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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tiger believed sacrificed at Corbett

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times Big cats in some of India’s most well-known tiger reserves are under threat. Around 20 tigers are believed to have died in tiger reserves ranging from Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand and Tadoba in Maharashtra to Bandipur in Karnataka — indicating an increase in poaching activity. The remains of a poached animal, which wildlife activists claim was a tiger, was found in Corbett last week. Forest department officials, however, deny their contention, stating that the animal was either a porcupine or a jackal. Nevertheless, the mystery behind the incident lay in the fact that a prayer ceremony was performed at the site before the killing. This was confirmed when forest officials found clothes, an empty box of sweets and ash at the Bijrani range site, deep inside Corbett. Denotified tribes such as Bawarias usually conduct pujas before sacrificing wild animals. “What they left behind was a portion of the small intestine as an offering to the deity. The tiger was skinned, and most of its body parts were taken away,” said Anil Baluni, former chairperson of state environment and forest advisory committee. Ranjan Mishra, director of the Corbett Tiger Reserve, denied the claim. “There is a huge difference in the small intestine of tigers and other animals. We are sure that this animal was not a tiger. We have sent the body part for further analysis,” he said. Meanwhile, a red alert has been issued and unpaid forest guards have been placed on round-the-clock patrolling. "We don't have funds, not even to buy fuel for patrol vehicles," a senior official said. As per the 2010 tiger estimation, Corbett landscape had 214 tigers — the highest in the world. However, the open landscape of Corbett provides easy access to poachers, whose activities have intensified recently. About 2,000 km south-west, the Tadoba tiger reserve is facing a similar threat. Wildlife activists have reported the death of around eight tigers in the last few months. The silver lining, however, comes from the fact that Maharashtra has witnessed a 30% jump in tiger population over the last few years.

Tiger found dead in MP

PTI | 07:06 PM,Jun 05,2012 Bhopal, Jun 5 (PTI) A tiger was found dead today near Kathotia village about 32 km away from here in the neighbouring Sehore district, forest officials said. The officials suspect that the male tiger, which was about 3-years-old, might have died due to electrocution while roaming in the area. Its carcass was found in two parts, with one portion found on a hillock and another in the nearby bushes, they said. According to forest officials, they had received reports about a tiger as well as a tigress roaming with her cubs in the forest areas adjoining Kervan and Kaliasot dams. The officials had undertaken steps to catch the tiger and had deployed a cage with a bait in the area, even though the efforts had proved futile. The security staff of the National Judicial Academy had spotted the tiger some time back on their campus, but had failed to nab the animal despite efforts. In view of the presence of the tiger in the vicinity of the state capital, forest officials had put up signboards in Kervan, Kaliasot and Kolar areas to warn people, especially those keeping domestic animals, not to venture into the forest areas, they said. Forest officials suspect that the villagers might have cut the body of the dead tiger into two pieces to easily dispose it off. The post-mortem of the animal was conducted in the presence of senior officials, sources said adding that the remains of the tiger would be consigned to flames. PTI MAS NP

Move to set up tiger reserve

SARAT SARMA Nagaon, June 5: Dispur plans to set up a tiger reserve covering 1,050 square km in the eastern Bokajan subdivision of Karbi Anglong district. Four wildlife sanctuaries and five reserve forests will be included in the area, which is connected to Kaziranga. Forest minister Rakibul Hussain told The Telegraph that the plan, which will be implemented in collaboration with the Tiger Foundation of India, also aims at making the area tourism friendly. “We met the leaders of the local autonomous council last Thursday and the department officials were instructed to prepare a detailed project report. We shall have another discussion with forest department officials, representatives from the WWF and Tiger Foundation in Diphu shortly, where the proposed project will be given final shape,” Hussain said. Four wildlife sanctuaries in bordering Bokajan subdivision of the hill district — Garampani, Nambor, Karbi Anglong East and Karbi Anglong North — are known for the various species of animals found there. The WWF had traced the movements of the Royal Bengal tiger, golden cat, clouded leopard and other animals a few months ago. “Our target is to uplift the current ecological condition in the area to make the region favourable for tiger movement,” said the chief conservator of forests Abhijit Rabha. A high-level source of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council said the recent discussion with the forest minister regarding the tiger reserve was held after long study and research. “It is an initiative that might make Karbi Anglong more attractive to tourists. We are designing the tiger reserve project keeping tourism in mind,” the source said. Hussain said Dispur has planned two other important programmes for Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao — one to curb jhum cultivation and the second, a mass plantation scheme. “Farmers involved in jhum cultivation will be centred in an area and involved in some other ways of cultivation. All line departments, including agriculture, forest, DRDA and soil conservation, will be involved,” Hussain said.

38 hotels built in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve's safety zone

CNN-IBN Ranthambore: A blatant violation of the wildlife protection norms and a Supreme Court order has come to light. An RTI query has revealed that as many as 38 hotels and luxury resorts are operating within the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. These are located along the 500 metre safety zone in the park. Ranthambhore is home to 42 tigers and at least 20 cubs as per the last tiger census. "The Wildlife Board has declared that no activity will be allowed in a 1 km radius of the sanctuary and wildlife area. But here there are several hotels which have been built without keeping these guidelines in mind," forest department lawyer MH Kachawa said. The hotels are reportedly allowing tourists, mostly foreigners, to view the tigers from their terrace and from viewing towers. Reports say some hotels throw meat over the fence to lure the tigers out so that tourists can get to see them.

