In a major step towards conservation of tigers in Uttar Pradesh the state dept has notified Dudhwa National Park,Kishenpur Wildlife Sanctuary and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary as Critical Tiger habitat Areas. The National Tiger Conservation Authority which has approved the notification will evaluate the area along with 38 other critical tiger habitats across the country between August 10 and December 15.
A total of 1093.79 sq km of area has been notified as critical tiger habitat.Out of this while 490.29 sq km is in Dudhwa National park in Lakhimpur Kheri District,203.41 sq km is in the Kishenpur Wildlife Sanctuary.The rest 400.09 sq km is in Baharaich district's Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.
Nepal and India inked a key pact in Nepal Ganj to conserve biodiversity and combat illegal trade in wild animals coinciding with the first International Tiger Conservation Day. A memorandum of understanding which aims at conserving biodiversity and strengthening ecological security in the trans-boundary regions was signed by Gopal Prasad Upadhyaya director-general ,dept of national parks and wildlife conservation, Nepal and SP Yadav DIG and joint director,National Tiger Conservation Authority,Ministry of Environment and Forests ,India.
With instructions from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), the state forest department has begun search for alternative tiger habitats in the state for a Sariska repeat. The instructions came during the recent visit of the director NTCA Rajesh Gopal following four instances of man-animal conflict in and around Ranthambore in the past four months.
The Ranthambore National Park, of late, is in news for all the wrong reasons. The man-animal conflict is gathering pace with either the tiger moving out of the reserve or man entering prohibited area. In fact, after recent incidents of tiger attacks on villagers or their cattle, people living near the reserve have visibly turned aggressive against wild animals. The same villagers were once considered as a shield to animals against possible threat from poachers.
24th Aug, 2010
Declining tiger population and encroachment at the Namdapha National Park, the only one in the world to have four species of big cats, in Arunachal Pradesh's Changlang district, has been a major cause of concern for forest department officials.
The tigers of Ranthambhore will not insure genetic vigour in the new population being raised in Sariska, Environment and Forest Minister Mr Jairam Ramesh has written to chief ministers of MP and Maharashtra requesting them for few tigers for Sariska. The tigers sent from Ranthambhore turned out to be siblings following which the tiger relocation process was put on hold. A DNA analysis of Ranthambhore tigers was ordered and genetic tests proved that the tigers were indeed siblings. Sariska may get its fourth tiger much sooner if any of the three Ranthambhore tigers shortlisted for relocation are found to be genetically compatible. The DNA report of these tigers is expected from Bangalore based National Centre for Biological Sciences this week.
Nine tigers have already died in and around the forests of India since the beginning of 2009, parliament was informed on Wednesday. The government had said last year that only abou 1,400 tigers were left in the wild in the country.
A three-year-old tigress from Ranthambore sanctuary has been uplifted to its new home in Sariska. The shifting of the second tigress has become necessary as the male tiger has already mated with the other tigress.
Two tigers one in Bhanuskhindi and another suspected to be in Dewada are reported to be dead inside the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve .According to the officials one of the tigress is reported to be died of starvation. The other tiger likely to be poached as its skins and bones were reportedly found.
In a man-animal conflict a pregnant tigress was badly injured by villagers in West Bengal. The tigress had strayed into human habitation in the Sundarbans and had injured three persons in South 24 Paraganas district's Deulbari village. Enraged villagers stoned the animal. The frightened big cat climbed atop a banyan tree. Forest guards encircled the tree with a net hoping to trap the animal but the locals set the tree on fire. On seeing the flames the scared animal jumped on the net and escaped to an abandoned village hut. Later the tigress became unconscious and forest officials captured it. Another tiger was found paralyzed at Bandherwar village, 25 km from Satna town in MP.Panna Tiger Reserve authorities have tranquilized the tiger and taken it to Bhopal for treatment.
