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Monday, July 2, 2012

Unsafe corridors pose threat to Tadoba tigers

Mazhar Ali, TNN | Jul 2, 2012, 04.00AM IST CHANDRAPUR: Even as the state government has shown positive signs towards conservation of tiger corridors of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) by declaring a new Umred-Karangla wildlife sanctuary, a lot is needed to done to pave the way for safe passage for tigers migrating out of Tadoba. Mapping and digitization of the tiger corridors leading out of Tadoba is one of the key demands of wildlife activist Bandu Dhotre, who will launch his indefinite hunger strike in Nagpur for safety of tigers here from Monday. Tadoba is one of the best tiger habitats in country that is connected with Andhra Pradesh in South, Gadchiroli in east and Nagpur in North through the corridors. The corridor in the North passes through Chimur range, leading to Central Nagpur forest division and further connecting to Melghat and Pench tiger reserves. Similarly, the southern corridor leads out through Lohara, Junona, Kothari, Dhaba jungles to Chaprala sanctuary and ahead to Indrawati tiger reserve Chhattisgarh. The same corridor branches towards Kawal Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh. The eastern corridor leads through Mul, Saoli and ahead into Wadsa forests of Gadchiroli. The spillover population of tigers from Tadoba and jungles around it, moves through these corridors to safer locations to make new territories. However, these tiger corridors are under severe threat due to mining and irrigation projects, expanding human habitation and negligence of forest department. "At present, there are about 36 tiger cubs in TATR. Out of these, 18 will attain adulthood during this year and move out of Tadoba. Their migration out of Tadoba can only be tenable when the corridors are safe," said Dhotre. He said that the forest department does not have exact mapping and digitization of these corridors. And for the same reason, the department does not know exactly where the tigers have gone after migration, he claimed. Dhotre said that there is total loss of monitoring in Gadchiroli and hence the department has no knowledge about the direction of movement of tigers there. Similarly, corridors have been bottlenecked and at many places completely severed due to deforestation, human habitation and even irrigation canals. "Forest department is aware of this problem, but has never bothered to map their corridors and identify the threats to it. Hence, we have voiced the demand of mapping and digitization of the corridors through Wildlife Institute of India, identifying the threats to corridors and enlisting the remedial measures to neutralize the threats to corridors," he said. Dhotre claimed that the other major threat to tigers and their corridors is from FDCM. This commercial set-up of forest department has its areas all around the TATR. There are several compartments of FDCM in every corridor and lack of protection and conservation in them present a severe threat to the resident and transitional tigers in them. "Tiger poaching through electrocution in FDCM Jharan range and failure in detection of dead tigers' carcasses in FDCM Jharan and Junona for a week clearly indicates lack of wildlife management and protection. FDCM is purely a commercial set-up and has least concern about wildlife protection and conservation," he alleged. He claimed that FDCM's work is to take up commercial forestation in degraded forest areas and sell the same wood after felling. However, FDCM acquired dense mixed forests in Vidarbha, particularly Chandrapur and destroyed the bio-diversity by taking up clear felling in their areas since 1978. FDCM acquired dense forests in Jharan, Kanhargaon, Dhaba and Devai having rich wildlife density and were identified as shooting blocks in British regime. Clear felling and plantation of commercial trees destroyed the habitat and disturbed the food chain leading to loss of herbivores and consequently carnivores. "Hence, we have also voiced the demand of merger of FDCM areas in Chandrapur forest circle for effective protection of tigers here," Dhotre said.

Tiger cub cremated, search on for mother tigress

TNN | Jul 2, 2012, 04.03AM IST CHANDRAPUR: Post-mortem of the tiger cub killed by wild dogs in Dhaba range on Friday was carried on the premises of Central Chanda forest division premises on Saturday morning. Veterinary doctor PD Kadukar confirmed that the cub had died in wild dogs' attack, but claimed that carcass was more than a week old. Earlier the forest officers had claimed that carcass was fresh and forest watchers had seen the dogs feeding on it. Kadukar claimed that the dogs had torn away the right eye of the cub. It had biting and clawing marks on thigh, calf, legs and tail. Assistant conservator of forests UT Bisen confirmed that there is presence of tigress with three cubs in the area. They have installed three camera traps and launched search operations in nearby jungles to track the mother tigress which is now left with two cubs.