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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Third tiger reserve in Rajasthan soon

TUESDAY, 04 DECEMBER 2012 23:35 LOKPAL SETHI | JAIPUR Mukundra Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan would come into existence as a new year gift for tiger lovers. An expert committee, appointed by the State Government to demarcate the area of the new tiger sanctuary, has submitted its report to the forest department. According to Chief Wildlife Warden of the State AC Chaube, a notification to this effect would be issued within a month. The National Tiger Conservation Authority has already given in-principle approval for this third tiger reserve in Rajasthan. The committee had identified about 700 square km of forests, adjacent to Ranthambore National Park (RNP), in the Kota region for this sanctuary. These thick forests were one of hunting areas of former rulers of Kota. Of the total, about 417 square km would constitute as the core area of the reserve while the remaining would be its buffer zone. Presently, there are four villages located in the core area. Once the notification is issued, a programme would be chalked out to relocate these villages, says Chaube. As this new reserve would be connected to the RNP through a corridor, it would give more space to tigers here to move freely in new areas. Right now the total number of tigers in the RNP, which has total area of about 600 square km, is 53, which include 26 cubs. Owing to the less area available for their movement, tigers from this park used to stray in Mukundra forest. In fact, tiger T25 has made these forests as his new home for the past several months. Owing to the shrinking area of the RNP compared to the growing population of the tiger, the big cats frequently used to get involved into brawl over their territory. In these fights they often received injuries to the extent of danger to their lives. Experts feel that with the coming up of a new tiger reserve, close to the RNP, some tigers may decide to move there. The Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar district has currently seven big cats, which include two cubs.

Madhya Pradesh increases wild life rescue teams to bring down man-animal conflict

By Bagish K Jha, TNN | Dec 4, 2012, 02.15 PM IST INDORE: In a move to bring down the man-animal conflict and early and safe rescue of wildlife, forest department has created four new rescue teams for Indore, Dhar, Jhabua and Alirajpur. Each team will be consist of 8 to 10 forest personnel including forest ranger and forest guards, they will be equipped with basic rescue equipment. Till now there have been only 8 wildlife rescue teams in entire state, out which one was stationed in Indore. Rescue team of Indore had to look after a huge area right from Burhanpur to Gandhi Sagar and it generally takes several hours and on some occasion even more than a day to reach at the spot. Now there will be a rescue team at every division level. Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) P C Dubey said, "Each team will have 8 to 10 personnel and they will scattered all across the division. They will gather a place after getting any information about wild animal and carry out rescue operation. In case of any animal like tiger they inform the central team and do ground work for them." Dubey said rescue team at division level will reduce the response time significantly and it will avert any possibility of man-animal conflict. Elaborating further he said till now people at district and division level were not trained so they were of no help even for the central rescue team in case of rescue. Need of the rescue teams can be understood from the fact that last year nearly 200 rescue operations were carried out in Indore range. Most of time animal were rescued includes beer, dear, hyena, blue cow, monkey, black bugs, birds. "Last year a leopard was rescued from Dhar and every year at least one case of leopard rescue is reported from each district in region," said Dubey adding that region has around 16 leopards and some time they venture near village areas. Assistant Conservator of Forest ( Tiger Strike Force) Man Singh said quick response in case of rescue is very essential to avoid man animal conflict. These teams will now be a position to reach at spot within two hours. "Team has been created from existing force. We have given them training and basic equipments," said Singh adding that proposal for equipping these teams with more gadgets have been sent. "Till now we are facing bid problem if we get two calls in one day, as we had only one team for entire region. In addition to this it takes long to reach team at spot. This makes thing complex as huge crowd gathered a spot endangering the life of wild animal," said Singh.

Kaziranga guards to be armed with AK-47s

TNN | Dec 4, 2012, 11.01 PM IST GUWAHATI: Forest guards of Kaziranga National Park will now be armed with AK-47 and AK-56 rifles to curb poaching at the park. The civil aviation ministry is also processing the licence to deploy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to monitor the park day and night. The guards, at present, are armed with antiques like 303 rifles while poachers have killed rhinos with AK-47s. State forest minister Rockybul Hussain said, "We have moved the home department for arming the forest guards in Kaziranga with AK-47 and AK-56 rifles which will be done very soon." Hussain added that the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on Tuesday released Rs 1 crore for repair work in the park and another Rs 5 crore for infrastructure development. "Next month the NTCA, the state government and the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council will discuss and chalk out a full proof strategy to combat poachers," Hussain added. The park borders the autonomous hill district and poachers have been found to come from the district.

NTCA to conduct independent probe into Wayanad tiger killing

By K R Rajeev, TNN | Dec 5, 2012, 01.13 AM IST KOZHIKODE: Taking serious note of the shooting of a stray tiger in Wayanad on Sunday, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has decided to rush a three-member team to conduct an independent probe into the incident. Three assistant inspector general rank officers -- Sanjay Kumar from the NTCA headquarters in New Delhi and Ravikiran Govekar and Shivakumar C M from the NTCA regional offices in Nagpur and Bangalore respectively -- will reach Wayanad on Wednesday. A senior official with the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) in New Delhi told TOI that the team will look into all aspects on 'how and under what circumstances the animal was shot dead'. He said that under the Wildlife Act, a tiger can be killed only when it is a 'man eater' and that too after specific orders from the chief wildlife warden. The team will also examine the carcass of the animal preserved at the Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary. The official said that the district administration and the state forest department had failed to remove public misconceptions about the area being declared a tiger reserve. "We feel that the forest department there was euphoric about the reported high tiger numbers in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and were showcasing it as their USP. The claim that there were 70 tigers in Wayanad alone was not correct as the area is contiguous with the tiger reserves in Karnataka. The sanctuary cannot sustain such a large tiger population. The report of such high numbers could have spread panic among the people," he said. The official added that even the NTCA was not interested in declaring the area a tiger reserve as Wayanad is a human dominated landscape and cannot be a successful tiger reserve. Meanwhile, environment organizations in Wayanad have demanded a CBI probe into the incident. They said that the tiger was killed to pacify a mob that was baying for its blood even after two tranquilizer shots were fired at it. "The MoEF and NTCA should take steps to initiate a probe by a central agency into the conspiracy hatched by certain vested interests and political parties to kill the animal by whipping up public frenzy," said Wayanad Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithi president N Badusha. Wildlife activists, who are also contemplating legal action against the government, said that the incident has brought to light the abject failure of the district administration in crowd control and crisis management. "The firing of tranquilizer shots should have been made in a controlled situation and not in the middle of thousands of people. The life of the animal could have been saved if a little more time was given for the tranquilizer to act on the animal," he added. Meanwhile, Bandipur Tiger Reserve director Kumar Pushkar told TOI that the 10-member special tiger protection force team from Bandipur had no role in the killing of the animal. "Our team did not carry any firearms. Our officials only helped in the search for the animal and in firing the tranquilizing darts," he said. Kerala forest officials admitted that it was a forest guard of the department who had fired the killing shot.