Monday, June 29, 2009

Tigress shifted to Bhadra sanctuary

Tigress shifted to Bhadra sanctuary

29 Jun 2009, 2152 hrs IST, TNN

MYSORE: The six-year-old tigress that was captured in Nagarahole National Park will now have to get used to a new home. For it will be relocated to the tiger reserve of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary in Chikmagalur district.

The decision follows consultation with the experts in wildlife, who suggested the forest officials to relocate it to some other area far from its present location. This is to cut down chances of the tiger coming back to the area and attacking cattle.

A team led by RFO Satish took the tigress, which was nursed at Sunkadakatte in Nagarhole National Park, to Chikmagalur early Monday. The senior officials of the department contacted the Project Tiger officials and took their consent for its relocation.

Though the Bandipur National Park in Chamarajanagar district was considered as a possible option it was dropped as it is close to Nagarhole National Park, its present territory. "The experts told us there are chances that it will come back again to its territory if it is let out into close by forested areas. So it was decided to change its territory, sources told `The Times of India'. However, it does not face threat from tigers at Bhadra wildlife sanctuary since it is a tigress and will not overlap the territory, they contended.

The prey-predator base at Bhadra is balanced and so the big cat will not have problems. If it was a tiger it could have been a problem for relocation. But there is no such chance here, they added. But a wildlife activist said it could face problems in its new area which could again push it back to take easy route to get its feed. There is a possibility that it could start visiting the villages on the forest fringes in Western Ghats. But the saving grace is that people in the Western Ghats are used to threats from wild animals, he stated. Field director (project tiger) B J Hosmath was not available for comments.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mysore/Tigress-shifted-to-Bhadra-sanctuary/articleshow/4717211.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Centre clears translocation of 4 big cats to Panna

Centre clears translocation of 4 big cats to Panna

Neha Sinha Posted online: Saturday , Jun 27, 2009

New Delhi : After losing all its tigers to poaching, Panna Tiger Reserve is set to get a second chance. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has cleared a proposal to translocate two tigers and two tigresses to the reserve. But in a letter to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the MoEF has made it clear that it expects action to be taken after the “Panna disaster”.

The letter, sent by MoEF Minister Jairam Ramesh, calls for “urgent administrative and ecological actions”, saying “responsibility should be fixed on erring officials as pointed out in the SIT report and disciplinary action be taken”. Seeking personal intervention of the CM in Panna, the letter has asked for a follow-up action report and directed that a site-specific security plan be drawn up for Panna. As already reported by The Indian Express, a probe by the SIT, set up by the Centre, found that senior officials ignored all warnings regarding Panna, resulting in the loss of more than 40 tigers to poaching.

“I solicit your personal intervention for early action indicated, to avoid Panna-type disasters,” said the letter, and asked for the phasing out of tourism activities from the core areas of Panna and moving it to buffer areas. “The guidelines and red alerts sent by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) were ignored (in Panna),” the letter points out, citing the SIT observations.

The states ignoring NTCA’s warnings is a common occurrence since wildlife is a concurrent subject. This is now set to end as the Cabinet has okayed bringing the position of NTCA member secretary at par with the Chief Wildlife Warden at the state-level.

“This will strengthen the NTCA’s position,” Ramesh told The Indian Express.

In the past, states have often ignored NTCA advisories on issues like transfer of officials, culling of maneaters and notifying buffer zones for tiger reserves. This had reduced the NTCA to little more than a fund-giving body for the Centrally sponsored Project Tiger scheme.

Madhya Pradesh has been at loggerheads with the NTCA on the Panna issue, declaring that it had enough tigers in the reserve as late as March 2009. However, a Wildlife Institute of India camera trap survey in February showed that tigers had completely vanished from Panna.

The genetic stock of Panna was lost after all its tigers were poached between 2002 and 2009. Currently, the reserve only has two tigresses, translocated to Panna from Kanha and Bandhavgarh after it was learnt that there were no big cats left in the reserve.

The four tigers will now be moved as per a new tiger translocation protocol. The new protocol is a response to a spate of local tiger extinctions in the country, starting with Sariska in Rajasthan in 2005, and now Panna, which necessitates moving tigers from other parts of the country to these reserves.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/centre-clears-translocation-of-4-big-cats-to-panna/481822/0

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

MP High Court seeks affidavits on step taken to protect tiger

MP High Court seeks affidavits on step taken to protect tiger

27 Jun 2009, 1404 hrs IST, PTI

JABALPUR: Madhya Pradesh High Court has sought affidavits within a month from the Centre, state and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) on the steps taken to protect tiger population in the state.

A division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice A K Patnaik and Justice Ajit Singh sought the affidavits while hearing a PIL filed by an NGO - Kids for Tiger - Regional Director and wildlife activist Navneet Maheshwari.

In the PIL filed three years back, Maheshwari said the tiger population in Madhya Pradesh was 710 in 2004, which has dipped to between 210-395 in 2007-08, quoting surveys.

The next hearing of the PIL is on July 24.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Flora--Fauna/MP-High-Court-seeks-affidavits-on-step-taken-to-protect-tiger/articleshow/4709659.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Conservancy of Southwest Florida frees captured bobcat

By Andrea Stetson
Special to the News-Press
June 27, 2009

The young bobcat that bolted off to freedom Friday afternoon remained as anonymous as it was when it first arrived as a patient at The Conservancy of Southwest Florida six months ago.

The fleeting image of the bobcat as it raced through the tall grass and into a clump of brush on a patch of private property near Big Cypress National Preserve in Collier County wasn't much more than what caretakers saw of the feline each day during his stay at the rehabilitation center.

The bobcat was never given a name, weighed, measured or petted. In fact wildlife experts never even got close enough to take a peek to see if the creature was male or female.

"I never looked," said Joanna Fitzgerald-Vaught, director of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

The bobcat was about four to six weeks old when it arrived at The Conservancy on Jan. 1 as the first patient of the new year. It was first spotted by some residents of the Pinewoods development off Airport-Pulling Road, who noticed two young bobcats without a mother. The residents borrowed traps from The Conservancy and managed to capture one of the babies. The second one was never seen again.

The bobcat was not injured, but kittens normally spend about a year with their mother and this one was deemed too young to survive alone. So it grew up at The Conservancy.

Wildlife experts simply tossed food in its cage, never stopping to get to know the feline. At first it was in a small enclosure, and hid in a pet carrier when its cage was cleaned, but the past couple of months it spent its time in a large flight cage that wildlife experts didn't enter.

"It was all hands off," said Fitzgerald-Vaught. "It's best that way for us, and its best for him."

Maintaining distance from the bobcat would keep it wild, Fitzgerald-Vaught explained. She didn't want the bobcat to become used to people. Instead, her goal was for it to remain wild so it could soon be freed.
So the bobcat spent the past six months munching on rats, mice and chicken and racking up about $2,000 worth of care.

All that time, the feline kept his wild instincts.

"He was wicked from the day he came in," Fitzgerald-Vaught said. "We barely ever put our hands on him."

But they did check to see if the bobcat was ready for release.

"We tested him on live prey," said Jessica Bender, wildlife rehabilitation specialist.

Bender said live mice and rats were released in the large cage to see if the bobcat could catch prey.

"We do have to give him lots of credit for instinct," Bender said.

The bobcat's instincts kicked in at his release Friday. The young cat growled and hissed as photographers were given 30 seconds to snap photos of him in his small carrier cage.

Additional Facts

NAME: Bobcat
SCIENTIFIC NAME: felis rufus
DESCRIPTION: Bobcats are about twice the size of an average housecat. They have long legs, large paws and tufted ears. An adult bobcat is 26 to 41 inches long, not including the tail, and weighs 11 to 30 pounds. Most bobcats are brown or brownish red with white bellies and short, black-tipped tails.
HABITAT: They are found in a variety of habitats including swamps, forests, deserts, mountains and agricultural areas. They live in most of North America and Mexico. In Florida, they often make their dens in palmetto thickets.
FOOD: Carnivores; meals include rodents, rabbits, reptiles, fish, birds and insects.
REPRODUCTION: Bobcat mothers usually have two or three kittens in a litter. The mother raises the kittens alone. They usually stay with their mother for about a year, but can set out on their own at about six months of age.

— SOURCE: Florida's Fabulous Mammals by Dr. Jerry Lee Gingerich, animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/bobcat.html.

http://www.news-press.com/article/20090627/NEWS0119/906270366/1075

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Nevada bobcat trapping season shortened

By MARTIN GRIFFITH
Associated Press Writer
Posted: 06/27/2009 01:37:09 PM PDT
Updated: 06/27/2009 03:38:45 PM PDT

RENO, Nev.-Nevada wildlife commissioners voted Saturday to shorten the state's bobcat trapping season amid concerns by wildlife advocates that the fur's popularity may be causing overtrapping of the species.

Commissioners unanimously accepted a Nevada Department of Wildlife staff recommendation to shorten the season from Dec. 1 to Feb. 19, a 32 percent reduction from the current four-month season.

