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Monday, September 10, 2012

Tribals to help resolve man-animal conflict

Published: Monday, Sep 10, 2012, 9:42 IST By Akshay Deshmane | Place: Mumbai With their centuries-long history of co-existence with leopards, tribals make ideal candidates to help come up with solutions for the human-animal conflict. Keeping this in mind, researchers working on the ‘Mumbaikars for SGNP’ project are enlisting the help of tribal residents to come up with awareness programmes for people living in the vicinity of the big cats. Rajesh Sanap, a member of the research team, hit upon the idea when Ankush Bhoir, a Keltipada resident from the Malhar-koli community, told him about the tribals’ historic practice of worship and continued co-existence with leopards deep inside the forests. “I thought of asking the tribals to talk to the residents living in societies around the habitat of the leopard through a presentation. The reason is that the society residents have a very different, — largely negative — approach about living with leopards, very much unlike the tribals who obviously been staying with the big cats for much longer, and thus, know them better,” said Sanap. He pointed out that the society residents always ask for the leopards to be trapped whenever the latter are seen in the vicinity of their buildings. “The Royal Palms residents, for instance, always complain that if they knew the problem would be so grave, they would never have bought houses there,” said Sanap. Sunetro Ghosal, an anthropologist, who is also a part of the team working on the project, believes the superior knowledge of the tribals concerning co-existence with wildlife and nature is an asset. Vidya Athreya, a veteran researcher of the human-leopard conflict, believes the existence of practices such as tiger worship are important from the conservation point of view.

PTR foresters hunt for missing jumbo

TNN | Sep 9, 2012, 12.00PM IST Daltonganj: Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR) officials have launched a search to locate an injured adult male elephant which has gone missing at Betla National Park recently. As many as 40 trackers and seven forest guards along with officials of the Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR) launched the search for the missing elephant on Friday. The search was conducted within a radius of two km from Baiga Pani at the national park where the elephant was last seen limping and struggling for life about a week earlier. A PTR conservator said the elephant was badly injured. He, however, said the cause of the injury was not known. D S Srivastava, a member of the steering committee of Project Elephant, said a rescue operation on such a massive scale had not been carried out at the park earlier. "The disappearance of the elephant has come as a huge surprise, since an elephant, particularly, with a leg injury, cannot to trudge a long distance. It should have been around the place where it was last seen a week before," Srivastava said. The wound was in a very bad condition with puss oozing from it. In such a situation, an elephant cannot move much and will prefer to be as close to a water source as possible. "Surprisingly, there is no trace of it in and around Baiga Pani, a site where there is enough water," said Srivastava. Though a wounded elephant normally prefers to sit, the grass surface in and around the area showed no sign of any elephant moving about in the vicinity.