Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tiger kills another woman

Tiger kills another woman

30 Jan 2008, 0140 hrs IST,TNNSMS NEWS to 58888 for latest updates

CHANDRAPUR: In yet another incident of tiger attack, a 60-year-old woman from Kawarpet village in Mul tehsil was killed on Tuesday morning. This is the seventh such incident since last December of which three were killed in Mul forest range in a span of one month.

Deceased Janabai Kashinath Gurnule had gone to a nearby nullah to answer nature's call, when, sources said, the tiger suddenly attacked her and dragged her almost 700 metres into forest.

The body was later found by some villagers who had gone to the jungle to collect wood. Arun Tikhe, RFO, Mul forest range said confirmed that it was an act of a tiger. "An exgratia amount of Rs 5,000 has already been given to the family members of the deceased. Another Rs 2 lakh will be released as soon as the investigation and other formalities are over," he said.

He, however, said that this is not the tiger of Padzadi jungle in same forest range that had killed two persons in last one month and injured a shepherd and several cattle. "It is the act of another tiger, as the Padzadi jungle is about 25 km from the spot and the chances of Padzadi tiger reaching Kawarpet are less," said Tikhe. He said the tiger "didn't eat the woman". The body has been sent for post-mortem.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Nagpur/Tiger_kills_another_woman/articleshow/2741690.cms#write
 
 



Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

India to spend $150 million to save tigers

India to spend $150 million to save tigers
Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:46pm GMT
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will spend an estimated 6 billion rupees ($150 million) over the next five years in an attempt to save its endangered tigers, the cabinet said on Wednesday.
The number of tigers in India has plummeted to between 1,300 to 1,500 from about 40,000 a century ago, according to provisional government survey results, as humans either kill them for their body parts or encroach on their habitat.
India's tiger conservation authority had a budget of only 1.5 billion rupees for the previous five years.
"It's a big jump which shows the government has given much importance to the issue of conserving tigers," said Rajesh Gopal, head of India's National Tiger Conservation Authority.
"If the pressures on tigers are reduced then the animal numbers can recover readily."
Some of the new money will be spent on shifting villages and tribal communities away from tiger habitats, according to a statement issued by the cabinet.
"One particular thing there's always been a lack of money for is moving people," said Vivek Menon, the executive director of the Wildlife Trust of India, a conservation charity. "If the money is used for that purpose, then it is a good thing."
India will also establish eight new tiger reserves, the statement said.
Although conservationists welcome the extra resources, some critics say a lack of money has not been the only problem so much as bad management and outright corruption at some of India's tiger reserves.
In 2005, the government announced that there were no tigers left in Sariska Tiger Reserve, more than 30 years after it had set up Project Tiger, a national effort to protect the species.
 
 
 



Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

Endangered Amur tiger cub rescued

Endangered Amur tiger cub rescued
January 31, 2008
The Vladivostok News
Veterinarians have started treatment on an exhausted Amur tiger cub found in the Khabarovsk region and taken to the rehabilitation center for wild animals in the village of Razdolnoye in southern Primorye, a statement from the Tiger Inspectorate reported on Tuesday.

The female cub, approximately five or six months old, was spotted near a private home in the town of Vyazemsk, Khabarovsk region, on January 19. When the home owners returned to their residence, they discovered the wild cat had killed a guard dog and entered its house, prompting them to call the police who in turn called the Inspectorate specialists.

The environmentalists failed to locate the cub's mother, who was most likely killed by poachers, the statement said.

The cub's condition is reported as weak due to an extended period of time without food and although the tiger has begun to eat, there is still a high risk of her not surviving. The wild cat is currently receiving treatment, with antibiotics, glucose and vitamins added to the food to strengthen her immune system.

In 2007, a total of eight orphan tiger cubs were found in the wild of the Russian Far East by environmentalists, their mothers most likely been killed by illegal hunters. The two previous cubs, found in Primorye in mid December, did not survive. Five of the rescued felines received treatment and were taken to Russian and foreign zoos.

According to the Tiger Inspectorate specialists, since the beginning of 2006 Primorye poachers have killed over ten Amur tigers, with their skins being valuable items in Asian countries and body parts used in traditional Chinese and Korean medicine.

The Amur tiger is considered an endangered species, with most of its population inhabiting Primorye and southern Khabarovsk region. Currently, there are only about 450 wild cats in the territory.
 
 



Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

Eight new reserves for tigers

Eight new reserves for tigers
(IANS)

31 January 2008
NEW DELHI - The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday decided to set up eight new tiger reserves in India during the 11th Five Year Plan at an estimated cost of Rs320 million.
Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters after the CCEA meeting that the new tiger reserves would be developed in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Orissa, Karnataka, Assam and Madhya Pradesh.
It was one of the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, following the depletion of the tiger population in India.
Chidambaram said the CCEA in all approved Rs.600 crore (six billion) for taking up the preservation of tigers, rehabilitating the people from the core area and other safeguard related activities.
"Rs508 crore (5.08 billion) out of Rs600 crore (six billion) would be spent on the relocation of villages from the core area," he said.
 



Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

Death of tigress remains a mystery

Death of tigress remains a mystery
 
31 Jan 2008, 0256 hrs IST,Neha Shukla,TNN
SMS NEWS to 58888 for latest updates
 
LUCKNOW: The post-mortem report of the tigress found dead on Sunday has placed asphyxia, fracture of trachea, brain haemorrhage, trauma and blood loss as the reasons behind the death.
 
