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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Suspected poachers' gang intrudes into Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

Mazhar Ali, TNN | Jun 5, 2012, 02.12AM IST CHANDRAPUR: Search operations have been stepped up in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) after a gang of suspected poachers intruded into tiger reserve on Sunday night. Three forest labourers posted at Wamangaon protection hut saw the gang but couldn't take them on fearing for their life. Immediately a high alert was sounded in the reserve and buffer area. Since the Gondmohadi poaching incident the TATR and all tiger bearing territories in Chandrapur are on high alert. Everybody on patrol in and around TATR were alerted on Sunday night and all patrolling vehicles in TATR and buffer areas along Palasgaon and Chimur range were diverted to Alizanja area of the reserve to look for the gang which entered the reserve from Wamangaon side during midnight, sources said. Speaking to TOI, field director and CCF, TATR, Virendra Tiwari confirmed the intrusion of unknown people into TATR on Sunday night. "A gang was sighted by van majoors (forest labourers) posted at Wamangaon protection hut. They were eight in number and clad in black dress. The labourers immediately intimated the higher officers," he said. "We are not sure about the motive of their intrusion. It could be a gang of thieves that had moved into jungle for shelter. But, possibility of it being a poachers gang is also not ruled out. We are taking no chances. Intense foot patrolling has also been ordered inside the jungle," said Tiwari. Other officials in forest department claimed that there were three forest labourers at protection hut, while number of intruders was eight. The labourers feared to take on the gang which fled towards Alizanja jungle of Tadoba. Monday was full moon night. Seasoned poachers prefer full moon nights for poaching as visibility is at the highest. No trace of the gang was found till late in the evening. Gondmohadi case: Gothiya couple's hand ruled out Forest officials investigating into Gondmohadi tiger poaching have ruled out the possibility of involvement of poacher family arrested in Chimur in the case. Four poachers including Punnalal Gothiya, his wife and two juvenile sons were arrested with two tortoises a few days back. A team of forest officers from Palasgaon range interrogated the Gothiya couple, who have been remanded to forest custody, and concluded that they have no involvement in Gondmohadi poaching. "We have also checked the call details of Gothiya with the calls that passed from Palasgaon mobile telephone tower. Gothiya's phone number has no mention in telephone record of Palasgaon telephone tower available with us," said a senior officer investigating the Gondmohadi case. Two tigers were poached in Gondmohadi jungle on April 26 and forest department has obtained the phone records from April 25 to 27 that transpired through Palasgaon telephone tower. Investigators suspect that those involved in poaching must have called from their phone from Gondmohadi to their mentors to inform that their bid on tigers failed. Accused Gothiyas have given the address of their village which is near Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. The forest officials have forwarded their photographs to the DCF in MP to check the record of Gothiyas. Two round officers, 17 guards transferred The TATR management has transferred two round officers and 17 forest guards to rejuvenate protection in reserve. Out of 17 guards, eight have been transferred to Chandrapur forest circle. Remaining nine guards have been shuffled from their present posts to some other place in the reserve. Decision came in wake of suspension of two forest guards from Tadoba range who were found involved in tree felling. Field director Virendra Tiwari confirmed of the transfers.

Shepherd injured in tiger attack near Bor

TNN | Jun 5, 2012, 02.32AM IST NAGPUR: Over-enthusiasm proved costly for a shepherd when he was attacked by a tiger near Junapani Nala outside Bor Wildlife Sanctuary on Monday evening. According to assistant conservator of forests (ACF) Uttam Sawant, victim Sampat Kowe (55), a resident of Bori village, went too close to the animal in an attempt to show it to a section of tourists returning from Bor sanctuary. The incident took place at 5.15pm. Due to poor wildlife management and failure to create some good resting places in Bor, its resident tigers prefer dense bushy and marshy area outside the sanctuary. The Junapani Nullah is one such hot spot. Many tourists claim to have sighted tigers in the nullah, specially during the summer season. Kowe was trying to show the tiger to some tourists when he was attacked. Sawant said that when Kowe went to close near the animal it charged on him. Kowe escaped with minor injures on leg and hand. The victim was later shifted to a local hospital for treatment. "The spot being outside Bor, we don't have control over it. We had distributed pamphlets to villagers and had made publicity about presence of tigers near the nullah. Besides, on several occasions, Kowe was warned not to venture deep into the nullah but he did not pay heed to our requests," Sawant told TOI. On April 19, Sitaram Wadve, a permanent van majoor posted in Pendhri beat of Bor, was killed by a tigress when he had gone to fill a waterhole near Chichkhori.

