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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Runaway tiger caged after gruelling 108 days

Published: Thursday, Apr 26, 2012, 7:57 IST By Deepak Gidwani | Place: Lucknow | Agency: DNA Finally, after a grueling exercise lasting as many as 108 days which involved over two dozen forest officers, experts and employees, the runaway tiger was tranqulised and caught in the wee hours of Wednesday. The tiger, a healthy male of about four years, had strayed from its habitat about 250km from here, and settled down in the 400-acre farm of the Central Subtropical Horticulture Institute of the Union agriculture ministry at Rahmankheda, about 15km from Lucknow. The foresters had tried all the tricks in their bag, but the big cat managed to evade arrest for over three months. At one point of time, the forest department had totally given up hope of caging it, and was, in fact, coming around to the idea of developing a safari around it. Interestingly, the tiger had got followers in several countries as one avid wildlifer put it on a social networking site aptly naming it ‘Badshah’ (king). With the capture of the tiger, the terrified villagers living around the area as well as the forest department officials have heaved a sigh of relief. “It is indeed a big achievement for us to catch the tiger after such a long time without any harm to the human population,” said Ashok Mishra, Lucknow division forest officer (DFO). “It is perhaps a record of its own kind anywhere in the world,” he added. The operation started at first light around 4am, and the tiger was brought down with a dart around 6.30am. Another DFO PP Singh, a tiger expert who planned the entire operation, said the catch was the result of accurate planning. First, over the past few days, the tiger was localised to a particular patch, a ‘sheesham’ thicket, in the forest where there was dense foliage. This area was regularly watered to keep it cool, offering the tiger a perfect hideout. A water body near the area completed the picture. When the tiger started roaming this area frequently, the foresters tied a buffalo at this spot on Monday. As expected, the tiger made the kill, and the foresters let it relish the prey for one night. “The tiger did not venture far this time as water was also available nearby. The idea was to take advantage of the situation in which the tiger eats and drinks water more than usual due to no disturbance. This makes the cat slow and lazy,” explains PP Singh. Early on Wednesday morning, the foresters’ party mounted on three elephants surrounded the area. Dr Utkarsh Shukla, a vet and a darting expert, managed to get a clear hit on his second shot as the tiger moved towards his elephant. Soon, a huge crowd of villagers reached the spot to get a glimpse of the beast which had terrified them. The foresters managed to whisk it away to the Dudhwa National Park where it would be rehabilitated.

Tiger presence confirmed in Mizoram's Dampa reserve forest

PTI | 03:04 PM,Apr 25,2012 Guwahati, Apr 25 (PTI) Significant tiger presence has been confirmed in Mizoram's Dampa reserve forest through DNA- based analysis techniques. The presence of the big cats was confirmed during a joint field survey conducted by the forest reserve's field directorate, World Wildlife Fund and 'Aaranyak', a society for biodiversity conservation, in March last as part of the country-wide phase four of tiger monitoring programme initiated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). "We successfully used DNA-based analysis techniques for identifying tiger faecal samples, collected during the joint field survey", Aaranyak's head of Wildlife Genetics Programme Udayan Borthakur said here today. Efforts are now on to find out the minimum number of tigers present in Dampa through the use of DNA fingerprinting techniques, Borthakur said. Dampa Tiger Reserve is situated in the western part of Mizoram and is spread in an area of 550 sq km at the international border with Bangladesh. It consists of a forest with a difficult terrain interpolated with hills, valleys, streams and a rivulet and is a hot spot of bio-diversity with a variety of flora and fauna of Indo-Malayan origin. NTCA has categorised Dampa Tiger Reserve as one of the low density Tiger Reserves in India with deficiency of data on the current population status of tigers in the area, Borthakur said. PTI DG KK

