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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tiger authority forms guidelines to deal with man-animal conflicts

StoryComments LUCKNOW: Given the frequent incidents of wild animals straying into human habitations, and the state forest department's failure to control the damage done to humans or to the stray animal, in most of the incidents, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has developed a standard operating procedure (SOP) to deal with emergency arising due to straying of tigers in human-dominated areas. The authority has sent the guidelines to the chief wildlife wardens and PCCFs of tiger range states for implementation. The purpose of the SOP is to ensure that straying tigers are handled in the most appropriate manner to avoid casualty or injury to human beings, tiger, cattle and property. One of the major suggestions made to the states is that an "authorised spokesperson of the forest department should periodically update the media (if required) to prevent dissemination of distorted information relating to the operation/incidents." NTCA has said that under no circumstances should a tiger be eliminated by invoking the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, 'if it is not habituated for causing human death.' In case of a healthy tiger/encumbered tigress occupying a sugar cane field or similar habitat, attempt should be made first to attract it to nearby forest area, while avoiding disturbance. If such operations fail, the animal should be captured through immobilization for release in low density area of a nearby tiger reserve/protected area after radio collaring, said NTCA. SOP calls for establishing the identity of the tiger and to find out the source area of the animal. In case, the area has a history of such incidents, detailed research has to be carried out in order to assess the reasons for frequent tiger emergencies in the area. Camera traps should be set near the site, where kill took place to confirm and establish the identity of the animal. The kill should also be guarded, so that stray tiger comes back to eat it and it should also be safeguarded against poisoning. The state forest departments will have to proactively involve DM and SSP/SP of the area to maintain law and order in the area, besides avoiding crowding by local people and to also acquaint them with human-tiger conflict issues and guidelines of the NTCA to deal with the situation. The forest department should seek help from district level officials to alert villages in the vicinity of the area, where tiger is roaming. If successive trapping efforts fail, chemical immobilization of the wild carnivore should be done by an expert team having a veterinarian. In case, the tranquilised tiger is found to be healthy or young, without any incapacitation (loss of canine, injury, broken paw), it may be released after radio collaring in a suitable habitat with adequate prey base, away from the territory of a resident male tiger (if any) or human settlements, and NTCA should be intimated of the same.

Aging foresters to be withdrawn from tiger force

ByVijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Feb 23, 2013, 03.00 AM IST Tadoba Special Tiger Protection Force to get 33 jawans, INSAS riflesOutsourcing should reduce expenses: Finance DepartmentIssues will be addressed : CM Prithviraj ChavanComplete infrastructure projects by December: Prithviraj ChavanSoon, law to deter attacks on scribes: Prithviraj Chavan NAGPUR: After finance department raising objections over staff structure of Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF), the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has slightly modified the composition of the force paving way for release of funds. Two STPF platoons have been constituted in Maharashtra in Pench and Tadoba-Andhari tiger reserves. As per the new guidelines issued last month by the NTCA, a statutory body monitoring the tiger reserves, posts of foresters will have to be completely withdrawn from STPF and will be replaced with local van majoors or forest watchers. Earlier, the each STPF platoon consisted of 112 personnel including 90 forest guards, 18 foresters and 3 RFOs, to be headed by an assistant conservator of forests (ACF). However, now there will be no foresters, but 81 special tiger guards (forest guards) and 27 local forest watchers/van majoors. Finance department had raised objections that the condition of recruited staff being below 40 years of age was not being followed in case of foresters. "As there is ban on direct recruitment of foresters in state, it was difficult to get foresters below 40. We had appointed 18 foresters in STPF. Baring four who fulfil the age condition, others will be brought back to their parent cadre phase-wise," said Virendra Tiwari, chief conservator of forests (CCF) and field director, TATR. "The NTCA decided to do away with foresters after it was convinced that young forest guards can be effective. In Pench, we could control illegal fishing with the help of STPF," said MS Reddy, CCF & field director of Pench. Although Maharashtra is the second state after Karnataka to constitute STPF, it has not received any funds despite the state signing tripartite agreement with NTCA. The Centre has to provide 100% support for raising, arming and deploying STPF for protection of tigers in both the reserves. Tiwari said the STPF in Pench and Tadoba needed Rs 1.92 crore towards salaries. Considering the full strength of 224 personnel, the two platoons will need Rs 4.25 crore annually for salary alone. "We have intimated our funds requirement to the NTCA and expect to get them before March. We have also forwarded the recruitment notification sought by the authority last week. Now ball is in the NTCA court," Tiwari said. "Anticipating that the NTCA would release money, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and forest secretary Praveen Pardeshi intervened and released Rs 1.50 crore towards salaries of the personnel. Money is also needed to procure weapons, vehicles, equipment and infrastructure for STPF. If funds are not received, STPF will have to be scrapped," said an official. State principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) SWH Naqvi said the issues had been resolved and NTCA had agreed to release the money.

Land boost to tiger rescue centre at Sunderbans

TNN | Feb 23, 2013, 02.59 AM IST Mamata Banerjee meets ailing Mahasweta DeviMamata Banerjee eyes tourism along HooghlyMamata Banerjee opposes trade union bandhMamata Banerjee buys time on Gorkhaland crisisMamata Banerjee to shift key departments out of Writers' KOLKATA: The state on Friday said the full-fledged work on the 100-acre plot at Sunderbans' Jharkhali for a tiger rescue centre would start soon as the government has been able to draw some compensation package for the refugees, who are still occupying the plot. make it unnecessary to send them for treatment to the state's lone tiger rescue centre at Khairbari in Jaldapara. The land for the rescue centre is under the control of the refugee relief and rehabilitation department. approved a 100-acre plot for setting up a tiger conservation and rescue centre at Jharkhali in the Sunderbans. An ecotourism park on a 99-acre plot, to be developed on the same island in the mangroves, has also got a green signal of the state cabinet. in Jharkhali will be set up on 99 acre plot. It is currently seeking clearance from the Central Zoo Authority of India for the second tiger rescue centre at Jharkhali in the Sunderbans and for that the state is seeking clearance of Central Zoos Authority. The centre will treat injured tigers rescued from the Sunderbans and thus bring an end to the practice of sending tigers to Alipore zoo or Khairbari near Jaldapara for treatment. The state also has plans to provide the refugees an alternate dwelling place.