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Friday, June 8, 2012

Tadoba to be partially closed from July 1

TNN | Jun 8, 2012, 04.43AM IST CHANDRAPUR: In view of monsoon the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) is expected to be partially closed for tourists from July 1. A proposal to this effect has been forwarded to APCCF (wildlife) for approval by the TATR authorities. Earlier, TATR used to be the only tiger reserve in state that remained open for tourists during monsoon. But, since last year forest department had decided to close the TATR for tourist during monsoon albeit partially. Partial closure of Tadoba last year had came to effect from July 15, however this year it would be 15 days earlier. ACF of TATR Ajay Pillariseth said, "Only eight vehicles each will be allowed to enter the park in each shift form the Moharli gate. The tourist vehicles would follow only pucca road between Moharli and Tadoba during restricted period." The patch of pucca road between Moharli and Tadoba is 19 km long. Tourists will not be allowed to visit any waterhole inside the jungle in their vehicle. The guide accompanying vehicle would ensure that vehicles stick to the pucca road. This closure will remain in effect till next three months and park would reopen fully for tourists from October 1. All other gates other than Moharli will be closed for tourists during monsoon. However closure would not effect the movement of state transport's bus that ferries passengers across tiger reserve or the villagers residing inside the park from any gate. TATR management would observe monsoon patrolling programme to increase security arrangements in the reserve during the semi-closure period. Ends

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.

Combing operations on in Corbett Tiger Reserve

PTI | 02:06 PM,Jun 07,2012 Dehra Dun, Jun 7 (PTI) Intensive combing operations were today carried out at the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) following the arrest of three suspected poachers. "We are continuing our combing operation for some more time," CTR Director R K Mishra said. Following the combing operation, a CTR team with the assistance of local police arrested three suspected poachers with four snares, pieces of meat, steel chains and other materials used for killing wild animals from Bijrani range on Tuesday. However, five of their accomplices managed to flee from the spot taking advantage of darkness, Mishra said. "We will continue the operation till the other poachers are also nabbed," said Mishra. He said 24-hours patrolling and combing is being done in Corbett to nab the poachers. Day and night patrolling in the reserve forest areas in Uttarakhand, including the Rajaji Park, would continue as the security of tigers is a challenge especially when the maximum density of 214 tigers have been reported from Corbett in 2012, Sharma said. Mishra said the forest department has prepared a long-term proposal of intensive patrolling in tiger areas with an estimated cost of Rs 9.80 crore.

Five detained for poaching tiger in MP

PTI | 02:06 PM,Jun 07,2012 Bhopal, Jun 7 (PTI) Five persons were today detained by forest officials days after poaching of a tiger came to light in neighbouring Sehore district. A three-year-old male tiger was found cut into two parts that were found strewn at two different locations near Kathotia village, about 32 km from here, on Tuesday. The forest officials suspect that the big cat might have been electrocuted by poachers. The detainees have been identified as Hiralal, Ther Singh, Naval Singh and Kamal, while the identity of the fifth detainee is not known yet, they said, adding search for two of their accomplices is on. The officials had last week received reports about a tiger as well as a tigress roaming with her cubs in the forest areas adjoining Kervan and Kaliasot dams, following which they set up a cage with a bait to trap the feline but their efforts proved futile. PTI AS NSK

