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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tiger died from poisoning, revenge killing suspected

R. KRISHNA KUMAR A tiger, which was found dead in the Kakanakote forests (D.B. Kuppe range) of the Nagarahole National Park early this month, was poisoned in what is suspected to be an act of revenge. The post-mortem report and visceral analysis indicate the presence of zinc phosphide, which is rat poison. This has sent shockwaves among conservationists and Forest Department officials. This is said to be the first case of a tiger being poisoned in the national park, which is a major tiger reserve and home to about 70 of them. R. Gokul, Director, Conservator of Forests and Director, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, confirmed that the tiger, which was found dead on January 13 near the Kabini backwaters was poisoned. Its carcass, discovered two weeks ago, was intact, with no sign of external injuries, putting a question mark on cause of death. Though there was a question of whether poachers had a hand in the death, this has been ruled out as neither the skin nor the claws had been removed. The needle of suspicion points to revenge killing and Mr. Gokul said the animal may have strayed out of its habitat and stalked livestock. Since tigers have a tendency to partially eat their prey and conceal it in bushes to consume over a period of time, the local community may have poisoned the carcass of the cattle, resulting in the tiger’s death, he said. But the nearest human habitation is nearly 3 km from the spot where the tiger was found, casting doubt on that theory. However, Mr. Gokul pointed out that tigers generally do not stray from their habitat in Nagarahole as the Kabini backwaters acts as a border between the national park and the adjoining human landscape. But due to severe drought, the backwaters has receded and turned into a grassland, with no demarcation separating the forestland from the outside landscape. “As a result, there is free movement of animals in the absence of a water barrier. We suspect the local community on the fringes may have driven their livestock inside the forests in search of fodder. The tiger may have killed one of the domestic animals and the village people may have subsequently poisoned the carcass as an act of revenge,” said Mr. Gokul. There have been six incidents of tigers straying out of their habitat this season, which is unusually high. This is attributed to increase in tiger density inside the national park. The authorities have deployed the Special Tiger Protection Force in the area to keep vigil on the movement of animals in the region. Apart from launching a full-fledged investigation into tiger poisoning, the Forest Department will also interact with the local community adjoining the forests and seek their help in wildlife conservation.

MoEF team to assess impact of felling on corridors

By Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Jan 30, 2013, 06.03 AM IST Lanco and Wardha farmers fight in HC againDistrict Central Co-operative Bank fails to disburse full salary to W...Forest union angry as no. of workers to be regularized cutJharkhand awarded for bear population managementRichard D'Souza is principal chief conservator of forests, to remain ... NAGPUR: Two senior officials from the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) are on a tour of working circles in the region to access the impact of 'coupe' (a unit of land) felling on wildlife habitats, corridors and local livelihoods, among other things. The team consists of chief conservator of forests (CCF) SK Bhandari, Bhopal, and conservator of forests (Bhopal) Pradeep Vasudeo. Local wildlife experts and NGOs working for wildlife conservation will accompany them. A report will be submitted to MoEF after the visits. The visits have been planned in workable coupes between January 29 and February 1. The team will separately visit select ranges in Amravati, East Melghat, Buldhana, Gadchiroli, Wardha, Nagpur, Bhandara, Chandrapur, Brahmapuri and Central Chanda divisions. A questionnaire has already been faxed to all the field staff regarding coupes to be inspected. The MoEF officials will inspect improvement working circles (IWCs) and selection-cum-improvement (SCI) working circles. The inspection is being conducted considering the proposals sent by the state forest department for approval of working plan prescriptions for 2012-13. The decision was taken by a core group in the MoEF under the chairmanship of director general of forests (DGF). The DGF has already directed the state government that no concentrated felling will be undertaken in forest area within 10km radius of protected areas (PAs). It also said there should be no felling that causes disturbance to wildlife and its habitat in corridors. Surprisingly, there is no mention about Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM), which has resorted to large-scale felling as per the approved plans even within 10km radius of PAs. FDCM had resorted to massive felling in the tiger corridors in Pitezari, Umarzari, Mansinghdeo, Chandrapur and other vital corridors. "Concentrated felling in mixed and miscellaneous forests may be examined along with some independent experts in wildlife and biodiversity conservation, especially with reference to maintaining wildlife corridors and habitats, local livelihoods etc," the core group observed. Official sources said, in Melghat, the team will be accompanied by wildlife and forest consultant RN Indurkar. In Gadchiroli, it will be accompanied by honorary district wildlife warden Mahendra Singh Chouhan while in Wardha and Nagpur divisions by manager of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) Prafulla Bhamburkar. In Chandrapur, Bandu Dhotre of Eco-Pro and honorary district warden will be working with the team.

