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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve to start community-based ecotourism

ByMazhar Ali, TNN | Feb 20, 2013, 05.45 AM IST Peoples institutions keeping India on the move: Dr Amrita PatelYahoo, NBC Sports Group to club sports contentState to have sports policySports fiesta concludes in MaladSports buffs have a ball CHANDRAPUR: More perks are in the offing for those who are planning for safari in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) this summer. After successfully opening two new tourist circuits in buffer area, the park management is now focused on launching community based ecotourism from Jhari and Jaiti Tukum villages of buffer. These two villages will offer the facility of accommodation and food along with safari in core and buffer area of TATR from this tourist (summer) season. While entire tour to Tadoba (including safari, lodging and boarding) is quite costly if tourists opt for private tourist resorts, this community based ecotourism will offer all the facilities at very economical cost. Tourists opting for this ecotourism package will get wild card entry into TATR and will face no disappointment for failure in securing entry tickets or advance booking for safari. Tadoba management will provide reservation in entry for certain number of vehicles operated by the villagers through ecotourism scheme. "Each of the villages will offer four rooms, including two VIP suites, for accommodation at cost effective rates. Variety of delicacies, with advantage of regional and local cuisines, also at economical rates will available in the boarding facility. Canter-buses specifically meant for safari with reserved entry will be available for tourists opting for ecotourism package," said deputy director (buffer), TATR, P Kalyankumar. He claimed that tourists preferring only safari into TATR can also take a seat in bus service offered by the EDCs at cost effective rates. Community ecotourism of Jhari will operate from Jhari gate, while that of Jaiti Tukum will operate from Kolara gate of the tiger reserve. Kalyankumar held that entire ecotourism operation will be handled by eco-development committees (EDC) of respective villages. "Entire earning through the scheme will go to respective EDCs and will be in turn utilized for development of the village. The move will also provide employment to the local people. This approach will boost the partnership between forest department and the EDC in protecting forest and wildlife," he said. He claimed that as Jhari village already has rooms that could be used for lodging facility; the ecotourism service from this village is likely to start in first week of March. Similar set-up in Jaiti Tukum will be ready and operational from April. "The rooms available in Jhari are being renovated for tourist accommodation. Bus (Canter) for the safari will be purchased by pooling in eco-development funds of four neighbouring villages. Villagers will also be trained in cookery and hospitality through capacity building workshops," he said. Sports cycles for tourists More adventures are on cards for the tourists in buffer area of TATR. Park management has plans to offer sports cycles on hire to the tourists staying at ecotourism facility at Jhari and Jaiti Tukum. They can amble around in the village and nearby places at their leisure time. Authorities also have plans to offer hiking adventure on game trail in buffer jungle, again through local EDCs in coming days. Similarly they are also contemplating to offer safari in the buffer forest on decorated bullock carts for tourists.