The action, taken at a meeting in Lovelock, comes as the Humane Society of the United States and other groups are urging Western states to scale back trapping, particularly in Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming, which have the region's highest number of bobcats killed and no trapping quotas.

They fear high pelt prices may be adversely affecting bobcat numbers. Pelts from the West are most prized because the region's high elevations and cold temperatures make their spotted fur softer and deeper.

Kevin Lansford, furbear-predator specialist for the Nevada wildlife
department, said his state's shorter trapping season is necessary because fewer kittens were born in the last two years.

He said the kitten numbers are down because of drought and lack of prey, not because of overtrapping. The cats are so reclusive that Nevada and most states don't know just how many exist.

"We're sticking to biology," Lansford said. "We're not trying to predict markets here."

Don Molde of Reno, a former board member of the Defenders of Wildlife, said bobcats have taken a "hammering" in Nevada because of high pelt prices, and trapping quotas would be more effective in reducing the number of cats killed.

Trappers in Nevada bagged 10,260 bobcats from 2006 to 2009, according to the state wildlife department. That includes 4,911 in 2006-07, a peak that coincided with a spike in pelt prices driven by demand from Russia and China.

"I'm doubtful that anything of use is going to happen as a result of adjusting the season length," Molde said. "For the last 20 years, trapping season length has had absolutely nothing to do with the number of bobcats killed in Nevada."

Joel Blakeslee, president of the Nevada Trappers Association, said his group's board of directors unanimously endorsed the shorter season.

He said bobcat numbers have fluctuated over his 35-year-plus trapping career depending on the wetness of the season, not harvest levels.

"We have no problem with the shorter season," Blakeslee said. "It's based on the data and that's what we work with—science. When you have rabbits you have bobcats, and when you don't have rabbits you don't have bobcats."

Other wildlife advocates have called for a complete ban on bobcat trapping.

"Trapping is an incredibly barbaric practice that has no place in a civilized society," said Brian Vincent of Big Wildlife based in Williams, Ore.

Wildlife commissioners agreed to review the issue in a year instead of the usual two years.

As pelt prices have gone up, the number of bobcat skins exported by the U.S. nearly tripled in five years, to 49,700 in 2006.

While prices have come down in the last year or so, bobcat pelts still draw some of the highest prices among trapped furs, recently commanding as much as $550 for a single hide.

Federal officials say they are not concerned about bobcat numbers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates there are at least 1.4 million to 2.6 million bobcats nationwide.

http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_12704420

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Central team slams MP for missing tigers but year ago, it sang praises

Central team slams MP for missing tigers but year ago, it sang praises

Milind Ghatwai Posted online: Sunday , Jun 28, 2009 at 0250 hrs

Bhopal : A Special Investigative Team (SIT) set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests submitted a damning report early this week saying the Panna Tiger Reserve lost most of its big cats to poaching and blamed Madhya Pradesh government authorities for “being in denial” and failing to see the impending disaster despite repeated warnings.

However, just a year ago, P K Sen, who headed the SIT, submitted a glowing report to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) praising those manning the park as motivated, dedicated and knowledgeable and applauding the support from state officials.

That report put the tiger count at seven — and possibly two more — and observed that there were no incidents of poaching in the recent past. The latest report says there may be no tigers left.

Sen, the former director of Project Tiger, along with Secretary General and CEO of WWF-India Ravi Singh, visited Panna on January 8-10, 2008, for an appraisal of the “Status of Tiger Population” in the reserve.

“The field director and his staff appeared to be quite motivated and, therefore, their continuity is a must. Even if the field director is promoted, he should be allowed to stay in the park for a considerable period as he has been able to motivate the subordinate staff to a large extent. The staff appears to be quite dedicated, knowledgeable about the terrain and enthusiastic in their work,” was the first recommendation made in the six-page report, a copy of which is with The Sunday Express.

“The highest authorities in the state appear to be supporting the field director in his initiative. The proposed new areas to be included as a buffer of the park should be notified as early as possible,” was the second recommendation.

Sen went on to applaud the park management for a series of steps including setting up 71 patrol camps each managed by a forest guard; 33 wireless-set-equipped Nigrani (vigil) camps for round-the-clock vigil at strategic locations that cover 95 per cent of the area; rehabilitation of 13 villages outside the park; rehabilitation of 91 children of Baheliya and Pardhi tribes — traditionally engaged in poaching — by admitting them in two schools.

However, in his new report, Sen makes an about turn to blame the park management and top state officials in Bhopal, including the Principal Secretary (Forests). This despite the fact that between the first report and the latest one, the top brass of the state Forest Department has remained virtually unchanged.

H S Pabla, who was Assistant Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) in 2008, is now PCCF (Wildlife) while P G Gangopadhyay who was PCCF (Wildlife) is now PCCF. IAS officer Prashant Mehta was Principal Secretary (Forests) in 2008 and is now Additional Chief Secretary (Forests).

Panna, however, has seen three directors during the same period. During the team’s visit in 2008 it was G Krishnamurty followed by L K Chaudhary and now R S Murthy.

Sen’s 2008 report, based on pugmarks, suggested the presence of seven tigers, mostly males, in the areas seen by the team members and maybe two semi-adult tigers. The observation came with a rider: “It must be noted that the team has relied mostly upon pugmarks on PIPs (pugmark impression pads). Other evidences recorded are of a kill, scats and alarm calls. Tigers have been sighted by tourists and staff in the beginning of January, therefore any absence of tiger from the Reserve is not correct.”

The report recommended that verification of the population/presence of tigers be done by camera-trapping. “There is a need to bring out more information regarding the reserve and specifically of tigers in the public sphere. This will also underline the good work that has been observed in the Panna Tiger Reserve,” Sen’s report said.

The team covered four ranges and found the maximum numbers of pugmarks in the Madla range. On the first day (January 8) of their visit, the team-members saw 30 pugmarks; 50 on the second day, and 10 the last day. The team admitted to seeing over 150 pugmarks but after analyzing them suggested the presence of only seven tigers and the possibility of two sub-adults.

When asked to explain this turnaround, Sen said: “There are differences in the two reports because the mandate was different. Moreover, the team hardly spent two days in 2008. The SIT’s investigations extended over three months.”

Asked what this difference in mandate was, Sen said: “This time the mandate was to specifically find what went wrong in Panna unlike the last time when the brief was general.”

He claimed that in 2008 the team was never “cent per cent sure” about the presence of tigers because the analysis was based on pugmarks, an outdated system. “That’s why we suggested camera trapping to confirm the exact number of tigers and the male-female ratio,” he said.

As for his earlier comment that there was no evidence of poaching, Sen said that was “general comment.”

He said the blame lies with the senior officers based in Bhopal because they failed to act in time. “They failed to effectively monitor what was going on in the park.”

“Even we want to figure out what went wrong and that’s why we have set up an expert committee,” said PCCF Pabla. “Either the committee was not serious then (2008) or its latest report amounts to witch-hunting by talking about fixing accountability,” he said.

“We are not disputing the latest report but we don’t want to jump the gun. There could have been mortality — either by poaching or natural deaths or migration. It could be a combination of several factors. It’s a systemic failure that suggests failure of the present conservation strategy,” he said.

Two tigresses were translocated to Panna, one each from Bandhavgarh and Kanha in March, but there was no mating because the lone male tiger, which forest authorities claimed was there, disappeared.

Now the NTCA has cleared a proposal to shift two tigers and two tigresses to the reserve, preparations for which have already begun.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/central-team-slams-mp-for-missing-tigers-but-year-ago-it-sang-praises/482260/0

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Thursday, June 25, 2009

10 lynx kittens found in 5 Colorado dens

Third-generation cats mark milestone for state wildlife program

By Bob Berwyn
summit daily news


SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado's lynx re-introduction program took a big step forward this spring, as wildlife researchers documented the birth of several third-generation kittens.

Altogether, Colorado Division of Wildlife biologists found 10 kittens spread out among five dens, including a breeding site in nearby Eagle County.

Shenk said three of the dens were in the core release area around the headwaters of the Rio Grande River in the San Mountains. Two of the dens were farther north, one in Gunnison County and one in Eagle County.

“We hope this is an upturn,” said Tanya Shenk, lead researcher for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. “What's exciting about it is, there were enough lynx out there to get us through our first low,” she added, referring to fluctuating lynx populations that cycle in tandem with snowshoe hares.

The researchers said there is some evidence showing that snowshoe hare populations were at a low point in the 10-year cycle last year or the year before. As a result, female lynx did not produce successful litters during those two winters and springs.

A state-led snowshoe hare study in the Gunnison area is in its third year, and as biologists studied hare densities, some of the results suggesting that hare populations are starting to rebound from a couple of years ago.

Snowshoe hares are the main food source for lynx. They also eat other animals, but expend the same amount of energy catching smaller squirrels as they do to chase down a plump hare. When hares are not abundant, the female cats may abort gestation.

