Friday, July 31, 2009

Aircraft cover for Namdapha tigers

Aircraft cover for Namdapha tigers
Microlight plane to hover over sanctuary in Arunachal for
surveillance

ROOPAK GOSWAMI
Issue Date: Friday , July 31 , 2009

Guwahati, July 30: A microlight aircraft will soon be hovering over Namdapha Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh, helping forest staff in surveillance and protection of big cats in the country’s easternmost sanctuary.

The Centre’s decision to introduce the microlight aircraft at Namdapha was announced by minister of state for environment and forests (independent charge), Jairam Ramesh, at a conclave of tiger reserve directors held at Sariska in Rajasthan on July 25 and 26.

“The announcement by Jairam Ramesh at the Sariska meeting is a big development for us as over 30 per cent of the reserve is not accessible through land routes,” Namdapha’s field director Yogesh told The Telegraph.

Yogesh had attended the Sariska meeting which deliberated on the challenges being faced by tiger reserves across the country.

An official in the ministry of environment and forests said over phone that the minister has taken keen interest in getting the microlight for Namdapha as “he has a soft corner for the Northeast”.

The total area of the Namdapha tiger reserve is 1,985 square km, spread over hills and dense forests.

Yogesh said the number of tigers in Namdapha, as estimated in the 2006 census, is 14 but pugmarks of four “new” tigers have been sighted in the last couple of months by an expedition team.

Once Ramesh’s plan is implemented, Namdapha will be the first tiger reserve in the country to get a microlight aircraft.

“There are different types of microlight aircraft whose costs vary. A final decision is being taken on this issue,” a ministry official added.

The official said a couple of other tiger reserves are likely to get similar aircraft for surveillance.

Incidentally, Namdapha is among the three tiger reserves in the Northeast — the other two being Dampa in Mizoram and Manas in Assam — which were graded “poor” by the National Tiger Conservation Authority recently.

Encroachment by the Lisu tribe and militancy are stated to be major problems in Namdapha. Both the factions of the NSCN also have camps in the park.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090731/jsp/northeast/story_11301362.jsp#

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Thursday, July 30, 2009

SAARC leaders to visit Sariska Tiger Reserve

SAARC leaders to visit Sariska Tiger Reserve

STAFF WRITER 12:41 HRS IST

New Delhi, Jul 30 (PTI) India will showcase its success story in re-introducing tigers in Rajasthan's Sariska reserve to the SAARC nations when their foreign ministers meet here next month.

"The dignitaries from the neighbouring countries visiting India in August to attend a conference will also take a trip to Sariska Tiger Reserve where three tigers - a male and two females were relocated from Ranthambore Tiger Reserve last year," Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said.

"The tigers are doing pretty well and we hope that they will soon go the family way. The project signifies our commitment towards wildlife conservation including tiger preservation which is enlisted as endangered species and tops the chart of the ecology system," Ramesh added.

SAARC countries like Bhutan, China and Bangladesh have tigers in the wild but the count is too low when compared to India which has around 1,400 big cats in the forests.

http://www.ptinews.com/news/202559_SAARC-leaders-to-visit-Sariska-Tiger-Reserve

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wildlife group says radio-collars did not kill tigers

Wildlife group says radio-collars did not kill tigers

2009-07-29 20:30:00

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), a premier wildlife body, Wednesday slammed a 'wildlife intelligence report' that claimed radio-collaring was the reason for the deaths of around three dozen tigers in Madhya Pradesh's Panna National Park.

In a statement, BNHS director Asad Rahmani said that radio-collaring of big cats and other animals in the wild has been an efficient method in use for over 40 years.

After investigating the issue, Rahmani said: 'The BNHS is horrified to know about the so-called intelligence report which indirectly blames the researchers. The silence of Madhya Pradesh Forest Department on the issue is also shocking.'

The recent report blamed radio-collaring of big ,cats which allegedly hampered their natural movement, caused neck infections and were used by poachers to locate tigers.

Rahmani, who is also member of National Board for Wildlife, said that in Panna, scientists have used radio-collaring and telemetry to study the ecology and behaviour of the big cats with the permission of the government and it has yielded very good understanding of tiger biology.

The last tiger was collared in Panna in 2002 and its radio-collar battery would have exhausted in two years.

That tiger was seen alive as per records till 2005, while Panna became 'tiger-less' in 2007.

It also dismissed as 'baseless' that claim that poachers used radio-collaring to track the tigers since the imported equipment goes through customs checks and the frequencies of every radio-collar can only be tracked by scientists or investigators.

'Hence, there is no way radio-collaring of seven tigers in Panna could lead to the disappearance of 30-35 tigers,' Rahmani said.

Moreover, he said that there are several tiger sanctuaries in India where big cats have gone extinct even without the use of radio-collaring.

He pointed out that a similar irresponsible cover-up by the authorities led to the extinction of Bustards in Madhya Pradesh's Karera Sanctuary though the official figures claimed that 16 birds were still left.

He also refuted allegations that excessive use of tranquilizers could have harmed the tigers since experts from the Wildlife Institute of India were involved in the project.

'To blame radio-collaring is an eye-wash that ignored the actual for the decline in tiger population and seeks a quick-fix scapegoat,' Rahmani declared.

Reiterating BNHS's support to radio-collaring, Rahmani emphasized that besides giving valuable insights into the secretive world of big cats in the wild, radio-tracking actually helps curb the menace of poaching since tiger movement is constantly monitored and the ones which stray or are killed are immediately noticed.

http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?a=jh3u4Eghfdi&title=Wildlife_group_says_radio_collars_did_not_kill_tigers

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Nepal's Tiger Numbers Remain Constant Despite Political Upheaval and Poaching, Census Reveals

Nepal's Tiger Numbers Remain Constant Despite Political Upheaval and Poaching, Census Reveals

Population of 121 is still vulnerable to poaching, habitat loss and encroachment, WWF says

Washington, DC (Vocus/PRWEB ) July 29, 2009 -- World Wildlife Fund stressed the need to renew tiger conservation efforts in response to the government of Nepal's announcement of an estimated 121 breeding tigers in four protected areas in the Terai Arc Landscape of Nepal.

"What we have today is a snapshot of tiger populations in one corner of the Eastern Himalayas, one of the last bastions of this endangered species," said Shubash Lohani of the Eastern Himalayas Program of WWF. "In the bigger picture, the numbers from this survey are not strong enough to withstand an ever increasing demand for tiger parts and derivatives."

