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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tiger census begins in Nallamala

TNN | Apr 19, 2012, 01.47AM IST HYDERABAD: Amidst growing concerns over the dwindling tiger population in the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) and calls for initiating more conservation measures to increase the population of the wild cats, the forest officials have begun the tiger census in the Nallamala forest. The exercise was launched at Atmakur in Kurnool and Markapuram in Prakasam district four days ago. Sources said the 45-day exercise would also be taken up at Achampet in Mahbubnagar and Nagarjunasagar in Nalgonda district. Forest officials said 200 digital cameras would be used to photograph the pugmarks, which would be analyzed using computers to identify tigers on various parametres. "But the availability of good quality pugmarks suitable for analysis would be not more than 20 to 25 per cent," a senior forest ranger pointed out. The census would be conducted on the basis of digital photographs of the tiger pugmarks and camera tracks which would be evaluated with the help of the latest software. During the exercise, the forest teams would count the pugmarks at water holes in the forest core area spread across 2,527 square km. A retired forest official Tulasi Rao said proliferation of tigers and other wild animals is linked to availability of food, which flourished only when the green cover is improved. NSTR, which has been renamed Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, has its tiger numbers grow to 70 with a healthy male-female-cubs ratio in the last census. In fact, the wild cat numbers plummeted to 30 in the last 6-7 years. NSTR, spread over five districts of the Nallamala mountain ranges and encompassing more than 3,500 square km, was the abode for nearly 100 tigers in 1990. There are over 300 leopards in the sanctuary.

Rescued tiger cub healthy, say Panna Reserve officials

TNN Apr 18, 2012, 11.29AM IST BHOPAL: After being rescued from a cave last week, the feeble wild cub abandoned by a tigress is recovering rapidly and is in good health at Panna Tiger Reserve in eastern Madhya Pradesh. "The two-month-old cub is fast recovering. We are monitoring its health round the clock," reserve veterinarian Dr Sanjeev Gupta said. "The tiger cub is being fed milk and other supplements," reserve field director R S Murthy said. The cub was abandoned by a tigress -- T-1 -- some 15 days ago. T-1 gave birth to three more cubs in a cave on February 16. On March 29, it shifted to another cave some 2 km away but did not carry the fragile cub. It, although, returned to the cave on April 2 and fed the abandoned cub. However, T-1 did not carry the cub. Since then, the reserve authorities kept a watch through electronic gadgets. They found that the condition of the cub deteriorated nine days ago in the cave. The cub was rescued from the cave on April 12. It is being kept in a well-equipped room since then. This cub was born in the second litter. T-1 had given birth to four cubs in its first litter two years ago. Only two cubs survived then, officials said. Felines usually abandon their cubs when they turn weak, according to wildlife experts. After the reserve became devoid of big cat population in early 2009 allegedly due to poaching, the state forest department had translocated four tigresses and a tiger to Panna from different tiger reserves in an attempt to revive their population. The translocation plan has seen success with increasing number of cubs. Now 12 cubs, including two young ones are in the reserve.

Rehabilitation process of Navegaon village begins

TNN | Apr 19, 2012, 02.46AM IST CHANDRAPUR: The rehabilitation of village Navegaon (Ramdegi) located inside Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) practically kicked off on Tuesday after plots were distributed among the beneficiary families. In a programme held under supervision of Warora SDO Ghanshyam Bhugaonkar, a total of 111 beneficiaries picked up their plots through lottery system in the village. After Navegaon villagers agreed for relocation out of tiger reserve, administration identified in all 220 beneficiaries in town under the Centre's 10 lakh rehabilitation package. The villagers were given separate options of cash compensation and rehabilitation. Under option-I, beneficiaries take cash compensation and move out of village on their own, while under option-II, government arranges for beneficiary's rehabilitation on the site selected by villagers. In Navegaon, a total of 119 beneficiaries, including 100 land owners and 19 landless beneficiaries, opted for option-I, while remaining 111 beneficiaries, including 101 land owners and 10 landless beneficiaries, have opted for option-II. "The beneficiaries of Navegaon have selected their rehabilitation site in compartment no. 29 of Chimur tehsil. The land has been cleared of the forest and plots marked. Tenders of the road have been finalized and construction will begin soon. Construction of water supply tank is under progress, while laying of pipeline will begin soon. Two handpumps have also been installed on the relocation site," claimed ex-deputy sarpanch, Azhar Sheikh, who is a representative of villagers to oversee rehabilitation procedure. Officials said that while villagers have decided to build their homes themselves, government will provide them land along with sum for house construction. Apart from this, the government will build amenities like water supply scheme, bus stand, weekly market, gram panchayat, police station, post office, dispensary, water reservoir, primary and high school, play ground and leave open space for community programmes. As plots on rehabilitation site were marked, the gram sabha of the village forwarded a proposal to the administration asking for distribution of plots through lottery system. Therefore, a programme was organized in Navegaon on Tuesday to distribute the plots to 111 beneficiaries of rehabilitation. Landowner beneficiaries were entitled for plot of 371 sq metre each, while landless beneficiaries were entitled for plot of 185 sq metre each. However, those having five or more members in family were given plots with some additional land. The plot distribution started in presence of SDO Ghanshyam Bhugaonkar, Chimur tehsildar Dilip Akhade, Bramhapuri division ACF AN Dhote, Chimur range RFO LM Belekar and president of NGO Eoc-Pro orgnaisation Bandu Dhotre, appointed by high court to facilitate smooth rehabilitation.

Forest officers on pugmark chase to nab runaway tiger near Lucknow

TNN Apr 18, 2012, 03.51AM IST LUCKNOW: It was another day gone in vain at Rahmankhera. The big cat made its appearance in the area by way of its pugmarks only. The tracking team, however, kept waiting for the big cat near a partially-eaten bait, on Tuesday. The team had to intensively search for the tiger as in the morning there was no trace of the feline, giving the apprehension that it could have changed location, specially after the Monday incident. Sources said on Monday the tiger and the combing elephants came face to face. The tracking team had set a half-eaten carcass as bait near the deep pit which has been dug by the team at Rahmankhera to trap the tiger. The tiger had dragged the flesh to the patch of forest and was eating it when one of the elephants combing the area went close it. And as the tiger resisted the forward movement of the elephant, even the jumbo got aggressive. The other two elephants, which were also combing the area, too became aggressive. Seeing the three elephants ganging up against it, the tiger made a quick escape. It wasn't spotted till late Tuesday morning. It was only later in the day that the team could locate its pugmarks. While the tracking team is still focusing on luring the tiger to the bait tied close to the deep pit, this time around the team has also done some fencing around the pit. Experts, however, said the Monday incident shows the big cat can charge if put under pressure. "The tiger is a tiger and the operation has to be handled keeping the fact in time," said Kaushlendra Singh, a wildlife enthusiast.