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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Centre to fund 90% of Project Tiger in Northeast

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 08:58 0 Guwahati: The Central government has increased its share of funding from the existing 50 percent to 90 percent for northeastern states under the Project Tiger scheme. This was recently conveyed by Union Minister of State for Environment & Forests Jayanthi Natarajan to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. According to the communication, the northeastern states will now have to spend only 10 percent share under the scheme for tiger conservation. Project Tiger aims at ensuring a viable population of tigers in their natural habitat. There are six tiger reserves in the northeast - three in Assam (Kaziranga tiger reserve, Manas tiger reserve and Nameri tiger reserve), two in Arunachal Pradesh (Namdapha tiger reserve and Pakhui tiger reserve) and one in Mizoram (Dampa tiger reserve). Although the exact number of the big cats in the region is not known, the 2010 tiger census - which was conducted countrywide - estimated the presence of 130-150 big cats in the six tiger reserves. The Assam chief minister had earlier submitted a memorandum to the prime minister, which contained a proposal for reducing the state's share to 10 per cent in the Centrally-sponsored scheme. IANS

Botched tiger death register rings alarm

TAGS: Tiger deaths | Tiger poaching | Tiger conservation | National animal | Rajesh Gopal | Wildlife activists | Ministry of Forest The nation's tigers could soon vanish from the jungles and remain only on the record books because of unprecedented bungling in the death register. A typical police phenomenon whereby crimes are often not reported or passed off as minor offences to keep the logbook clean, this trend has been noticed in tiger conservation and is leading to devastating consequences. The nation has 1,706 tigers according to the 2010 census. But the number could be different in the 40-odd forests reserved for the majestic national animal because 32 deaths have already been reported this year - 14 of them to poaching. To buck this trend, the National Tiger Conservation Authority has ruled that tiger deaths be treated as cases of poaching, unless proved otherwise. "To ensure due diligence and topmost priority, every case of tiger and leopard death would be henceforth treated as a case of poaching, unless proved otherwise beyond reasonable doubt. If a tiger death is classified as death because of natural causes, it should be substantiated by adequate supporting field evidence and factual details," the conservation authority said in its advisory issued last week. Officials said this would ensure that no incident of poaching was termed as natural death. Rajesh Gopal, secretary in the conservation authority, asked chief wildlife wardens of the states where tigers are found to follow a series of "adequate caution while classifying tiger deaths as death due to natural causes". Wildlife activists and tiger conservationists have welcomed the move. "It's a good because many poaching deaths have been covered up as natural deaths," conservationist Belinda Wright said. "If one was to look at statistics (of tiger mortalities) from 2008 onwards, the figure of natural deaths and deaths due to infighting has trebled. On the other hand, poaching deaths, evident from confiscation and recovery of tiger parts, have halved. This is not possible. There was something seriously wrong somewhere," she pointed out. "So now, every time there is a tiger death, the wildlife officials posted at the tiger reserves have been asked to check for equipment used in poaching like metal traps, snares, any evidence of unauthorised vehicular movement, any sign of use of firearms, poisoning near water bodies and even poisoning of livestock killed by tigers. These tell-tale signs will help investigators establish the cause of death," she added. The guidelines have been issued almost a month after the conservation authority pressed the panic button following credible inputs that several wandering gangs of poachers were seen near tiger reserves. Calling the situation serious, it asked forest guards to conduct combing operations. Read more at:

Supari killing: Poacher sold tiger for `7,000

Source: P Naveen, DNA | Last Updated 05:50(29/05/12) Bhopal: The tiger allegedly poached in Shivpuri district was sold for Rs 7000 by Sanjesh, the poacher arrested along with seven others from buffer zone of Pench National Park, told interrogators. He revealed that the tiger was trapped in a steel-jaw leg hold trap laid in forest near Shivpuri district. To ensure that the skin is not damaged, the accused along other trappers killed the tiger by breaking its neck and spines; besides hitting them hard on its head, said sources. After collecting the skin, claws and bones, the remains (flesh), accused said, were dumped at a deserted place on Gwalior road in Shivpuri. A team has been dispatched to Shivpuri along with the accused to recover the dump from the said location, said Ashok Kumar, Chindwara divisional forest officer (DFO). Meanwhile, the forest officials in Shivpuri assume that, the animal he killed must have been a leopard. “We are not sure about whether the animal he killed was a tiger or a leopard. We are trying to assertion the facts in coordination with different teams” DFO Shivpuri RD Mahela said. For further identification of the species, sample of hairs recovered from the jaw-trap recovered form poachers have been sent to wild life forensic laboratory in Hyderabad. The reports are awaited. Sanjesh, the officer said, was a hard nut to crack. He tried to mislead the interrogators that the jaw-trap recovered from his possession was a toy. Later, he changed claiming that he brought it to cope with troubles of rat on his Gypsy. The officials also had detained three persons in Shivpuri, to whom he had allegedly sold the tiger skin and bones. They were later released as no recovery was made. Officials claim that they would be arrested, once evidence is collected. Officials of the Tadoba-Andheri Tiger Reserve (TATR), Maharashtra also interrogated Sanjesh, but failed to get significant information related to poaching attempts made in their area in April this year. Sanjesh’s cell phone number was matched with a list of mobile numbers that had the TATR officials had brought along, but to no avail. “They had a long list of mobile numbers that was serviced by mobile towers around the TATR area between April and May - when the tigers were trapped - but his number didn't match,” said an officer. The forest officials have sought the call details record (CDR) of Sanjesh to ascertain his contacts, if any, with the interstate or international poaching syndicate. Besides, a tiger, the accused have confessed to have killed four leopards in the same region. Officials are also looking forward to subject him to a narco analysis test for more information following his contradictory and misleading statements. Sanjesh was arrested along with seven other by the officials of Pench tiger reserve and local forest department on Friday night. Other accused, Zilendar Giri of Sarguja and Rai Singh, Dharma, Dhara, Ishwar, Jorawar and Kismat, all from Rajasthan are in judicial custody.

38 assistant conservators of forests shifted, Vashisht moves to Tadoba

TNN | May 29, 2012, 02.27AM IST NAGPUR: In a major reshuffle, the state government on Monday transferred 38 assistant conservators of forests (ACFs). Among those who have been shifted are GK Vashisht, A M Pillarishet, Kishore Mishrikotkar, GC Yede, AS Khune and others. Vashisht, who had worked in TATR for over a decade and played a key role in changing the face of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), has again been posted in TATR. His posting is seen as an attempt to improve things, specially in the backdrop of recent poaching cases in the buffer of Tadoba. Vashisht will replace an equally good officer Pillarishet, who has been posted to Pench. Similarly, Mishrikotkar, who was with the additional PCCF (wildlife) office and headed several wildlife rescue operations, will look after the anti-poaching squad with wildlife. Ashok Khune, who was posted in New Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary, has been shifted to Navegaon National Park while GC Yede has been brought to PCCF (wildlife) office. Khune will be replaced by NV Kale. S K Thapdiyal, who was with budget, has now been posted to planning department. He will replace KN Kuduple.