Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 8:45 IST By Surendra Gangan | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA The state forest department has issued an order empowering guards to shoot poachers on sight in Maharashtra’s four tiger reserves. The order was issued after two tigers and three leopards were found killed in the last few weeks. Forest minister Patangrao Kadam on Tuesday said the high-powered committee of forest officers took the decision to empower the staff. He said the guards have been provided with logistic support as well. “Killing poachers won’t be considered a crime and no case will be registered if the forest staff catch them in the act and open fire. The guards have been provided with state-of-the-art arms. They will also be given 100 vehicles. The department has been given additional funds for hiring informants,” Kadam said. He said a CID probe has been announced in the killing of two tigers at the Tadoba reserve to find out whether they were electrocuted or poached. A committee of four forest officers will conduct a parallel inquiry in the killings. On April 26, a tiger was found killed and another seriously injured in the Tadoba reserve. On May 18, a tiger was found chopped to pieces; it is suspected to be a contract killing. On May 20, three leopards were found killed, but it is not yet clear if they died of electric shock. Praveen Pardesi, principal secretary, forest department, said the staff have been keeping vigil round the clock. “Earlier, wildlife activists and locals used to find the bodies and alert officials. But in the recent killings, it was the guards who found the dead animals,” he said. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_guards-of-maharashtra-tiger-reserves-told-to-shoot-poachers-on-sight_1692469
TNN | May 23, 2012, 07.05AM IST BHOPAL: In the wake of National Tiger Conservation Authority's (NTCA) warning that poachers might strike anytime in 42 tiger reserves across the country, security has been tightened in and around the tiger reserves and national parks in the state. According to NTCA warning, local poachers, especially those hailing from Katni district in Madhya Pradesh have been paid in advance to get tigers' body parts which would fetch huge money in international markets, a top forest official said. NTCA has emailed, faxed and telephonically asked six tiger reserves - Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Panna, Pench, Satpura and Sanjay Gandhi to keep a vigil and keep the poachers at bay a fortnight ago, he added. "We have stepped up vigil in and around the park. Patrolling is being carried day in and out following NTCA's warning, Pench tiger reserve field director Alok Kumar told TOI. He said patrolling teams were keeping a tight security in core area spread over Seoni and Chhindwara districts and that the intelligence network has been asked to pass event the slightest information in connection with suspicious persons to forest department officials. "We are taking no chances following the killing of tiger in Chandrapur in Maharashtra," he said. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/Conservation-body-orders-vigilance-in-MP-tiger-reserves/articleshow/13403756.cms
Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | May 23, 2012, 01.22AM IST NAGPUR: In a major victory for wildlife activists, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, has recommended five underpasses in four patches on Maharashtra side and two on the Chhattisgarh side as part of the mitigation plan on NH6, where four-laning is cutting through vital tiger populations of Central Indian landscape. The WII had been appointed to suggest mitigation measures by the National Tiger Conservation Authority ( NTCA). TOI was the first to report on the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) violations by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on NH6 in January 2009. Since then permission has been held up for widening the highway from two-lane to four-lane. NGO Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) had moved the Supreme Court's centrally empowered committee (CEC) against the cutting of tiger corridors. On the directions of the CEC, NHAI prepared a mitigation plan but it was not acceptable to the WTI, which insisted on flyovers. Finally, the WII was asked to prepare a plan and accordingly a two-member team visited NH6 for eight days beginning January 27. The WII report asks NHAI to construct underpasses for animals stretching 1,000, 1,500 and 2,000 metre in length and 7 metre in height. The NHAI's revised mitigation plan submitted to the forest department had suggested underpasses in eight vulnerable patches, with dimensions of 10 feet height and 20 feet width. In