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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Goa to be part of Tiger Reserve complex?

Rajendra P Kerkar, TNN | Jun 26, 2012, 04.04AM IST KERI: Bereft of any details of wildlife in Goa, including that of big cats in the state, the 'status of wildlife in the state of Goa' report, nonetheless, offers a roar of support to former environment minister Jairam Ramesh's 'Tiger Reserve' suggestion. Referring extensively to the state's past wildlife censuses, the report by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, states, "The tiger occupied landscape in Goa forms part of the corridor connecting Anshi-Dandeli in Karnataka and Sahyadri Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. Goa can potentially be home to a small feeding population of tigers which would be sustained by immigrants from Anshi-Dandeli as well as Sahyadri. It would hence benefit from being incorporated as part of Tiger Reserve complex." The report, compiled by Bilal Habib and Gautam Talukdar of WII, has synthesized the result of the 2010 wildlife census following the MoEF-laid down protocols of phase-I of country-wide assessment of the status of tigers, co-predators and prey in India. The first census was in 2006. The present report notes, "Goa is not a tiger range state therefore the second and third phases for nationwide monitoring programme were not carried out in Goa." But, referring to the 2010 census that recorded the tiger's presence in Mollem wildlife sanctuary and in the forests of Ponda and Sanguem talukas, it notes, "Tiger occupancy within the state is about 322 sq km." It attributes this to the phase-I monitoring that reported the occupancy of six species of carnivores, with the leopard occupying the large area of 1611.28 sq km, and sloth bears, jackal, wild dog and tiger in 322 sq km. When contacted, additional principal chief conservator of forests Richard D'Souza told TOI, "The WII report has not given specific numbers of carnivores if any, rather they have given about zoning areas." Amrutsingh, president, Animal Rescue Squad, Bicholim, said, "It is surprising for us that status of wildlife in the state of Goa has not mentioned anything about tiger movements, when the area has the presence of a tigress, cubs and a male tiger." Paresh Parob, the newly-appointed range forest officer of the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary said, "We are aware about the tigers' movements in the sanctuary and the department has taken necessary steps for the protection of the big cats." Times View After years of hearing the government deny the tiger's presence in Goa, despite the pug marks, the scats, the cattle attacks and in 2009 a very disturbing photo of a slain big cat in Keri, the Wildlife Institute of India's report is a refreshing change. Details would have, of course, corroborated the cause vastly. It's now left to be seen whether the government can change its own stripes on the issue.

E-way to BNP, Bandipur

H M Aravind, TNN | Jun 26, 2012, 06.29AM IST MYSORE: Visitors to Bannerghatta National Park, Bangalore, and Bandipur tiger reserve can now book tickets online. The e-ticket facility will be launched at the BNP which will allow visitors to buy tickets to visit the facility which has a zoo, a museum and butterfly park. The e-ticket for Bandipur will allow visitors to book for accommodation and safaris too. The Zoo Authority of Karnataka, which on Monday introduced the e-ticket facility at the Zoo, said it is extending it to BNP. ZAK chairman M Nanjundaswamy said, "The Mysore Zoo is the first conservation centre in India to allow online booking of tickets." The BNP is attached to the ZAK. The idea is to save time standing in serpentine queues. Tourists can purchase the e-tickets at the zoo's official website Rates are different for adults, children and foreign tourists. The e-ticket will be valid for seven days from the date of purchase and the holders will get a separate entry point to the zoo. "This is convenient for the visitors and also saves paper for us," Nanjundaswamy explained. ZAK is also planning to tie-up with the Mysore Palace Board to allow visitors to purchase a single ticket that allows entry to the Palace and zoo. The zoo will charge Rs 10 per transaction. Those who book online must show an ID proof. As of now, the visitor has to take a printout of the e-ticket and present it at the gate. The zoo is planning to make it paperless soon by sending the ticket to the mobile or iPad.Payments are processed on a secure server and no personal data is collected and stored on any servers as a precautionary measure. Both credit and debit cards can be used and all leading payments processing systems such as VISA and MasterCard are accepted. Along with e-tickets, visitors can pre-order battery-operated vehicles for tours inside the Zoo, pay for usage of still and video cameras, book luggage racks and pay for parking which is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Half of forest department staff help tiger poachers: Maneka

PTI | 08:06 PM,Jun 25,2012 New Delhi, Jun 25 (PTI) More than half of the forest department employees are working in connivance with tiger poachers and help them hunt the big cats, former Union Minister Maneka Gandhi alleged here today. Citing "weak" wildlife conservation policies, Gandhi demanded a slew of measures to strengthen the existing Wildlife Act. "60 per cent of the forest department is taking money from poachers and actually pointing out the places where tigers are, helping them poach," Gandhi told reporters on the sidelines of a function here. She was replying to a question on loopholes in tiger conservation programmes run by the Forest and Environment Ministry in wake of recent incidents of poaching. Gandhi pointed to "weak" laws against poachers and lack of initiative on the part of the government to involve NGOs working in this area. "Poacher, when arrested, gets bail in three days. Government does not involve NGOs and they have very low manpower who are extremely corrupt and help poachers," she said. She also demanded stricter laws against wildlife tourism. "At Corbett Park, they should remove all the hotels because they (tourists) go on illegal elephant ride and they pay money to the forest people," Gandhi said. (more)