Vigilant watchers foil intrusion attempt into Tadoba

Mazhar Ali, TNN | Jun 8, 2012, 04.29AM IST CHANDRAPURndrapur: Even as red alert is in place in all tiger bearing territories, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) appears to be high on the radar of poachers. Yet another instance of trespassing attempt by poachers into TATR has come to light. Poachers had tried to intrude from Katezari side of tiger reserve on Saturday night, but their bid was foiled by alert watchers stationed at machan and protection hut. There was a lot hue and cry over intrusion of a gang of suspected poachers from Wamangaon side of TATR on Sunday night. The gang was seen by labourers deployed on protection hut and came to fore on following day. However, poachers' attempt to trespass into TATR on Saturday night, previous to Wamangaon side intrusion, went unreported as TATR officers remained tight-lipped over it. Around 10-12 poachers on four bikes along the canal of Mendhli pond were seen by watchers stationed on machan at pond on Katezari side of TATR on Saturday night. The poachers were reportedly armed with sticks and spears. The watchers on machan immediately called Katezari protection hut and four forest labourers stationed there rushed to the pond for their help. Sensing trouble, poachers fled back towards village Sonegaon's direction. Patrolling in the area was intensified in the area since then. RFO (Protection), TATR Luche confirmed the incident. "We have recorded statements of the two watchers who had seen the poachers from their machan. We also recorded statements of police patils of Sonegaon and Ashta villages as the poachers had come from this direction. This incident has also been mentioned in complaint filed with Chimur police station," he said. It is, however, strange that despite the two serious incidents, no offence has been registered in this regard. TATR authorities have not bothered to register primary offence report (POR) on their own about the two incidents. Instead, they washed their hands off the issue by submitting a simple complaint to Chimur police. Cops have taken little cognisance of the matter and have not bothered to file first information report (FIR), but kept the TATR's complaint under investigation. Both RFO Luche and Chimur PSO Panjabrao Madavi said they have registered no offence in connection with the two trespassing incidents.

Four more tiger sanctuaries in Maharashtra

Ketki Angre | Updated: June 07, 2012 22:01 IST There's good news for wildlife conservation efforts in Maharashtra. The state has notified four new wildlife sanctuaries in Vidarbha, areas that will now get legal protection against any commercial activities. Addressing the media, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said, "There are a large number of tigers in reserves like Tadoba (Andhari Tiger Reserve). Many do move from one forest to another. That's why tiger corridors are crucial. These new sanctuaries will help in strengthening tiger corridors." Spread over a 60 sq. km area, the new Bor sanctuary is an important corridor that connects the Tadoba and Pench Tiger Reserves. Navegaon Sanctuary will mean an additional 122 sq. km area apart from a National Park of the same name. New Nagzira further extends 151 sq. km area near the Nagzira Sanctuary. And Karandla with 189 sq. km area is a crucial link between Tadoba Tiger Reserve and the Navegaon Park. Executive Director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, Belinda Wright says it's a proactive step other states could do well to follow. "They (wildlife) cannot breed, live or have a future without corridors. You need corridors for individuals to go from one area to another. So this is an absolute critical need for our wildlife at the moment and if it isn't done now, it will never be done." Dipankar Ghose, Director of Species, Conservation Programme with WWF told NDTV, "It's always good to have extra space for wildlife which can act as a corridor or as a buffer for the existing tiger habitat." With these new sanctuaries, Maharashtra has added over 500 sq. km to its protected forest cover. That's almost as good as adding another Tadoba reserve in terms of the area. Experts also feel that legal protection for forest cover combined with people's participation is the best way forward to make conservation a reality, a real possibility if governments and citizens work together keeping their common goal in mind.

Four tiger cubs claimed by forest fire near Corbett

DS Kunwar, TNN | Jun 8, 2012, 03.20AM IST DEHRADUN: In a horrendous tragedy, the lives of four male tiger cubs aged between 10 to 15 days were snuffed out in a forest fire near Corbett National Park, one of India's finest and most visited reserves, on Wednesday, with forest officials not ruling out poachers' involvement in the fire and ordering an inquiry. The cubs' post-mortem revealed they died of suffocation. Chief forest conservator (Kumaon) Paramjeet Singh described the distressing incident near Udham Singh Nagar district's Nathwali village in Uttarakhand as one that has "shaken wildlife lovers". He said Nainital-based forest conservator Kapil Joshi will hold an inquiry to find out the reasons behind the fire. He added that Joshi will inquire whether the fire was accidental or if poachers had lit it to trap the cubs. Three poachers were arrested from Savalde under Corbett's Bijrani forest range on Tuesday while trying to sneak into the reserve. Officials said local residents had seen the cubs getting caught in the fire, but watched helplessly as a roaring tigress, who could be their mother, scared them away. Another forest officer Nishant Verma told reporters in Ramnagar that he rushed rescuers to the spot but the cubs had suffocated to death by the time they reached there. A senior forest officer in Nainital said the cubs had crossed into Tarai forest area from Corbett and were caught in the fire.