Poaching lens on cub death in Sunderbans

TNN | Jun 6, 2012, 04.34AM IST KOLKATA: The Sunderbans faces its first poaching probe since the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) notified new rules last month. The carcass of a two-month-old female tiger cub was found floating near the mangroves on the Raimangal river on Tuesday, creating a flutter in the forests as, according to NTCA rules, all tiger deaths are to be treated as poaching cases until proven otherwise. Officials of the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve will now conduct a detailed probe and send the post-mortem and viscera reports to the NTCA. The body was spotted near Jhingakhali by an STR patrolling team. Vet and representatives from World Wildlife Fund and NTCA were called in to assist in the probe. The cub might have died a day or two back. As of now, it is suspected to be a drowning case as water was found in the cub's lungs. Since it was only two months old, it didn't even have teeth," said Joydip Kundu, member, NTCA Schedule I animal handling committee. Acting field director of STR and a joint director of Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve, Ravi Kant Sinha, told TOI the cub's lungs and stomach had been sent to laboratory for detailed reports. "We are searching the forests of Arbesi and Jhingakhali for the mother and other cubs. Traces of minced food, chewed by its mother, was found in the stomach. There was no injury mark on the body and all the body parts were intact. It seems a natural death by drowning during the high tide," Sinha added. Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve director Pradeep Vyas said two to three teams, led by the range officers, have already launched combing operations in the nearby jungles. "They are trying to track the mother. If they notice anything unusual, they will report us immediately." Though Sinha claimed that initial reports have been sent to the NTCA, a senior NTCA official said they are yet to receive any report. "We haven't received any communication from the Sunderbans officials. Unless we receive the detailed reports and are satisfied with those, this tiger death will be treated as an official case of poaching, as mentioned in a recent directive by the NTCA," said S P Yadav, deputy inspector general (DIG), NTCA. Biswajit Roychowdhury of Nature Environment and Wildlife Society (NEWS) said the officials should probe the case properly as Bagna, Kumirmari are vulnerable areas, from where cases of poaching have been reported earlier.

Wildlife Trust of India gives 1L to Bor tiger attack victim kin

TNN | Jun 6, 2012, 01.49AM IST NAGPUR: In a considerate gesture, the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), an NGO working for tiger conservation in the country, gave 1 lakh to the kin of a tiger attack victim in Bor Wildlife Sanctuary, 60km from here in Wardha district. Sitaram Wadhve, a permanent forest labourer posted in Pendhri beat of Bor, was mauled to death by a tiger on April 19, in the sanctuary while he was filling a water hole in Chichkhori area. It was assumed that Wadhve, being a daily wage forest labourer (van majoor), would not get welfare benefits from the government. However, WTI has launched unique initiative to provide insurance cover of 1 lakh each to field staff of all the national parks and sanctuaries in Maharashtra. This has come as a succour for Wadhve's family. As Wadhve was covered under the scheme, a demand draft of 1 lakh was handed over to his wife Malti by conservator of forests M S Reddy recently. Assistant conservator of forests Uttam Sawant and WTI manager Prafulla Bhamburkar were also present. Apart from the 1 lakh aid by WTI, Wadhve's family received 2 lakh from Forest Welfare Fund and another 2 lakh is expected towards human kill compensation.

Carcass of tiger cub found at Sundarbans

PTI | 07:06 PM,Jun 05,2012 Sundarbans (WB), June 5 (PTI) The carcass of a three-month-old female tiger cub was found today from a spot near Jhila jungle at Sundarbans tiger reserve. Local fishermen informed the forest department officials after spotting the carcass on the bank of the Roymangal river at Basirhat range of the mangrove forest, officials said. "After carrying out a post-mortem, it was found that the tiger cub drowned in the river after the water level suddenly rose in the river following high tide," Dr Utpalendu Mondal veterinary surgeon of Sundarban Tiger Project said. PTI COR AMD

NTCA to get strict with state forest departments

Neha Shukla, TNN | Jun 5, 2012, 06.48PM IST LUCKNOW: Any tiger death reported from any part of the country will prima-facie be taken as poaching. The latest guidelines issued from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to all the chief wildlife wardens of state forest departments is an effort to make the state governments more accountable. The states were reporting most of the tiger deaths as "natural", so far, thus, washing their hands off of any further investigation. "Poaching calls for more seriousness and accountability on the part of the states," said SP Yadav, joint director, NTCA, New Delhi. After the latest guidelines, "the onus will be on the field directors to prove otherwise," said the official. In case, forest officers fail to prove otherwise, it will be recorded as a case of poaching.The guidelines say, even an intact carcass of tiger or a leopard will be taken as a case of poaching. "Poachers poison tigers when they want an intact tiger skin," said the official. Though census figures show the population of tigers rising all over the country, what cannot be denied is the fact that tigers are highly threatened. Since January 2012, country has lost 36 tigers. Out of which, 16 tiger deaths were reported by way of poaching and seizures, and, for 20 other tiger deaths, cause was not know. UP reported five tiger deaths. A tiger skin was recovered from Najibabad in Bijnore on February 9 and another tiger was found dead in Amangarh in Bijnore on March 7, the cause of the death was not know for this. Meanwhile, two tigers were reported dead in Haripur range of Pilibhit on Friday, a decomposed carcass of tiger was found in Kishenpur sanctuary on Sunday. NTCA, however, wants to accord "utmost seriousness" to tiger and leopard deaths in the country. If a tiger death is classified as occurring due to natural causes, this should be substantiated by adequate field evidence and factual details while reporting to the central authority. Tiger source areas are targeted by poachers and tigers also become victims of non-targeted killings due to man-tiger conflicts. There is need to ensure adequate caution while classifying tiger deaths due to "natural" causes, says NTCA. The area from where tiger death has been reported has to be thoroughly combed to ensure that there are no metal traps or snares at the site. Evidence related to unauthorized vehicular movement, use of fire arms, poisoning near water points, natural salt licks and poisoning of livestock kills made by tiger or leopard needs to be investigated.