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Monday, March 11, 2013

Tiger carcass found in Sunderbans

StoryComments KOLKATA: The body of a full-grown tiger was found in the Sunderbans on Sunday. However, the year's first tiger death in this Unesco World Heritage Site has left the foresters with some task at hand. Even if the 10-year-old tiger's death in the forest of Jhila 5, on the fringes of the mangroves, seems natural, bleeding from its nose and blood stains on the rectum, also hint at possible poisoning. Confirming the news, Sunderbans Tiger Reserve (STR) field director Soumitra Dasgupta said that the body has been brought to Sajnekhali beat office. "Details can only be given after the postmortem report on Monday," he said, adding that forest guards on patrol spotted the carcass in Jhila 5. However, no injury mark was found on its body. The members of National Tiger Conservation Authority's (NTCA) schedule I animal handling committee have already left for the spot. A vet from the Alipore Zoo will also be present there on Monday to help the resident doctors in the post mortem. Though a forest official said it could be a case of snake bite as the number of King Cobras has risen in the mangroves in the recent past, conservationists are not ready to rule out the possibilities of poisoning. State wildlife advisory board member Sudipt Dutt said though death due to old age seemed natural, since there was bleeding from its nose possibilities of poisoning should also be checked during the postmortem. Echoing his view, another member of the board Biswajit Roy Chowdhury said that as the forest of Jhila 5 is on the fringes of the mangroves and close to the Bangladesh border, possibilities of poisoning can't be ruled out. "Though, snake bite and age factors should also be looked into," he added.

Officials' bid to avoid forest fire in Valmiki Tiger Reserve

ByVithika Salomi, TNN | Mar 11, 2013, 02.13 AM IST PATNA: Forest officials at Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) have employed controlled burning method to protect the reserve from forest fires that usually take place during the summer months of May-June destroying flora and fauna in the area. Field director cum conservator of forests, VTR, Santosh Tiwari said the exercise is underway since February 15 and 90% area has already been covered. Tiwari told TOI, "During summer season, locals set dry leaves and 'kharkharai' on fire which, most of the time, leads to wild fire. At times, it becomes uncontrollable and spreads across almost 100 acres." With the controlled burning method, the officials concerned would be able to stop forest fires before they spread and cause loss of wildlife and resources. An area of about 100mX100m is first marked and then controlled burning is done on that land. Controlled fire is a tool used by foresters for hazard reduction and is conducted during the cooler months to reduce fuel build-up and decrease the likelihood of serious fire. All ranges of the VTR, including Manguraha, Govardhana and Raghiya in division 1 and Madanpur, Valmiki Nagar, Ganauli, Harnatand and Chyutaha in division 2, would undergo this process. "Last year, we did not have any data about which areas were more fire-prone, but this year we have marked the areas and are better prepared to put off forest fires in due time," said Tiwari. Asked if controlled burning was a hazard for the wildlife of the reserved forest, Tiwari said, "We do not venture into the dense areas where animals reside. Also, most animals come out only during night time and our work is done during day time, so no untoward incident has been reported from anywhere." He added the reports about wildlife being harmed in controlled fire were totally false. The exercise of controlled fire would be completed within a few days, he added.

Delhi a tiger poaching hotspot: Report

TNN | Mar 11, 2013, 12.20 AM IST The report said, "This finding is also consistent with an examination of leopard seizures in which Delhi also emerged as the most important hub of illegal trade the country." RELATED Another arrest in tiger poaching case2 more held in tiger poaching caseScenic hotspots turn den of vicesPatnaites throng hotspots, splurge with gay abandonTwo suspended over tiger poaching in Pench buffer NEW DELHI: Delhi is not close to any of the tiger belts of the country, yet it figures among the five hotspots in India connected to big cat poaching, says a report by a global wildlife trade monitoring network and WWF. Tiger seizures in the capital are predominantly of skins, although there has been no big catch since 2005. The other four hotspots identified in the global report are: Ramnagar in Uttar Pradesh which sits close to the entrance of Corbett National Park, the towns of Balgahat and Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh where Kanha and Pench National Parks are located, Kolkata and areas spanning south to the edge of the Sunderbans in Bengal and the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in the western ghats. On Delhi figuring in the list, the study says, "This finding is also consistent with an examination of leopard seizures in which Delhi also emerged as the most important hub of illegal trade the country, accounting for more than 26% of all leopards seized." The report was released by TRAFFIC, an organization that monitors wildlife trade, and WWF Tigers Alive Initiative. It is based on seizures of tigers and its body parts between 2000 and 2012 in 13 south Asian countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam. According to the study, a total of 1,425 seizures were reported during the study period. India, which has the largest tiger population in the world, had the most cases at 336. Cambodia reported none. A total of 654 seizures of tiger parts ranging from skin to bones, to teeth, claws and skulls took place during this period — an average of 110 tigers killed for trade per year or just over two per week, states the report. India, it adds, is the only country which had kept sufficiently detailed seizure records to allow for meaningful analysis to identify the 'hotspots' where tiger trade was taking place. Natalia Pervushina, tiger trade programme leader for TRAFFIC and WWF, said that if more robust information was routinely collected, analyzed and shared between countries, real inroads could be made into targeting the smuggling syndicates behind the trafficking. WWF and TRAFFIC are urging countries engaged in the global tiger recovery programme to develop a harmonized process for reporting poaching cases. On the basis of tiger seizure hotspots, the report infers that the big cats are sourced from India and moved to other zones of distribution such as Nepal and Myanmar, where stocks are built up and transported to consumer countries. It adds. "Two of the identified hotspots in India - Ramnagar and Sunderbans - are in close proximity to Nepal and Bangladesh. This should be used to create leverage for developing and enhancing cross borders agreements.