In Canada and Alaska, the intertwined 10- to 11-year cycle of hare and lynx populations is well-documented. It's not clear if the cycles oscillate with similar amplitude in Colorado.

Shenk cautioned that, gaining a meaningful understanding of hare populations in the state will require 20 years of study, through a couple of cycles.

In two of the dens, both the adult cats were born in Colorado, rather than being lynx that were transplanted from Canada and Alaska. The kittens born this year are third-generation Colorado lynx, marking a significant milestone for the re-introduction program.

Lynx are listed as threatened on the federal Endangered Species List, and Colorado launched its re-introduction program in 1997, bringing a total of 218 lynx to the state. State biologists are tracking about 50 of the cats with functioning collars.

With the tracking data, the researchers have been able to determine that the lynx are mostly using high altitude spruce-fir habitat. The researchers have also been able to identify crucial lynx movement corridors, including the Vail Pass area and another corridor just east of the Eisenhower Tunnel.

“We are very close to achieving all of our goals for the lynx reintroduction,” said Colorado Division of Wildlife lead biologist Rick Kahn. “We have had successful breeding and we have had Colorado-born lynx reproduce. Our next goal is to determine if our level of recruitment is exceeding our mortality rates over a couple of years. We are very encouraged by the results this year and are hopeful that these animals will contribute towards a sustaining population for Colorado.”

Lynx in Summit

As lynx spread from the San Juan release area, they established a secondary core population area in an area centered around Independence Pass. Some of the lynx have also set up residence in the forested areas between Copper Mountain and Vail.

“We have detected a persistent presence (in Eagle and Summit counties) for two years. Lynx are regularly moving through the Vail Pass area,” said Forest Service biologist Liz Roberts.

That pattern of habitat use has spurred the agency to more intensive study in this region. Last winter, Roberts set up motion-sensor cameras west of Copper Mountain and captured one image of a lynx. Biologists also recorded several more sets of lynx tracks in the same general area.

Lynx were also photographed near a backcountry hut in the Tenmile Range, and on the edge of a trail at Breckenridge Ski Area. A lynx was hit by a car and killed on Highway 9 between Frisco and Breckenridge last year.

Roberts has secured Forest Service funding to take a closer look at the cats in this area. In a collaborative research project with state biologists, she will zoom in on the Vail Pass area. The biologists would like to trap some of the cats and give them new collars with updated GPS transmitters to pinpoint their locations.

With the data, the agencies will do a more detailed habitat analysis. The key questions include how recreation and changing forest health conditions affect lynx.

“What we really want to answer is, how forest health is affecting lynx movement,” Roberts said. “We want to see how much, if at all, they're using areas hit by pine beetles.” Equally important is to try and determine how recreational use — especially skiing and snowmobiling affect the cats, she added.

Along with the Vail Pass area, Roberts will look at one triangular patch of habitat — formally called a lynx analysis unit — that extends from Hoosier Pass to Peak 5 and east to the vicinity of Boreas Pass. As part of that study, the biologists plan to include a patch of forest on Peak 9 at Breckenridge Ski Area, potentially implementing some terrain management measures that could affect skier access to the backcountry and some hike-to terrain.

http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20090624/NEWS/906249998/1078
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Namibia: Animals And People - Minimising Conflict

Absalom Shigwedha
25 June 2009

CLASHES between wild animals and people in Namibia have resulted in 48 human deaths since 2006, a senior conservationist in the Ministry of Environment Tourism said this week.

Colgar Sikopo, the Deputy Director of Parks and Wildlife Management, made a presentation on human-wildlife conflict in Windhoek on Tuesday evening.

He said 2007 saw the highest number of 18 people killed by wild animals, followed by 12 last year. In 2006, 11 people were killed and seven so far this year.

Crocodiles have taken the highest number of human lives, according to Sikopo.

Other animals that have killed people in this period are hippos, elephants, buffaloes, lions and snakes.

Sikopo said conflict between people and wild animals has always existed and cannot be eradicated, but can be managed.

This conflict mainly occurs when animals leave protected areas.

It can be managed by strengthening protected areas, removing problem animals and through research and monitoring.

Sikipo said the removal of problem animals can be done by increasing hunting quotas for communal conservancies, culling, creating additional quotas outside conservancies and the live capturing and sale of problem animals.

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism is finalising a human-wildlife conflict policy so that national and international commitments to conservation can be met while taking into account the rights and development needs of the people

http://allafrica.com/stories/200906250853.html

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Snow leopards and the art of Olympic environmental diplomacy

Posted by: Karolos Grohmann
June 23rd, 2009

There is an art in dealing with environmental issues when preparing to host Olympic Games.

Athens for example, while preparing to host the 2004 Olympics, decided to construct the rowing venue inside a protected nature reserve and just a few hundred metres from the historic site of the ancient battle of Marathon. Environmental groups were up in arms for years before organisers said while they would build the venue there they would also save a rare fish (which looked more like a frog) living in the tiny creeks of the nature reserve. The rowing centre was built and after the Games it was never used again because of environmental restrictions.
Russian organisers of the 2014 Winter Olympics are no different.
Sochi had planned to construct the bobsled, luge and skeleton venue and a mountain Olympic village in a part of the Krasnaya Polyana mountains bordering a Unesco World Heritage Site, including the Caucasus State Biosphere Nature Reserve.
Environmentalists claimed the construction would irreparably damage the fragile natural balance of the area. After much deliberation and mounting pressure, including from the United Nations Environmental Programme, it was decided that the venues had to be moved before more concerns about the impact of the Games in the area started to surface.
While what organisers themselves have called "maybe the biggest construction site in the world" is going ahead across the wider Sochi area, they have also highlighted their decision to reintroduce the snow leopard, a species that had been extinct for many decades in the region.
An elaborate process of taking the same species of snow leopard from Turkmenistan, breeding it and then introducing the cubs in the mountains near Sochi is under way under the personal attention of the IOC's chief inspector for Sochi, Jean-Claude Killy.
It does make you wonder. If every organising committee of Olympic Games showed that much attention to environmental detail for their overall Games plan, instead of merely responding to the outcry of environmental groups, would there ever be any complaints from nature lovers?
There'd certainly be a lot more wildlife.

http://blogs.reuters.com/sport/2009/06/23/snow-leopards-and-the-art-of-olympic-environmental-diplomacy/

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Spain: Saving Iberian lynxes from extinction

Saving lynxes from extinction

DONANA NATIONAL PARK (Spain) - ROAD signs throughout the vast Donana National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site in southwestern Spain, warn drivers to watch out for lynxes.
But there is little chance of spotting a member of the world's most endangered feline species, although collisions with vehicles are a risk.
Less than 50 of the creatures are believed to roam the park's 335 sq km of scrubland, forests and marshes, one of the two remaining pockets of Spain where the Iberian lynx is known to survive in the wild.
At the start of the 20th century there were around 100,000 in Spain and Portugal. But urban development, hunting and, most of all, a dramatic decline due to disease in the number of wild rabbits, the lynx's main prey, meant that barely 150 remained in the wild in 2002.
And the spotted cats, which can grow to about one metre long and weigh about 15 kg, were in danger of being the first feline species to become extinct since the sabre-toothed tiger 10,000 years ago.
In a compound within the park, veterinarian Astrid Vargas has been running a captive breeding programme for the past five and a half years to bring the Iberian lynx back from the brink of extinction - and with remarkable success.
Ms Vargas, an American from Puerto Rico, began the programme in December 2003 with five adults in Donana, four females and a male.
Last month, a total of 17 surviving cubs were born in captivity in Donana and in another breeding centre in La Olivilla, in Jaen province in south-central Spain, the most since the programme began.
There are now 77 lynxes in captivity at the two centres run by Vargas and in the zoo in the southwestern city of Jerez. Ms Vargas, who also holds a PhD in conservation biology, said she has now reached her goal of 30 adult males and 30 adult females necessary to begin reintroducing the species to the wild.
Two more breeding centres are also planned, in southern Portugal and in western Spain's Extremadura region, to cope with the growing numbers. -- AFP
http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking+News/Tech+and+Science/Story/STIStory_394241.html
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Texas bobcat with 3 legs released into wild

Bobcat with three legs released back to the wild south of Seagoville
12:48 AM CDT on Monday, June 22, 2009