addition, NHAI had suggested fencing of thick chain links, rescue gates and ramps. However, since this mitigation plan does not satisfy the needs of wild animals, WII has virtually rejected it. The NHAI plan was prepared by ex-chief wildlife warden RN Indurkar and retired ACF SS Deshpande. Most of the road from Bhandara to Chhattisgarh border has been upgraded from two-lane to four-lane, except in the three stretches passing through forest area. The incomplete stretches are from Maramjob to Bahmni (4.15km), Bahmni to Duggipar (3.05km), and Sakoli to Mundipar (3.2km). Apart from these, WII has also proposed two additional structures in the completed four-lane road between Sirpur-Navatola (6.3km). "This stretch led to bifurcation of 70% of the corridor between Kanha-Pench and Navegaon, Nagzira and Tadoba reserves," WII sources said. In the three as yet uncompleted stretches, the WII says that box culverts of 3.05 height and 6.10 width proposed by the NHAI are unsuitable for wildlife. These box culverts have been largely conceived as drainage structures. The WII has proposed underpasses of 2,000 metre width and 7 metre height. Regarding the 3.05km patch between Bahmni and Duggipar, the WII says it is a vital connectivity between Navegaon and Nagzira. The NH6 is 1km from the boundary of the park. However, Prafulla Bhamburkar of WTI says that after the notification of Navegaon Sanctuary, the four-lane road is now virtually touching the sanctuary boundary. The WII has also disapproved NHAI's plan to change total width of forest used for the road from 60 metre to 45 metre. WII sources said, "The reduced width will not have any influence on volume of traffic, but actually give less time to animals to decide whether to cross the road or not. Reduced width will increase probability of animal fatalities." On an average, 6,000 vehicles use NH6 in every 24 hours. The WII has said NHAI should be asked to implement the mitigation measures as soon as possible. Delay in implementing the measures will affect the long-term functionality of the crucial corridor connecting 10 protected areas (PAs). http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Five-underpasses-to-protect-wildlife/articleshow/13400986.cms
SUNNY SEBASTIAN Tigress T-39 was sighted for the ﬁrst time with a cub on Monday morning in Sultanpur area of Ranthambhore National Park in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan. Photo: Special arrangement It is raining litters in Ranthambhore National Park; more tiger cubs sighted Rajasthan's Ranthambhore National Park is turning into a little kingdom of tiger cubs with their number registering an all-time high figure of two dozens. One new cub was discovered on Monday morning in the Sultanpur locality of the park while tiger-watchers insist that T-17, the tigress born to Machli and now called “Sundari” by virtue of her good looks too has turned a mother though photographic evidence on the young ones is awaited. The Monday morning celebrity was T-39, the daughter of the Sultanpur tigress which had left the park some months back and is now living in the Chambal ravines in Kota and Baran districts of the State. T-39 obviously inherited her mother's terrain in her absence as she was spotted with a cub in that locality (see photo). “This is an exciting find! I am sure we will have more good news when T-17 comes out in the open with her cubs. I had seen her mating with the male tiger T-25 some time in January. Thereafter she was spotted in the company of another male, T-28. Ever since, the Forest staff in the park had been keeping the date and counting the days as it is approximately 90 days of pregnancy for tiger,” said Bina Kak, Rajasthan's Minister for Environment & Forests, talking to The Hindu. “It is very difficult to decide whether a particular tigress is pregnant or not. They all look the same if the tummy is full,” she noted. Ms. Kak is especially happy about T-17 as she (the Minister) had insisted on getting the collar round the feline's neck removed. “The decision to remove the collar seemingly worked in reproduction. I want the collars to be removed in the case of the female tigers in Sariska as well so that the existing spell over tiger breeding in that park after the re-introduction of tigers breaks,” she said. Ms. Kak said if the National Tiger Conservation Authority approves she would move two more tigresses from Ranthambhore to Sariska. If regular park visitors are to be believed, the number of cubs has reached 22-24 and this means that the average age of Ranthambhore tigers is coming down. The park at present has 34 adult tigers and the water hole census carried out on May 6-7 too had confirmed this. The female tigresses with cubs at present are: T-13, T-5, T-8, T-31, T-9 (all with two cubs each), T-19, T-26, T-11 and T-30 -- all with three cubs each. Yet counting the tiger cubs may be more like counting your eggs before they are hatched. That is why the Forest authorities are often reluctant to give out the numbers of litters at any given time. Perhaps that also explains why they had kept the number of tiger cubs in the park as “over a dozen” after the water hole census this time. “It is a very risky area. All the tiger cubs are not likely to survive and if the figures are given out in advance the media is bound to make a big fuss when the deaths take place due to various reasons,” pointed out Rajpal Singh, Member, Rajasthan Board for Wildlife. “The fact that tigers are breeding copiously in the park is surely very exciting. Even if 60 per cent of the present cub population survives that is going to be a big number,” he added. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3445488.ece
WEDNESDAY, 23 MAY 2012 00:27 PNS | DEHRADUN Forest department personnel have once again sighted the tiger which had been seen lying almost immobile in the Ramnagar forest division on Sunday. Though it was earlier suspected that the feline might be injured, no visual signs of injury or blood marks have been found on its body or the site where it was lying. Forest department personnel had spotted a tiger lying more of less in the same place near Bhandarpani in Kota range of the Ramnagar forest division on Sunday morning which had elicited concern of the officials when it was found in the same place in the evening. The tiger disappeared on Sunday night but was sighted once again at the same place on Tuesday. The tiger was earlier thought to be injured but according to Chief Conservator of Forests, Kumaon Circle, Paramjeet Singh, there is no visual injury on the tiger and not a drop of blood was found on the spot where it was resting. A team of wildlife experts and vets was called to the site and personnel were trying to feed the feline meat. http://www.dailypioneer.com/nation/67481-tiger-sighted-in-ramnagar-forest-division-again.html
TNN | May 23, 2012, 04.53AM IST MYSORE: The three-day elephant census commenced on Monday in Mysore, Chamarajnagar and Kodagu districts with many volunteers assisting the forest officials. Some 100 volunteers each are assisting the ground staff and officials in Nagarahole, Bandipur and BR Hills tiger reserves. The officials have divided the reserves into units, assigning volunteers and the staff to go on beats. The exercise started early in the day and ended after the sunset. At Bandipur, the volunteers, who stayed at anti-poaching camps, started the groundwork at 6am. There are 70 volunteers who are assigned with 59 beats. "We will collate the data and arrive at the number of jumbos in the tiger reserve," Kumar Pushkar, director of the Bandipur tiger reserve, told The Times of India. Spread over 874 sqkm, the volunteers gathered data in each block, which will help in arriving at a figure. Madikeri: 8 injured in jumbo attack Eight persons were injured in two incidents of elephant attacks at different places in Madikeri on Monday. A tusker attacked a group of seven workers at Pollibetta inside an estate. In the second incident, Thimmaiah, an estate writer at Kerebeilu Tota near Banangala, suffered deep wounds on his back when a tusker attacked him from behind. Hundreds of volunteers help forest staff in census TNN | May 23, 2012, 04.53AM IST Article Comments inShare Read More:The Times|Nagarahole Bandipur|Kerebeilu Tota 0 MYSORE: The three-day elephant census commenced on Monday in Mysore, Chamarajnagar and Kodagu districts with many volunteers assisting the forest officials. Some 100 volunteers each are assisting the ground staff and officials in Nagarahole, Bandipur and BR Hills tiger reserves. The officials have divided the reserves into units, assigning volunteers and the staff to go on beats. The exercise started early in the day and ended after the sunset. At Bandipur, the volunteers, who stayed at anti-poaching camps, started the groundwork at 6am. There are 70 volunteers who are assigned with 59 beats. "We will collate the data and arrive at the number of jumbos in the tiger reserve," Kumar Pushkar, director of the Bandipur tiger reserve, told The Times of India. Spread over 874 sqkm, the volunteers gathered data in each block, which will help in arriving at a figure. Madikeri: 8 injured in jumbo attack Eight persons were injured in two incidents of elephant attacks at different places in Madikeri on Monday. A tusker attacked a group of seven workers at Pollibetta inside an estate. In the second incident, Thimmaiah, an estate writer at Kerebeilu Tota near Banangala, suffered deep wounds on his back when a tusker attacked him from behind.