Chitwan National Park is still a stronghold for tigers, with an estimated population of 91, thanks to intensive anti-poaching operations supported by WWF. Parsa Wildlife Reserve has an estimated four tigers, Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve is likely to have eight tigers and Bardia National Park has 18 according to Nepal's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.

The results are the culmination of a nine-month research project that surveyed tiger abundance and distribution in all of the protected areas concurrently for the first time. The study was jointly conducted by the government of Nepal, WWF and National Trust for Nature Conservation with support from Save the Tiger Fund and US Fish and Wildlife Service.

"We were encouraged to learn that wild tiger populations remain relatively robust in Chitwan National Park despite the toll taken by conflict and the increasing threat of illegal wildlife trade," said Dr Rinjan Shrestha of WWF Nepal, who was part of the national survey team. "Unfortunately, a closer look at the data from three other primary protected areas reveals declining numbers that will require concerted conservation efforts to these vulnerable populations."

WWF has committed to support the government of Nepal's Tiger Conservation Action Plan 2008-2012, which plans to increase the population of tigers by 10 percent within the first 5-year period.

Bengal tigers represent the largest number of the magnificent big cat in the wild. Their numbers are plummeting due to an onslaught of illegal wildlife trade, habitat loss and degradation, and human-tiger conflict. The Eastern Himalayas, stretches across key tiger protected areas in north and northeast India, the Terai belt of Nepal and parts of Bhutan. WWF has worked on tiger conservation in the Eastern Himalayas since the 1960s.

NOTE TO EDITORS:

More information about this release can be found at: www.worldwildlife.org

ABOUT WORLD WILDLIFE FUND

WWF is the world's leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit www.worldwildlife.org to learn more.

World Wildlife Fund
1250 24th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20037-1193
USA

www.worldwildlife.org

http://www.prweb.com/releases/WWF/Tiger/prweb2696844.htm

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

India to protect dwindling tigers

India to protect dwindling tigers

(UKPA) – July 28, 2009

India is to amend its wildlife crime laws to protect the country's tigers, a government minister said.

Environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh said that speeding up justice as well as hefty fines are needed to strengthen the Wildlife Protection Act.

He added that the forest ministry, state governments and a separate authority on the management of tiger reserves had agreed to work together to ensure conservation of the endangered animal.

Nearly 80,000 to 100,000 families inhabiting core areas of tiger reserves will be relocated and given £12,500 each as part of the measures.

The minister said that nearly six million hectares of land will be brought under green cover within the next six years, since funds to create more forests had recently been released.

This will increase the habitat area for tigers, who prefer to live and hunt in thick vegetation.

Earlier Mr Ramesh sounded the alarm for seven tiger reserves in the country which are threatened by decreasing population.

"The tiger population in these reserves is going down and the protection measures are poor," Mr Ramesh said.

"Unless we take immediate steps, we will lose the tigers in these reserves."

Poaching is suspected to be rampant in at least three of the seven reserves which are losing tigers.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5gLHlcbyDawbo_cfWt_CHfvmk5QsA

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Wildlife Act to be amended: Jairam

Wildlife Act to be amended: Jairam

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Forest preservation, curbing poachers and relocation of forest-dwellers were the three major challenges before the government, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said here on Tuesday.

“To save the pristine land being diverted for developmental projects, we are ensuring that the Forest Conservation Act remain[s] sacrosanct,” he said at a function to launch the Bengal Tiger Conservation Programme. The Minister said amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act were on the anvil to deter poachers further and for anti-wildlife smuggling activities.

“We are in talks with the concerned stakeholders to bring comprehensive changes in the Act and also in the process to strengthen Wildlife Crime Control Bureau to develop intelligence,” he said. Long judicial procedures and paltry sums as penalty do not help curb this problem.

With the help of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General of India and other judiciary members, efforts would be made to introduce heavy fines and sections like attaching property.

Mr. Ramesh said the States had got over Rs. 11,000 crore for protection and restoration of natural forest cover under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) Fund. The fund offers a unique and historic opportunity to invest in forests exclusively since the word ‘plantation’ did not figure in the guidelines.

In the next six years, 6 million hectares of land will be brought under green cover, providing one of the largest carbon sinks in the world.

On the relocation of close to 80,000 families living inside the core areas of protected forests, he said they had been offered Rs.10 lakh or a piece of land as a compensation package to move out of the reserves.

http://www.hindu.com/2009/07/29/stories/2009072960561100.htm

http:://www.bigcatrescue.org

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dravid bats for tiger conservation

Dravid bats for tiger conservation

TNN 29 July 2009, 01:04am IST

NEW DELHI: Sourav Ganguly is known as the Bengal Tiger. But it was Rahul Dravid who listened attentively as environmentalists and wildlife conservationists discussed ways of preserving the environment and saving the tiger.

"The tiger is a wonderful symbol of our ecosystem. We need to protect it," the Indian cricketer told TOI.

Dravid had flown in to the capital on Tuesday to attend a conference on ecosystems, climate change and national development at the Teen Murti Bhavan. The former India captain listened attentively sitting in the back row.

"As a child I was always in love with forests and wildlife. I came to listen and learn from different experts on climate change and environment protection," he said.

Environmentalist Bittu Sahgal, who had invited Rahul to the conference, said, "If we want to look into climate change as a serious issue, we would need credible youth icons like Rahul to highlight it," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4831964.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Bobcat fur coats raise trapping concerns in West

by Martin Griffith
Associated Press Writer
Article Last Updated; Friday, July 24, 2009

RENO, Nevada - Bobcat fur coats have become a hot item among the fashion-conscious in Russia and China, leading to a big jump in prices and exports for the soft, spotted pelts.

The bobcat, whose fur is coveted by the fashion-conscious in Russian and China, is the focus of a battle between trappers and wildlife advocates.

The fur's booming popularity has some wildlife advocates worried about possible over-trapping of the cats, which are so reclusive that most states do not know just how many exist.

Bobcat pelts now draw some of the highest prices among trapped furs, recently commanding as much as $550 for a single hide. As the price has gone up, the number of bobcat skins exported by the U.S. has nearly tripled in five years, to 49,700 in 2006.

Because most state wildlife officials do not know the actual size of their bobcat populations, there's no way to determine if they are being overtrapped, according to wildlife advocates.