Tiger death: Authorities deny poisoning

Lemuel Lall, TNN | Jun 3, 2012, 03.31AM IST BHOPAL: Barely five days after it mauled a man to death, an old tiger Bokha died in Bandhavgarh tiger reserve in Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh on Friday. This has put the authorities in a bind given that this was the second big cat's death in a short span of 20 days in the park. After the 14-year-old Bokha was found dead with injury marks on its body on Friday, the Madhya Pradesh forest department authorities have armed themselves with proof to convince National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) that the big cat died due to injuries it sustained in a "territorial fight" and old age. The death has come a couple of days after the NTCA asked the forest departments, across the country, to treat every big cat death as a case of poaching - unless proven otherwise. "The dead tiger did not have a canine tooth but there were bite marks on its left leg and back. On May 27, Bokha at Kushwar village had mauled a man who died after some hours. Since then our staff kept a watch on it," reserve filed director C K Patil told TOI. "Our staffers, from time to time, gave the big cat medicines. It ate two goats on Friday and walked some 4 to 5 km before it slumped near a water body and died," he added. He ruled out the possibility of big cat being poisoned by the nearby villagers to avenge the man's death recently. Bokha had died of injuries and old age and nothing should be read into it, Patil said. "With Bokha's death, we have lost all the old big cats. Last year, tiger B - 2 died," the director said. According to him, one among the two young tigers had attacked Bokha. "These two tigers want to form their territories," he added. He said that they are going to prove to the NTCA that it was a natural death and not a poaching case. Short post-mortem report too states that it was a natural death. "We are going to get the detailed autopsy report on Monday which would be forwarded to the NTCA," Patil said. About the young big cat's death on May 12, he said it too died in a territorial fight.

HC seeks reply on tiger task force delay

TNN Jun 3, 2012, 03.34AM IST LUCKNOW: Taking cognizance of three tiger deaths in UP within a week, the high court has asked the Central and state governments to explain why the proposed Special Task Force for protection of tigers in the national parks not been constituted yet. The court has also directed state government to set up the task force before July first week. The court will hear the case in July first week. The order was passed by a division bench of Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice VK Dixit on a PIL seeking directions to the government for constitution of the force. The Central government's counsel told the court that the Centre has released the funds and now the onus is on the state to set up the task force. The idea of setting up a dedicated tiger protection force was mooted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 5, 2007. Dudhwa, along with 16 tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Bihar was nominated to be manned by the special task force to accord protection to the dwindling population of big cats against rampant poaching. The task force will comprise forest guards and locals. Besides shortage of forest guards, most of them are old too, said sources. Dudhwa, in 2008, was sanctioned one company of 120 trained personnel for STF. The company was to be headed by an assistant commandant, deemed to be at par with an assistant superintendent of police. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was expected to bear the expenses for arms and vehicles for patrolling and other logistics involved. The specialised force was to be recruited by the state home department as per the rules and regulation finalised by the state government and the Centre. Its recruitment and deployment was meant to be confined to man the tiger belt alone. The state government was to make arrangements for training of the personnel and setting up the infrastructural support required. Meanwhile, additional advocate general, UP, Zafaryab Jilani said he would seek instructions from the state government on the issue.

Palasgaon tiger stable, crying for space

TNN Jun 2, 2012, 03.08AM IST NAGPUR: The Palasgaon tiger, which is undergoing treatment at Seminary Hills nursery, for little over a month is reported to stable and is fast recovering. The full-grown tiger had suffered injuries on left paw and subsequent internal complications after getting entangled in a metal trap laid by poachers near a water hole in Gondmohadi near Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve ( TATR) on April 26. It was shifted to Nagpur on April 27. Team of veterinary doctors treating the tiger say the animal is stable and is fast recovering. The tiger's liver functioning is absolutely normal and this has possibly improved its appetite. The urea-creatinine levels, which were high 15 days ago, now are within the range. "Looking at its condition, no medicines are being given to the tiger. For the past eight days, it is consuming around 2.5kg meat," vets said. They added as the injury is deep, the wound on the left paw, which was entangled in the metal trap, may take over two months to heal. The tiger is resisting treatment to the injured leg. However, turmeric powder is being applied to the wound. "The movements of the animal are swift but it is crying for space. If it is shifted in a bigger cage, the recovery will be more fast. There are no chances of the tiger regaining the nails, lost due to trap injuries," sources said.

