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Thursday, November 29, 2012

TATR: Maharashtra plans long-term study on tiger ecology

Vivek Deshpande : Nagpur, Thu Nov 29 2012, 03:02 hrs In a first, the Maharashtra government will undertake a long-term comprehensive study about tiger dispersal and its ecological aspects, first time with radio telemetry, in the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) landscape. The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) will partner with the state forest department in the Rs 1.6-crore study partly funded by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). A pact between the three agencies is likely to be signed in December first week, according to WII scientist Bilal Habib, who will head the project. “The project’s initial phase will span the next 10 years and it will provide baseline data from about 3,000 sq km of TATR landscape that includes various contiguous protected areas such as Nagzira, Navegaon, Chaprala and Umred-Karandla about not just tigers but all co-predators and prey species and dynamics of their relationships and co-existence. It will generate a huge pool of information about tiger dispersal, occupancy, the threshold of disturbance that causes conflict, corridors. It will also give a perspective about how and why the dispersal happens,” Habib told The Indian Express. This is the first time in central India that long-term study has been planned. Wildlife biologist Ulhas Karanth has done it in south India without radio telemetry (radio collaring of tigers) over the past many years. Asked why TATR was selected for the project, Habib said, “TATR landscape is unique for the dispersing tigers coming in conflict with humans and for its about 5-6 breeding tigresses adding to the population and triggering dispersal every year. It is also interesting from the point of translocation of human populations in rehabilitation programmes. With some villages already relocated and some other in the offing, TATR offers us unique chance to study how the vacated space augurs for wildlife.” About the project’s utility, Habib said, “It will be useful in better managing wildlife corridors and man-animal conflict. It will offer better understanding about tiger-leopard co-existence, prey-predator relationship, prey base requirement and tiger ecology.” Another uniqueness of the project will be that it will study all the components of entire wildlife and its habitat and ecology, he said. The TATR Tiger Foundation has already sanctioned over Rs 46 lakh for the first five years of the project in excess of the Rs 1.6 crore the NTCA is going to fund.

Govt affidavit pitches for mining near Sariska park

By Rachna Singh, TNN | Nov 29, 2012, 02.45 AM IST JAIPUR: After categorically denying that there was mining near Sariska Tiger Reserve and claiming that nearly 40 mining leases were given 20-60 km away from the tiger reserve, the mining department has filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court- appointed panel requesting that the 'no-mining zone' shall be reduced to 100 metres from the current 1 km boundary of the reserve. If the apex court refuses to accept state government's contention, at least 123 mines will be closed down in the area. According to the affidavit filed on behalf of the state government before the Central Empowered Committee on safety zones (Eco-Sensitive Zones) around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, Rajasthan is aggrieved by the eco-sensitive zone delineation. "As of now, there is no mining activity within the precincts of Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR). However, mining is continuing outside the STR with respect to nearly 123 mines in 229.34 hectares. It is only in selected areas where mining is continuing. The state government is seeking modification of the uniform one km eco-sensitive zone to 100 metres," reads the affidavit. In fact, the areas specified falls within the one km area of the STR. It extends from the eastern boundary of Berwa Doongri protected forests to western boundary of Baldeogarh protected forests up to Baldeogarh village. The other areas that the state government seeks exemption for are Jaisinghpura, Tilwad Main, Kalwad, Dabkan, Tehla, Nandu, Khariyawas, Chhoti Cheend, Mallana and the reserve forests of Dabkan. Earlier reports too had suggested that the leases granted by the state government in 2010 had gone to a few Haryana-based companies at villages such as Jaisinghpura, Malana, Govardhanpura, Palpura and Jamwaramgarh in the vicinity of Sariska tiger sanctuary.