By EMILY FOX / The Dallas Morning Newsmailto:Newsefox@dallasnews.com

SEAGOVILLE – Darlean, a three-legged bobcat from Frisco, had company Sunday on her journey back to the wild. Rescued raccoons and several families of possums all caught a ride back to nature in the bed of a pickup.
Volunteers worked carefully to avoid getting clawed by the snarling, growling, hissing animals – and those were just the raccoons.
All the animals were released south of Seagoville by the Wildlife Center at Crosstimbers Ranch. Their new home is on private property near the confluence of the east and west forks of the Trinity River. Darlean was the fifth and last bobcat to be released by the group there this year.
Valeri Marler, chief operating officer of the ranch, said that despite Darlean's missing back leg, she had high hopes for the bobcat's survival.
"She's very fiery. She has an attitude," Marler said.
The bobcat had lost her back right paw and six inches of her rear right leg, up to the knee, to a claw trap. The wound never completely healed, and the bobcat compensated by learning to balance on only three legs while still in the wild.
Marler said she guessed the bobcat was injured a few months before being captured in Frisco by animal control officers.
She was turned over to the Outdoor Learning Center in Plano. But the center, which often assists injured wildlife, was not equipped to rehabilitate bobcats. So she was transferred again, this time to the ranch in Terrell – also an outpost of the National Bobcat Rescue and Research Foundation.
After two months of observation, the ranch staff decided her only chance for reintroduction to the wild was to lose the rest of the injured leg. It was amputated up to the hip, and a few weeks later she was ready to be released.
Marler, whose group rehabilitated and released more than 900 animals last year, said she had confidence in Darlean's chances of survival.
"Normally a three-legged bobcat in the wild would not do well," she said.
But she said Darlean's early adaptation to coping with only three legs improved her chances.
Ken Kaemmerer, curator of mammals at the Dallas Zoo, said he agreed with Marler's assessment. But he cautioned against being overly optimistic.
"A predator depends on all its faculties," he said. "Even a slight diminishment can affect its survival."
Darlean's first challenge will be location, he explained. Being released into an unfamiliar area can cause confusion and may also lead to competition with other bobcats in the area to establish her own territory. If she can't, she'll have to migrate.
This is all in addition to vying against other predators such as raccoons and coyotes for food, he added.
"They'll be releasing it with best hopes. That's all they can do," he said. "It may make it, it may not – I hope it does."
Surrounded by a crowd of well-wishing volunteers, Darlean balked when the time came for her release. Marler had to lift the travel cage upside down and shake it to encourage her to exit.
Sliding out tail-first, she turned and took only a split-second look at the crowd before streaking into the forest.
"Did y'all get that?" Marler called out to the crowd. " 'Cause I missed it!"
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/062209dnmetbobcat.4446d6f.html

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India: Scope of a second home for Gir lions remains mired

New Delhi (IANS): India's Asiatic lions are the most vulnerable of all the big cats as they live in a single area in Gujarat, making them prone to diseases as well as other threats, and yet calls for creating a second home by the scientific community have been repeatedly ignored, say experts.
The sprawling Gir National Park in western India is home to some 350 Asiatic lions, the last refuge for these cats. In the past, the lions had roamed in almost the entire Central Asia.

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII), a leading scientific organisation, recommended the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh for setting up a second home for the Gir lions.

But the Gujarat government rejected the proposal, saying it lacks scientific backing and security.

Experts believe Kuno in central India is part of the lion's historical home range.

Gujarat says if Madhya Pradesh cannot protect their tigers, how can they protect the lions.

Supreme Court lawyer Ritwick Dutta, who has taken up the case filed by the Biodiversity Conservation Trust of India, a Delhi-based NGO, in the Supreme Court for transfer of the lions, told IANS: "If the issue is not resolved, there would be a huge economic loss."

"The 24 villages that were inside the Kuno reserve have been resettled elsewhere to make room for the Gir lions and an estimated Rs.15 crore has been spent on the project," said Mr. Dutta.

However, with the recent admission by the Madhya Pradesh government that there are no tigers left in the Panna reserve, it might just assure the Gujarat government of its case.

But Faiyaz Khudsar, a wildlife biologist who heads the NGO and has worked in Kuno for the lion relocation programme, says, "Wild animals confined to a single area can spell death knell to their long-term survival, and this has been proved by science."

"Some years ago in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, at least 25 per cent of the African lion population there was wiped out due to the canine distemper disease, (a fatal viral disease) and the rest of the lions fell sick. This shows how a single epidemic can wipe out the entire lion population in the park," said Mr. Khudsar.

The Serengeti Park, a Unesco World Heritage site, is spread across more than 14,000 sq km, whereas Gir has an area of just over 1,000 sq km. Despite the sprawling size of Serengeti, the African lions fell to the onslaught of the viral disease, he maintains.

Besides, inbreeding over a period of time can render a population confined to a single area genetically weak, as they don't get the chance to mate with stronger partners from other geographical areas, making them more prone to diseases, he said.

Gir lions are also threatened by poaching, man-animal conflict and accidents. Many lions have died recently after falling into the wells created to provide water for flora and fauna of the park.

"If Gujarat says that there is a security issue in Kuno, then why are the lions straying out of Gir. Some of the lions are even reaching Daman and Diu," said Mr. Khudsar.

"The only solution left is to create different populations in different areas. The geographical barriers might help the lions evolve stronger genes in the near future that would ensure their long-term survival," he explains.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/001200906220982.htm

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"Cougar Clippings" for June 24 from Mountain Lion Fdn.

Cougar Clippings
News Links
6/24/2009

Dear Friend,
Here are a few of the top stories on mountain lions from recent news articles. For more frequent updates, visit MountainLion.org and read the news daily.


Hunters Are Depleting Lion And Cougar Populations, Study Finds
Although state agencies respond to pressure from livestock owners and hunting enthusiasts by increasing the quotas on mountain lions, a recent study shows killing an adult male may reduce the lion population by more than just that one individual. Management policies should take into account the complex dynamics between adults and cubs. Intense sport hunting without fully understanding the species may result in depleting their population beyond recovery.
Read the actual news story...


Montana Hunters Want Decrease in Lions, Wolves and Bears
On Thursday, June 25th, Montana's Fish Wildlife & Parks Commission will meet to increase the lion hunting quota because supposedly "the big cat population is reaching troublesome levels." Lion population numbers are extremely difficult to estimate and sightings generally only indicate a larger population of people, not lions. The FWP admits they would like to see an increase in the number of elk and deer (to increase their quotas as well) and believe reducing natural predation by bears, wolves and lions will yield higher hunting bag limits in the state. Voice your opinion to Montana's FWP.
Read the actual news story...


Officials Defend Eco-Passage
Florida officials received criticism for their under- freeway wildlife tunnels plan which would provide a linkage for wildlife as well as protect motorists on the road. Out-of-state legislators argued it would be a waste of money, while Kevin Thibault from the Department of Transportation said that spending $3.4 million on wildlife projects out of their $1.35 billion account didn't seem too outrageous. Big cities all over the country (such as Santa Monica, California) are trying to find ways to help migrating and large ranged species like deer and mountain lions, while staying within the state's budget.
Read the actual news story...


Orphaned Cougar Cub Joins NEW Zoo
Attendance soars at the NEW (Northeastern Wisconsin) Zoo as families hope to catch a glimpse of Gillin, an orphaned cougar from Oregon. The two month old cub will join seven year old female "BB" in the zoo's display enclosure in about a month. BB is very social and the staff believes the two cougars will get along just fine. See the article for pictures of Gillin and for admission information go to newzoo.org.
Read the actual news story...


### Those were just a few of the lion articles from the past week. Click here to read more! The Mountain Lion Foundation follows cougar and wildlife news each week. For a complete library of the most pertinent news articles, visit the Mountain Lion Foundation Newsroom. If you can not use the links in this email to read complete articles, cut and paste (or type) the following address into your browser:
http://www.mountainlion.org/newsroom.asp
Cougar Clippings is a service of the Mountain Lion Foundation.
email: outreach@mountainlion.org
phone: 800-319-7621
web: http://www.MountainLion.org

http://www.mountainlion.org/newsroom.asp

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Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Centre to fund tiger projects only through MoUs: Ramesh

Centre to fund tiger projects only through MoUs: Ramesh

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kolkata (PTI) Central funding for the country's tiger projects would now be made through tripartite Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) among the Centre, the state governments and the authorities of the respective tiger projects, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Wednesday.

"The Centre is in the process of formulating a MoU.These will be signed by the Centre, the respective states and the authorities of the respective Project Tiger areas. All Project Tiger funds would come through the MoUs," the Minister of State for Environment and Forests told reporters here.

Altogether, 37 such MoUs were being signed, Mr. Ramesh said, expressing the hope that the Cabinet would approve these within two to three weeks.

http://www.thehindu.com/holnus/001200906241810.htm

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Delhi upholds Sariska model to save Manas tigers

Delhi upholds Sariska model to save Manas tigers

ROOPAK GOSWAMI
Issue Date: Tuesday , June 23 , 2009

Guwahati, June 22: The Centre has proposed replication of a Sariska model at the Manas National Park to halt the rapid depletion in the population of the big cat at the Unesco site.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority — the country’s apex body in the field — has asked the Assam forest department to start in-situ erection of enclosures for tigers and its prey population at the Manas Tiger Reserve for an ambitious breeding programme.

The conservation authority had last year relocated two tigers from Ranthambhore to start a breeding programme at Sariska to replenish its extinct tiger population.

In a recent letter to the Assam chief wildlife warden, the NTCA member secretary, Rajesh Gopal said, “The intensive, active management is aimed at allowing the tiger population to build up at the reserve and protect it from poachers and other decimating factors”.

