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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tiger of Kanha

Munna - is dominent male in Kanha zone
Here is Munna, the dominent male of Kanha zone of Kanha Tiger Reserve. His territory is very large after death of Konda he has taken up some of his area also. He is almost 10 years old and was thought to have either left his territory or died after a fight with other male since he was no where to be seen for almost a month.

Munna - Sitting under bamboo shade
He was seen a few days back and bought back smile on every ones face. Here he was sitting under Bamboo's shade and cooling off when he was seen by the Mahouts and a Tiger show was declared.

Mr. John Alexender Watson, Ms. Sarah White, Ms. Brinda and other guests from New Zealand and United Kingdom staying at Kanha Village Eco Resort got a chance to see Munna and click a few photographs.

Sighting a tiger in the wild is an experience in itself, something which cannot be expressed but only felt. Kanha National Park is home to around 60 Tigers (excluding young ones). We go on Gypsy Safari to see these beautiful striped cats. It is only when you see one of your own in the wildreness of Kanha that you may appreciate why our ancestors used to call it God or Vehicle of Goddess.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Survey of tiger reserves to check corridors for movement

Tiger at Kanha National Park
(Photograph by Navneet Maheshwari, Kanha Village Eco Resort)
 Dehradun : Taking cognisance of the fact that the elephant problem in Uttarakhand had reached jumbo proportions because the forest corridors used by the pachyderms for migration had been lost to construction and developmental projects, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) intends getting a satellite survey done of all the 41 tiger reserves in the country to check the corridors that may have been lost due to construction activity.

The survey will be undertaken by the Forest Survey of India some time in the middle of this year. The main purpose of it will be to check whether the corridors that were in the forest divisions of the tiger reserves for the movement of the felines are still in tact, or they have been lost to the rampant construction that is taking place in and around these resorts.

Informed sources said that it had been brought to the notice of the NTCA that rampant construction had been done within and in the periphery of the Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand , which had witnessed a considerable increase in the number of tigers over the past few years. The construction, of resorts in particular, was of all the more concern as they were coming up without due sanction from the forest authorities and were a threat to the wildlife in the region, they claimed.

They said that a survey had been done of the tiger population in the country in 2010, which had shown a healthy trend that there was an increase of almost 300 in the feline population in the country. But was damning was the fact that the survey also indicated that there was decline in the area of the tiger habitat, which meant little space for the felines, which are territorial animals.

Sources said that the survey would focus on what is the exact area of forest cover in the tiger reserves of the country and taking the feline numbers is it adequate to meet their territorial and other requirements; what are the changes that have taken place in the tiger reserves during the past two decades and how many corridors in these reserves have been lost and for what reasons.

They said that it was a matter of great concern that not only the population but activity in and around the tiger reserves was also on the rise which would affect the tiger conservation programme over the years. A large number of efforts have been put in the tiger conservation project in the past few years, and these are showing positive results, but the good work was in for a setback due to human activity in and around the reserves, they contended.

It may be mentioned here, that because of the forest corridors which were used by the elephant herds for migration in the Uttarakhand forests having been lost to development activities and rampant construction over the years, having been lost, the pachyderms were confined in pockets forcing them into direct conflict with man.

A recent study undertaken by the Wildlife Institute of India indicated that elephant-man conflict in Uttarakhand had increased manifold after 2001 and the pachyderms had killed 95 persons and injured another 65 during this period. There was also an increase in the number of incidents of wild herds entering agricultural fields and destroying the crops, because of which there were occasions when villagers also killed some elephants.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

India should create wildlife cadre to protect tigers: Valmik Thapar

BANGKOK: India should step up efforts to revamp its forest service and create a separate wildlife cadre for tigers which can work in partnership with other agencies to protect the animal, a top conservationist has said.
Valmik Thapar, an Indian conservationist, is of the view that when the British left India they also left behind the Indian Forest Service, whose primary duty was cutting of forests and use of forests.
"That scenario has changed now, it is not only about protecting the forest but also protecting its wildlife," he said adding that wildlife protection was a very tiny part of the service and not sufficient and called for a wildlife cadre.
"If India wants more landscape for tigers, a separate cadre has to be carved," he said on the sidelines of a Tiger protection conference here. "The time has come for change, new partnerships without that tigers won't be alive," he told PTI.
The Tiger conference organised by the UN office of Drugs and Crime saw police and customs heads and Tiger conservationists from 13 Asian countries agreeing to tighten controls and improve cross border cooperation to curb the illegal smuggling of tigers and other critically endangered species.
"We must take immediate and urgent action to save these magnificent animals from extinction," Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organisation said.
Thapar said poaching was linked to a government. "Poaching accelerate, when there is a bad and weak government as poachers exploit these gaps," he said, adding that bad governance and bad political leadership also led to the endangerment of animal species.
He felt that India's forest department did not like change. "We need to rethink otherwise we have no hope," he lamented. Meanwhile, the Global Tiger Initiative of the World Bank said India faced major challenges in sustaining the integrity and inviolability of core tiger habitats and corridors (mounting pressures from roads, mining and extraction industries).
It said that one billion US dollars were needed to relocate villages out of the core areas. Another challenge was in maintaining tiger occupancy in habitats outside tiger reserves and noted there was a 20 per cent in tiger occupancy observed habitats outside designated tiger reserves. A third challenge according to the Tiger Initiative was managing human-wildlife relationships noting there had been increased tiger-human conflict in some landscapes.