The tigress was found dead near river Gerua in Katarniaghat forest range in Bahraich district.
 
According to the forest department, an injured tiger was also found at a distance of some 3 kms from the tigress' body.
 
"It is a case of infighting," said MP Singh, director, Dudhwa. January and February being a mating period, Singh said, "It is a case of physical incompatibility between the mates."
 
The former forest officials and wildlife experts, however, are divided in their opinion on the matter. And, the opinions they shared, showed there is still a lot to be discovered about tigers. It is also noteworthy that there are clear directives from the Government of India that all tiger deaths are reported immediately with full details.
 
"Infighting is common between male tigers but between female and male it is a very rare occurrence," said Gyan Chandra Mishra, former field director, Dudhwa, adding, "I remember one such incident took place in 1974-75 in which a dead tigress was found at some distance from Dudhwa. The post-mortem report showed fractured skull but after that I could not recollect any such incident."
 
Experts and former forest officials do not rule out the incident to be yet another manifestation of man-animal conflict. The killed animal being a tigress in fact increases suspicion.
 
"Tigress in Corbett and Dudhwa fall to food poisoning often as taking care of the cubs restrict them from hunting in the wild. Cattle they feed on could have been poisoned," added Mishra.
 
Dudhwa National Park has sugarcane fields around and it is often that tigers venture out of the forest area in the fields in pursuit of prey, attacking livestock and humans. This in turn increases incidence of man-animal conflict in the area. "Most of these cases which appear to be that of infighting are actually manifestations of man-animal conflict," said Rahul Shukla, a former forest official who has served at Dudhwa.
 
Experts agreed that there could be other reasons also that lead to death of tigers in the wild. "Eighty per cent of tiger deaths are natural. There are so many reasons behind the deaths and not just infighting. The most important of them, that needs attention, is disease. There are instances where ill tigers have been preyed upon by scavengers," said Raghu Chundawat, tiger biologist adding, "I do not think the infighting between tigers often leads to death. Tiger deaths need thorough probing and investigation".
 
Experts also ruled out the increase in the density of tiger population as the reason behind increasing cases of infighting. "We cannot comment on if the instances of infighting have increased because of increase in density of tiger population at least till the latest census on tigers comes but territorial infighting is a characteristic feature of tigers," said Tito Joseph of Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). 
 
 
 



Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

China under pressure to continue ban on tiger trade

China under pressure to continue ban on tiger trade
 
Beijing (PTI): Animal conservationists have stepped up their campaign with renewed calls to the Chinese government to continue with its 15-year-old moratorium on the trade in tiger parts, warning that lifting of the ban would be "disastrous" for the big cats.
 
In their latest effort, the "Save the Tiger Fund" conducted a poll, with findings that 95 per cent across the country supported the tiger-trade ban, imposed in 1993.
 
Tiger bone is used in traditional Chinese medicine and wine made from its blood is believed to give potency while its skin is highly valued in Tibet, making the trade in tiger products a big money spinner for poachers in China, India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
 
Ever since China banned harvesting of tiger bones in 1993, conservationists and tiger-trade lobby have locked horns over the issue.
 
The pro-tiger trade insists parts of the dead captive- bred tigers should be used citing its medicinal use but conservationists want the government to halt captive breeding itself.
In the poll, 95 per cent backed the ban, while more than 77 per cent said the ban was important for China's image. Almost 95 per cent said they would abstain from the use of tiger products to save the big cats, Xinhua news agency said.
 
"The results... present the strikingly clear message that most Chinese people care so much about wild tigers that they are willing to change behaviour that threaten the survival of tigers in the wild," Judy Mills of the organisation was quoted as saying.
 
News Update Service
Monday, January 28, 2008 : 1320 Hrs
 
 
 
 



Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

Tigress found dead in UP’s Katarniaghat range

Tigress found dead in UP's Katarniaghat range
 
Express news service
Posted online: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 2324 hrs IST
 
LUCKNOW, JANUARY 28

Even as the state Government announced special tiger corridors last week in a bid to save big cats, the forest officials found a dead tigress near the Gerua river in Katarniaghat forest range in Bahraich district on Monday. The tigress's body was found barely 3 km from the Indo-Nepal border.
 
While the officials say that the animal was killed during a fight between tigers, locals believe that once again, it is an incident of man-animal conflict.
 
It may be noted here that the Katarniaghat range in Bahraich, along with the Dudhwa range and the Kishanpur sanctuary in the adjoining Lakhimpur Kheri district, has been identified as the tiger protection area since the tiger count in these areas has remained stable. But recently there has been a rise in tiger deaths in these areas.
 
According to the officials, there were injury marks on the tigress's head and claws. The officials also found an injured tiger a few kilometres away from the tigeress's body.
 
"There are high chances that the tigress might have been killed during a fight between the animals as it is the mating season of the big cats and such fights are common," said senior forest officials.
 
The tigress's body has been sent for post-mortem.
 
Meanwhile, the department has set up a trap with a live bait in the Dhaurhara region in Lakhimpur Kheri district to catch a leopard that killed a child on Sunday.
 
