This blog is a humble contribution towards increasing awareness about problems being faced wrt Tiger Conservation in India. With the Tiger fast disappearing from the radar and most of us looking the other way the day is not far when the eco system that supports and nourishes us collapses. Citizen voice is an important tool that can prevent the disaster from happening and this is an attempt at channelising the voice of concerned nature lovers.
By Neha Madaan, TNN | Feb 6, 2013, 06.01 AM IST
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PUNE: The chief wildlife warden of Maharashtra has issued advisories to the state's four tiger reserves -Sahyadri Tiger Reserve in Kolhapur, Tadoba-Andhari in Chandrapur, Pench in Nagpur and Melghat in Amravati - to follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) recently released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), framed to deal with emergencies arising because of tigers straying into human-dominated landscapes.
Among other things, the SOP strictly prohibits gunning down a tiger or leopard. It also says that the district authorities need to ensure law and order by imposing section 144 of the CrPc to restrain agitated locals from surrounding the spot where the animal was seen. The guidelines assume significance for Pune too, as the city has witnessed cases of leopards straying into human habitations off late, the most recent being on January 25 in the Dehu Road cantonment limits.
The SOP says that "under no circumstances, a tiger should be eliminated (by invoking the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972) if it is not habituated to causing human death".
Forest officials in Pune said that the new norms would be applicable to Pune as well. "Almost all the guidelines and procedures mentioned in SOP can be used while trapping a leopard in case it strays into human habitats," a senior forest official said.
An NTCA official told TOI that the SOP amalgamates all the earlier guidelines and brings them under a single point of reference. "There were guidelines in this regard but they were scattered. Hence, officials had difficulty in referring to them and seemed unaware of important rules. Also, the SOP makes it clear that shooting a tiger or leopard is the last resort, which will have to be corroborated with evidence. If a tiger or a leopard is shot during the event of it having strayed into a human habitat, the same will have to be documented. This means that the authorities concerned will have to prove that the animal was gunned down in extreme conditions, after having exhausted all other options," the official said.
He added that this advisory existed earlier, but many were oblivious to it.
State chief wildlife warden S W H Naqvi said the SOP has been sent to all the tiger reserves in Maharashtra. "The SOP suggests field actions to deal with strayed wild carnivores (tiger/ leopard). It suggests setting up camera traps near the kill site to confirm the identity of the animal. In addition, it lists what should be done on the spot, what should be carried along, among other things. It thus provides the basic minimum steps which are required to be taken at the field level to deal with such cases," he said.
Under the SOP, a committee has to be constituted for technical guidance and monitoring on a day-to-day basis after a big cat strays into a human-dominated habitat. It also suggests that the tiger and its source area should be identified by comparing camera trap photographs with those in the National Repository of Camera Trap Photographs of Tigers or the reserve level photo databases.
It says that if it is an area which is historically prone to such cases, detailed research should be carried out in order to ascertain the reasons for the recurring tiger emergencies. It further states that in case of confirmed livestock depredation, human injury, fatal encounters or frequent straying of tigers near human settlements, authorities should set up automatic closure traps.
Officials said the imposition of section 144 of the CrPc existed earlier as an advisory. The SOP spells it out clearly so that the authorities concerned become aware of its existence. "It is also necessary that police and local administration be involved at an early stage of the straying incidents. Effective coordination with them is critical to control mobs, which, as has been seen in several instances, worsen the situation and lead to avoidable fatalities or tragedies," the SOP says.
The 22-page document also says that if continuous trapping efforts fail, chemical immobilisation of the animal should be carried out by an expert team, including a veterinarian. It adds that if the tranquilised tiger is found to be healthy and young, it should be released after radio collaring into a suitable habitat with adequate prey base, away from human settlements, after notifying the NTCA.
By Rachna Singh, TNN | Feb 6, 2013, 07.29 AM IST
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JAIPUR: The Nahargarh hills in the city may soon become a destination for wildlife lovers coming to Jaipur if a proposal to start tiger safari in the sanctuary area is approved. The idea is to cash on tourists who visit Amber by creating an additional tourism facility. Besides the forts and the museums , Jaipur would also become a potential wildlife destination and a quick substitute to Ranthambore and Sariska Tiger Reserve.
"Though discussions are at a preliminary stage, tiger safari at Nahargarh sanctuary has great potential. The sanctuary at the moment houses just the rescue centre and soon work would commence on Nahargarh Zoological Park funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Once it is completed in two years, the Jaipur zoo, established in 1877, would be shifted there. But an added attraction would be the tiger safari in 30 hectares," said Bina Kak, minister for tourism, environment and forests . The Nahargarh Biological Park is spread over 720 hectares . Part of the park is the Nahargarh Zoological Park covering an area of 80 hectares . The proposed tiger safari in Nahargarh, which initially was the abode of tigers, would offer tourists assured sighting of the big cat in its natural habitat. "We are contemplating talking to the Chattbir zoo near Chandigarh as it has excess tigers. At the moment they house nearly 30-35 tigers. Another option could be the Delhi zoo from where we could bring the tigers," said Kak.
Keeping in tune with the entire project, there wouldn't be a prey base for the tigers. "The tourists will be taken on a special route in guarded vehicles . We plan to leave two to four tigers in the forest here. There would be a double-layer fencing of the 30 hectares so that the tigers don't stray out," said Ajay Gupta, deputy conservator of forests (zoo).
If implemented, Nahargarh may become a total wildlife destination. The master layout plan has been approved by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), and designs of the various enclosures are complete. Add to the two facilities to be developed, the rescue centre at the Nahargarh Biological Park already houses nine tigers, one tiger and 14 lions.
"We have planned to develop two or three routes in and around the Nahargarh Biological Park on which tourists will be allowed safaris with trained guides by forest department. The tourists visiting the park will be charged a nominal fee as per the policy of department .
Under the ongoing JICA project Rajasthan Forestry & Biodiversity Project phase I, infrastructural facilities like water supply, electricity, boundary wall and roads are already in place. Now, under the RFPB, for which the government has received Rs 13 crore from JICA, animal enclosures would be created to shift animals from the Jaipur zoo.
By HM Aravind, TNN | Feb 5, 2013, 10.16 PM IST
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MYSORE: A male tiger has been found dead near the coffee estate bordering Nagarahole tiger reserve in Kodagu.
The carcass of the tiger had decomposed and the cause of death of the big cat remains unknown. However, foul play is not suspected since all its parts are intact. The tiger is suspected to have died a week back and came to light on Tuesday. The remains were noticed outside a coffee estate at Parakatageri near Srimangala in Virajpet taluk.
APCCF and field director (Project Tiger) B J Hosmath told TOI that the tiger has died in Kodagu district. It is outside the Nagarahole national park, he stated. It is suspected to have died a week back, he said.
Forest officials visited the site and inspected the area. The tiger is suspected to have entered the village from Brahmagiri forest, which is some 2km from the site.
Sources said it is a male tiger and cause could not to be immediately known since the body has decomposed. The remains are sent to lab to detect the cause but it is suspected to have died because of old age.
A vet, who has experience in handling such cases, said the cause of death could be hard to find given that the body has decomposed.
"We can pinpoint the cause of death if we happen to locate the body within three days of death. Later the organs will be putrefied leaving little for us to locate the cause. Though the viscera will be sent for lab examination, it is not easy to find the cause," he stated.