reserve

Express News Service HYDERABAD: Much to the delight of animal-lovers and environmentalists, the state government on Tuesday notified the Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary in Adilabad district as Tiger Reserve. About 893 sqkm of the wildlife sanctuary has been notified as core area, while another 1,123 sqkm area has been declared buffer zone for the tiger reserve. Each tiger reserve has a core area where no development activity is allowed and the buffer zone also has restrictions on the developmental works. Though the Centre gave its nod for the tiger reserve in June last year, it was delayed due to various reasons. Kawal is the 42nd tiger reserve in the country. By declaring Kawal a tiger reserve, the government expects an increase in the number of tigers, especially in central Indian landscape. Currently, the wildlife sanctuary has about 20 tigers as per an unofficial count. India's tiger population has increased from 1,411 in 2006 to 1,706 in 2010 but their habitat area shrunk by about 22 per cent. With the earning of 'Tiger reserve' tag, the Kawal Sanctuary will be provided more funds through the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to help Kawal grow as a tiger habitat. Better security will be provided to bring down poaching and felling of trees that would help in improving herbivorous population leading to better tiger breeding. The main objective for the declaration of Kawal Tiger Reserve is ''to protect, restore, manage and maintain representative biodiversity of Deccan plateau of Sahyadri Mountain Ranges along with ecological processes and conservation of wild gene pool with a focus on Tiger." Kawal Tiger Reserve represents the typical floral and fauna of the Deccan Plateau. The reserve with dense Teak (Tectona grandis) and bamboo (Dendrocalmus strictus) forests is enriched with 673 other species of plants. It is also abode for a variety of wild animals including 23 insect species, 10 species of amphibians, 34 reptile species, 267 bird species and 75 species of mammals like Royal Bengal Tiger, Gaur, wild dog and Sloth bear.

Madhya Pradesh: a decade full of tiger deaths and just two convictions?

MAHIM PRATAP SINGH A view of the Panna Tiger Reserve. File photo: R. Sreenivasa Murthy Madhya Pradesh, once famous as the “tiger state”, lost 453 tigers over the last decade. And how many culprits did the state government manage to bring to book? Just two. Recently accessed documents reveal only two cases of tiger poaching reached the logical conclusion of conviction. Sample the facts: according to the tiger conservation programme “Project Tiger”, the tiger population in Madhya Pradesh in 2001-02 stood at 710. However, the 2011 tiger census revealed there were only 257 tigers left in the State's six tiger reserves — Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Panna, Bori-Satpura, Sanjay Dubri, and Pench. This means the State lost 453 tigers between 2001 and 2011. Yet, the State forest department could manage only two convictions during this period, as of March 2012. According to information accessed by wildlife activist Ajay Dube under the Right to Information act, two cases of tiger poaching were punished with three years rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs. 10,000 each. While one of the cases was from the Umaria forest division that covers the Bandhavgarh tiger reserve, the other was from the Sehora division covering the Kanha Tiger Reserve. Besides the two convictions for tiger poaching, the forest department got three convictions for the poaching of four leopards in three separate cases. The decadal decline in the big cat population in the state is alarming. At 453, it is almost half the number of tigers lost globally (1069) over the last decade (2000 to 2010), according to a recent report by TRAFFIC international, a wildlife trade monitoring network ( “The prosecution is so weak that poachers have no fear of the law and they know that they would eventually get away,” says wildlife activist Ajay Dube. Last year's census figures resulted in Madhya Pradesh losing the “Tiger state” sobriquet to Karnataka, which recorded over 300 big cats. Madhya Pradesh's tiger conservation efforts were exposed for the first time in 2009, when it was suddenly revealed that Panna, one of the State's premier tiger reserves, had lost its entire big cat population. Later, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan faced fire from conservationists after he announced there would be no buffer zone for the Panna Tiger Reserve and that the proposed Ratapani Tiger Reserve would not be established as both developments would cause the displacement of a large number of people. However, official sources have repeatedly confirmed to The Hindu that both developments were being delayed to protect the interests of the powerful mining lobby in the two regions. Further doubts on the State's conservation efforts were cast by a confidential report of the Panna Tiger Reserve's field director, who claimed forest officials were acting in collusion with poachers, thus maintaining a consistent threat to the revival of tiger population in the reserve.

Tiger carcass found 10 days after death

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Dehradun, April 08, 2012 Forest officials recovered the carcass of a 10-year-old male tiger at the Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand on Sunday. The carcass, which seemed to be around 10 days old, was found near a drain in the Bijrani Range of the national park. Wildlife activists have accused Corbett officials of negligence and questioned the reserve’s patrolling operations. “The tiger carcass was lying near Savalde drain for 10 days and no one came to know about it. Such carelessness could have proved profitable for animal part smugglers,” said Rajendra Agarwal, state head of Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), a Delhi-based NGO. The tiger’s body parts were intact and a post-mortem carried out according to National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) protocol confirmed it was a natural death. “The possibility of poaching has been ruled out,” CK Kavidayal, deputy director the reserve, told HT.