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Monday, October 22, 2012

Navegaon-Nagzira tiger reserve proposal being recast

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Oct 22, 2012, 02.33AM IST NAGPUR: State principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) SWH Naqvi has ordered revision of the proposal for Navegaon-Nagzira tiger reserve (NNTR). It will be sent to the state government soon. National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had in a notification on October 15, and in a submission to the Supreme Court, has advised Maharashtra government to submit a new tiger reserve proposal. Principal secretary for forests Praveen Pardeshi said Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve proposal is under consideration but has not yet been submitted to Government of India. "We would like to make detailed core and buffer zone delineation before we submit it, to avoid any complications," Pardeshi told on Sunday. However, rumours are agog that officials are delaying the proposal to favour Adani Power Maharashtra Limited (APML), whose 3,300MW power plant is coming up just 8km away from the Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary boundary and lies in the eco-sensitive zone. Considering this, when Aditya Agrawal of Tumsar tried to find out about the tiger reserve proposal under the RTI Act, he was not given any information, saying the procedure is incomplete. Talking to TOI, Naqvi scoffed at the rumours, saying the tiger reserve proposal has nothing to do with Adani power project. "The proposal is being recast by including newly notified sanctuaries New Nagzira and Navegaon adjoining existing Nagzira sanctuary and Navegaon National Park. The earlier proposal sent to the state in September 2010 did not include newly notified sanctuaries," Naqvi said. "We want to ensure that all old and new notified areas have been included in the new reserve. It should be a perfect proposal so there are no hassles later," Naqvi made it clear. The New Nagzira and New Navegaon wildlife sanctuaries were notified nine months ago in February 2012. The Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve is expected to be over 560 sq km. It will combine existing Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary (152 sq km), Navegaon National Park (133 sq km), New Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary (151.33 sq km) and Navegaon Wildlife Sanctuary (122.75 sq km). The Navegaon-Nagzira tiger reserve was announced on September 8, 2009, by then environment minister Jairam Ramesh. From time to time he has asked the chief minister to declare Navegaon-Nagzira a reserve. The MoEF has agreed in principle to declare the area a reserve. On August 14, in a written reply, environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan had announced in the Rajya Sabha creation of five new tiger reserves; Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh), Ratapani ( Madhya Pradesh), Sunabeda (Odisha), Mukundara Hills (Rajasthan) and Satyamangalam ( Tamil Nadu). She had also said Maharashtra has been asked to submit Navegaon-Nagzira reserve proposal.

Corbett eye in the sky nets illegal miners red-handed

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times New Delhi, October 22, 2012 An eye in sky keeping a watch on tigers around the clock in Corbett National Park and sending SMS alert to forest officials in case of danger is set for replication across the cuntry. The system, country's first and based on online monitoring system for marine monitoring in United States, helped the forest officials to catch illegal sand and stone miners at the boundary of the national park recently. "The system alerted the forest officials who caught all offenders from the spot," said National Tiger Conservation Authority joint director SP Yadav. The totally unmanned solar energy based systems runs on cameras installed on tall towers and detects any moving object having body weight of 20 kg or more. Some of the many cameras also man the towers and the photo-voltaic solar panels. The system automatically emails pictures to a 24 into 7 monitoring centre with an SMS alert to all forest officials. "It just needs to see something to send an alert," Yadav said. The added advantage of the system is that authorized officials can monitor the wildlife area from anywhere in the world through internet. The first system installed on the Corbett’s border with Uttar Pradesh covering 500 sq kms has cost the NTCA Rs 3 crore. The Uttarakhand forest department pays for maintenance of the system and to run the monitoring centre. Corbett has around 200 tigers with highest density of the big cat in 100 square kilometers in the world. Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of NTCA said Assam has already shown willingness to have the system probably for Kaziranga National Park, which has been under spotlight of the poachers, and he hoped that other tiger reserves will follow suit soon. The government plans to install this online e-system in all high wildlife poaching areas in tiger reserves in India in the 12th five year plan (2012-17) with the Planning Commission increasing the budget for tigers around nine times. This is the second major information technology based tool used by NTCA to protect the tigers. The authority had introduced online monitoring in Sariska in Rajasthan through global positioning system based radio collaring of tigers.

3 more tigers for Sariska but safety still a big concern

MONDAY, 22 OCTOBER 2012 00:58 PNS | NEW DELHI After the success of relocated tigress delivering two cubs, the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan is also planning translocation of three more tigers by the end of the year, but conservationists and wildlife experts are apprehensive about the safety of the big cats there. The relocation of three tigers will take their numbers of big cats to 10 in the reserve. However, experts feel that the safety situation is more or less same as it was in 2005 when the reserve lost all its tigers due to poaching. The experts pointed out, there are still 28 villages existing in the critical habitat area of the reserve. Further, large number of pilgrims and vehicles regularly enter through the core area of the reserve to reach the ancient Hanuman temple at Pandupole, every Tuesday and Saturday when there is free entry. Shortly after Sariska declared to have lost all its tigers, in February 2005 the Government had constituted the State Empowered Committee on forests and wildlife management (SEC). The committee had come out with a number of suggestions to prevent the recurrence of similar incident in future. The report clearly stated, “In Sariska, all the reasons responsible for the disappearance of tigers in toto zero in on one single factor which is that large number of villages exist inside the reserve. No successful rehabilitation of these villages has ever taken place. Therefore, poachers could take shelter here and kill tigers.” Apart from concerns on the biotic pressure from human, they also pointed to the accompanying problem of grazing of cattle living in the villages situated within the reserve and on the periphery. They had recommended reduction of these existing disturbances and a time-bound relocation of villages. “Most of these recommendations are yet to be followed,” pointed out Dharmendra Khandal, conservation biologist from Tiger Watch. Let alone the issue of relocation, the Forest department has done little to reduce the influx of pilgrims to the ancient Hanuman temple at Pandupole every week. Further, nearly 8 kms of a State Highway also passes through the core area of the reserve, he pointed out. Though the Forest department has tried to reduce the number of vehicles passing through the reserve but lot more needs to be done, he felt. Field Director Sariska, RS Shekhawat admitted that relocation was the single biggest challenge. “This is a voluntary process and we have formed a relocation cell deputing full time officer to look into the issue,” he pointed out. Recently, we have been able to vacate the Umri village and have relocated nearly 90 per cent of Dabli and Rautkela villages. Two more villages are to be expected to be evacuated within the next two months, he pointed out, for which funds worth `50 crore from National Tiger Conservation Authority. Efforts are also on to introduce shuttle buses to regulate the inflow of pilgrims and check the entry of vehicles to the Pandupole temple , for which again funds from the Centre are awaited, informed the Field Director.