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Friday, May 4, 2012

Traditional iron traps create poaching scare in 29 tiger reserves: NTCA

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times New Delhi, May 03, 2012 Traditional way of catching tigers in wild – through snares – is back and has caught the forest department officials off-guard. In just three months over 80 traps and snares have been recovered in two tigers reserves in Karnataka --- Bandipur and Nagarhole. Over 30 have been found in and around tiger areas in Uttarakhand and about 40 in Madhya Pradesh. Wildlife poachers have been traditionally using snares and traps to hunt animals including tigers. But, fire-arms and poison was replacing the traditional method, which had seen a sudden return. The apparent reason is the increasing demand of clean tiger skins and body parts in the international wildlife smuggling network. A firearms leaves a black spot on the skin and poison leads to change in colour of the skin and body parts. That does not happen in case of snares as a wild animal turns immobile and dies a slow death because of bleeding. The tiger watchdog, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), found that many wandering gangs were targeting tigers using snares and iron traps across 10 states in India. “The situation is serious and calls for urgent action to step up protection in tiger reserves,” said an advisory issued by NTCA member secretary Rajesh Gopal. The field directors of 41 tiger reserves in India had been instructed to deploy special anti-poaching squads to patrol the reserves and look for snares and traps. They have been instructed to complete the exercise within a fortnight. The NTCA has also said that forest guards should keep a track of tigers and their cubs, straying out of the tiger reserves as they could fall prey to poachers. Another location to keep vigil are the water-bodies, which tigers frequent. The authority had also received intelligence reports that many gangs had visited villages around tiger reserves in the recent past to examine the possibility of killing a tiger. As many as 29 tiger reserves had been identified as potential threat from poachers. “We have instructed the forest departments to conduct a special exercise in these reserves,” Gopal said.

Shimoga villages want tiger project scrapped in KNP

May 4, 2012 DC Shimoga The people of Western Ghats residing in Tirthahalli and Hosanagar taluks are demanding cancellation of proposed Tiger Project in the Kudremukh National Park covering the Someshwara and Mookambika wildlife sanctuaries, as this would displace a large number of people, threaten their livelihoods and encourage Maoists activities in the region. Speaking to Deccan Chronicle Mr Nagesh Angirasa, a worker of the Someshwara and Mookambika wildlife area civic committee (sponsored by Sri Pejawar Mutt, Udupi) of Mallandur village near Agumbe of Tirthahalli taluk in the district here on Thursday said, that proposed tiger project will lead to eviction of people and socio-economic misery. Kudremukh National Park and its established area including the Someshwara and Mookambika wildlife sanctuaries, is spread over the four districts of Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada. These regions are covered with thick green vegetation with rolling hilly grassland and shola forests. In 1987, the Karnataka government declared the region as the national park. As per the survey of 2005, the human population in the national park is around 6240 living in 1300 households and cultivating 2790 acres of land. According to him, soon after the declaration of Kudremukh National Park, the maoist extremists entered the scene and after a decade of existence in the region, spread their roots in the park. They encouraged the tribals to disbelieve the government by telling them that they would be forcibly evicted from the park . The maoist outfits ran a parallel government in the park villages and used to collect money from contractors, politicians and farmers. In the span of nine years, from 2002 to 2011, 23 incidents of encounters, looting, kidnapping and bomb explosion were recorded, the memorandum of the committee said. It was during 2009 and 2010, with the initiative of some development works and confidence building measures taken up in the area, distrust between the government and the habitants was minimized. Tiger Project would again create distrust among the tribals and pave way for the re-entry of Maoists, Mr Nagesh Angirasa said. The tiger conservation project is already in progress in the Bhadra wildlife sanctuary covering Shimoga and Chikmagalur districts. Instead of that, the government should make all efforts to declare the national park region under the UNESCO scheme. This would help in reviving social life in the region. A memorandum in this regard has been submitted to the Centre through the deputy commissioner of Shimoga, Mr M.V. Vedamurthy.

NTCA to take action against Uttarakhand, UP and Rajasthan

Nihi Sharma Sahani, Hindustan Times Dehradun, May 03, 2012 National Tiger Conservation Society (NTCA) will take action against Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan that were found to have delayed formation of Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) in their respective states. Jayanthi Natarajan, union minister of forest and environment expressed displeasure over the non-formation of force that intends to deploy additional staff for tiger conservation. Dr. Rajesh Gopal, member secretary NTCA told Hindustan Times, “We will take action against states that delayed constituting STPF. It’s the responsibility of state forest department to form this force for tiger conservation.” Apparently, Natarajan in a meeting with field directors in Delhi on Wednesday reviewed various works. While she closely monitored Project Tiger details, she also expressed displeasure over non-formation of STPF. She mentioned that Karnataka is the only state to have formed STPF but states likes Uttarakhand, UP and Rajasthan have delayed it. Hindustan Times in its April 16 issue gave a detailed report on lackadaisical attitude of state forest department that has ignored formation of STPF since last two years in Uttarakhand. For this project, NTCA had already released first installment of Rs. 90 lakh. But, no results were recorded. A total of 108 people are to be appointed under the project dedicated to tiger conservation. These people will be divided into 3 platoons. Additional Conservator of Forest (ACF) will head each platoon. Interestingly, 18 foresters and 90 forest guards are to be appointed. Giving special place to forest dwellers, government of India in its project has reserved 30% positions of forest guards for them. This means, 27 gujjars or forest dwellers will be appointed and forest guards will fill remaining 63 positions. The ministry will bear entire expenses of salary and other allowances of appointed force. When contacted Ranjan Kumar Mishra, director Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) who was also present in the meeting with Natarajan, he shared, "We have already given advertisement for recruitment of forest staff. It’s in the final syages."

Move to raise Tiger Protection Force in Arunachal Pradesh

PTI SHARE · PRINT · T+ ITANAGAR, MAY 3: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Nabam Tuki, has said there is an initiative to create a ‘Special Tiger Protection Force' for enhancing the protective cover on the wild cats and other animals inhabiting in the Tiger Reserves in the State. “The Force will see to it that no harm is caused to tigers and other animals in the Tiger Reserves in the state,” Mr Tuki said while addressing a two-day orientation programme on ‘Strengthening Wildlife Law Enforcement and Conservation' here yesterday. “We should carefully guard against invasion of market forces connected with illegal wildlife trade gaining entry into the state and It is highly relevant in the context of the long inter-State and international borders of the State,” he said.