The family of the deceased child has been given Rs 3,000 by the Forest Department and Rs 5,000 byWorld Wildlife Fund for Nature.
 
The department also caught another leopard, which was on the prowl in Jhansi range, on Sunday. The leopard has been sent to Kanpur Zoo.
 
 
 



Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Big cat makes dinner out of fatty sheep

Big cat makes dinner out of fatty sheep
 
www.chinaview.cn 2008-01-28 10:02:57
 
BEIJING, Jan. 28 -- A Siberian Tiger, a highly protected species, broke into a sheep's pen in Hunchun, Jilin province, and devoured two sheep and killed 22 others last Saturday.
The owner of the farm surnamed Sun saw the tiger attacking his sheep and called the police.
 
To scare the tiger away, policemen fired shots into the air.
 
But to their surprise, the tiger continued to attack the sheep. When he was done, he disappeared into a nearby forest. Authorities promised Sun that he would be compensated for his loss.
 
(Source: chinadaily.com.cn/City Evening News)
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

New Poll Shows an Overwhelming Majority of Chinese Public Supports Ban on Tiger Trade

New Poll Shows an Overwhelming Majority of Chinese Public Supports Ban on Tiger Trade

    BEIJING, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Chinese public supports
the ban on tiger trade and stands ready to pitch in to save wild tigers,
according to the results of a new opinion poll released today.
 
    The face-to-face survey of 1,880 people in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou,
Guilin, Harbin, Kunming and Shanghai was conducted by Horizon Key, one of
China's pre-eminent public polling companies. Respondents, who
statistically represent the entire adult populations of these cities, were
asked questions about their use of tiger products, their preferences for
products from wild versus farmed tigers and their attitudes toward
conservation of wild tigers and China's 1993 tiger-trade ban.
 
    Nearly 95 percent of respondents support China's tiger-trade ban. Among
those, more than 77 percent felt that keeping the ban was important for
China's image. Nearly 95 percent also said that they would take action to
save wild tigers, including abstaining from the use of tiger products.
 
    "The results of this survey present the strikingly clear message that
most Chinese people care so much about wild tigers that they are willing to
change behaviors that threaten survival of tigers in the wild, said Judy
Mills of Save The Tiger Fund, which commissioned the study. "With this
strong support from the Chinese people, wild tigers can survive and
thrive."
 
    However, the survey also reported nearly 50 percent of those polled had
consumed what they thought were tiger products. Most used tiger products as
medicines or health tonics and had done so since China's 1993 tiger-trade
ban was put in place. Among those consumers, nearly 66 percent of the
medicine users said they prefer products from wild tigers. Among the tonic
users, more than 74 percent preferred products from wild tigers. Among
those who used tiger skins, nearly 55 percent preferred skins from wild
tigers. In contrast, just under seven percent of both medicine and tonic
users preferred products from farmed tigers. Among skin users, just over
four percent favored products from farmed tigers.
 
    At present, businessmen in China have bred some 5,000 tigers in hope
that the 15-year trade ban will be lifted. These factory-farm owners are
lobbying the government to lift the ban, clearing the way for them to make
huge profits from the sale of tonic wine made with tiger bones. Meanwhile,
tiger experts fear that reopening trade in tiger products from any source
will cause a disastrous increase in poaching of the estimated 3,400-4,400
tigers remaining in the wild. For this reason, some say the fate of wild
tigers rests with China's maintaining and enforcing its trade ban.
 
    "The preference for products from wild tigers documented by this survey
confirm our fears that lifting China's ban will send the message to
poachers that it's open season on tigers, which would be disastrous for
wild tigers," said Grace Gabriel of the International Fund for Animal
Welfare.
 
    The primary use of tiger products in traditional Chinese medicine is to
remedy arthritic conditions. The traditional Chinese medicine community has
won praise from conservationists for finding and embracing effective
alternatives. Those petitioning China's government to lift the ban are
businessmen who stand to make millions of dollars from selling tiger-bone
wine.
 
    The 171 countries that are members of the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) decided in June that tigers should not
be farmed for trade in their body parts and products.
 
Judy Mills
Save The Tiger Fund
Director, Campaign Against Tiger Trafficking (CATT)
1120 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 900
Washington, DC  20036  USA
1-202-857-5160 Office
1-202-674-4588 Mobile

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

Sign our petition here:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/344896451?ltl=1140270431

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.



Thursday, January 24, 2008

UP to create special tiger corridors

UP to create special tiger corridors
 
Wed, Jan 23 02:36 AM
 
At last the UP Government has woken up to make the movement of big cats hassle free in the reserved sanctuaries and national parks.
 
The state Government has proposed to create special corridors in the Dudhwa National Park, Katarniaghat and Kishanpur reserved sanctuaries for the free movement of tigers. Of the total tiger population of the state, 60 per cent are found in these three forest areas due to which the state Government has declared them as Critical Tiger Habitats. It has been decided to evict villagers from these areas. In the first phase, villages falling in the way of the special tiger corridors will be relocated.
 
According to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wild Life) DNS Suman, the state Government is in the process of issuing eviction notices to 10 villages lying within the forest areas of Kishanpur, Dudhwa and Katarniaghat. "There is a provision for this in the Wild Life Protection Act 38 V and we are following it," Suman told The Indian Express.
 
