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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Madhya Pradesh forest minister rules out new action plan to save big cats

ByManjari Mishra, TNN | Feb 26, 2013, 04.48 AM IST Livestock are easy prey for big cats of Nagarahole Tiger ReserveNew plan to protect tigers in KarnatakaElectrocution of tigers seizes Maharashtra government's attentionThirsty tigers needn't worryJayalalithaa's action plan is commendable KATNI: Madhya Pradesh forest minister Sartaj Singh has ruled out any new action plan to save tigers from poachers in Katni-Bandhavgarh region till an official probe was completed. He was replying to a question about the safety of big cats in Katni after a tiger was found electrocuted from a farm land in Kuan village 45 kilometers off Badhavgarh national park on Monday morning. Forest officials are meanwhile trying to shrug off any responsibility by playing the usual jurisdiction game. With three tigers and a leopard killed by poachers during the last three months, Katni is truly living up to its reputation of being the national tiger graveyard. According to eyewitnesses account, villagers raised an alarm after spotting a tiger sprawled in a patch of uncultivated land near Muchmucha forest area in the morning. When the animal did not move despite the commotion, they suspected something fishy and inching closer discovered the animal was dead, claimed Santosh Kumar Tiwari. Tiwari, who is the owner of the field where the body was found denied having anything to do with the incident and blamed it to "the complicity between forest officials and mafia. We had been citing this tiger for more than a month and it was reported to local officials but no one bothered to take any action. This gave the poachers enough time to plan the killing, he said. Tiwari pointed to a GI rusted wire which was carefully laid on the ground to trap the tiger and connected to the high tension 11000 KV wire in the nearby electrical poll. Since wire was hidden behind a tree the mischief could not be detected by anyone, said Tukaram a resident of Barahi, who had thronged the site with villagers. However, chief conservator forest Katni M K Khan denied possibility of tiger poaching. Talking to reporters, Khan said that the trap could have been laid for wild boar or a deer. The officer also tried to escape any responsibility by declaring that the land did not come within the jurisdiction of forest department and was revenue area. Meanwhile experts suspect the hand of an organized gang behind these successive killings. On November 18 a tigress was killed in Bagdara village which is part of Bandhavgarh reserve forest. It was instantly electrocuted along with the prey- a cow - as both came in contact with a live wire which hung low. On December 22, another tiger fell prey to an electric trap laid by poachers in Jugia village. And even then the forest officials insisted that tiger death was accidental as the trap was laid for wild boars. The incident had led to suspension of two beat guards. Surprisingly no senior official has been held accountable for these deaths, Ajay Dubey wild life activist said as he demanded the scalp of the "well connected nexus of big wigs in the department" they have done it in Panna, he said, now with their morale high they are doing it in Bandhavgarh and getting away with it while the government looks the other way.

Man-tiger conflict: NTCA issues new regulations

Ads by Google A tiger that has strayed into human habitation must be guided back to forest, chemically immobilised, trapped but, unless it is established as a man-eater, not killed, states a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) framed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority to deal with man-tiger conflict. The SOP, circulated among chief wildlife wardens last month, states that "under no circumstances must a tiger be eliminated by invoking the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, if it is not habituated for causing human death". And declaring it a man-eater must also be a well-deliberated exercise that differentiates a chance man-killer from a habituated human stalker that feeds on the body and avoids its natural prey, says the SOP. Even then, elimination must be the last resort; attempts should be made to capture the man-eater and send it to the nearest recognised zoo. If there is no other option, the SOP says, the tiger should be killed after the approval of the Chief Wildlife Warden; a proper fire arm must be used by an expert and no awards or rewards should be announced for "destruction of man-eaters". If a healthy tiger or encumbered tigress has occupied a sugarcane field or similar habitat, a not-so- uncommon occurrence, attempts must be made to guide it to a nearby forested area. If that doesn't work, it must be immobilised, captured, radio-collared and released in a low-density area of a nearby tiger reserve or protected area with adequate prey base. In case the captured tiger is injured or incapacitated, the SOP says, it should be sent to a recognised zoo.

Deer carcass, traps found in Sunderbans

TNN | Feb 26, 2013, 01.52 AM IST Train to Sikkim poses jumbo threatSpotted pride under attackTrack survey after elephant deaths KOLKATA: In a late-night raid on Saturday, forest department officials have recovered 45 traps, made of thick ropes and meant to poach deer, from the forests of Jhila 4 in the Sunderbans. Carcass of a deer was also recovered from the spot, where the traps were laid. Sunderbans Tiger Reserve (STR) field director Soumitra Dasgupta said such raids are on since last couple of months. "We will continue the raids in days ahead. The traps were damaged. Though the body of a deer was found from the spot, it's not yet confirmed whether the herbivore had died after falling into one of those traps," said Dasgupta. He said forest teams are raiding the nearby villages to nab the culprits. This is the third time in last three weeks that the department has managed to damage such traps which are used in the forests to poach deer. Earlier this month, three deer poachers were held from the Lothian Wildlife Sanctuary and ten traps were damaged at the spot. Last week, a villager from Amtali under the Basirhat range was caught red-handed while feasting on deer meat at his home. The foresters also recovered more than a kg of deer meat from his residence. State wildlife advisory board member Joydip Kundu said that regular raids in the forest to track deer poachers is a good sign for long-term conservation in the mangroves. Echoing his view, another state wildlife board member Biswajit Roy Chowdhury said frequent raids are being conducted in the forests after a long time. tnn"This practice will also bring in transparency in the department's functioning," he added. Deer poaching is not a new phenomenon in the Sunderbans. After the tiger poaching case at Jhila in 2008, the last official report of big cat poaching in the mangroves, foresters had suspected that some deer poachers had shot the tiger in self defence.