"These bobcat harvest numbers should be a red flag to tell biologists that economics and fashion trends may be negatively impacting a species," said Dave Pauli, western regional director of the Washington, D.C.-based Humane Society.

Overseas demand has driven up both the price and the exports, said Brian MacMillan, vice president of U.S. operations for the continent's largest fur auction house, North American Fur Auctions.

Bobcat skins fetched more than any other wild fur-bearing animal at his Toronto-based company's two latest auctions, averaging more than $200.

"It's one of the hottest furs today. It's definitely a high-fashion piece," MacMillan said. "The primary market is with Russia, but they're also going to China, Hong Kong and Italy."

Despite the demand, most trappers struggle to earn $2,000 a season from bobcats, said Joel Blakeslee, president of the Nevada Trappers Association.

In fact, the number of bobcat pelts exported by the U.S. fell to 31,680 in 2007, the latest year for which statistics are available.

Federal officials say they are not concerned about the population of bobcats, which are twice the size of house cats and prowl in every state but Alaska, Delaware and Hawaii.

The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates there are at least 1.4 million to 2.6 million bobcats nationwide.

But it's trapping in the Western states that concerns some wildlife advocates.

Pelts from Western bobcats are most prized because the region's high elevations and cold temperatures make their spotted tan fur softer and longer.

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.

Lack of research has made it unclear whether or not bobcat numbers are declining or whether trapping is hurting the species, one expert said.

"The bobcat gets low priority," said Kevin Hansen, author of Bobcat: Master of Survival and a ranger for New Mexico state parks.

"It's real good at being hidden, and it makes them hard to count. Wildlife officials never have all the data they want, so they base decisions on inadequate data."

Don Molde of Reno, a former board member of the Defenders of Wildlife, thinks trappers in Nevada should be subject to quotas like hunters.

"There's no question that bobcats are taking a hammering across the West because of high pelt prices," Molde said. "I don't think the unlimited killing of bobcats is doing the public's interest."

Nevada is considering a shorter bobcat trapping season this year, but because fewer kittens were born in the last two years, spokesman Chris Healy said. Wildlife officials say the kitten numbers are down because of drought and lack of prey, not because of overtrapping.

"I would say we have a very stable and healthy population of bobcats out there," said Kevin Lansford, furbearer-predator specialist for the Nevada wildlife department and a former federal trapper.

"Their population is driven by environmental conditions far more than harvest numbers."

New Mexico also rejected a recent request to restrict trapping.
Some states have stricter regulations for trapping bobcats: Montana, Oregon and Utah have trapping quotas. Idaho has no limits but a shorter season.

Arizona, California, Colorado and Washington ban foothold traps that snap shut to snare the animal by the leg.

The varied regulations have led to poaching, including in Montana, according to Jeff Scott, an investigator for the state's wildlife agency, who said higher pelt prices allowed trappers to earn as much as $25,000 to $30,000 a season.

Some trappers are capturing bobcats in states with quotas and bringing them to Wyoming, which has no limits, said Scott Adell, a Wyoming Game and Fish Department investigator.

Under a 1973 international treaty, all bobcat pelts must be tagged by state officials before they can be exported.

"I think we're damaging the resource" without trapping quotas, Adell said.

http://durangoherald.com/sections/Features/Outdoors/2009/07/24/Bobcat_fur_coats_raise_trapping_concerns_in_West/

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1,780 bobcat permits to be issued in Pa.

July 26th, 2009
PGC: Bobcat Application Deadline Nearing

HARRISBURG - Hunters and trappers seeking to participate in Pennsylvania's upcoming bobcat seasons have until Sept. 1 to submit an application via the Pennsylvania Game Commission's new Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS) to be included in the public drawing to award 1,780 permits. This can be done at any issuing agent or through the "Buy Your Hunting License Now" icon in the upper right-hand corner of the Game Commission's Web site. There is no paper application process this year.

There is a $5.70 non-refundable application fee to be entered into the drawing. Details on the season can be found on page 76 of the 2009-10 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting & Trapping Regulations.

On Sept. 11, the 1,780 permits will be selected during a computerized drawing, which will be open to the public, at the agency's Harrisburg headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, just off the Progress Avenue exit of Interstate 81. Those selected will receive their bobcat permit by U.S. mail in early October. The bobcat hunting season will take place Oct. 24 through Feb. 20. The bobcat trapping season will be held from Oct. 25 through Feb. 21.

The season will be open only in Wildlife Management Units 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4D and 4E. To participate in this restricted opportunity, an individual must have a resident or nonresident furtaker license, a resident or nonresident junior combination license or resident senior combination license, and a bobcat hunting-trapping permit.

Those who received a bobcat permit last year are not eligible for this year's drawing. Only one application per person will be accepted, and PALS will prohibit an individual from submitting more than one application.

As part of the preference point system established by the agency in 2003, consecutive applications are not required to maintain previously earned preference points, but those points can be activated only in years that an individual submits an application. For instance, if an individual has six preference points, but does not enter the 2009 drawing, he/she will not have any chances in the upcoming drawing. However, their preference points will remain on hold until they apply again. Once a hunter or trapper is awarded a bobcat permit, the individual's preference points will revert to zero.

Based on the accumulation of preference points, the Game Commission will automatically award a bobcat permit to those applicants who have six preference points (five previous points plus a point for their 2009 application). Once the individuals who have automatically earned a bobcat permit are determined, the remainder will be awarded by computerized drawing.

http://www.gantdaily.com/news/43/ARTICLE/57638/2009-07-26.html

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3 leopard skins seized in India's Uttarakhand

New Delhi, Delhi, IND, 2009-07-27 10:13:31 (IndiaPRwire.com)

Acting on information provided by WPSI, three leopard skins and a vehicle were seized by the Uttarakhand Forest Department on Sunday, 26 July 2009. The raid took place in a hotel at Birhi, near Chamoli, which comes under the Bhadrinath Forest Division. One person was arrested while three people are absconding. All the accused belong to the Chamoli district. The raiding party, which was assisted by WPSI, was led by ACF Mr Tripathi. The leopards are believed to have been killed in the Nizmullah valley.

A Himalayan black bear was also found shot by poachers in the Bhadrinath Forest Division on 25 July. The gall bladder and fat had been removed from the body.

During the last six months, at least 16 leopard skins have been seized in the state of Uttarakhand.