He said that once the state Government is over with the formalities, a proposal will be sent to the Union Government to provide necessary funds for the rehabilitation of the villagers of the forest area. The National Tiger Conservation Committee (NTCC) in its recommendations to the state Government had asked to evict people from the areas falling in the Critical Tiger Habitat. As per the recommendations, 490.29 sq km in Dudhwa, 203.41 sq km in Kishanpur and 400.09 sq km in Katarniaghat needs to be evicted and conserved.
 
Regarding the special corridors for the tigers, Suman said that it helps in protecting the big cats as they get disturbed due to human movement on their track.
 
In the Katarniaghat reserved sanctuary, a special track for tigers was created in 2006 and it has shown encouraging results. Due to the tiger track which was barred for the human as well as vehicular movement, the number of big cat has remained stable in this area. As per the tiger census of 2005, there were 77 tigers in Dudhwa followed by 58 in Katarniaghat and 29 in Kishanpur.
 
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.

Tiger kills woman in Bangladesh mangrove forest

Tiger kills woman in Bangladesh mangrove forest
 
23 Jan 2008 13:34:46 GMT
Source: Reuters
 
KHULNA, Bangladesh, Jan 23 (Reuters Life!) - A woman was killed by a tiger in Bangladesh's part of the Sundarbans mangrove forest on Wednesday, officials said.
The tiger attacked while she was fishing in a swamp and forest officials retrieved her body several hours later, they said.
 
Around 300,000 mostly poor people live in areas surrounding the Sundarbans, home to around 400 of the endangered Royal Bengal tiger.
 
The 6,000 sq km (2,320 sq mile) part of the forest in Bangladesh, and a further 4,000 sq km (1,545 sq miles) into India's eastern state of West Bengal, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
 
Tigers are responsible for about 10 deaths a year.
 
 
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

India sets up anti-poaching force as tigers dwindle

India sets up anti-poaching force as tigers dwindle
 
01.23.2008
 
India has opened a national wildlife crime prevention bureau aimed at intensifying a difficult fight against the poaching of tigers and other endangered species, officials said.
 
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ordered the setting-up of the federal agency in March last year after a national outcry over the large-scale slaughter of tigers.
 
The Indian forest ministry said Tuesday the bureau will draw experts from the police, environmental agencies and customs, and try to "reduce demand for wildlife and its products."
 
The government admitted in 2005 that poachers killed 122 tigers between 1999 and 2003. An earlier official count in 2001-02 estimated that there were 3,642 tigers in India, down from about 40,000 before the 1947 independence from Britain.
 
Wildlife protection groups say that the states of Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, which previously accounted for most of India's tiger population, may today have less than 500 animals left.
 
Around 8,000 leopards are also officially listed in India's 592 state-protected forests.
In November last year, India began recruiting retired soldiers to guard sanctuaries sheltering the increasingly rare Royal Bengal Tiger after a study showed their numbers were also far below previous estimates.
 
Tiger hunting is illegal worldwide, and the trade in tiger skins, claws and other products often wanted for use in traditional Chinese medicine is banned under a treaty binding 167 countries, including India.
 
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

China seeks name for South China tiger cub born in S Africa

China seeks name for South China tiger cub born in S Africa
 
www.chinaview.cn 2008-01-21 20:19:28
 
BEIJING, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The name of the first South China tiger cub born outside of China will be chosen from a list of suggestions made by members of the public, both in China and abroad.
 
The cub, born in the Laohu Valley Reserve about 600 km south of Johannesburg on Nov. 23 last year, is the first South China tiger to be born in captivity outside of China.
 
His mother Cathay and father Tiger Woods are both undergoing training in the reserve ahead of a planned introduction to the wild.
 
People can suggest names through the website Sina.com and a shortlist will be drawn up. People overseas can submit their ideas to the website of Save China's Tigers http://www.savechinastigers.org
 
The charity and the State Forestry Administration will select the final name and make it public at the end of February. The charity will also reward the name providers.
 
The organizers said the name should "reflect the cultural or historical status of the South China tiger", and be less than three Chinese characters.
 
Since 2003, four tigers have undergone "rewilding" training at Laohu Valley Reserve.
China is also carrying out preparatory work to establish a pilot reserve for the eventual return of these tigers.
 
However, experts from the State Forestry Administration have admitted a shortage of land and money has disrupted preparations.
 
 
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

Return of rare tigers to China delayed: government

Return of rare tigers to China delayed: government
 
BEIJING (AFP) — The return to China of four endangered tigers from a South African wildlife training programme has been delayed because their sanctuaries are not ready yet, an official said Monday in Beijing.
 
Completion of the two sanctuaries for the South China tigers has been held up mainly by a failure to relocate people currently living in the area, Lu Jun, an official with the State Forestry Administration, told a briefing.
 
"The plan for the return of the Chinese tigers in 2008 has been delayed as migration problems have hampered the implementation of the (local sanctuaries) programme," he said. "There is no timetable for the return yet."
 
Since 2003 China has sent five South China tiger cubs from local zoos to a nature reserve in South Africa where they were taught how to hunt for their own food.
 
One male cub died in 2005 from a disease. The others were expected to come back this year and be released in the two sanctuaries to be built in Jiangxi province in the east and the central province of Hunan.
 