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TNN | Jan 30, 2013, 12.32 PM IST DALTONGANJ: The Palamu Tiger Reserve is expecting newborn cubs to join the tiger population in the reserve soon. As Ramandaag falls under the buffer area of the tiger reserve, DFO (buffer) Anil Kumar Mishra said, "The trapping camera recorded the image of a tigress in Ramandaag beat 4 on January 27 whose stomach was enormously bulging leaving no one in doubt that she is pregnant." A tigress can have three phases of gestation in one calendar year if food is available closeby and the tigress does not have to walk for miles to get food. A tigress can conceive every three or four months and the delivery is also possible after equal number of months. In the early 80s, the PTR used to be a shelter of a magnificent tigress popularly known as Begum which had delivered cubs . However Begum was poisoned to death. Official records of the tiger reserve incorporated in the Management Plan valid till 2011 clearly mentioned it on page 70 that there have been three cases of poisoning of tigers in this reserve till the year 1997-98. Thereafter, no figure is recorded in this official book. Two were poisoned to death in the year 1984-85.

Tiger on killing spree, fifth rhino found dead in Dudhwa

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Lakhimpur Kheri, January 30, 2013 A tiger sneaked into the Rhino rehabilitation area in Dudhwa tiger reserve (DTR) on Monday and killed a 34-year female rhino. The partially eaten carcass of “Pavitri” was discovered on Tuesday. This was the fifth Rhino attacked in 14 months. All the attacks took place in winter. Over November and December 2011 and January 2012, four rhinos were attacked. Two were injured, two died. This was the first attack this winter. Similar incidents have been reported from Nepal’s Chitwan Park, said Shailesh Prasad, chief conservator of forest and field director of DTR. “Tigers do attack rhinos, as has been reported from Assam’s Kaziranga Park, but the attacks were on young calves. Attacking adult rhinos is somewhat against the normal hunting pattern,” said Ganesh Bhat, deputy director of DDR. Dr SP Sinha, an expert on rhinos, felt a shrinking prey base could be a reason for the attacks. But Dudhwa has ample prey base, said Bhat. “The number of rhino attacks in Dudhwa is high because the rhinos there are kept in an enclosed area,” said PK Sen, former director of Project Tiger. “It provides the tigers with easy prey in winters, when catching other animals in the wild become difficult.” Tigers attack sub-adult rhinos but not the adult ones because of their size. “Full grown and active rhinos and elephants are able to defend themselves because of their size and strength,” Sen added. “One needs to find out whether this particular rhino was incapacitated, which restricted her ability to defend herself.” The dead Rhino, Pavitri, was among the five brought from Assam in 1984 to start the rhino rehabilitation project in Dudhwa. At the time, she was six years old. She was named Pavitri as she was brought from Pavitara park.

Two held with hand grenades in Panna Tiger Reserve

By Jamal Ayub, TNN | Jan 29, 2013, 07.51 PM IST READ MORE Rapid Response Unit|Panna Tiger Reserve Information Cel|Panna Tiger Reserve|Hunters|Bombs BHOPAL: As many as 78 country-made bombs (hand grenades), hair of wild baor, its hide, flesh, material for preparing hand grenades, blood of wild animals, chop (weapon) for hunting wild animals, six fishing nets, iron knives and catapults and two cages for catching birds have been recovered from two hunters during search in Chandranagar Beat of Panna Tiger Reserve by Rapid Response Unit (flying squad), according to a press release here on Tuesday. Both the hunters have been produced before Chhatarpur court and the case is under investigation. Accused Jagbir is 22-years-old while Paltu is 20. Both of them are residents of village Bedari under Bameeta police station. It is noteworthy that the Panna Tiger Reserve Information Cell has made arrests in five case following declaration of red alert from December 2012.