The Manas tiger reserve had been assessed to be performing below its ecological potential as per the all-India tiger estimation (2005-08).

“The status of the tigers and their habitat has not improved (at Manas) owing to several decimating factors which include poaching, habitat and prey depletion,” Gopal said.

The number of tigers at Manas had gone down to 65 in the 2002 census from 125 in 1997. However, the 2005-2008 estimation only cited a total figure for the entire state, pegged at 70.

The NTCA had suggested two adult tigresses and a male tiger that should be translocated from the same habitat or from a tiger-bearing forest within the same landscape, into a larger enclosure (more than 50 hectares for each tigress) built in-situ within the tiger reserve. The enclosures for the tigresses would form part of a larger enclosure (more than 200 hectares) housing the male, with the facility for the tigresses to interact separately with the tiger for courtship.

The Assam forest department has held consultations with NGOs on the proposal.

The NTCA had asked the forest department to send a detailed proposal in this regard, including the translocation protocol, in consultation with the Wildlife Institute of India.

“We are studying the proposal and trying to establish its feasibility,” the Assam chief conservator of forest (wildlife) D.M. Singh told The Telegraph.

“The mother and the cubs would be released back in the wild with radio collars once the cubs attain two years of age,” the NTCA letter added.

It further said the practice of building up the tiger population by offering protection to the most vulnerable stage of their life cycle should be stopped once the tiger density in the reserve reaches the minimum for the habitat type.

A field official in Manas said the proposal was difficult to implement in reality.

“Catching tigers in Manas itself is a difficult proposition. Secondly, a huge area will be taken by the enclosures which would block an area also meant for other animals,” he pointed out.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090623/jsp/northeast/story_11144203.jsp#

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Delhi upholds Sariska model to save Manas tigers

Delhi upholds Sariska model to save Manas tigers

ROOPAK GOSWAMI
Issue Date: Tuesday , June 23 , 2009

Guwahati, June 22: The Centre has proposed replication of a Sariska model at the Manas National Park to halt the rapid depletion in the population of the big cat at the Unesco site.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority — the country’s apex body in the field — has asked the Assam forest department to start in-situ erection of enclosures for tigers and its prey population at the Manas Tiger Reserve for an ambitious breeding programme.

The conservation authority had last year relocated two tigers from Ranthambhore to start a breeding programme at Sariska to replenish its extinct tiger population.

In a recent letter to the Assam chief wildlife warden, the NTCA member secretary, Rajesh Gopal said, “The intensive, active management is aimed at allowing the tiger population to build up at the reserve and protect it from poachers and other decimating factors”.

The Manas tiger reserve had been assessed to be performing below its ecological potential as per the all-India tiger estimation (2005-08).

“The status of the tigers and their habitat has not improved (at Manas) owing to several decimating factors which include poaching, habitat and prey depletion,” Gopal said.

The number of tigers at Manas had gone down to 65 in the 2002 census from 125 in 1997. However, the 2005-2008 estimation only cited a total figure for the entire state, pegged at 70.

The NTCA had suggested two adult tigresses and a male tiger that should be translocated from the same habitat or from a tiger-bearing forest within the same landscape, into a larger enclosure (more than 50 hectares for each tigress) built in-situ within the tiger reserve. The enclosures for the tigresses would form part of a larger enclosure (more than 200 hectares) housing the male, with the facility for the tigresses to interact separately with the tiger for courtship.

The Assam forest department has held consultations with NGOs on the proposal.

The NTCA had asked the forest department to send a detailed proposal in this regard, including the translocation protocol, in consultation with the Wildlife Institute of India.

“We are studying the proposal and trying to establish its feasibility,” the Assam chief conservator of forest (wildlife) D.M. Singh told The Telegraph.

“The mother and the cubs would be released back in the wild with radio collars once the cubs attain two years of age,” the NTCA letter added.

It further said the practice of building up the tiger population by offering protection to the most vulnerable stage of their life cycle should be stopped once the tiger density in the reserve reaches the minimum for the habitat type.

A field official in Manas said the proposal was difficult to implement in reality.

“Catching tigers in Manas itself is a difficult proposition. Secondly, a huge area will be taken by the enclosures which would block an area also meant for other animals,” he pointed out.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090623/jsp/northeast/story_11144203.jsp#

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Bobcats are making a comeback in Pennsylvania

Sunday, June 21, 2009

By John Hayes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A little bigger than the heftiest house cat, Pennsylvania's only confirmed wild feline, the bobcat, is expanding its range.

Once common across the state, the bobcat didn't experience purges that wiped out larger predators, but its range was greatly reduced. In 1970 it became a protected game species, its population regulated through limited hunting and trapping. Bobcats now thrive in the state's wildest places, eating small mammals including mice, chipmunks, rats and rabbits. They are probably harassed by free-ranging pets more than they attack them.

Easily considered a Pennsylvania wildlife success story, the bobcat population has spiked since the 1990s. During the 2000-2001 season, 58 bobcats were harvested by hunters and trappers. By the 2008-2009 season, the harvest had swelled to 487 -- over 100 more than the previous season. This year, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has continued expanding the bobcat harvest area and has increased the number of permits issued.

"All of the tools we use to monitor the state's bobcat population indicate increased abundance and continued geographic expansion outside of the established harvest area," said Matthew Lovallo, Game Commission Game Mammal Section supervisor in a written statement. "The addition of Wildlife Management Unit 4D in 2008-2009 increased the available harvest area by 14 percent. Similarly, the addition of WMU 4A and 4E for the 2009-2010 season will increase the allowable harvest area by 15 percent, and will better distribute harvest throughout the established bobcat range."

Last week, the Game Commission began accepting applications for bobcat permits from holders of resident and nonresident furtaker licenses, resident and nonresident junior furtaker or combination licenses, and resident senior furtaker or lifetime combination licenses. Applications must be submitted by Sept. 1. At a public drawing on Sept. 11, the Game Commission will issue 1,780 permits -- 337 more than last year -- for the 2009-2010 bobcat hunting and trappings seasons. The hunting season runs Oct. 24-Feb. 20, 2010; trapping season is set for Oct. 25-Feb. 21, 2010. Bobcat permit applicants with 6 preference points (5 previous points and 1 for this year's application) will automatically get a permit.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09172/978673-358.stm#ixzz0JTZZr6Ex&D

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Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Tigers in Panna killed, probe report

Tigers in Panna killed, probe report

Agencies Posted online: Tuesday , Jun 23, 2009 at 1935 hrs

New Delhi : Most of the tigers in Panna sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh were killed by poachers, a Special probe team set up by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has said while trashing the state officials' claim that the endangered species died natural deaths.

"Tigers can't disappear mysteriously had they died due to natural reasons. Poachers were highly active on the periphery of the park and killed all the wild cats," the Special Investigation Team (SIT) led by former NTCA director P K Sen told PTI.

The team, after declaring a few days ago that there was not a single tiger left in Panna sanctuary, probed the reasons for disappearance of predators from the park which two years ago had a healthy population of the animal.

Sen said the voluminous report on the reasons for tiger deaths was submitted to the Environment Ministry on Monday for further action in the matter.

"We have cited poaching as the main reason for the disappearance of the tigers," Sen added. Casting a shadow over the big cat population revival plan in Panna where two tigress were relocated recently, Sen said "while the poachers were on a killing spree, the officials remained in a denial mode about their existence."

"What's worse, the poachers seem to be active till today as they have killed a lone wild cat which was roaming outside the park," Sen said indicating the threat to the two tigress relocated in March from Bandhavgarh and Kanha sanctuaries to Panna.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Tigers-in-Panna-killed--probe-report/480342

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Missing Panna tigers: Ramesh promises accountability

Missing Panna tigers: Ramesh promises accountability

Express news service Posted online: Thursday , Jun 25, 2009 at 0022 hrs

New Delhi : A Day after The Indian Express reported that all tigers in Panna have been poached as found by a Central Special Investigative Team (SIT) probe, Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday said “accountability will be fixed” for the “exaggeration of tiger numbers and the reasons for extinction in Panna tiger reserve”. Ramesh, who received the SIT report on Wednesday, is likely to write to Madhya Pradesh to take action on the report.

“Wildlife is a concurrent subject and the ministry can advise on action taken. The final actions have to be taken by the state,” said a senior official from MOEF indicating the Centre will soon start correspondence with MP on the issue. The SIT report found that MP has been consistently denying any problems in Panna, including that of “organised” tiger poaching between 2002 and 2009. The last tiger in Panna was poached by January this year.

A camera trap survey done by Wildlife Institute of India in February also revealed that there were no tigers in Panna, but the state Forest Department denied even this, saying the tiger population was scattered around the reserve.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Missing-Panna-tigers--Ramesh-promises-accountability/480891

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

No more tigers in Panna, confirms Central probe team

No more tigers in Panna, confirms Central probe team

Neha Sinha Posted online: Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009 at 0906 hrs

New Delhi : It’s official. There are no tigers left in Madhya Pradesh’s Panna tiger reserve.