However the Global Initiative also noted that India had made some major achievements. These included addition of 2,500 km2 of new tiger habitat by establishing two new Tiger Reserves bringing a total of 54,656 Km2 under 41 Tiger reserves. This represented a five per cent increase in tiger habitat under protection, it said adding that five more tiger reserves were under establishment and another six were proposed.

It said across the country, tiger and prey estimations had recorded a modest increase in tiger numbers and that wildlife corridors connecting critical tiger breeding areas had been identified and published.
"If we lose an emblematic species like the Tiger, mankind will be acknowledging that it is prepared to lose any animal on the planet. This must not be allowed to happen," Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UNODC told the conference adding that "by our actions we must show that we have the capacity, the ability and the commitment to protect other species living on this planet." 

UP polls: When a tiger scares away 350 voters

MALIHABAD (UTTAR PRADESH): The overzealous state machinery might be sparing no effort to facilitate safe voting for a security-conscious Chief Minister Mayawati inside the premises of a school in Lucknow. But, just 28 km away in rural Malihabad constituency, people are afraid to vote, living as they do in the fear of being stalked by a tiger on the prowl.
The apathy on the part of local authorities was clearly spelt out by Lucknow DIG Police D.K.Thakur, who told mediapersons Sunday morning: "Why should people be scared of the tiger during the day, when the animal has been striking only at night?"
"After all, they have been living with the tiger around for so many weeks and it has not attacked a single human being," said Thakur, when asked if any special arrangement was being made to restore confidence of the people against the tiger menace.
Helpless villagers are least enthusiastic about venturing out to poll and risk their lives. "Why should I go to vote when the government has not cared to rid of this tiger who has made our lives miserable for the past one-and-a-half month," asked 25-year-old Sanjay of Urlapur village.
According to Ram Sewak, 57, of Dugauli village, "The route to the polling booth is so deserted and so close to the forest where the tiger has been hiding that we rather keep ourselves inside our homes."
What was strange that even wildlife authorities have failed to do anything concrete to relieve the villagers of the tension on account of the tiger, which has devoured and attacked their cattle on several occasions. The village is located in the midst of a tiny forest patch in Rehmankhera, around 150 km away, where the tiger had apparently strayed from the thick of the wild.
"The authorities do not seem to be serious because the wild cat has not eaten up any human being, they are only waiting for that to happen," said a villager.
Another villager Ramesh told IANS: "Neither political parties nor officials were bothered, because there were only about 350 votes here."
People were seen working in the fields, children were playing about, men were going about on bicycles and motorcycles, but clearly, they were scared of trudging along the 2 km road running along the forest patch to reach their polling station. A residents of Ulrapur claimed, "Even most candidates were afraid to venture out in the forest to campaign and ask villagers to vote for them."
The last round of the seven-phased election to the 403 member assembly in India's most populous and politically crucial state will be held March 3 and votes counted March 6.
Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tiger breeding: Panna strikes global first, Sariska fails - Hindustan Times

It is a mixed bag for future of tigers. A captive bred tigress in Panna, Madhya Pradesh, has become world’s first big cat to deliver in wild but pregnancy of a relocated tigress in Sariska, Rajasthan, has failed for the second time, a setback to the breeding efforts.

Panna and Sariska are India’s big cat experiment labs as both lost them due to poaching and the government re-introduced tigers from similar landscape to create a new pool. On Wednesday, Panna delivered the world’s first --- two cubs from a six-year-old captive tigress, who was orphaned six years ago and was reared in an enclosure in Kanha tiger reserve. She and her two siblings – a brother and a sister --- were trained for hunting in the enclosure. After a positive report from Dehradun based Wildlife Institute of India (WII), the tigresses were shifted to Panna in March 2011 and the brother, who was injured, to Van Vihar, Bhopal. “The tigress has been spotted with two cubs after mating with a wild tiger,” said R S Murthy, field director of Panna Tiger Reserve that had no tigers in 2009.

In all seven tigers have been relocated to Panna. Since the two tigresses landed, there was around the clock monitoring through Global Positioning System (GPS). In September 2011, the elder tigress, which created history, lost the radio collar and since then she was being monitored manually. The forest guards were able to spot and record the presence of two cubs with the mother on Wednesday. “It is for first time captive bred tigress has adapted completely to wild conditions,” Murthy said. But, the said news is that her sister had been badly injured in a brawl with another tiger. “She will take four to five days to recover,” he said, adding that she was slow in adapting to wild conditions unlike her elder sister. That has not happened in Sariska, which lost all tigers in 2004. A tiger and two tigresses were shifted from Rathambore and only one tigress had conceived twice. “She has again lost her baby,” an official of National Tiger Conservation Authority said, adding that the Wildlife Institute of India has been asked to investigate the reasons for repeated abortions. However, officials said the high human presence in Sariska was causing problems for the big cats there.

Tiger breeding: Panna strikes global first, Sariska fails - Hindustan Times