Officials plan to spend at least 20 million dollars, partly to move local residents out of an area totalling 250 square kilometres (100 square miles), to make space for the sanctuaries.
"Investors would rather provide money for the construction of a reserve itself than give financial support to the related relocation programme," Lu told AFP.
 
The tiger species is a critically endangered animal native to southern China. There are 72 living in Chinese zoos while a survey at the end of 1990s estimated that about 20 of the animals remained in the wild, Lu said.
 
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.

Rare Amur Tiger Dies After Bus Accident

Rare Amur Tiger Dies After Bus Accident
 
Tuesday, January 22, 2008. Issue 3825. Page 2. MT, Reuters
 
A rare Amur tiger was put down after being hit by a bus in the Far East, RIA-Novosti reported Monday.
 
The bus hit the tiger when it jumped in front of the vehicle as it drove across the Russian-Chinese border, the report said.
 
It is the second death of an Amur tiger, one of the rarest predators in the world, in the Khabarovsk region since the beginning of the year. A wounded tiger was shot Jan. 1 after he attacked a person in the region.
 
The Amur tiger, the world's biggest wildcat, has pounced back from the brink of extinction to hit its highest population level in at least 100 years, the WWF said last year.
 
By the 1940s, the tigers had nearly died out and there were only about 40 surviving Amur tigers in their natural habitat in the wilds of the Far East.
 
But a census this year showed there were 480 to 520 Amur tigers living on the remote edge of Siberia, meaning the total world population was about 600, Alexei Vaisman, head of the Russia WWF's anti-animal trafficking program, said in April.
 
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Endangered species photo fuels 'Tigergate'

Endangered species photo fuels 'Tigergate'
 
Allegations of faked tiger picture stir emotions over decline of China's wildlife.
 
By Craig Simons
INTERNATIONAL STAFF
Sunday, January 20, 2008
 
BEIJING — For conservationists, the news was exceptional. Chinese officials announced last fall that at least one South China tiger, a species not seen in the wild for more than 20 years, still roamed the country's forests.
 
But almost as soon as the forestry department of China's central Shaanxi province released photographs of the animal, the story began to unravel.
 
People posting to Internet chat rooms pointed out that the tiger looked identical to one in a popular Chinese New Year poster and could have been digitally added to the photographs. Journalists argued that a tiger was unlikely to sit still for 20 minutes, the time the local government says that a farmer took to shoot 40 digital images of the animal.
 
A panel of prominent zoologists, photographers and criminal detectives convened by a Chinese Web site analyzed the images and declared them fake. Among other clues, they pointed out that the tiger holds the same posture in every photo, grass around its feet is undisturbed and its eyes reflect no light.
 
Instead of offering hope that China is improving conservation efforts, the incident — dubbed "Tigergate" by China's media — has highlighted how economic development often trumps environmental protection.
 
China's pollution, population growth and development have had "a huge impact on wildlife," said Hu Huijian, a professor at the South China Institute of Endangered Animals in Guangzhou. "There's not much true wilderness left."
 
In China, 83 species of mammals, 86 bird species and 60 kinds of fish are on the verge of extinction, according to the World Conservation Union, a network of hundreds of government and nonprofit groups.
 
The plight of the South China tiger — one of six remaining tiger subspecies worldwide — is typical. Experts think the South China tiger is "functionally extinct" because there are too few wild animals to reproduce.
 
Conservationists argue that Shaanxi officials might have put economic gain ahead of environmental protection by staging the photographs to attract financing.
 
"Some people think local officials wanted money from the central government to set up a nature reserve," said Xu Hongfa, China director of Traffic, a nonprofit group that works to curb the trade of endangered animals.
 
Shaanxi forestry officials said a hunter took the photographs in October and have defended the images as genuine. But other Chinese authorities have backed away.
 
An editorial in the People's Daily, the Communist Party newspaper, accused Shaanxi officials of "being too anxious to announce the authenticity of the photographs" and "seeking material benefits."
 
In the 1800s, wild tigers lived in much of China. But as China's population has surged and its economy has grown roughly sevenfold since the 1980s, the tigers' habitat has been squeezed and fragmented.
 
Hunting has also been a problem. In the 1950s, when scientists estimated the South China tiger population at over 4,000, the Communist government preached a mantra of controlling nature and rewarded farmers for killing tigers because they sometimes attacked livestock.
Beijing outlawed hunting tigers in 1979, but demand for tiger parts in traditional Chinese medicines has fueled poaching.
 
If the photos are confirmed fake, some conservationists said the debate still has done some good by raising interest in saving the dozens of Amur tigers living along China's border with Russia and a small population of Bengal tigers in Yunnan province.
 
"There are some real tigers, so there is a possibility that China can recover their wild tiger populations," said Mahendra Shrestha, director of the Washington D.C.-based Save the Tiger Fund.
 
(Note: Re-posted with additional information from the original posted: "Story of Rare Tiger Sighting Unravels")
 
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

Buxa has 12 tigers, says latest census

Buxa has 12 tigers, says latest census
 
Suchetana Haldar
Posted online: Monday, January 21, 2008 at 0016 hrs IST
Kolkata, January 20
 
Wildlife lovers and activists, who were sceptical about the presence of tigers in the Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR), may now heave a sigh of relief. For the latest tiger census confirms the presence of at least 12 tigers in Buxa, including four adult males, six adult females and two cubs.
 