Rampant poaching and total “denial for the past eight years” have led to the extinction of tigers there, a Central investigation has revealed.

The state government denied any crisis even as tigers were regularly being poached for eight years between 2002 and 2009, an extensive report prepared by a Special Investigative Team (SIT) set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests has found.

The SIT was constituted to investigate the extinction of tigers from Panna this year, which till 2007 held at least 24 tigers.

“The tiger population has shown decline with no ecological reasons, supporting the notion that poaching was a major cause of local tiger extinction in Panna,” says the report. “It cannot be compared with Sariska (where tigers went extinct in 2005) because warning bells were sounded regularly for the last eight years.”

A string of warnings, given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), independent scientists and NGOs were ignored between 2002 and 2008 as Madhya Pradesh concentrated on ‘tourism and welfare’ and senior officials looked the other way, says the report.

“The team felt that Panna was a very special case because the management received so many cautions and warning letters from different agencies. It has been observed by the team that Government of Madhya Pradesh was always in a denial mode that there was crisis in Panna,” the report says.

“The advisories/guidelines and red alerts on protection and monitoring protocols issued by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), time and again, were not followed in action and spirit. Even newspaper warnings were ignored,” it says. The Indian Express had reported in March this year that there were no tigers left in Panna, which the MP Forest Department denied.

The team said that ‘intelligence-gathering was never important’ for Panna tiger reserve and the failure was from the highest level. For the investigation, field directors between 2002 and 2009 were questioned and MP police poaching records were accessed. For the same period, the report says, “Senior officers of the rank of PCCF and Chief Wildlife Warden and Additional PCCF Wildlife visited the reserve number of times. Nowhere in their tour report has it been mentioned that the reserve was facing problems which could be a cause of disappearance of tiger. The Principal Secretary Forest was least concerned about tigers in the reserve. The entire department in Bhopal was busy corresponding with scientists, individuals, NGOs and even members of the CEC denying facts even without verification.”

“This is a situation much worse than Sariska,” P K Sen, former Director, Project Tiger and a member of the team, told The Indian Express. “In Sariska, the tigers were lost mostly over one year. The Panna crisis is unprecedented as the negligence went on for eight whole years. In 2001, tiger scientist Raghu Chundawat said that a tiger he had collared was suddenly gone. His plea was dismissed by the state. MP has perfected the art of denial. If the state could not handle the reserve, the department should have acknowldeged this. The way forward is simple. Unless you admit there is a problem, you can’t find the solution.”

The other members of the team were: Qamar Qureshi, Scientist, Wildlife Institute of India, Chaturbhuja Behera, Regional Deputy Director, Jabalupur, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, and S. P. Yadav, DIG, National Tiger Conservation Authority (Member Convener).

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/no-more-tigers-in-panna-confirms-central-probe-team/480626/0

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Environment Ministry approves tiger relocation protocol

Environment Ministry approves tiger relocation protocol

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Delhi (PTI) The Environment Ministry has approved a blueprint for tiger relocation prepared by National Tiger Conservation Authority, paving the way for the second phase of big cat population revival plan in the Sariska reserve of Rajasthan.

"I have approved the protocol. It is an important plan for better tiger conservation in the country whenever there is translocation of animal," Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told PTI.

After shifting three tigers -- a male and two females -- last year, the Rajasthan government had put on hold its plan to relocate two more animals after NTCA decided to frame guidelines detailing steps needed for the translocation process to be adopted by the states.

"The protocol has minute details such as which type of animal of what age can be translocated on what conditions.

Though there were already translocation guidelines but the protocol will be like a Bible for the wildlife officials planning to shift the tiger from one reserve to another. They will have to strictly adhere to the norms," a senior NTCA official said.

Prepared by the NTCA in association with the wildlife experts and Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII), the protocol is based on international guidelines.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/000200906211505.htm

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Development activities in tiger reserve

Development activities in tiger reserve

V.S. Palaniappan
Monday, Jun 22, 2009

Pollachi: To generate alternate employment for tribals in the buffer zones along the reserve forest boundaries so as to eliminate human interference in the 958 sq. km. Anaimalai Tiger Reserve (ATR), authorities have formed eco development committees in 10 villages.

ATR field director H. Basuvaraju said of the 94 tribal villages/hamlets identified in the zone, eco development activities had been initiated through Eco Development Committees (EDCs) in 10 villages/hamlets. Participatory rural appraisal exercises had been carried out in 33 villages while the exercise was underway in about 61 villages for a micro plan preparation. The micro plan was to be implemented through a local level specialised eco-development institution specifically created for this purpose, Mr. Basuvaraju said.

According to the plan, villages abutting areas within 10 km from the core forest area are considered for buffer zone activities. Apart from the above 15,713 hectares, peripheral areas in Mannavanur and Poomparai ranges of Kodaikkanal division and Palani Range of Dindigul division have been brought under the buffer zone. The objective is to have management intervention in the buffer zones and sector integration for livelihood options. The Government has sanctioned Rs. 5 lakh under the ‘Project Tiger Scheme’ which has been distributed to villages under Amaravathi, Udumalpet and Valparai ranges.

http://www.hindu.com/2009/06/22/stories/2009062254510100.htm

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Forest dept steps up search for tiger cub

Forest dept steps up search for tiger cub

22 Jun 2009, 0255 hrs IST, TNN

PANAJI: The forest department has stepped up patrolling in Vathadeo, a western suburb of Bicholim, after a resident claimed that he had spotted a tiger cub in the area.

"Taking cognizance of press reports about the sighting, we put men on the job to patrol the area," a forest department official said. "Our staff has contacted the man who claimed to have sighted the cub, but as yet there is no confirmation or proof," he added.

Patrolling continued for the third day on Sunday. "As a precautionary measure, we have asked our staff to continue patrolling the area," the official said. After a couple of days of vigil in the area, the staff has not been able to sight the cub.

"It is possible that it may be a leopard," sources said. However, the Vathadeo man claimed that it is a cub with stripes, characteristic of a big cat.

Vathadeo along the Bicholim-Mapusa road is not a forest area, but there is some greenery in the village and a river flows close by.

A few weeks back, forest department officials had been informed of the sighting of a tiger and a cub near Anjunem dam, barely 20 km from Vathadeo.

Meanwhile, the progress in the investigation of the tiger killing at Keri has been delayed as the forensic report of bones and other parts of the tiger sent to Dehradun for confirmatory tests, is yet to be received.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Forest-dept-steps-up-search-for-tiger-cub/articleshow/4684989.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Forest dept earmarks area for tigers in Pilibhit

Forest dept earmarks area for tigers in Pilibhit

Neha Attre Posted online: Sunday , Jun 21, 2009 at 0504 hrs

Lucknow : To minimise conflict between wild animals and humans living on the fringes of jungles, the Uttar Pradesh Forest department has identified core and buffer areas for the proposed Pilibhit Tiger Reserve.

As per the proposal sent by the department to the state government, the core area would comprise around 600 sq km and the buffer area nearly 150 sq km. Once the proposal gets the state government nod, it will be sent to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for the final approval.

“It is necessary to have the area marked as buffer zone to avoid man-animal conflict and to accommodate the spill over of the tiger population,” said BK Patnaik, Chief Wildlife Warden of the state.

Core zone is the deeper area of forests where no human interference is allowed to help tigers live in peace, while the buffer area comprises land around the periphery of the core area.

As per the 2005 census, population of tigers in the area comprising the proposed reserve is 36. The proposal regarding the reserve was earlier sent to the NTCA but it asked the Forest department to demarcate the core and buffer area again.

According to the new proposal, the area of the reserve would be around 750 sq km as against the 712 sq km mentioned in the earlier proposal. The proposed reserve will comprise Barahi, Mala, Deoria, Mahof and Haripur areas. “The area under Shahjahapur will also be included to extend the buffer zone,” said Singh.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/forest-dept-earmarks-area-for-tigers-in-pilibhit/479406/

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hunters are depleting lion and cougar populations, study finds

ScienceDaily (June 18, 2009) — Sport hunters are depleting lion and cougar populations as managers respond to demands to control predators that threaten livestock and humans, according to a study published in the June 17 issue of PLoS One. The study was led by Craig Packer, a University of Minnesota professor and authority on lion behavior, who worked with an international team of conservationists.

The study looked at numbers of lions and cougars killed by hunters over the past 15 to 25 years in Africa and the western United States. The analysis suggested that management agencies often adjusted quotas to control rather than conserve the big cats in areas where humans or livestock were threatened.

Sport hunting takes a significant toll on these large feline species because replacement males routinely kill their predecessors' cubs to improve their mating opportunities. (Killing cubs forces female lions into estrus or "heat.") The team of scientists confirmed this effect by comparing the impact of hunting on populations of lions, cougars and leopards with its impact on black bear populations because male black bears do not routinely kill infants of other males.