On the evening of 25 July, timber poachers shot at a forest guard in the Surai Range of Terai East Division. The forest guard was seriously injured and has been hospitalised.

http://www.indiaprwire.com/pressrelease/other/2009072730181.htm

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India: Rajasthan to be home for cheetahs

Anindo Dey, TNN 26 July 2009, 06:41am IST

SARISKA: Sixty years after cheetah became extinct in India, there's hope: if everything goes as per plan, Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary, 32 km from
Bikaner in Rajasthan, will welcome the wild cats, which would be brought from African countries.

The ministry of forests and environment is now working out the nitty-gritty. As a first step, a two-day seminar of technical experts on cheetahs will be held in Gajner from September 9.

"Experts on cheetah, including Divya Bhanu Singh Chabra and NK Ranjit Singh, will present their papers on how to go about bringing cheetahs to India," said forest and environment minister Jairam Ramesh.

The minister said the initial plans are to bring the cheetahs to Gajner. "We want to set up a breeding ground for the cheetahs and Gajner seems to fit the bill perfectly. Thereafter, they will be transported to various states,"
he added.

The Gajner wildlife sanctuary was the royal hunting ground of the Maharaja of Bikaner and is home to a number of wild animals, including wild fowls, deer, antelope, nilgai, chinkara, black buck, desert fox and wild boars.

"We had planned to bring cheetahs from Iran, but it's not keen. In fact Iran wanted a lion in exchange for a cheetah... and we are not able to do that. We are now thinking of bringing them from South Africa, Namibia, Kenya or Tanzania," the minister said.

Cheetah, the world's fastest animal, became extinct in India some 60 years ago. A cheetah was last sighted in eastern Madhya Pradesh in 1947, but it was hunted by the then ruler of that area. The species was declared extinct in 1952.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/Environment/Flora-Fauna/Rajasthan-to-be-home-for-cheetahs/articleshow/4821200.cms

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Bangladesh rare clouded leopard cub freed

By Alastair Lawson
BBC News

A clouded leopard, previously thought to be extinct in Bangladesh, has been released after being caught by tribes people in a remote area of the country.

Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh (WTB) Chief Executive Mohammed Anwarul Islam said that that the leopard cub is now in the jungle on the border with Burma.

It had been caught by tribespeople after being separated from its mother.
Professor Islam said that the cub was released only after villagers were satisfied it could survive on its own.

"They made sure that the cub was eating meat before releasing it. The locals feel that it is now able to find food and survive in the forest," he told the BBC.

Professor Islam said that the cub was found by indigenous villagers near the town of Rangamati in the south-eastern Chittagong Hill Tracts in June.

"The villagers were understandably concerned that if they released it too soon, it would die in the jungle without its mother."

Professor Islam said that the last time a clouded leopard had been spotted in Bangladesh was in 1992.

He said that the cat was considered extinct in the country because of habitat loss.
Local people reportedly saw the cub's mother and one of its siblings as they were feeding on a monkey.

They chased the leopard family away, but captured one of the cubs.
Clouded leopards used to live in forests around Mymensingh, Sylhet, and the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

They are solitary, nocturnal and arboreal cats. They are also one of the least studied leopards, principally because of their secretive and timid nature.

The species is considered to be vulnerable across Asia and is included in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Published: 2009/07/24 12:13:28 GMT

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8166765.stm

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Namibia: CCF awards leading conservationists and farmers

The Namibian
23 July 2009

LEGENDARY conservationist, Johann Albrecht Bruckner (aka Albi), who is the founder of the internationally recognised Namib-Rand Nature Reserve, was awarded the 2009 Cheetah Conservationist of the Year Award by the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF).
Bruckner was presented with the award at the 11th CCF annual gala dinner held in Windhoek on Saturday evening under the theme 'Roaming Wild'.

It was aimed at highlighting long-term efforts to ensure the survival of the wild cheetah.

NamibRand is globally applauded as a model for conservation and contributes immensely to biodiversity conservation of the pro-Namib region and throughout the country.

Adolf Okamaru, a farmer from the Queen Sophia resettlement farm in the Otjiwarongo area, who practices predator-friendly livestock and game management, took the 2009 Farmer of the Year Award.

Okamaru's farming demonstrates that predator conservation is not contrary to the needs of humans, and that we can live together.

The 2009 Conservation Education Award was presented to Roeber Gunther Roeber for his years at CCF as a teacher and mentor to over 15 000 communal, resettled and emerging farmers and farm workers who participated in the CCF Future Farmers of Africa training courses.

Speaking at the event on behalf of President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Environment Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said the inter-relationship of cheetah and conservation is an important balance of the country's ecosystem and how the two are linked to the economy through eco-tourism.

She said the various awards received by CCF over the past year were in recognition of its dedication to restore habitat through its BushBlok initiative.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund is a Namibian non-profit trust dedicated to the long-term survival of the cheetah and its ecosystems.

Since 1990, the organisation has developed education and conservation programmes based on its cheetah research studies, published scientific research papers and presented educational programmes to over 250 000 outreach school pupils and over 1 500 farmers.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200907230895.html

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Survived Maoists, but tigers could fall prey to tribals

Survived Maoists, but tigers could fall prey to tribals

Sreenivas Janyala Posted online: Monday , Jul 27, 2009 at 2303 hrs

Hyderabad : Tigers in the country’s largest sanctuary — Srisailam Tiger Reserve — survived the Maoists who encroached and ruled the Nallamala forests for several years but may now fall prey to a tribal community that has just now learnt how valuable a dead tiger is.

In the last week of May, a tigress was snared by two hunters on the periphery of the Srisailam Tiger Reserve in the Nandiyal Forest Division in Kurnool district. Forest officials, who came to know of it three days later and kept it under wraps, are dismissing the incident as a stray case but admit that the hunters were trying to sell the skin and nails when they were nabbed.

Deputy Conservator of Forests, Nandiyal Forest Division, K Narasimahalu, says that the full-grown tigress may have accidentally walked into the trap. “Two hunters of the local Chenchu tribe had set a trap probably for a wild boar or a spotted deer. We assume that the tigress walked into it. Her neck got snared and she died. We have arrested both the culprits and they say that they did not intend to hunt a tiger and initially had no idea that its skin, nails and bones were valuable. We had received a tip-off that both of them had contacted another person and were trying to sell the skin for Rs 10,000 through him. They had hidden the skin and nails behind a small church after giving it a crude preservation treatment using loads of salt. We believe that it was not an intentional killing but once they had a dead tiger, they thought of making the most of it,” said Narasimahalu.