Forest officials are hopeful to confirm the presence of another four to eight big cats in Buxa in another two months.
 
"There are a minimum of 12 tigers in the reserve by a conservative estimate. There are evidence suggesting the presence of at least another four to eight tigers. But we have not considered the latter cases because these evidence were either based on scats or poor quality of pug marks. Some of the cases were doubtful as these bordered between sub-adult tigers and big leopards. So, we decided to leave these cases till they could be confirmed by additional field work," said S S Bist, Chief Wildlife Warden, forest department.
 
The state forest department and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) conducted the tiger census from December 11 to 15, last year. Twelve NGOs participated in the tiger enumeration process. Four wildlife experts from the National Tiger Conservation Authority, Zoological Survey of India, WWF-India and state board of wildlife were also present during the census. This time, the forest department took into account ecological and biological factors as well, including evidence like direct sightings, kills, scats and scratch marks.
 
Pugmarks were found to be well-dispersed in forests between the rivers Pana and Sankosh, spreading over 600 sq km, which is over 80 per cent area of Buxa. Scats collected during the tiger census have been sent to the WII for DNA analysis. The final results are expected in March.
 
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

In the shadow of the tiger

In the shadow of the tiger
 
Vivek Deshpande
Posted online: Sunday, January 20, 2008
 
As the sun sets on Karwa, the lone bicycle rider on the road from Shivni, a marketplace 15 km away, pedals furiously. In Karwa, a village near Vidarbha's Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, the fear of the beast is real—as real as the night that closes in stealthily.
"Tigers have been killing people in neighbouring villages. Fortunately, we have been spared so far. But if the tiger strikes, we will have to face it. What else can we do," said Kashinath Mankar, a villager.
 
While Mankar was talking, a tiger was mauling 45-year old Kalidas Gulab Meshram, a leprosy patient at Baba Amte's Somnath project, 15 km away. His body was recovered on Friday morning. Meshram, a shepherd, had returned to the forest to look for his missing goat when he became the 27th victim of a tiger attack since January 2006. Tigers have killed nine people in the forests near the reserve in the last three months.
 
Karwa has a typical problem. "We have no state transport bus to the market at Shivni, where we go to fetch our groceries. We have to travel on bicycles or on foot—that takes us anything between 90 minutes and 3 hours. All this while, we pray to god to get us back safely," said sarpanch Bhaurao Wadhai.
 
Thick forests flank the road to Shivni, which is often closed during the rainy season. Karwa got its first state transport bus—to Chandrapur-only in December 2006. "But that doesn't take us to Shivni. Chandrapur is 65 km away and we don't need to go there often," said Wadhai. Karwa has only a primary school and children who want to study beyond that will have to stay in ashram schools—the nearest is 13 km away. The primary health centre is at Wasera, 15 km away.
 
While policy makers in Delhi were framing rules for the Scheduled Castes and Other Traditional Forest-Dwellers (recognition of forest rights) Act—also called Tribal Act that's now ready to be implemented—and animal activists were lobbying for notification of tiger reserves, Karwa and other villagers understood little. What they understood was that tigers had to be protected; they are not yet asking if it has to be done at their cost. "We have encountered tigers several times. It has killed our cattle but hasn't attacked us yet. We understand it has the right to be here and all of us have to live together. But what should we do if it starts attacking us," asked Namdeo Ade, another villager.
 
The tiger population in this fledgling tiger reserve has grown substantially over the last 10 years. The reserve has 41 tigers and the 800-sq-km adjoining forest has at least 22. But that has also meant that the big cats are increasingly straying over to adjoining forests and villages. It is one of the scores of villages where the strict legal wildlife laws apply. "We have been facing several restrictions since the tiger reserve came up in 1995. People who come to our village have to cross the reserve and they have to do so between 7 and 11 in the morning or between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. We don't get to host guests and relatives," complained Sukru Masram, a youngster.
 
Much before experts coined terms like 'human-tiger conflict' and 'peaceful coexistence', these were a way of life for villagers in Karwa. "The tiger is safe here because of us. Else, poachers would have come and killed them long back," said Ade.
 
The village has a functional forest protection committee. "We do plantations and such other activities. The Bombay Natural History Society had even held a film show that talked of how the wildlife should be protected," said Masram.
 
"We understand all that but we have to go to the forest for things like firewood, timber, mahua flowers and tendu leaves. If a tiger attacks us, what should we do," asked Ade. The Act doesn't answer that.
 
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tiger kills one more

Tiger kills one more
 
Sat, Jan 19 12:25 AM
 
A tiger killed a shepherd near Mul in Chandrapur district (150 km from Nagpur) on Thursday. The victim, Kalidas Masram (45), a leprosy patient, was an inmate of Baba Amte's Somnath ashram near the popular Tadoba tiger project.
 
His body was recovered on Friday. Sources said the tiger attacked him and dragged the body into the forest.
 
Angry villagers and ashram inmates demanded authorities should kill the tiger immediately. Range forest officer Arun Tikhe told HT that the villagers had been told not to move in the area after dark, and that compensation of Rs 2 lakh would be given to the family members of the victim.
 
Masram is the 22nd victim in Chandrapur since January 2007.
 