Now, entry in Pench, Nagzira to cost more

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Apr 26, 2012, 06.10AM IST NAGPUR: Close on the heels of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) jacking up rates for tourists, Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) and Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary have followed suit. In Nagzira, the guide fee has been doubled from Rs 100 to Rs 200 from April 24. The fee hike in PTR will come into force from May 1, 2012. Now a group of six will have shell out Rs 370 in Nagzira. It will include Rs 200 towards guide fee and Rs 170 towards entry (Rs 20 per person), vehicle (Rs 50) and camera (Rs 5). The fees will be charged per entry. "We have not hiked the gate fees. The guide fee has been doubled to benefit local people who play an important role in protecting the sanctuary," said M S Reddy, conservator of forest (CF) for Gondia Wildlife Division. He added that the instructions were passed on by principal secretary (forest) Praveen Pardeshi during his visit to Nagzira on Saturday and Sunday. "Taking a cue from Nagzira, we may also hike guide fee in Bor and Tipeshwar," said A Ashraf, chief conservator of forests (CCF) and field director for PTR. Ashraf said the executive committee of Pench Tiger Conservation Foundation (TCF) on Wednesday had already decided to increase entry fee per vehicle to Rs 300. In addition, guide fee of Rs 200 will have to be paid. It comes to Rs 500 per vehicle now. "For 10 or more persons, including driver and guide, an additional Rs 22 per person will be charged," Ashraf added. "The fee will be applicable to capacity of the vehicle as approved by the regional transport office (RTO). The tourists should keep one seat vacant for guide," Ashraf said. Fee for eco-hut has also been increased from Rs 400 per day to Rs 500. The meeting did not discuss entry fee for students. On October 19, 2011, the governing body of tiger conservation foundations headed by forest minister Patangrao Kadam, had increased guides fee from Rs 100 to Rs 200 per trip in three tiger reserves - Pench, Tadoba and Melghat. The new rate has already come into force in reserves and now sanctuaries too are implementing it. The Maharashtra State Sanctuaries Guides Union (MSSGU) members have hailed the move. "Even as inflation flared, guides used to get Rs 100 per trip only. The demand to revise the fee was pending for long. There will be no discrimination too, as guides now operate as per roster system," said Prakash Kumre and Puresh Kodape, both guides in Nagzira. Pay more for tigers Tadoba-Andhari: Rs 700 Pench Tiger Reserve: Rs 500 Melghat, Tipeshwar, Bor, Navegaon, Nagzira and other PAs: Rs 375 (Sanctuary fee includes Rs 20 for adults, Rs 10 for children, Rs 50 for vehicle and Rs 5 per camera) Tiger capital issue in LS Congress MP from Nagpur Vilas Muttemwar, on Wednesday, raised the issue of promoting Nagpur as the 'world tiger capital' in Lok Sabha under Rule 377. "Nagpur has immense potential to emerge as a gateway for eco-tourism, especially tiger tourism at global level. The aim of promoting Nagpur as world tiger capital is to make it a safe haven for tigers in the Central Indian landscape," Muttemwar told the Lok Sabha.

Tigress carcass found in Kaziranga

TNN | Apr 26, 2012, 03.57AM IST JORHAT: A carcass of an adult tigress was found in Kaziranga National Park on Wednesday. Park officials suspect that the tigress died due to infighting between tigers. Divisional forest officer (Kaziranga) Dibyadhar Gogoi said, "We found a carcass of a tigress at Honuman area under Kohora forest range of the park this afternoon. The tigress was about five years old and the animal died due to infighting between tigers." He added, "Preliminary investigations suggest that the animal was attacked by other tiger one or two days ago. We found some injury marks on her body; she was mauled by the other animal. The tigress lost her left eye during the fight, but the other parts of her body was found intact." "We conducted the autopsy of the animal in presence of the representatives of the National Tiger Conservation Authority of India along with the national park authorities on Wednesday," he said. The national park lost another tigress in December last year when a personnel of the Assam police armed battalion opened fire to save some locals near Kohora forest range of the park. The adult tigress attacked two persons at Bosagaon area near the park. In April 2011, a tiger carcass was also found at the Kathanibari forest under the same forest range in Kaziranga. However, the reason of the tiger's death could not be ascertained.

CRPF vacates PTR premises

TNN | Apr 26, 2012, 06.04AM IST DALTONGANJ: The CRPF has finally vacated the tree house, cottage meant for tourists, canteen and the rest house of the Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Betla. Sources said with this, the ongoing operation against the rebels, Operation Octopus, has also come to a halt. These places were occupied by the CRPF since March 30. The divisional forest officer (DFO), core, Premjit Anand, quoting the Betla forest ranger, Ajit Singh, said, "The CRPF moved out of the tree house, cottage, canteen and the rest house on April 24." Anand said PTR officials will now have to find out if things are in "shape or not". A ranger has been asked to keep a record of the accessories. "Bills over Rs 1 lakh have been sent to the Latehar SP," said the DFO as he is the sanctioning authority. According to sources, it was because of the efforts of principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) A K Singh, that the CRPF vacated the PTR. The PCCF held parleys with the IG (operations), CRPF, D K Pandey, in this matter and was reported to have communicated to the IG CRPF that the occupancy of PTR buildings had made the structure, officers and staff vulnerable to rebels.

4 chief conservators of forests, 6 divisional forest officers transferred

TNN | Apr 26, 2012, 07.33AM IST NAGPUR: The season of transfers and postings has started in the forest department. In a minor reshuffle, six divisional forest officers (DFOs) and four chief conservators of forests (CCFs) were shifted on Wednesday evening. Sources told TOI, among the 4 CCFs, A K Mishra, field director of Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR), has been shifted to Nagpur as CCF (planning & management) in PCCF (wildlife) office. He will replace A R Mande, who has been posted as CCF (tendu). Mishra will be replaced by K P Singh, who was with Working Plan, Thane. B R Khaire, who was in Mantralaya, has been posted in place of Singh at Thane. Among the 6 DFOs, D B Shrikhande, who was working in Pandharkawda division in Yavatmal Circle, has been shifted to social forestry department (SFD) as deputy director, Bhandara. Shrikhande will be replaced by A P Girhepuje, who was DFO in PCCF (wildlife) office. Similarly, Suresh Allurwar, DFO (planning), Nagpur Circle, has been shifted to Pusad. G S Balki, who was in Pusad, has been posted to Washim in social forestry department. Besides, G P Narawne, a probationer, has been posted at Dahanu. P G Rahurkar, who was DFO (planning) at Dhule, has been shifted to Yaval division.