The Chenchu tribe is settled along the sanctuary — which is spread across five districts — and are dependent on forest produce. Officials fear that now that tribal hunters know the value of tiger skin and other body parts, it might trigger poaching in the sanctuary. This is what caused a serious drop in tiger populations in Corbett National Park and other reserves. “This was not a rudimentary trap to snare a wild boar or a deer. It crushed the tiger’s neck causing it to die almost instantly,” an official of the inquiry team said.

Spread over 3,568 square km of contiguous Nallamala forest, the sanctuary was till now a safe haven for tigers. The reserve’s Field Director Ajay Kumar Naik says the incident is cause for concern. “Due to the size of the sanctuary, the tigers managed to stay to away from human contact, even when Maoists cadres used it as a training and hiding place, thus averting any man-animal conflict situations. There are 70 to 80 tigers in the sanctuary now. In fact, they not only not only survived but made a comeback although for nearly a decade Maoists ruled this forest. Until two years ago, it was dangerous for forest officials to venture into the sanctuary even for basic patrolling. There was always the fear of encountering Maoists rather than tigers. But, the population has increased from 20 to 30 a decade back to 70 or 80 now. The insurgents have been driven out of the forests and now we are able to track and keep watch on the big cats. The prey base consisting of wild boar, spotted deer, nilgai and sambhar has also increased. For now the tigers are safe,” Naik says.

“But tigers require large territories and they frequently go out of the sanctuary limits into the neighbouring forest and protected areas. The death of this one tigress, probably when it was moving from the sanctuary to the forest area on the outside, is reason for alarm,” Naik adds.

To check the threat, the Forest Department has decided to warn the tribals against poaching in addition to involving them in conservation efforts.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Survived-Maoists--but-tigers-could-fall-prey-to-tribals/494342

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Air corridors to link tiger reserves

Air corridors to link tiger reserves

Anindo Dey, TNN 25 July 2009, 05:43am IST

JAIPUR: Tiger reserves across the country may soon be linked with one another, either through ground or air corridors. The field directors' conference that begins at Sariska on Saturday is likely to consider this amongst a host of other proposals for the conservation of tiger in the country.

The two-day conference is also being held to mark the first anniversary of the relocation of tigers from the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve to Sariska. Last year in June-July, three tigers were airlifted from Ranthambore and brought to Sariska with the hope of redeveloping the tiger populace there.

Besides a host of dignitaries, Union minister of state (independent charge) for forest and environment, Jairam Ramesh, would be attending the conference. Other participants include field officers of almost all the tiger reserves across the country, the chief wild life wardens from about eight states, scientists of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

According to sources in the forest department, "Most tiger reserves across the country are facing problems of fragmentation. They lie separated from one another leading to various problems. Therefore, they have to be connected with each other either through forests or by frequent transfer of the cats by air."

"With the dwindling number of tigers in the country, the discussions would mainly revolve around initiatives to conserve them. The state government and the Government of India would also sign a tri-partite agreement for big cat conservation. The third party in the agreement being the field director of the tiger reserve himself," the source added.

The agreement is being seen as a sort of help for various field directors across the country in conserving tigers in their respective sanctuaries as the new law holds the director directly responsible for poaching.

While the first day of the conference would be marked by the an inaugural session that would see the Union and state minister address the gathering, the rest of the day would be devoted to reports tabled by various field directors.

"On the concluding day, the WII and NTCA would present a report on effectiveness and evaluation of tiger conservation in the country," the source added.

This would be Jairam Ramesh's first trip to Sariska after taking charge of the environment ministry. Sources revealed that the minister is also likely to expedite the relocation of two more tigers to Sariska besides discussing issues of tiger conservation.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/City/Jaipur/Air-corridors-to-link-tiger-reserves/articleshow/4818060.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Celebration at Sariska

Celebration at Sariska

Sunny Sebastian

First anniversary of re-introduction of tigers in Sariska Reserve held

All three tigers in Sariska at present brought from Ranthambhore

SARISKA: A tiger park which had brought ignominy by losing all its wild tigers to poachers five years ago regained some of its lost glory as experts and authorities got together to celebrate the first anniversary of the re-introduction of tigers in the Sariska Tiger Reserve here on Saturday.

The day was the anniversary of the foundation of another celebrated tiger sanctuary — the Jim Corbett National Park — but Union Forests and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh chose to be in Sariska, now the laboratory for tiger habitat experiments.

The Minister and the experts who included Rajesh Gopal of the National Tiger Conservation Authority and scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India, who carried out the experiment on “Species recovery plan” successfully, talked about the need for both global and local initiatives to protect the world’s tigers from various types of dangers, including from poachers and extremists. The presentations indicated that the tigers in the Project Tiger sanctuaries — barring a few — are protected while those wandering outside them are at the mercy of the elements and human beings.

Mr. Ramesh said 37 tiger reserves accounted for 1,400 tigers in the country which was almost 70 per cent of the global population of the big cats.

Under threat

Yet as many as 16 of the tiger reserves themselves remained fragile, some of them seriously under threat from Maoist extremists and others from poaching.

“Project Tiger’s biggest threat is from poaching. In the next session of Parliament we will introduce a Bill to amend the Wildlife Act to provide for more stringent laws against poaching,” he said.

“The status of tigers is okay in tiger reserves in 17 States but their condition is very poor in different forest areas,” said Mr. Gopal. The Project Tiger areas cover only six per cent of the country’s total forest area, he pointed out. Seven tiger reserves are facing the threat from Left wing extremism.

In his final assessment, he placed the rankings of the tiger reserves as: Good 12; satisfactory 9; and poor 16.

And as for the Sariska tigers — three of them, re-introduced between June 2008 and February 2009 — they are doing well.

“The Sariska Tiger Reserve is in its 31st year. Re-introduction of tigers enabled us to gain confidence that Sariska is still relevant,” said R.N. Mehrotra, Principal Chief Conservator, Forests (Wildlife), Rajasthan, in his opening remarks.

“Sariska tigers are doing wonderfully well and two more would be introduced in the park by the end of the year as per the revival plan,” Mr. Ramesh said. There was a proposal to bring one of them from Bandavgarh to add to the gene pool, he said.