New tiger sanctuary to come up in Vidarbha

TNN | Jun 8, 2012, 01.29AM IST MUMBAI: The state government on Thursday gave an in-principle approval to a new tiger sanctuary in Vidarbha's Umred-Karandla, nearly 50 km from Nagpur. With this, the total sanctuaries in the state have now gone up to 33. The protected areas (PAs) of four other sanctuaries—Nagzira, Bor, Navegaon and Maldhok—were extended to boost the dwindling protected areas of Maharashtra. The total area extended in the reserves amounts to 520 sq km. The notification of new protected areas was necessitated after the government last year de-notified over 7,000 sq km of the Nanaj Sanctuary. Following a meeting of the State Wildlife Board, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said the tiger population in the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur district has increased substantially, leading to a spillover. As a result, many animals are straying outside the park, causing accidents and increasing the man-animal conflict. "The extended corridors will now act as a crucial buffer for the animals and reduce the number of accidents caused by such spillovers," said Chavan. The tiger population in TATR has jumped from 30 in year 2000 to over 100 in 2012. Special measures were also announced to provide relief to the animal habitat around the highway corridors—including the Mumbai-Delhi Dedicated Freight Corridor and Mumbai-Goa National Highway. A proposal to create underpasses on these corridors has been forwarded to the National Animal Welfare Board. It was also decided to provide additional vehicles to forest officers in Naxal-dominated areas. The state has also decided to rope in the irrigation and power departments for measures like building cross-canals and enhancing high-tension electric lines. Maharashtra has reported a number of tiger deaths and increased cases of poaching in the recent past, forcing the state to contemplate issuing shoot-at-sight orders. The issue also gained political undertones following a three-day visit by MNS chief Raj Thackeray to the TATR.

Tiger killing: Seven poachers sent to jail

TNN | Jun 8, 2012, 01.47AM IST BHOPAL: Seven persons, including six tribals who were arrested on the charge of killing a tiger that was found dead two days ago in Veerpur range of the Bhopal forest circle, were sent to jail till June 26 by a court on Thursday. MP forest department officials are looking for two more persons wanted in connection with tiger poaching case. Accused Bhagwan Singh Bhel, Bhaina Bhel, Kare Singh Bhel, Mor Singh Bhel, Kamal Bhel, Jagdia Bhel and Naval Singh were produced before Sehore district's chief judicial magistrate's court (CJM) which remanded them to judicial custody. "The accused have been charged under relevant sections of wildlife protection act (WPA). One section under which the accused have been charged could attract a punishment of 10 years imprisonment," forest department officials, said. "We have recovered the equipment used in poaching the tiger and other evidences from the accused," a top forest official said. He said one of the accused - Kher Singh is being prosecuted for the second time under WPA. Earlier, he had killed a barking deer, he added. All the accused have confessed to poaching, forest officials said adding that they have told the forest department officials that they had killed the big cat accidentally as it walked into the electric trap which was laid for some herbivore, he said. After coming out of the court, one of the accused Kher Singh claimed that they have been falsely implicated in the poaching case. He said that they were not having any connection with the tiger killing. The accused had electrocuted the big cat close to a water body at Kathotia area possibly on Sunday. As the tiger was too heavy they chopped it into two pieces in a vain attempt to dispose it off. Carcass of this tiger was found on Tuesday. This tiger, weighing about 200 to 300 kg and aged about four-year-old, has formed its territory in the forested area on the outskirts of the state capital. Earlier, this tiger had strayed into National Judicial Academy (NJA), located in the outskirts of Bhopal. With the number of big cats swelling in Ratapani wildlife sanctuary in adjoining Raisen district, this tiger had formed it territory outside. State forest department is looking for two more persons wanted in connection with tiger poaching case.