Tigers continue to die across India.Poisoned being killed in road accidents or getting mortally wounded in territorial fights since Janury1,2008 at least 6 more tigers have been found dead in several wildlife sanctuaries ranging from Katerniaghat in UP to Wynad in Kerala.During the same period wildlife officials have also seized two tiger skins and three bone pieces of the endangered animal as per information by Wild life Protection Society of India.Forest authorities say that man-animal conflict too has escalated in recent times.There are incidents in Karnataka where farmers have killed tiger as it had killed the bullocks.Villagers also complain that the compensation provided by the forest dept for cattle loss is meagre.Villagers also employ poachers to carry out wildlife crimes.Some of them have confessed to selling tiger skins for as little as Rs 1500 whereas poacher makes huge profit in the international market.
Notwithstanding the decline in the tiger population in the country, state governments have shown "little interest" in implementing the steps directed by the Centre to protect the endangered species. It is a matter of concern that states are not bothered about saving the big cat in the wild which are on a vanishing trail according to Rajesh Gopal, member Secretary of National Tiger Conservation Authority. It has been more than two years since states were asked to set up the steering committee for ensuring coordination, monitoring and protection of tigers but majority are yet to do so. So far only Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram have constituted the committees as required under Section 38U of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 as amended in 2006. Except Kerala, Karnataka and Arunachal Pradesh, none of the states have set up Tiger Conservation Foundation despite several reminders to expedite the process. As the states have not delineated core and buffer areas to ensure survival of the tiger, the fate of the proposed Tiger Conservation Plan is also hanging in the balance. The delay may lead to further dwindling of the number of striped cats. Tiger conservation plan for each tiger reserve has to specify delineated core and buffer areas, incorporating strategies for wildlife conservation in the core and management in the buffer areas. It would facilitate better movement of the striped animals as well prevent man-animal conflicts.
Only 1411 tigers remain in the wild in India. That is the stark finding of the National Tiger Conservation Authority's estimation report released on 12 February,2008.The report confirms the worst fears of experts and conservationists that the king of the jungle is living on the edge not all that far from a perilous slide to extinction. The tiger is facing its toughest battle for survival yet. Tigers are surviving under hazardous circumstances in habitats in 17 states and if these eco-systems fragment further the depletion rate of the tiger could worsen. In fact the actual number of wild tigers in India could be even less than 1,411.As it is a statistical study NTCA said if error margins are taken into account the tiger population could range between 1,165 and 1,657.The new count using a change of methodology after Sariska fiasco has clearly established that tiger numbers had been grossly misreported in the past. The tigers are restricted to island like forests .Top habitats are Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Corbett and northeast forests.
Corbett has maximum number of Tigers
The new count by National Tiger Conservation Authority has clearly established that tiger numbers had been grossly misreported in the past. The result of the bogus census had thrown up a figure of 3,508 tigers.Now it is clear that more than 2,000 of these were paper tigers existing only in the record books. Despite the hype over the tiger the magnificent cat has been actually left to his own devices. But there are silver linings to this dark cloud. India's unquestionable success story is the Corbett Tiger Reserve. It has recorded the highest tiger density compared to other habitats. In a mere 1,524 sq km,it holds 164 tigers(statistical estimates say that it could be as high as 178).That is 19.6 tigers for every 100 sq km.The dense tiger population in Corbett has become a good base to sustain the entire flood plains of Uttarakhand,UttarPradesh and Bihar. In three other regions, the long term future of the endangered cat looks good, the study conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India notes. The Northeast including Kaziranga and other habitats in the Brahmaputra valley is one. The central Indian belt around Kanha Tiger reserve and parts of MP, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh is the second. The third belt is the one encompassing Bandipur, Nagarhole, Madumalai and Wayanad tiger reserves, the last safe haven for the southern tiger population.Statewise MP is home to 300 tigers and Karnataka 290.But Uttarakhand definitely seems to be doing much better despite its limited tiger inhabitable space. In Rajasthan the land where tiger tales abound, Ranthambore might be a tourist destination but it is in poor health. With a mere 356sqkm in one of India's biggest states there are 32 big cats in its only tiger reserve. The story of the declining tiger is evident in the Eastern Ghats.While 15,000 sq km still remain potential tiger habitat ,a mere 55 big cats roam 7772 sq km of range. The report points out that naxalism subsistence poaching and fragmentation of forests have all worked to decimate tigers in the area that could hold much higher numbers even today.