All the three tigers now in the Sariska reserve have been brought from the Ranthambore National Park.

http://www.hindu.com/2009/07/26/stories/2009072659700700.htm

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Tigers may vanish from 7 more parks

Tigers may vanish from 7 more parks

Chetan Chauhan , Hindustan Times
Sariska, July 28, 2009
First Published: 00:52 IST(28/7/2009)
Last Updated: 00:59 IST(28/7/2009)

If two tiger reserves — Panna in MP and Sariska in Rajasthan — are now bereft of tigers, seven others may well follow in their footsteps if urgent measures are not taken. The number of tigers in all seven is fast depleting.

Environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh has sounded a ‘Save Tiger’ alert for the Buxa reserve in West Bengal, Namdapha in Arunachal Pradesh, Manas in Assam, Valmiki in Bihar, Simlipal in Orissa, Indravati in Chhattisgarh and Palamu in Jharkhand.

“The tiger population in these reserves is going down and the protection measures are poor,” he said while addressing field directors of 37 tiger reserves in Sariska on Friday. “Unless we take immediate steps, we’ll lose the tigers in these reserves.”

The Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is the most common subspecies of tiger, found primarily in India and Bangladesh. In 2006, at the time of the last estimate, India’s tiger population was 1,411. Since then, about 100 tigers have died because of poaching, natural reasons and man-animal conflict.

“In the past few months, not one of the 12 Royal Bengal Tigers believed to be in Buxa, in Jalpaiguri district, has been spotted,” said Yogendra Jhala of the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India.

The indicators from the other six reserves are also alarming.

Manas had 40 tigers in 2006. But large-scale deforestation has made the big cat easy meat for poachers. Four deaths have already been reported in 2009.

In Valmiki, the tiger count was estimated at 10 in 2006. This year, poachers from Nepal have been active in the reserve. Conservation is poor.

In Simplipal, with an estimated 40 tigers in 2006, the tiger population density is shrinking. In 2008-09, it had reduced to two tigers per 100 sq km from the ideal two per 10 sq km. Poachers have been caught on camera killing prey.

In Indravati, no tiger estimate has been carried out in nine years. At last count, in 2000, the reserve recorded a population of over 100 tigers. The fear is that the Naxalites could be killing tigers to raise funds.

Owing to the Naxalite menace, no tiger count was carried out in Palamu in 2006. Poacher presence is rampant in the vicinity of the reserve.

In Namdapha, the tiger estimate was 12 in 2006. No big cat has been spotted in the core area in the past 12 months.

The situation is grim, says P.K. Sen, former director, Project Tiger, the nodal body for tiger reserves.

“Thirty per cent of the reserves are in a shambles. The habitat is good but tigers are dying because of a lack of measures to protect them from poaching.”

The solution, Sen says, is greater coordination between the Centre and the states to counter poaching.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=782ba201-3ba7-4338-875a-e5911eeb3a94

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Reserves not clear on tiger numbers, one may be denotified

Reserves not clear on tiger numbers, one may be denotified

Neha Sinha Posted online: Tuesday , Jul 28, 2009 at 0229 hrs

Sariska : Of the 37 tiger reserves in the country, there is no information available on the number of tigers — or if there are any at all — in as many as seven. The Indian Express discovered this at an All India Meet for Tiger Reserve Directors in Sariska over the weekend, where each of them made their presentations.

Given the figures, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) Member Secretary Rajesh Gopal admitted that at least one of the reserves, Indravati in Chhattisgarh, should be denotified. With Indravati in the grip of Naxalism, he said, “tiger protection efforts in the past 20 years have failed”.

Six other reserves are facing similar problems — while Simlipal (Orissa) and Palamau (Jharkhand) are shackled by violent Naxalite groups, Manas (Assam), Namdapha (Arunachal Pradesh), Dampa (Mizoram) and Buxa (West Bengal) suffer from problems of inaccessibility and poor tiger density.

A new classification, that Wildlife Institute of India (WII) Dean V B Mathur said was based on “field observations and the 2007 All India Tiger Estimation”, showed that tiger density and numbers are at an all-time low. As per the new classification, of the 37 tiger reserves, 12 are “good”, nine have “moderate” tiger density, while as many as 16 have “poor” tiger density.

One of the reserves whose field staff admitted to not knowing the tiger numbers was Simlipal, which was given Rs 602 lakh for tiger conservation last year. Interestingly, the reserve has sought Rs 672 lakh from Project Tiger — more money than even the annual allocation to the park — to rebuild infrastructure ravaged by Naxalites. The proposal is now pending with the Planning Commission.

In other parts of the country, money given for tiger conservation is lying unutilised. Last year, under Project Tiger, the Northeastern states were given Rs 60 crore. Namdapha, which may not have any tigers left at all according to WII sources, was able to spend Rs 1.34 crore, with Rs 82 lakh lying unspent. The amount has been revalidated this year.

The situation in the other reserves isn’t much better, including Manas (where two tigers were reportedly sighted recently) and Dampa (which may have only two tigers left). It is also unknown how many tigers are there in Palamau. “It is very difficult to move in the field because of Naxalism,” admitted field director R N Prasad.

While Buxa field director R P Saini said the park had 200 tigers, WII scientists estimate it may have no more than 12.

With the budget for tiger conservation hiked by more than 50 per cent this time to a little over Rs 180 crore, Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh wondered if funding should be linked to tiger numbers. “Should there be a minimum tiger density below which there should be no funding? Should these reserves not get funding?” Ramesh asked at the meeting, while underlining that the thinking was not to denotify any reserves.

However, Indravati was a different case. “I believe it should be denotified as efforts to stabilise the reserve have not worked,” Gopal said. “This is a state problem. If there can be any solution at all, it would be at the political level, if the Chief Minister decides to intervene.”

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/reserves-not-clear-on-tiger-numbers-one-may-be-denotified/494884/0

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Tiger, snow leopard numbers dip

Tiger, snow leopard numbers dip

SHYAM BHATTA/RAMESH KUMAR POUDEL
Published on 2009-07-27 21:01:01

KATHMANDU/CHITWAN, July 27: The tiger census conducted this year has put the total number of adult tigers in Nepal at 121.

Making public the report of the census carried out from November 19, 2008, to March 7, 2009, in 14 districts on Monday, the government said the tiger population slightly declined from 2003 when their number was 123. Similarly, the number of snow leopards has been estimated to have declined in between 300 and 400, while previously their number was estimated to be in between 400 and 500.