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

Tiger Foundation calls for more public participation

Tiger Foundation calls for more public participation
 
Calcutta News.Net
Friday 18th January, 2008 (IANS)
 
The Madhya Pradesh Tiger Foundation has decided to boost public participation for better conservation of wildlife in the state.
 
The foundation has decided to hire people on commission basis to collect donations through cheques and raise its lifetime membership fee for corporate and industrial houses to Rs 1 million.
 
These decisions were taken at a foundation meeting Thursday with state forest minister Kunwar Vijay Shah in chair, official sources said. Besides members of the foundation, wildlife and forest officials also attended the meeting.
 
The forest department will prepare a project for the agents to collect donations through cheques for the foundation, a forest official said.
 
Shah urged the participants to involve individual and institution donors to bear for the fixed period the expenses for tiger conservation projects. To encourage the donors their names and other details would be displayed on hoardings at the entrances of national parks.
Shah also asked the park directors to involve traders doing businesses near the national parks to donate essential items.
 
Foundation member and senior journalist Lalit Shastri, of the Hindu, stressed the need to make the foundation more active and involve villagers in wildlife conservation.
 
The meeting decided to allow free entry to the foundation members in national parks.
New buildings, which can accommodate at least 50 children each, would be constructed in the national park areas for children to come and watch wildlife.
 
Prashant Mehta, principal secretary of forests, V.R. Khare, chief forest conservator, P.B. Gangopadhyay, principal chief forest conservator (wildlife), and Pallavi Jain Govil, additional secretary, institutional finance, also attended the meeting.
 
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

India must wake up to tiger crisis

India must wake up to tiger crisis
 
Known as one of India's leading wildlife conservationists, Belinda Wright has been the public face of tiger protection in the country. Born in Kolkata in 1953, Ms Wright has spent her entire life in India working on a gamut of wildlife issues. She was brought up in a house full of unusual animals, including a tiger cub and a leopard, which possibly set the stage for her life-long passion for nature and wildlife ~ particularly for wild tigers.

In 1994, Ms Wright founded the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) with the avowed objective to "bring a new focus to the daunting task of tackling India's growing wildlife crisis" by providing support and information to government authorities, including state forest and police officials, to combat poaching and the escalating illegal trade in wildlife.

Ms Wright is the executive director of WPSI. One of the country's respected and effective wildlife conservation voluntary organisations, the WPSI has now broadened its ambit to deal with human-animal conflicts.

Assisted by a team of committed environmentalists, Ms Wright has been responsible for hundreds of seizures and raids on poaching gangs dealing in body parts of tigers and other endangered wildlife animals. She travels the length and breadth of India to support conservation efforts and help enforce the law, often going undercover, in the battle against wildlife crime. As part of her endeavour, she has even literally stared down the barrel of a gun in order to help curb the trade in tiger skin and bones.

Before founding the WPSI, Ms Wright was an award-winning filmmaker and photographer. In 1985, she won two Emmy Awards and 14 other major international awards for her National Geographic film Land of the Tiger. To shoot this film, she spent more than two years pursuing the secret lives of wild tigers in Kanha and Ranthambore tiger reserves.

She has co-authored five books, including Through the Tiger's Eyes: A Chronicle of India's Wildlife. Her photographs and writings have appeared in books, exhibitions, magazines and scientific journals throughout the world.

In a freewheeling interview with MAUSAM SHARMA, Ms Wright highlights the grave tiger crisis gripping India ~ which was exemplified by the vanishing of all tigers from the Sariska tiger reserve a couple of years ago. Striking a grim note, Ms Wright warns that it might be too late if India still does not wake up to the tiger and wildlife crises engulfing it, stressing that the country must put its act together to avert such a disaster.

Excerpts:

How do you assess the decline in animal population in the wild?
Well, I think it is more a question of an alarming habitat decline. Since India's Independence the country's forest cover has drastically fallen and obviously you can't have wildlife if you don't have the habitat. Another problem is that much of the habitat known as forest land is heavily degraded, mostly from human activity, including grazing, wood collection, etc., other than minor forest produce collection.

Encroachment and poor quality of habitat are leading to diminishing prey species. And without habitat and prey species, you of course cannot have animals like the tigers. The tiger really is a symbol of our forests but a tiger is not a difficult animal to save or protect. It needs ample space to live in, water and good prey species as food. But even these three elements are scarce now. The degraded and diminished habitat affects all wildlife. Not only big animals, but small ones too. And then ultimately this affects the quality of our life. Because, if you don't have insects or bats or pollenisation, life cycle is disturbed. With forests being cut down, the source of our water is also getting affected and that would also become a critical issue.

What is your analysis of challenges facing the tiger habitats?
With escalating population and scarce land, people, particularly our political masters, now look around for unused land and tiger habitat is always eyed. Historically, the best lands, including the flat lands and fertile valleys, were turned over to agriculture. The more difficult landscape, with gorges and hills and impenetrable forest, were set aside as sanctuaries and national parks, many of which became tiger reserves. These have obviously been blessed with natural resources. That opens the door to a variety of human intervention, the biggest of which would be mining, construction of dams; but also if a highway, electricity are to be put through, the first thing would be them.
So, the tiger habitat is constantly being encroached upon. Even though there is law to curb that, people find a way round it. The lesson that is never learnt is that these are not just useless land and are too precious a natural resource to be frittered away. A combination of influential people, including politicians and bureaucrats, is bent on doing it. Not every time is it for personal gains as often it becomes just a question of convenience. If you put a dam where there is a town, you may have to deal with the opposition of a lot of people, but if you have to put a dam in a tiger habitat, then tigers don't talk, they don't have a vote, they don't have bags of money, so they are very easy to deal with.

