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Thursday, February 21, 2013

World’s largest camera trap study gets its millionth photo

K. VENKATESHWARLU TEAM scientists take picture of the elusive jaguar in the Manu National Park, Peru The international Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network’s stunning scrap book of wild animals in their natural habitat, widely regarded as a sort of facebook for wildlife, has just crossed a milestone. TEAM scientists have taken the one millionth camera trap photo and the honour has gone to the elusive jaguar in the Manu National Park, Peru, one of the 16 study sites in 14 countries across Asia, Africa and Americas. Wildlife conservationists the world over are rejoicing at the achievement as this relatively new body of wildlife research — a repository of camera trap images — would reveal more about the health of the Earth’s dwindling tropical forests. The 16 sites include Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (Indonesia), Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda), Caxiuanã National Forest (Brazil) and Pasoh Forest Reserve (Malaysia). The world’s largest camera trap study “provides real-time information on how unseen animal populations are being affected by changes in climate, habitat and land use; changes that often affect the flow of goods and life-sustaining services to people as well as the health of tropical forests,” says a note for the media from TEAM Network based in Arlington, USA. The wildlife photo treasure, a result of five-year global partnership between Conservation International, Missouri Botanical Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Wildlife Conservation Society and over 80 local partnerships, is serving as an early warning system for nature, monitoring changes in tropical ecosystems and reporting shifts in biomass, rainfall and biodiversity density. In India, in a sheer coincidence, camera trap photos of the equally elusive and charismatic mammal, the red panda, have just been obtained by WWF-India staff from the remote heights of Arunachal Pradesh. Two years ago, similar images of an adult female tiger and cubs at the site of a cattle-kill in Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve in Andhra Pradesh revived hopes of recovery of the big cat population. “The one-millionth image is an amazing representation of our camera trap work and it symbolises the success we have had with this programme in collecting new data,” said Dr. Jorge Ahumada, TEAM’s Technical Director in the note. This data, replicated over time and space, is crucial to understand the effects of global and regional threats on forest mammals and to anticipate extinctions before it is too late. Working through local partner institutions in various countries, TEAM site managers and technicians set up camera traps during the dry season. Cameras are placed in a grid throughout the forest every two square kilometres and left in the forest for thirty days. Each site collects between 10,000 and 30,000 photographs a year. Keywords: TEAM scientists, world's largest camera, Manu National Park, millionth camera photo, wildlife photography

3 smugglers held, 5 tiger skins recovered

TNN | Feb 21, 2013, 03.29 AM IST Akali leader arrested for killing police officialBHU a strong bond between Nepal, India: Nepal PresidentStable Nepal in our interest: KhurshidHundreds protest violence against women in NepalNepal government steps up vigil along border LUCKNOW: The network of wildlife poachers seems to have penetrated into the city and is trying to reach the international market via Nepal. The special operations group and district police caught a murder accused and two more smugglers in possession of five tiger hides from Chinhat area on Wednesday. The police also recovered a porcupine from the smugglers. The trio had got hold of the hides from a Maharashtra-based poacher and was in the middle of finding a prospective buyer, when the police intercepted them. The three smugglers have been identified as Vishal alias Sahil-the murder accused and Rajmal and Rajan, both residents of Barabanki. A resident of Dewa Road, Vishal had been accused of a murder that took place at Matiyari in 2007. "The trio was in possession of five tiger hides and porcupine (an endangered species), when they were held by the police. We are trying to find out who was interested in dealing with the trio and suspect that the hides were to be smuggled to international market via Nepal," said J Ravinder Goud, senior superintendent of police, Lucknow. According the police, the trio had bought the tiger hides from a man identified as Vijay. The trio had been in the business of wildlife smuggling and trafficking for past several years and had developed contacts across several states in the country. From preliminary investigations, it was found that the recovered hides have been smuggled from Maharashtra's Aurangabad district to the city. "The cost price of a single hide is Rs 50,000, while the selling price ranges between Rs 4 and 5 lakh," told Brijlal Verma, the sub-inspector of the team that nabbed the trio from a shanty located off Faizabad Road. The police have pressed various charges under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 against the trio and have sent them to jail. "We had information of some groups, which were active in smuggling of endangered animals, skins, hides, bones, body parts etc in the city. Following continuous surveillance and help of informers, a notorious group had been held," said a police official.

Camera traps to locate tiger in Athagarh

ByBinita Jaiswal, TNN | Feb 21, 2013, 01.09 AM IST CUTTACK: Forest officials have decided to install camera traps to locate a tiger, whose pugmarks were found in Budhabudhi ghati under Narsinghpur forest range in Athagarh division. The tiger was reportedly spotted by some villagers at Narsinghpur on Sunday and pugmarks were also found in the area following which the forest officials had launched a search operation to locate the feline. Since the last three days, forest officials have been patrolling the area and keeping a close vigil but the wild animal has not been sighted yet. "The villagers informed us about having sighted the tiger and we have also seen the pugmarks but the feline is yet to be located. The camera traps will definitely help us to trail the tiger," divisional forest officer of Athagarh division Arun Mishra said. The cameras will be installed near the Budhabudhi ghati and the nearby areas in the next two days, he added. The camera traps, equipped with an electronic switch and a camera, record movement of tigers or other animals that walk in front of the gadget. Forest officials said the tiger may have strayed into the forest from the adjoining Satkosia tiger reserve.