Russian team in Pench, Kanha to learn tiger conservation

ByVijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Feb 20, 2013, 12.57 PM IST National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Russia have already formed a subgroup on tiger and leopard conservation and signed a pact. The visit is part of the Tiger Watch Project of the Global Tiger Forum (GTF). RELATED Syria peace envoy in Moscow as Russia pressures AssadAbout 25 arrested in Moscow New Year's Eve unsanctioned protestStranded gibbon family in Arunachal translocatedWhite tigers not to be shifted to Madhua forest: HCTiger cub dead in Kaziranga, rhino battles for life at Orang NAGPUR: To learn experience on good practices in tiger conservation, a two-member team from Russia is visiting Pench and Kanha tiger reserves in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh. The team reached city on Tuesday and left for Pench in the afternoon. The team consists of Sergei Marchenko from Zov Tigra National Park and Evgenii Terentev from Zimliya Leopard, both in Primorsky Krai. The two senior officials will be accompanied by Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) manager Prafulla Bhamburkar. National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Russia have already formed a subgroup on tiger and leopard conservation and signed a pact. The visit is part of the Tiger Watch Project of the Global Tiger Forum (GTF). A meeting held on September 17-18, 2012 in Moscow had decided on capacity building of field officers and specialists, including exchange officers, to share experience on good practices in tiger conservation. It was agreed that both sides may allow cooperation between reputed institutes on both sides. Both sides agreed for developing an inter-institutional cooperation in areas such as scientific tiger monitoring, anti-poaching, electronic surveillance, assessment of tigers and their habitat at landscape level, tiger/leopard reintroduction, radio collaring and related studies. Bhamburkar said WTI is one of the sponsors along with International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). He said the tour is part of the exchange programme of GTF, which plays a key role in terms of organizing training programmes, exchanging information and promoting cooperation between tiger range countries for evolving a harmonized approach to ensure the future of wildcats in the world. The officials will study site-specific management plans and programmes dealing with protection, poaching problem and corridors. The team will also visit villages to see eco-development models. They will learn patrolling methods and interact with field directors. Similar problems: * Russia is facing similar challenges as India on conservation front. Today, fewer than 500 Siberian tigers - the largest of the tiger subspecies - survive * The dramatically lower number is reported because of the lack of genetic diversity among Siberian tigers * Siberian tigers are relatively easy to breed in captivity. There are more Siberian tigers in zoos around the world than in the wild * The body parts of Siberian tigers - particularly their fur and bones - are highly valued. Their bones are especially valued in China for medicinal purpose * Most of the Siberian tigers remaining in the wild today live in the Far East of Russia. A few Siberian tigers also live in North Korea and China, bordering Russia

Villagers take up patrolling along Pench borders

ByVijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Feb 20, 2013, 05.48 AM IST CM's Tadoba visit raises hopes, lifts staff moraleWild buffaloes @ Kolamarka, GadchiroliInternational course to build young conservation educatorsMinister's cold shoulder to forest fire fightersMonkey feeders in Melghat tiger reserve to face action NAGPUR: Pench tiger reserve is effectively exploiting the link between local communities and wildlife conservation by roping in locals living on the fringes of the park to patrol the borders. "Though forest staff patrol the reserve, areas in the buffer too need effective patrolling. Locals can play an important role in wildlife and forest protection here. It's been a month since the initiative has been launched," said MS Reddy, field director and chief conservator of forests (CCF), Pench. Reddy said divisional forest officer (DFO) Ajay Pillariseth, all five RFOs of Pench, conservation officer of Satpuda Foundation at Pench Anoop Awasthi, along with village eco-development committee (VEDC) members of four villages were instrumental in the planning process. The idea of community patrolling was initiated by Satpuda Foundation. During his recent visit, state principal secretary (forests) Praveen Pardeshi was highly impressed by the way the foundation got community support in wildlife protection. Official sources said Kishor Rithe, president of Satpuda Foundation and member of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), designed the guidelines on patrolling around Pench villages. "Money available under secret fund to each deputy conservator of forests (DyCF) can be used for community patrolling and intelligence gathering," said Pardeshi. Anoop Awasthi said, "Patrolling around park boundary and water holes is producing encouraging results. Field staff, VEDC members from Kolitmara, Ghatpendri, Narhar and Sillari villages, and volunteers from Satpuda Foundation are engaged in the task." "We will involve other VEDCs too. We also plan to reward good VEDCs and volunteers with a token amount. A fund of Rs 50,000 has been kept for this purpose from Pench Tiger Foundation," said Reddy. On January 17, a tiger was found poached in Harnakund nullah in the buffer of Pench in Deolapar range. In the absence of regular patrolling, the putrefied carcass lay at the spot for nearly a month.