Lion and cougar populations have suffered the greatest decline in African countries and U.S. states where sport hunting has been most intense over the past 25 years, the researchers found. Leopards were not as affected as lions and cougars, most likely because they benefited from reduced numbers of lions. Black bears, by contrast, appear to be thriving despite the thousands of bears killed by hunters.

The study results point to the need for new approaches to protect humans and livestock and to manage sport hunting without endangering these vulnerable species. One possibility would be to restrict sport hunting to older males whose offspring have matured.

"We need to develop scientifically-based strategies that benefit hunters, livestock owners and conservationists," Packer says. "It's important to educate the public about the risks these large predators pose to rural communities and to help hunters and wildlife managers develop methods to sustain healthy populations."

"Packer's colleagues included co-authors Luke Hunter, Executive Director of Panthera and Kristin Nowell from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission (IUCN/SSC) Cat Specialist Group, as well as Dave Garshelis, Chair of the IUCN/SSC Bear Specialist Group."

Journal reference:

1. Packer C, Kosmala M, Cooley HS, Brink H, Pintea L, et al. Sport Hunting, Predator Control and Conservation of Large Carnivores. PLoS ONE, 4(6): e5941 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005941

Adapted from materials provided by University of Minnesota, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617123443.htm

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Mother of cougar victim blames urban sprawl - Canada

Updated: Fri Jun. 19 2009 19:05:35

ctvbc.ca

Days after her daughter Maya was attacked by a cougar in Squamish, B.C., Maureen Lee is speaking out - against urban development.

Lee has joined forces with animal advocacy group Big Wildlife to call on construction companies to stop the urban sprawl taking place in Squamish.

"I believe the recent incidents with cougars are sign we are developing the area too rapidly for the cougars to adapt to their loss of territory," she said. "We need to respect cougars by respecting their home."

But Squamish isn't the only area at risk. Vancouver Island has the highest frequency of cougar attacks on humans of any place in North America - and it's on the rise.

"We have been expanding into more wilderness areas all the time, and that interaction with wildlife is just bound to occur because of that," Victoria wildlife conflict specialist Mike Badry said Friday.

In the mean time, hikers are advised to keep kids close, leave small pets at home, and maybe even consider carrying bear spray.

"Probably the best piece of advice is to know that you're in cougar country," Badry said. "You want to keep from attracting cougars from whatever area you're in."

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jim Beatty

http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090619/bc_cougar_sprawl_090619/20090619/?hub=BritishColumbiaHome

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India: Tea estates are leopard-human conflict zone

Tea labourers kill leopard
A STAFF REPORTER

Guwahati, June 19: A leopard, unable to fend for itself since its separation from its mother nearly a year ago, was killed by labourers of a tea estate in Upper Assam this morning after it attacked six women.

Panic-stricken workers of Socklating tea estate in Jorhat district killed the two-year-old male leopard after it attacked six women labourers around 11am. The injured are recuperating at Jorhat civil hospital.

The tea estate is located near the district's boundary with Golaghat.

The killing took place barely three months after a leopard was poisoned to death by the labourers of Barchapori tea estate.

The leopard killed today was not fully grown. It was a cub when it escaped from the Assam Agricultural University campus last year.

The forest staff had caged its mother and another sibling but later released them at Gibbon wildlife sanctuary.

A forest official at the Jorhat division said the leopard today stealthily came out of tea bushes when the women labourers were plucking tea leaves.

"When the women raised the alarm, it attacked and injured six of them."

As the news spread, the labourers hunted for the leopard, fearing that it could go on a killing spree after having tasted human blood.

"The leopard was finally located in a drain in the tea estate. The animal was killed instantly with sticks and whatever they (the labourers) could lay their hands on," the official said.

He said a case had been registered but no arrest would be made "since the killing was carried out in self-defence".

The official said the leopard, which was not fully grown, was finding it difficult to fend for itself since it was separated from its mother.

"Not deft in hunting, the leopard was preying on domestic cattle," he added.

Tea estates in Assam have turned into a conflict zone between leopards and humans with over 10 big cats being killed by labourers in Jorhat district alone in the last three years.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090620/jsp/northeast/story_11133468.jsp

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Leopard caught by Indian officials

Leopard caught by wildlife officials in Rajouri in J & K

Jammu (PTI): Jammu and Kashmir wildlife officials have captured a leopard which had strayed into a village in Rajouri district, officials said on Friday.

On being informed that the leopard had entered into a cowshed of Jurmat Din and killed some of his goats in Gurdan Bala village in Thanamandi tehsil last evening, wildlife and police officials rushed to the spot, they said.

The officials later captured the animal and shifted him to Manda wildlife sanctuary here, they said.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/004200906191352.htm

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Bobcat killed on Jupiter, Florida, road

20-pound bobcat killed on Indiantown Road in Jupiter

By BILL DIPAOLO
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

JUPITER — A 20-pound bobcat was hit and killed likely by a passing motorist this morning near Interstate 95 and Indiantown Road, prompting several calls to Busch Wildlife Sanctuary.

The cat's brownish body was on the grass on the right side of the eastbound I-95 off ramp, said Amy Kight, outreach director of the sanctuary on nearby Jupiter Park Drive.

"I got several calls. Some people thought it was a Florida panther," Kight said. The panther is listed as critically endangered.

Bobcats grow to about the size of a medium dog, are found throughout Florida and are not considered dangerous to humans. Bobcats are not listed as threatened or endangered.

"They are common in Palm Beach County," Kight said.

The bobcat's body was gone by noon, likely taken by raccoons and other predators, said Kight.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/content/local_news/epaper/2009/06/17/0617deadbobcat.html

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Smithsonian Institution and World Bank Group Join Forces to Save Wild Tigers from Extinction

Smithsonian Institution and World Bank Group Join Forces to Save Wild Tigers from Extinction

Washington, D.C., June 19, 2009 - The Smithsonian Institution and the World Bank Group today announced a new program under the Global Tiger Initiative to help stabilize and restore wild tiger populations and save this endangered species from extinction in its natural habitats.

Poaching, habitat loss and other issues have reduced the global tiger population in the wild to less than 3,500, and the losses continue. Under the new agreement signed today in a ceremony webcast from the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, D.C., the World Bank and the Smithsonian’s National Zoo will establish and support a Conservation and Development Network that will train hundreds of rangers, foresters, and other habitat managers in the latest cutting-edge practices in biodiversity management, with a specific focus on preserving and increasing wild tiger populations. The World Bank will dedicate more than $1 million over the next year toward these training efforts, and the Smithsonian and World Bank will work to expand the alliance to include other members and raise additional financing for implementation. The Year-of-the-Tiger Summit is scheduled to be held in the second half of 2010.

G. Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, said, “Combining the Smithsonian’s scientific and conservation expertise with the World Bank’s 60-plus years of development knowledge will allow us to build a global network of leading scientists, policy makers and NGOs with the critical goal of saving the wild tiger.”

World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick said, “We are very pleased to join with the Smithsonian in this important and innovative new effort. Without urgent action, the tiger could be extinct within the next 10 years. Working together, we can unite hundreds of conservation practitioners and dozens of institutions across the tiger range countries of Asia to arrest the terrible loss of tiger populations and bring these magnificent species back from the brink.”

The new Conservation and Development Network will link the leading knowledge institutions in China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand, and other Tiger Range countries with globally significant centers of excellence in conservation science and professional training. The National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center located in the Shenandoah Mountains in Front Royal, Va., will serve as one of the initial launch-pads for development of the Network.

The training should also lead to more effective measures against illegal trade and trafficking of tiger parts, and intensify surveillance, detection and conviction of poachers. In addition to promoting stricter implementation of conservation laws and laws against illegal trade and traffic, the network should allow countries to more efficiently share information about poaching activity, leading to more robust efforts to combat the problem.

Steven Monfort, Acting Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, said, “The loss of the tiger would have implications much larger than simply the loss of a charismatic species. The extinction of this top predator signifies irreversible changes in functioning of natural ecosystems and all the services they provide, in addition to the erosion of the cultural and spiritual values that are associated with the tiger. We’re very pleased to see this important next step in the progress of the Global Tiger Initiative.”

The agreement comes one year after the launch of the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI), a collaborative effort between the World Bank, the Smithsonian Institution, Global Environment Facility, the International Tiger Coalition, and other members to assist the 13 tiger range countries with their efforts in restoring wild tigers and preserving their habitats. Additional information about the GTI can be accessed through its new website http://www.GlobalTigerInitiative.org.

http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:22217957~menuPK:34463~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424~theSitePK:4607,00.html

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Major breakthrough in saving tigers

Major breakthrough in saving tigers

19 Jun 2009, 1156 hrs IST, ANI

WASHINGTON: In a new study, a team of Indian scientists has announced a major breakthrough in the science of saving tigers, namely, high-tech DNA fecal sampling.

The study was conducted by Samrat Mondol, Anish Andheria and Uma Ramakrishnan, of the National Centre for Biological Sciences; K Ullas Karanth, N Samba Kumar, and Arjun M Gopalaswamy of the Wildlife Conservation Society and Centre for Wildlife Studies.