Sariska to ban private vehicles
The Sariska Tiger Reserve will no longer will be a drive in forest. The Rajasthan government decided to take steps to stem poaching, accidents and pollution in the famous forest. The move comes ahead of bringing tigers from outside in the reserve which does not have single big cat left. The forest dept and the state government had been under fire for their inability to check tiger poaching at Sariska.The government will also stop free visits on Tuesdays and Saturdays and levy an entry fee now throughout the week.
Union Government has demarcated the 28 existing tiger reserves and eight new proposed tiger habitats under the amended Wildlife Protection Act 1972.The declaration of the existing national parks and sanctuaries as critical habitats comes just ahead of the operationalization of the Forest Rights Act. This move has been made after the congress leadership accepted the tiger lobby's logic that the Act would over -run existing tiger reserves, national parks and sanctuaries by giving rights to people in these inviolate areas and put the Forest Rights Act on hold. The stalled Act envisages formal recognition of the rights of the people already living in these parks and sanctuaries before they can be evicted if found scientifically necessary. The tiger lobby believed that it would become difficult to remove people from the parks and sanctuaries if the Forest Act comes into place. Concurring with the conservationists the Congress put the Act on hold and asked the government to instead pre-emptively declare critical wildlife habitats (for areas not bearing tigers).While the term critical habitat is recognized only under the yet to be operationlized Forest Rights Act, the term 'critical tiger reserve' get its legal backing from the existing Wildlife Protection Act. The government believes that now that the existing tiger bearing areas have been declared as critical tiger habitats under the existing legislation it would be able to carry on with the recently cleared enhanced package of rehabilitation and resettlement programme for the almost 270 plus villages in these areas without the encumbrance of the Forest Rights Act.
Shabir Qureshi a most -wanted poacher was arrested by STF from Allahabad after three tiger skeletons were recovered from him. He used to kill 30-35 tigers every year and smuggled around 600 tiger skins during his 20-year poaching business.
He was the pointman of Tsering Atup Tamang and Wong Kim-queen who are accused to be one of the biggest buyers of animal hides and bones from India. He also confessed to be present when the police raided the Khaga premises in 2000 and seized four tiger skins, 70 leopard skins, 1800 leopard claws and 150 kg of bones.
A tiger brought to Lucknow zoo with a broken backbone from a hit and run in Bahraich died on Wednesday before it could get medical attention. Tiger was profusely bleeding when it was shifted from Bahraich where forest officials saw the endangered animal lying on the roadside. Its death has further reduced the already dwindling numbers of tigers in India.
Tiger habitats have got an additional layer of protection. Besides the team of forest guards and rangers, ex-servicemen and local youth will be employed by 17 key tiger reserves around the country in order to bolster security of these critical habitats against poachers.
The environment ministry has cleared a plan of Rs. 4 crore to hire ex-servicemen from the Zila Sainik Boards and build a tiger protection force which will also employ local youth. The scheme will be fully funded by the centre as many states had claimed inability to hire more guards due to paucity of funds.
The Tiger Task Force set up by the PM in the wake of the Sariska fiasco had recommended that one way of reducing alienation of villagers living near tiger reserves was by providing them employment as protector of the forests. This scheme provides one avenue to engage them in protection and provide employment security in return.
With the ex-servicemen trained in policing activity and carrying licensed arms, the government hopes to provide some muscle power to forest guards and rangers. They will be provided with same amenities and facilities as forest guards. The wages for ex-servicemen will be as per Zila Sainik Board rules while the local youth will be employed on contract wages notified by the district magistrates. The scheme also provides additional funds for deployment of vehicles for the tiger protection force to ensure complete coverage of the tiger reserves.
The preliminary tiger estimate submitted by the Tiger Task Force to Prime Minsiter reveals that the majestic feline is more critically endangered than it was in the last estimte in 2001-2002.According to the refined methodology approved by the Tiger Task Force and executed by National tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India indicates that there could be less than 1700 tigers in the wild now.
