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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Maharashtra's Tadoba reserve records 65 tigers

PTI | Sep 13, 2012, 12.08PM IST CHANDRAPUR: In an encouraging development, the tiger population in and around Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) has been shown to be going steady with 65 big cats being reported to be inhabiting this wildlife belt, forest officials have claimed. There are at least 65 tigers in the area, excluding the 20 odd cubs sighted in the area, which is quite encouraging, TATR chief conservator of forests and field director Veerendra Tiwari told PTI. The figure has been reached after the tiger monitoring exercise held in the reserve between April 1 and May 31, 2012, during which the movements of felines in various parts under TATR were monitored by as many as 94 camera traps, Tiwari said. "There are a minimum of 43 tigers in TATR while at least 20 carnivores are present in buffer area (around the core reserve), besides presence of two animals being reported in the adjoining FDCM (Forest development corporation of Maharashtra) area," he said. Spread over 625 sq kms of area, TATR is known for high density tiger population. On the accuracy of the census, Tiwari said even the figures on population census at the national level might not be accurate point-to-point, despite the fact that people have a specific address, locality and other details for contact. It is likely that some individuals might miss the census drive for some reasons or the other. "In case of a tiger, it is free to roam in any area of its choice and its territory ranges from 35 to 50 sq kms and hence, none can be sure to trap it in the cameras installed for the purpose until the animal sticks to its usual trail or track," he stressed. "All that I can claim is that there are a minimum of 65 tigers in the territory," the official said.

New panel to ready tiger tourism norms in 10 days

Nitin Sethi, TNN | Sep 13, 2012, 06.15AM IST NEW DELHI: Another panel has been set up by the ministry of environment and forests to decide eco-tourism guidelines in core areas and peripheral buffer zones of tiger reserves, and submit a report within 10 days. The panel's creation comes on the back of ministry's commitment to the Supreme Court that it would review its proposed norms on eco-tourism and get back to the SC with a final version by September 29. The new panel includes two wildlife scientists K Ullas Karanth and Wildlife Institute of India's Y V Jhala. Also, there are Brijendra Singh, considered close to the Gandhi family and a member of the National Board of Wildlife, Raghu Chundawat, a tiger expert and a resort-owner in Madhya Pradesh, Shekhar Dattari a wildlife filmmaker, Swathi Sheshadri of Equations, an NGO that works on tourism, Tushar Das of NGO Vasundhra, which works on tribal rights, and Arun Bhatnagar, a retired bureaucrat. In addition, the committee will have representatives from tribal affairs, tourism and panchayati raj ministries, besides chief wildlife wardens of MP, UP, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Assam. The member secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority will serve as convener on the committee. The committee been tasked to "prepare a comprehensive set of guidelines for tiger conservation and tourism as provided in section 380 (c) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972". It has been asked to keep all existing laws in mind, including the Forest Rights Act, while drawing up the guidelines. While the apex court had put a complete but interim ban on tourism in the core of tiger reserves, the ministry had earlier recommended only partial tourism in the core run by communities. The ministry's suggestions had a rider. It sought to put stringent conditions including a cess on revenues of the resorts around tiger reserves to fund conservation. Several tour operators and resort owners had opposed both the court's interim order and government guidelines. Several states, too, had opposed a complete ban.

Now, tigers and leopards targeted by Maoists

Last Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012, 10:10 Tags: Tigers, Leopards, Maoists Patna: Pushed to a corner after "Operation Biswas", a police drive to contain Maoists, the rebels have now struck upon a new strategy to collect funds, police say. Rohtas Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj said the police drive had effectively ended the 'levy raj' of the Maoists, who could no longer get easy money by targeting road contractors, businessmen or traders. He said the Maoists in Rohtas and Kaimur districts were, however, fast emerging as poachers, smuggling the organs, skin and horns of wild animals to raise money. Among the animals targeted by the Maoists were leopards and tigers, police said. "Operation Biswas, a police drive against Maoists mainly in Rohtas and Kaimur, bordering Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, has turned out to be hugely successful. The Maoists have not recovered from the setback," Maharaj said. Rohtas and Kaimur are considered as Maoist-strongholds in the state. Police officials say that the Maoists appear to be working in cahoots with poachers. Maharaj said that some days days ago, police recovered arms and ammunition along with equipment used for poaching from Maoists arrested in Ulho and Gotahar villages. Maharaj said police had arrested Indu Paswan, kingpin of the Maoist poachers, Aug 7. Police also recovered a leopard skin and two sets of deer horns from Paswan. Four arrested Maoists informed the police that tiger and leopard skins were sold illegally in the market at a price ranging between Rs.2.5 lakh and Rs.5 lakh. Deer hide fetched Rs.50,000 to Rs.1 lakh. A set of horns sold for Rs.20,000 to Rs.30,000. A senior official said that after the Maoist-poachers were arrested, police in all districts were alerted to keep a watch on the poaching activities of Maoists. IANS

Pune's Yashda to launch tiger corridor study

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Sep 13, 2012, 04.18AM IST NAGPUR: The Yashwantrao Academy of Development Administration (YASHDA), Pune, will launch a study of tiger corridors in Vidarbha soon. This will be the first official study on corridors by the state forest department. On Wednesday, preliminary talks were held at Nagpur between Bharat Bhushan, professor for environmental planning and secretary of Yashada, and A K Saxena, acting chief wildlife warden and additional principal chief conservator of forests ( APCCF), wildlife, Nagpur (East). Bhushan confirmed having discussed preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) for the corridor study. Yashda, is the administrative training institute of the state government and meets the training needs of departments and rural and urban non-officials and stakeholders. It has been asked to do a corridor study and Rs 18 lakh have been allocated to it by Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management And Planning Authority ( CAMPA), Nagpur. Saxena told TOI Yashda will study tiger corridors between Pench-Nagzira-Navegaon-Bor-Tadoba and its linkages to Kanha and Indravati. "In the later stages, a corridor study of Melghat will also be done," he added. Saxena gave a fair idea of corridors and how they are affected by roads, power lines, railway tracks and canals. Yashda will do sample survey, data collection, movement of tigers, mapping etc and prepare a detailed project report (DPR). Help from NGOs like Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) will also be taken, he said. "We have asked Yashda to prepare a protocol as early as possible. What practices should be adopted in the corridors will also be suggested," Saxena said.