New plan to protect tigers in Karnataka

ByMB Maramkal, TNN | Feb 19, 2013, 07.20 PM IST Tadoba Special Tiger Protection Force to get 33 jawans, INSAS riflesNew plan to protect tigers in KarnatakaMan-eating tigress shot deadElectrocution of tiger: Three officers suspended MYSORE: Increasing incidents of tiger deaths due to poisoning has made the officials of the tiger project to work out an action plan to end this menace of targeting big cats by mischievous elements. Death of two of the three tigers due to poisoning has left worried the officials. Of the three tigers which died in the recent past including one on Sunday have been found to be poisoned by the villagers . What has made the issue more complicated is this is the new modus operandi being adopted by tiger mafia to employ the villagers and persuade them to poison the tigers which invade their villages to prey on their livestock. Tiger's trait of it's return to eat the left over of the prey has made it easy for villagers allegedly employed by poachers to poison the kill before the tiger visits it next day. Sunday's incident typically fitted this format as officials have found an empty packet of a pesticide and two crows dead near the carcass of the cow which was killed by the tiger . Even tiger was found dead hardly 100 mts from the spot where the half eaten cow carcass was lying . Now officials of the tiger project have decided to take head on the mischievous elements through an action plan which has a positive approach to the issue. As per the plan, project tiger officials with the help of Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) members will create a data base of all the cattle heads in the villages located inside and on the periphery of the tiger sanctuaries and territorial forests. This data base even have pictures of cattle population and their owners and cowboys who graze them. Project tiger officials are even planning to announce a compensation package for farmers and the cattle owners whose animals are preyed on by tigers . In addition, number of members of STPF will be increased and they will part of stepped up vigil package on this score. Disclosing the implementation of this ne security project in next couple of days, project tiger direct B J Hosmath said this plan will automatically eliminate mischievous elements which will act as stooge in the hands of poachers gangs. First the vigil and data base help officials to identify the cattle owner instantaneously and second the compensation package will help the villagers to avoid mischievous elements. " We want to tackle the problem through positive approach instead of curbing and searching for poachers" Hosmath felt , adding that this is worked out by project tiger officials itself and confident of achieving results.

GoM members object to MoEF report on 'inviolate' areas

The environment ministry's report on identifying 'inviolate' forest areas has met with strong objections from most of the members of the Union agriculture minister-headed inter-ministerial panel saying that it would restrict many more areas for coal mining. The environment ministry's report on identifying 'inviolate' forest areas has met with strong objections from most of the members of the Union agriculture minister-headed inter-ministerial panel saying that it would restrict many more areas for coal mining. "Most of the members of the group of ministers (GoM), headed by Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, objected to the environment ministry's report on "inviolate" forest areas stating it if adopted would restrict more areas," a source privy to the development told PTI. The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had in January put out the report on parameters for identifying 'inviolate' forest areas. During the GoM meeting on Monday, the Planning Commission raised objections to the report and asked the rationale behind scores given by the committee to different forest types on a scale of 1 to 100, based on comparative ecological significance, extent and range and uniqueness. "Members present at the meeting were not convinced with the report as it was done unilaterally by an environment ministry panel, without participation of all stakeholders," the source said. Commenting on the report, the coal ministry had earlier said that it required further consultations with all the stakeholders, including states, central ministries and producing companies. A complete ban on mining activities in areas of national parks, tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries could be on the anvil if the government agrees to the recommendations of a high-level environment ministry panel. The panel, chaired by then environment ministry secretary T Chatterjee, has recommended that thick forests in such areas should be classified as "inviolate". "Mining blocks shall be considered inviolate if majority of the grids falling within a block have been labelled as inviolate," according to the Report of the Committee to Formulate Objective Parameters for Identification of Inviolate Forest Areas. The forest grids have to be determined based on their biological richness, thickness, landscape integrity and hydrological and wildlife values, said the report placed in public domain by the ministry. Although the panel submitted the report in July 2012, the ministry chose to make it public only now amid debate on the issue of diversion of forest areas for mining and infrastructure projects. According to the ministry, all the grids falling in protected areas (national parks and wildlife sanctuaries) located in within 1-km distance from boundary of protected areas and compact patches (of minimum 1 sqkm) of very dense forests should be automatically labelled 'inviolate'. The panel was constituted after then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee rejected the 'go, no-go' policy of the environment ministry which allowed certain forest areas to be mined.