The central Indian landscape has lost more than half of its population due to poaching and habitat fragmentation.From a robust 1,233 cats it is now down to 461.If MP boasted 710 tigers in 2002 the numbers have drastically come down to 300.The percentage of decline in Chattisgarh is alarming at 26.Maharashtra has too lost more than half of its population from a viable 238 to a vulnerable 103.Rajasthan is left with 32 tigers as against 58 in 2002.
With the estimate for Central India done in three phases being disappointing conservationists are concerned that the figures for most of India which is to be completed by December 2007 could be even worse.
The NTCA and WII have drawn attention of PM urging him to address the source-link situation on a priority.They have attributed the decimation to fragmentation of habitat.The assessment reveals fragmentation of forest connectivity around source population-tiger reserves and protected areas and forest areas outside protected areas.This indicates that they hardly have any viable tiger population.This calls for addressing the source-link situation on a priority.
Two tigers were spotted limping after snatching away from foot traps set by poachers in the last two days in Kanha tiger reserve considered India's best managed and most rigorously protected Tiger Reserve.
In December 2006,one tiger survived foot trap injury here.This time the intrusion of poachers is shocking as they are targeting even the tourist zone known for most rigorous patrolling.
According to Dr Rajesh Goyal member-secretary of National Tiger Conservation Authority two tigers have been spotted with paw injuries symptomatic of foot trap bites.The forest officials have traced three foot traps.More than 20 iron traps have been found inside the core area of the tiger reserve.
The Kanha incident once again points to the fact that guns,guards and fences are not enough to protect India's tigers.
At Periyar Tiger Reserve a group of villagers are recruited and entrusted with the task of protecting Periyar's animals. They are well-versed with the ways of men who plunder and loot the forest wealth. The reason being they were poachers who have now turned protectors. At a time when tiger population is dwindling in most parks, Periyar has over 50 tigers and there has been no reported case of animal poaching in the last two years. Activities like sandalwood smuggling, cinnamon bark theft, felling of trees and trespassing have reduced drastically. According to the officials these people are among the best informants in the southern India. The recruits are chosen after careful screening. Their activities were monitored for a year. Finally 20 people were selected and given jobs as guides and community trackers.
Apart from poachers turned protectors Periyar has another first to its credit: A group of women volunteers, all daily wagers take a day off from work every week to patrol the forest during the day. Their main motivation being enhanced social status in the village. The villagers look at these women with respect and protecting the forest gives them a sense of accomplishment.
The ongoing estimation of tigers indicates that only 1300-1500 of them are left in the country. This was announced by Valmik Thapar, tiger conservationist and now a member of the National Board of Wildlife headed by the prime minister at the meeting organized by conservation NGOs.According to the government sources the estimation being conducted by Wildlife Institute of India indicated the presence of not more than 1300-1500 tigers with much of the loss being in forests outside national parks and sanctuaries. Many members criticized the forest Rights Act which will be death knell of wildlife in India.
The Nandankanan zoological park located on the outskirts of Bhubneshwar is organizing birthday celebrations, complete with cake cutting for white tigers Rishi,Sitesh and Prachi who will turn three shortly. White tigers are endangered aninals.Atpresent there are only 200 white tigers in the world.Nandankanan is home to about 11 tigers including the three. The purpose of celebrating birthday is to heighten awareness about the animals and need for conservation.
After celebrating one of the highest recorded tiger densities in India, the Corbett Tiger Reserve has been under Supreme Court scanner. The Uttarakhand government has built a cement road through the heart of the tiger reserve.A petition had been filed in this regard before the centrally empowered committee of the Supreme Court on forestry issues. The SC appointed CEC is now slated to make a spot assessment of the tiger reserve before it recommends further action to the apex court. The mandatory permission from the chief wildlife warden or the director of the Tiger Reserve was not taken before building the road as required by the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.The construction of the road is also not scheduled in the management plan which is mandated as compulsory to undertake any activity within a protected forest area.