The counting of tigers was done using ´capture´ and ´recapture´ method that uses snaps taken by automatic cameras placed at certain places. The stripes of tigers, which never match with another tiger, caught in the camera are then analyzed to avoid repetition in counting.

Chitwan has 91, Bardiya 18, Shuklafanta eight and Parsa four tigers according to the census which found tigers even outside conservation areas in some districts.

The dwindling number of tigers and snow leopards should be taken with due gravity, says Deputy Director General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Megh Bahadur Pandey. Conservationists have been on a high alert ever since the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan, India, announced that it lost all its tigers two years ago.

The census carried out using employees of the government, the department, National Nature Conservation Trust and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Nepal and 300 automatic cameras cost around US $360,000 (around Rs 26.1 million).

The counting of snow leopards was done in the mountainous region from Ganesh Himal to Rolwaling, Sagarmatha, Makalu Varun and Kanchanjungha with the financial help from WWF America, England and Finland.

http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=7932

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

121 Breeding Tigers Estimated To Be Found In Nepal

121 Breeding Tigers Estimated To Be Found In Nepal

ScienceDaily (July 28, 2009) — Kathmandu, Nepal – The first ever overall nation-wide estimate of the tiger population brought a positive ray of hope among conservationists. The figures announced by the Nepal Government's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) shows the presence of 121 (100 – 194) breeding tigers in the wild within the four protected areas of Nepal. The 2008 tiger population estimate was jointly implemented by the DNPWC, Department of Forests (DOF), WWF, National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) with support from Save The Tiger Fund (STF), WWF-US, WWF-UK, WWF International and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

The 2008 nation-wide tiger population was initiated on 15 November 2009 in the Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) of Nepal both inside and outside the protected areas of Nepal. [TAL encompasses the Terai region of Nepal and into tiger range states across the border into India.]

"To obtain reliable population estimates of wide ranging species like the tiger, it is important to undertake the survey simultaneously in all potential habitats," says Dr. Rinjan Shrestha, Conservation Biologist with WWF Nepal. Previous studies had been undertaken in different time periods and at different spatial scales.

"To derive information on both abundance and distribution of tigers, the current survey employed two methods - Camera Trapping method inside the protected areas and Habitat Occupancy survey both inside and outside the protected areas."

According to WWF Global Tiger Network Initiative, the wild tiger population is at a tipping point. Tigers are experiencing a range collapse, occupying 40 per cent less habitat than was estimated just one decade ago. The estimated number of tigers in important range countries is frighteningly low, with a recent government census suggesting there may be as few as 1,300 tigers left in India, the species' stronghold. And tigers are facing an epidemic of poaching and habitat loss across their range.

The main reason for the decline of tiger populations has been attributed to poaching and illegal trade. This is linked to the illegal international trade in tiger parts and derivatives (skin, bones, meat in some cases although not reported in Nepal) and use in traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM). Apart from these, sporadic cases of retaliatory killing from irate communities have been reported. Other important reasons of tiger population decline are habitat shrinkage and fragmentation due to human intervention, loss/decline of prey species.

"The tiger numbers have increased in Chitwan but decreased in Bardia and Shuklaphanta," said Mr. Anil Manandhar, Country Representative, WWF Nepal.

"In spite of the decade long insurgency, encroachment, poaching and illegal trade, the present numbers is a positive sign, but we can't remain unworried. The declining numbers in western Nepal has posed more challenges, needing a concerted effort to save this charismatic endangered species focusing on anti-poaching and illegal wildlife trade."

The Government of Nepal has approved and launched the 'Tiger conservation Action Plan 2008- 2012'. A comprehensive management plan has been devised in which the target is to increase the population of tigers by 10 per cent within the first 5 year period of the plan implementation.

"Tigers can not be saved by the effort of a single individual or a single organization," said Mr. Gopal Prasad Upadhyay, Director General, DNPWC. "The transboundary relation with India needs to be strengthened further and all organizations should work together to conserve tigers."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090727135537.htm

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Centre signs tripartite agreement with Rajasthan and NTCA to conserve Tigers

Centre signs tripartite agreement with Rajasthan and NTCA to conserve Tigers

2009-07-26 14:31:00

The Union Government, has signed a tripartite agreement with the Rajasthan Government and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for the conservation of tiger in the Sariska and Ranthambore tiger reserve.

The pact was signed after a two day all India meet of field directors of tiger reserves in Sariska on Saturday.

Speaking on this occasion, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said, Rajasthan has promised accountability and adequate utilization of funds as the Centre plans to release rupees 300 million for the conservation of tigers in its two tiger reserves.

"I am happy that Rajasthan is the first state where we are having this tripartite agreement," Ramesh said.hree tigers- one male and two females were relocated from Ranthambore to Sariska reserve after it lost all of big cats, mainly due to poaching and other reasons.

Ranthambore, spread over 700 sq km area, has more than 40 tigers in the national park.

India has half the world's surviving tigers, but conservationists says the country is losing the battle to save the big cats. There were about 40,000 tigers in India a century ago, but decades of poaching had cut their number to about 3,700, according to a count conducted in 2001 and 2002.

According to conservationists the new census results suggested there was a decline of 65 percent in Madhya Pradesh, which has one of the largest populations of tigers in the country.

It is difficult to trace the exact figures of tiger because of its shy nature. No government keeps the records on poaching, is also a blockade to the conservation efforts.

The trade of tiger parts and products are illegal but poachers still operate with impunity because a single animal can fetch up to $50,000 in the international market.

Besides the highly priced tiger skins, organs, teeth, bones and penises of the big cats fetch high prices in the black market, for the Chinese medicine. (ANI)

http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?a=jh0o5Ocfjcj&title=Centre_signs_tripartite_agreement_with_Rajasthan_and_NTCA_to_conserve_Tigers

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Sunday, July 26, 2009

More prying eyes to track Big Cats

More prying eyes to track Big Cats

Express News Service
First Published : 25 Jul 2009 04:28:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 25 Jul 2009 10:51:47 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: With tiger enumeration remaining a contentious issue, Orissa is all set to seek 100 pairs of cameras specifically designed for tiger census from the Centre when Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh meets tiger reserve heads at a significant stock-taking on Saturday.

Dwindling tiger numbers and deteriorating condition of habitats prompted the Centre to assess the issue and if necessary, the Ministry has already gone on record saying each State will have to sign an MoU for tiger protection.