According to the study, researchers will be able to accurately count and assess tiger populations by identifying individual animals from the unique DNA signature found in their dung.

In the past, DNA was collected from blood or tissue samples from tigers that were darted and sedated.

The authors said this new non-invasive technique represents a powerful new tool for measuring the success of future conservation efforts.

"This study is a breakthrough in the science of counting tiger numbers, which is a key yardstick for measuring conservation success," said noted tiger scientist Dr Ullas Karanth of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

"The technique will allow researchers to establish baseline numbers on tiger populations in places where they have never been able to accurately count them before," he added.

The study took place in India's Bandipur Reserve in Karnataka, a long-term WCS research site in the Western Ghats that supports a high abundance of tigers.

Researchers collected 58 tiger scats following rigorous protocols; then identified individual animals through their DNA.

Tiger populations were then estimated using sophisticated computer models.

These results were validated against camera trap data, where individual tigers are photographed automatically and identified by their unique stripe pattern.

Camera-trapping is considered the gold standard in tiger population estimation, but is impractical in several areas where tiger densities are low or field conditions too rugged.

According to Karanth, "We see genetic sampling as a valuable additional tool for estimating tiger abundance in places like the Russian Far East, Sunderban mangrove swamps and dense rainforests of Southeast Asia where camera trapping might be impractical due to various environmental and logistical constraints."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Earth/Major-breakthrough-in-saving-tigers/articleshow/4675180.cms

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

CNN-IBN Focus: What can be done to protect tigers

CNN-IBN Focus: What can be done to protect tigers

CNN-IBN
Published on Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 23:29, Updated on Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 23:47 in India section

The special focus on CNN-IBN on Thursday was India's disappearing tigers. Tigers have gone extinct at the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh. In fact, they went extinct years ago but it took the government nearly four years time to admit it. What is going wrong and what is the way forward? To answer the big question: Where are the tigers in India, CNN-IBN spoke to MoS, Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh.

CNN-IBN: What action do you propose to take to set right what happened in Panna?

Jairam Ramesh: I am waiting for the report of the SIT. I have been assured by my colleagues in the NTCA that we will have the report of this task force by the end of the month and we will fix responsibility on why this happened. And accountability must be fixed, who is responsible? Obviously there are poachers, poachers can't successfully operate without some inside information. There is an insider job here. So we will look at this. I will talk to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh is the number one state in tiger population in India and it's sad that tigers have gone extinct in a tiger sanctuary like Panna - where there were six to seven tigers to begin with. Well there are different numbers floating number. Whatever it is, a tiger sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh not having tigers is a cause for great concern after all it is the epicenter of tiger population.

CNN-IBN: How do we ensure that we have a modern enforcement system in place to make sure poaching does not occur in national parks?

Jairam Ramesh: Well we can't control the demand but we can control the supply. I can't control the demand for aphrodisiacs which apparently are based on the ability of the poachers to supply parts of the tiger's anatomy, but what we can control is the supply and beef up the security in the Project Tiger area. That is very important. I think we should bring modern electronic sensor based technology for monitoring. The Government of India has a proposal for a special police force, but I don't entirely subscribe to the idea of creating a separate battalion of police people to maintain security in the Project Tiger areas. I would rather involve the local communities. For example I was in Corbett recently and I interacted with the 'Vana Gujjars' who I believe will be far more effective protectors of the Corbett area than policemen being transplanted from somewhere else.

CNN-IBN: 1000 projects have been cleared by the Ministry of Environment and Forest and not one has been rejected? How will your Ministry ensure that infrastructure projects don't come up in tiger reserves?

Jairam Ramesh: I don't think you can say that we should have roads in forest areas or we can't under any circumstances allow roads. We have got to find a balance. I, for example, on the trench Kahna issue have asked for an alternative alignment to be studied. I think in many of the proposals that come to me for clearance, like for example for divergence of forest areas, people don't come with any alternative scenarios.

CNN-IBN: To end with sir, what is the way forward now?

Jairam Ramesh: I think the time has come to look at the project tiger in its larger eco-context. Project Tiger today accounts for 6 per cent of India's forest area so its not tiger but its forest, the ecosystem, the watersheds. If I were to rename Project Tiger I would call it Project Eco-system. I know its far more colorful to call it Project Tiger, but I think the mistake we have made made perhaps in retrospect is to think of Project Tiger as only tiger. The tiger symbolises the forest just like the snow leopards symbolises the mountains, or the cheetah once upon a time symbolised the grasslands.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/cnnibn-focus-what-can-be-done-to-protect-tigers/95172-3.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

The straight poop on counting tigers

The straight poop on counting tigers

New study shows that fecal DNA sampling provides extremely accurate estimates of tiger populations

NEW YORK (JUNE 18, 2009) – The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced today a major breakthrough in the science of saving tigers: high-tech DNA fecal sampling.

According to the study, researchers will be able to accurately count and assess tiger populations by identifying individual animals from the unique DNA signature found in their dung. In the past, DNA was collected from blood or tissue samples from tigers that were darted and sedated. The authors say this new non-invasive technique represents a powerful new tool for measuring the success of future conservation efforts.

The study appears in the June 16th edition of the journal Biological Conservation. Authors of the study include: Samrat Mondol of the National Centre for Biological Sciences; K. Ullas Karanth, N. Samba Kumar, and Arjun M. Gopalaswamy of the Wildlife Conservation Society and Centre for Wildlife Studies; and Anish Andheria and Uma Ramakrishnan, also of the National Centre for Biological Sciences.

"This study is a breakthrough in the science of counting tiger numbers, which is a key yardstick for measuring conservation success," said noted tiger scientist Dr. Ullas Karanth of the Wildlife Conservation Society. "The technique will allow researchers to establish baseline numbers on tiger populations in places where they have never been able to accurately count them before."

The study took place in India's Bandipur Reserve in Karnataka, a longterm WCS research site in the Western Ghats that supports a high abundance of tigers. Researchers collected 58 tiger scats following rigorous protocols, then identified individual animals through their DNA. Tiger populations were then estimated using sophisticated computer models. These results were validated against camera trap data, where individual tigers are photographed automatically and identified by their unique stripe pattern. Camera-trapping is considered the gold standard in tiger population estimation, but is impractical in several areas where tiger densities are low or field conditions too rugged.

"We see genetic sampling as a valuable additional tool for estimating tiger abundance in places like the Russian Far East, Sunderban mangrove swamps and dense rainforests of Southeast Asia where camera trapping might be impractical due to various environmental and logistical constraints," said Karanth.

WCS has been engaged in saving tigers in the Western Ghats in association with the Indian government and several local conservation partners for over two decades.

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit: http://www.wcs.org/

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-06/wcs-tsp061809.php

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Giving a new impetus to Project Tiger

Giving a new impetus to Project Tiger

Sujay Mehdudia
Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009

JIM CORBETT PARK (Uttarakhand): Seeking to re-define the prestigious “Project Tiger” and introduce the concept of shared responsibility for all stakeholders, the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests has circulated a draft Cabinet Note mooting a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) to be signed by the Centre, the States and Director Project Tiger.

“The note will be put up before the Union Cabinet soon for approval. It seeks to lay out roles and responsibilities of all the stakeholders and also link the flow of funds from the National Tiger Conservation Authority. It seeks to put in place the concept of shared responsibility as saving and preserving the tiger is a national cause,” said Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh after a first-hand inspection of the sprawling Jim Corbett Park this past weekend and apprising himself of the key issues concerning this national heritage.

Mr. Ramesh, who has embarked upon a series of visits to all 37 tiger sanctuaries across the country, has already been to Bhadra in Karnataka besides the Corbett Park.

He also reviewed the resettlement and rehabilitation of forest-based Van Gujjars and other villagers from the core areas and underlined the need to involve the local population in protecting the bio-diversity and habitation of the jungles.

Talking about the ambitious plan to involve all stakeholders for the first time, Mr. Ramesh said the attempt would be to decentralise and empower the local managements to get the best out of the situation.

“The time has come to re-define Project Tiger with the changing times. These 37 sanctuaries account for nearly six per cent of the country’s forest land and it is time hi-tech management of the parks was undertaken. Our emphasis has to change from wildlife science to wildlife management,” he said.

Mr. Ramesh, who undertook an extensive tour of the core area of the Park on an elephant, said it was time modern systems including sensors and alarms were installed in the Park to tackle illegal entry and poaching. He also accepted in principle a request by the Park authorities for purchase of a micro-light aircraft to carry out surveillance of the core area.

He also emphasised the need to introduce the concept of a more powerful Environment Protection Authority with the responsibility to monitor things.

“Project Tiger has to be strengthened and taken further if not for anything else but to save our forests and eco-system. This can only be achieved with a motivated specialised official core group and involvement of the local inhabitants,” he asserted.

http://www.hindu.com/2009/06/17/stories/2009061754350500.htm

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/