The tiger is a species most endangered by illegal international trade. World Wildlife Fund for Nature has released its list of the world's 10 most in demand species being bought, sold, smuggled, killed or captured for trade purposes. Estimates put the current size of the tiger -trade market at $500 million while profits from the global trade in wildlife parts range from $ 35 billion to $ 60 billion a year.
The implementation of Project Tiger for sustaining a viable tiger population in Karnataka is unsatisfactory due to deficiencies in planning and inadequate release of funds according to Controller and Auditor General of India. Shortage of frontline protection staff, lack of training in use of sophisticated fire arms and their supply and deficient communication network in the tiger reserves rendered the protection measures largely ineffective. Project Tiger a centrally sponsored scheme is under implementation in Bandipur National Park,Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary and Rajiv Gandhi National Park.
Tiger remains under severe threat. More than a year after disappearance of tigers from Sariska became public the lord of the Jungle a study shows has vanished from 50% of its historical habitats in Bihar and Rajasthan and from 30% of its accustomed haunts in central India. The Wildlife Institute of India for the National Tiger Conservation Authority has surveyed the presence of the top predator to the taluk -level in areas of its habitat. The grim findings reveal tiger being under stress even in the Shivaliks where it has vanished from 30% of its areas.
In Bihar and Rajasthan the tiger has gone locally extinct in more than 50% areas the report says. Apart from 30% districts in the Shivaliks not having any recorded tiger presence, only 20.34% forests of the area remain potential tiger habitats.Bihar has lost the tiger in 75% districts and Jharkhand in 52%.UttarPradesh has lost big cat in 53% of its historical habitat.
In 21 out of 28 reserves, forest cover within 10 km of periphery of a sanctuary has dropped by 124 sq km between 1997 and 2002.251 sq km of moderately dense forest lost in 28 tiger reserves between 1997 and 2002.
|Region||Total forest area in sq km||Districts in which tiger has gone extinct (%)|
While only 33sq km turned into thicker dense forest cover the rest either lost forest canopy to turn into an open forest or was left completely bare. While losses in the more vulnerable tiger reserves in northeast might have been in part anticipated even highly protected parks have lost some dense forest cover.
Two lion cubs are found dead in an open well in Rabarika village on 17th March. According to the Forest conservator two cubs might have fallen in the well some days back. Post-mortem of the cubs showed that they had drowned in the well. There have been incidences of lions straying out of the sanctuary in search of water with the onset of summer especially in Dhari range where most of the human-beast conflicts have taken place in the last few years.
Few days back three lionesses were found dead without a trace of blood or bones on the scene of blood adding to the worries of the forest department.
The clouded leopard of Borneo discovered to be an entirely new species is the latest entrant in the list of animals and plants unique to the South East Asian country's rainforest. According to the genetic tests conducted by US National Cancer Institute the clouded leopard of Borneo and Sumatra islands are a unique cat species and not the same one found in mainland South-East Asia.
The secretive clouded leopards are the biggest predators on Borneo growing to the size of a small panther. They have the longest canine teeth relative to body size. The heart of Borneo a mountainous region about five times the size of Switzerland covered with equatorial rainforest is the last great forest home of the Bornean clouded leopard. According to the researchers the Borneo population of the clouded leopard likely diverged from the mainland population some 1.4 million years ago. Over the millennia at least 40 differences emerged between the two species making them distinct than other cat species. The Borneo clouded leopard is darker than the mainland species and has many distinct spots within its small cloud markings. It also has a grayer fur and a double dorsal stripe.
The scientists at WWF have identified at least 52 new species of animals and plants over the past year on Borneo.
In a major step for Tiger conservation, a list of villages to be relocated from Tiger habitats on a priority basis is being prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India.
In a parallel move, the norms and conditions for rehabilitation of these villages are also being drawn under a separate project. The Tiger Task Force has enumerated 273 villages in the core and 1,487 villages overall in India's Tiger Reserves.
The task of drawing up the list of priority villages to be moved out from the 28 Tiger Reserves as per the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force has been submitted to the Dehradun based institute by the newly created Tiger Conservation Authority.