How effective have various government policies, laws and schemes been in tiger conservation? Where did they fail and how can the loopholes be plugged?
India has fantastic forest laws and conservation policies, including the Wildlife Protection Act. As pieces of legislation, for the most part they are excellent. The problem is they are not effectively implemented. And yes the government has amended them so may times. They don't have loopholes, but sometimes it's lack of knowledge on the part of officials as well as the judiciary, of the people entrusted with the job of implementing them. On paper, however, no problem exists. They have not proved effective because their attempts have been half-hearted.
Now the tribal forest rights law is coming into force. Nobody really knows how huge its impact would be on India's wildlife. But as a conservationist, I can only presume that its effect would be bigger and deeper than any other legislation in India since it gives land rights to people saying that would be good for wildlife.
I think 20 years ago, yes, it might have been, but in this age when people want to move forward they don't want to be stuck in the jungle, lands they cannot till… it is not appropriate. Most conservationists in India are extremely concerned about its fall-out that has to be seen. This has been debated and discussed right up to the prime ministerial level in great detail, but ultimately it's a matter of votes, and tiger and other wildlife have to take a back seats.
The onus is really on people who created the Act and felt it was not necessary to exclude India's national park and wildlife sanctuaries.
If you ask the ministry, loopholes can be plugged by another amendment. But I believe that good training and knowledge of the law would make them sufficient, provided the wildlife legislation is not overruled by people's legislation.

How does India measure with the rest of the world on the conservation front?
Fortunately, India has a long history of conservation and this goes back to the Mauryan empire when forest guards were appointed to protect these areas. So, thanks to this great history of forest conservation, India has a fair amount of wildlife left. We have almost 60 per cent of the wild tiger population in the world. But I believe that we don't really value our amazing natural, national heritage, which is distressing.
India's wild tiger population is certainly the most important in the world. There are tigers in 13 other countries, with small populations. In China there are hardly any tigers left. Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh have important tiger populations but nothing as compared to India. The rest of the world is extremely concerned about India's tigers, but, broadly, there is silence in India. The media has done an amazing job covering tiger stories but the public at large and political leaders are lacking in their initiatives.

How do you evaluate the performance of the Tiger Task Force?
The Tiger Task Force was set up by the Prime Minister to look into all these things, it does not exist any more as it was a time-bound exercise. But it produced a report on the issue of tiger conservation in India. Where, I think, it let the tigers down was that, for the first time, it brought up an argument that had not been expressed before ~ tigers versus people.
In India, people for centuries have spent their lives with the tigers, not always on very good terms, but for better or worse, it was a way of life.
The Task Force created this new dragon that people must come first and this was like people versus tiger. Its report says that tigers need a lot of space, habitats, but then there is a big gap… which is, what about the people who must come first.
I think there is a place for people and for tigers. And it's our responsibility to make sure that the tiger has an empire, place and space in the future of India. That is where we have all failed.
Basically tigers and humans can't live in harmony, they can live in respect. People need space and tigers also need space. The problem is the country's ever burgeoning population. And even if we cut every tree, remove every park and national wildlife sanctuary in India to let people move in, it still wouldn't be enough. Now, our important wildlife areas, including critical tiger habitats, should be like temples or mosques. They should be so sacred that we do not harm them. Because they are something we have to leave for our children and future generations and that is where we have failed.

What is your prescription to save tigers?
Saving the tigers is no big deal. The problems and solutions are well-documented. Tigers are also prolific breeders providing they get space, food and water. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. But, unfortunately, we have not been able to work out a way where these basic needs are provided for this magnificent animal. It includes a will, better resources, training and facilities for forest guards; it requires trained professionals working with local communities so that they benefit from the protection of these areas.
After all these years, the National Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has been set up to protect the tiger and curb the trade in its body parts. But, I think it is only on paper yet. It does not have police officers, its phone number doesn't ring. I am a very optimistic person, but I am afraid, I am not so about such an ineffective bureau or, for that matter, the question of saving the tigers. Which means that people like me have also failed. All these years what we have managed to achieve is that tigers no longer die in pain. At least people know what the problem is. Why they are being killed? But we can't stop the problem.

How can people at large be involved in conserving wildlife?
People in India, because of its culture and history, have a sort of national interest in nature. But in this age of Indian development, this is being crushed so that it hasn't flowered. Because if we had a very public response to the wildlife problems, then we would have found the way through. India is developing quite fast and people barely have time for any other activity now. So even though there might be seriousness of interest, that seed has never been allowed to germinate. And we, the conservationists, have also failed there and I don't know why. Some of my colleagues say there is a new way forward we have to look at… people benefiting from the habitats left.

I think the children of India are very interested in this subject but in ten years time when they are in a position to make the real difference, it will be too late.

(The interviewer is a Staff Reporter with The Statesman, New Delhi.)
 
 
 


For The Tiger
Dee

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
http://www.savethetigerfund.org
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.