Tiger found dead in Bandipur

TNN | Jun 1, 2012, 01.52AM IST MYSORE: A tiger was found dead in Mulehole forest area of Bandipur tiger sanctuary In Chamarajnagar district. It was found about 1. 5 km from the forest guest house on the Mysore -Ooty Road. This is the second tiger death reported from Bandipur tiger sanctuary in May and the fourth in a row from Project Tiger areas of Nagarahole and Bandipur tiger sanctuaries in the last couple of months . The last tiger death was reported on May 4 in Bandipur sanctuary itself. While three were said to be natural deaths, one was poached by local hunters who were out to hunt wild boars, but chanced upon a tiger. According to an official source, the aging tiger might have died last week. Its body was highly decomposed. As the paws, nails and teeth were intact, forest officials suspect the big cat may have been killed while fighting with another tiger. Forest officials including Project Tiger director B J Hosmath who rushed to the spot conducted the postmortem of the tiger to ascertain the cause of death. "We conducted the postmortem in the presence of wildlife activists Sanjay Gubbi and Nagaraj Bhat to rule out speculations," Hosmath told The Times Of India ruling out poaching. Hosmath was upset at media claims that the tiger was killed using a jaw trap. "Death of this 7 to 8 year-old-tiger is without doubt due to a natural causes," he pointed out adding that it might have died due to septicemia and starvation . Hosmath said a lacerated hole was found on the head of the tiger and this might have led to septicemia ( blood -poisoning). He said there was not a drop of blood in the tiger's stomach and intestine which shows that the tiger was probably incapacitated due to the wound leading to its starvation. Veterinarian Dr Nagaraj who conducted the postmortem said: " When tigers sustain injuries and are wounded they will not hunt and starve." 20% of tigers die natural deaths In a year 20 to 25% of tigers die naturally . Tiger conservationist Sanjay Gubbi said natural deaths among tigers is a sign of a "healthy population" which indicates that the old are being replaced by the young ones . " Territorial fighting among tigers is a common phenomenon and the young fight with the old tigers to establish themselves," he said , adding that 15 to 20 tigers of Bandipur and Nagarahole tiger sanctuaries die naturally in a year.

Poachers again active in tiger reserves, one cub dies

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times Poachers have struck yet again cocking a snook at the forest personnel and the government. Another big cat - a tiger cub – which was found injured in Chorbauli forest died in Nagpur on Friday. The cub fell victim to suspected poachers in Vidarbha where seven tigers were killed by poachers since January 2012. The five-month cub separated from its mother was found in injured state by some villagers in Chorbauli forest range, adjacent to the Pench Tiger reserves, some 75 kms from here on Thursday morning. They immediately informed the local forest department that led to shift the female cub at Nagpur for treatment. The wild animal sustained serious injuries in many parts of its body after a stray dog attacked it when the cub tried to enter in a forest village on Thursday early morning. PG Thakre, the round officer of Chorbauli forest range, who brought the cub to Nagpur for treatment in a jeep, informed that the villagers noticed the resting big cat in the field of one Siddhilal Chauksey near Mogra village on Thursday early morning. “It was being treated by a team of veterinary doctors since yesterday afternoon. However, the big cat was not responding to the treatment. The cub sustained multiple injuries in different parts of the body,” said Kishore Mishrikotkar, the assistant conservator of forests (wildlife). The condition of the animal, believed to have suffered internal injuries, worsened in the night and it dies on Friday around 6.00 am, Mishrikotkar added. After autopsy, the carcass will be either buried or burnt. Earlier, two tigers were caught in steel traps set by professional tiger poachers in a heart-rending incident that took place in Palasgaon jungle, a buffer zone of Tadoba in Chandrapur district last month. One tiger died and the other has been rescued by the forest department but has serious injuries. “The tiger is now being treated in Nagpur and it is responding to the treatment,” claimed Mishrikotkar. In another shocking incident, the mutilated body of a tiger was found outside the Tadoba tiger reserves last week. Poachers took away the head, paws and vital organs of the tiger, leaving behind a chopped off tail and other body parts stuffed in gunny bags dumped on a state highway. Talking to Hindustan Times, Mishrikotkar informed that a combing operation was launched near Pench tiger reserves after the cub was found in injured state. “We suspected that mother of the cub might have been killed by the poachers and thus it was separated from its mother,” he said.