"There shall be three major issues to look at while we draw up the criteria for prioritizing the villages: ecological necessity, social issues and administrative conditions," said Anil Bhardwaj, Professor at the Wildlife Institute of India, who along with his team will undertake exercise.
Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve witnessed birth of 10 cubs in last six months. Recently 3 cubs were spotted near Padamtala by the forest guards. It is exciting news for the tiger lovers as well as for the park officials who are struggling to check poaching and taking efforts to make the park safe. The number of big cats in the tiger reserve now stands at 36.Special radio collars will also be fitted on the cubs to monitor their movements. A special team of Rajasthan armed constabulary has been posted for the safety of new-born cubs.
Forest guards had earlier spotted three cubs at Kachida and two each at Darraneegarh and Gelai Sagar ponds in the reserve. The 2005 census had recorded 26 tigers in Ranthambhore against 40 in 2002-03. During the last three years over 50 poachers had been arrested in Sariska and Ranthambhore. According to experts the numbers have increased after strong security measures were taken at Ranthambhore and also due to better breeding facilities within the reserve area.
At present India has about 3700 tigers.Kanha with 163 is on the top followed by Dudhwa 154, Corbett 152, Sunderbans 150, Pench 144, Palamau 141 and Simlipal 140.
Wildlife officials are trying to locate three tigers in Ranthambhore national park who will be made to wear radio collars by January end. The collars are usually fitted in tigers of between 20-24 months of age. There are three tigers that meet that age span at the wildlife sanctuary. The fitting of radio collars can take a day or over a month as experts have to locate the identified tigers.
Radio collars are aimed at monitoring tigers in Ranthambhore and a detailed study of the behavior of male tigers. Rajasthan's two popular wildlife destinations-Ranthambhore and Sariska tiger reserve have been in the news over the last year over the disappearance of the big cat from the sanctuary.
In May-June 2005 the figures of the tiger census in Ranthambhore were announced by a state government empowered committee which conducted census in a technical manner. The committee set up by the Rajasthan government indicated a decline in tiger numbers from 46 inclusive of 6 tigers in the neighboring Kailadevi and one tiger in Sawai Man Singh sanctuary in 2003-04 to 26.
Experts believe that the number now stand at 36 due to security at Ranthambhore and also due to the favorable steps taken for their reproduction by forest and state government officials.
The formation of National Tiger Conservation Authority has seen three incidents in three tiger reserves across India in one week. Two tigers and one woman were killed in three separate incidents.
In Kishenpur Sanctuary under the Dudhwa tiger reserve in UP about 30- 40 kg meat without any skin or bone was discovered. The meat was send for DNA testing to the Wildlife Institute of India and the Indian Veterinary Research Institute. According to the chief wildlife warden the meat had very small amounts of skin attached. It was most probably case of tiger poaching.
In Tadoba Andheri Tiger reserve a dead tiger body was discovered from a well from Katwal village. The body has been sent for forensic tests. The forest department sources say that it may be the case of retaliatory killing by poisoning. A tiger in the area had killed several cows over few months.
A villager was killed by a tiger in the Terai East division of Corbett National Park in the Surai Range. A thirty-two year woman who had gone to the forest to collect fire-wood was mauled to death by a tiger. The forest officials are worried about the safety of tigress and its three cubs that have been sighted several times. The forest department has made alternate routes for villagers who go to collect firewood.
Rajasthan High Court has sent a show cause notice to the National Tiger Project Authority asking about the declining number of tigers in Ranthambore national park. The state government has also been asked to remove all the encroachments in the national park. The court has also sought a timeframe in which all vehicles entering the park can be converted to CNG as well as details of revenue generated and funds given to the park for Project Tiger.
HC ordered the director of the Tiger Project to furnish details of the past 10 years about how much revenue was generated by the Ranthambhore wildlife sanctuary by ferrying tourists through other tourism initiatives. The court also sought details of revenue spent in the past 10 years on conservation of tigers and maintenance of the reserve forest.
The authority has also been asked to furnish details of funds received in the past 10 years for tiger conservation and the name of the bodies other than the Union and state government that funded the project. The court has asked the state government time it would take in converting vehicles run by patrol and
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