Earlier, the State Government and the Centre had come face-to-face over the number of tigers in Similipal. The camera-trap method employed by Wildlife Institute of India put the number at 20 during 2006-08 against 95 projected by Wildlife Wing which uses pugmark methodology, now seemingly getting outdated because of a higher standard error. A more recent assessment by the State had put the figure at 72 while earlier this month, the Rajya Sabha was informed by Ramesh that it could just be 60.

The State apparently wants to get rid of the controversies and would ask for 100 pairs of cameras for installation in Similipal during Saturday’s meeting. The cameras, which WII used for its enumeration, are specifically designed by Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

``This way, we could employ improved enumeration technology at our end while verification by the Centre would be easy since the samples would be available for cross-checking,’’ sources said. In fact, cost of a pair of cameras would be just about Rs 1 lakh and if the Centre agrees, it would have to shell out Rs 1 crore.

Given the recent Maoist attacks, the State would also present its demand for immediate raising of the tiger protection force at Similipal. The Centre had declared establishment of 13 such units at an estimated Rs 50 cr which was placed in 2008 General Budget but the force has not yet been raised.

The Forest Department of the State Government has proposed that State Police would be entrusted with the responsibility of raising and training the force which will comprise three platoons. These would be deployed at Upper Barahkamuda, Chahal and Jenabil. While modalities over raising the force had led to a friction between the Forest Department and the State Police, it has now been resolved.

The State Police will recruit and train the personnel for a year. Preference will be given to youth of Mayurbhanj.

The unit will be under the administrative control of the Field Director of Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) but the District SP would be in charge of service-related responsibilities such as CCR.

http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=More+prying+eyes+to+track+Big+Cats&artid=QHgIl%7C02e/U=&SectionID=mvKkT3vj5ZA=&MainSectionID=fyV9T2jIa4A=&SectionName=nUFeEOBkuKw=&SEO=


http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Special force for tiger protection in 13 reserves: Ramesh

Special force for tiger protection in 13 reserves: Ramesh

July 25,2009
Source: PTI

Alwar, July 25 (PTI) Union Minister of State for Environment, Jairam Ramesh, today said the government will not stop using radio callers for tigers to keep track of the big cats in the wild and that a special force will be raised to protect rpt protect them.

"Radio caller technique is being used across the globe but unfortunately it is being subjected to question in India,"Ramesh said here during a conference of directors of tiger reserves.

"People are being misguided about the technique, but the government has no plan to stop using the scientific callers."

The minister said 16 tiger projects out of 37 in the country needed attention and the government was focusing on these projects.'Special Tiger Protection Force'would be formed for 13 sensitive tiger reserves.

http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/633436/National/1/20/1

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Change in Tiger Protection Force mooted

Change in Tiger Protection Force mooted

TNN 26 July 2009, 06:49am IST

SARISKA: The special ‘Tiger Protection Force', mooted by the Centre as one of the components for the conservation of tigers in the country, will now be revamped and be renamed as ‘Social Protection Force'.

Union minister of state for forest and environment Jairam Ramesh on Saturday sought the intervention of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in revamping the whole scheme. "We would like to see the involvement of localities more in these forces instead of the mere recruitment of personnel as a policing force," said Ramesh.

According to the minister, what was being contemplated just for the Corbett Park may now replace the scheme in totality. The Centre had recently announced the setting up of this force for the 13 sensitive tiger reserves of the country.

"The involvement of localities would help in more intelligence gathering. Therefore, the recruitment of local people in the force seems to make more sense than recruiting total outsiders," he said.

Each Tiger Protection Force will consist of 112 personnel, all of whom will be paid by the Centre. The move of the ministry comes as the first step in involving the local community more for tiger conservation.

The minister, who was addressing the inaugural session of the third field directors conference here, also revealed that Rajasthan would be hosting the World Tiger Summit at Ranthambore next year.

"About 200 persons from across the world are to participate in the summit. We will also be an active participant but we do not intend to take any grants or loans from them. We will, however, remain in touch with the technical experts of other countries and will send our field directors to these countries in case they need our expertise," he said .

The minister reiterated his stand on a severe penalty for the tiger poachers. "I will have the Wildlife Protection Act amended so as to bring in a severe punishment for the poaching of tigers. We must learn lessons from Gujarat. The way they have controlled poaching is a lesson to be learnt," he said, adding that the amendment will be brought in the next session of Parliament.

The minister harped on the involvement of NGOs and research scientists for future tiger estimations in the country and suggested a three-tier system to carry on the estimation work. "We will take up this new methodology and release the estimate of tigers in the country during the World Tiger Summit next year in Rajasthan," he added.

Talking on new tiger reserves, Ramesh said that his ministry has written to the chief minister of Gujarat about two days back expressing willingness to establish a new tiger reserve there.

Trashing reports of radio collars being misused by the poachers in Pannah sanctuary, the minister clarified that there are no proposals by the ministry to stop the use of radio collars. "There will be no curb on using radio collars. It will go on in an effective way under a protocol," he said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/City/Jaipur/Change-in-Tiger-Protection-Force-mooted/articleshow/4821208.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Cougar Clippings" for 22 Jul 2009 from Mountain Lion Foundation

Cougar Clippings
News Links 7/22/2009

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.


Youth Doe Hunt Draws Fire

Despite official statements that California's deer herd is in decline, California Department of Fish and Game seems to think that a special youth-only deer hunt for does is necessary in Placer County to reduce the local deer herd. This contradiction in CDFG's stance on the state's deer herd demonstrates that in their mind, hunting is the only management tool.

Read the actual news story...


No Matter What Dies, That Death is a Tragedy

Over the past few weeks, three cougars have been killed in Canada with the explanation that they had to be shot "before anything tragic happened." Whether or not these cougars posed immediate threats to people, columnist Brett Anningson feels any loss of life, human or feline, should be seen as tragic. His article goes on to discuss why humans value some creatures more than others and advises that we need to see the big picture of the ecosystem we are a part of.

Read the actual news story...



Abandoned Cougar Kitten Rescued

Just weeks after three cougars were killed in the area, an orphaned cub turned up in Squamish, BC (Canada). Although the events may be unrelated, some are taking this as a clear indication the cougar population is in trouble. Loss of habitat, difficulty finding food, and the disruption of killing three cats from the region within a short period of time may have thrown the population off balance. Fortunately, this five week old kitten is now in the hands of Langley's Critter Care Wildlife Society and they are looking to find him a permanent home with a zoo or other suitable wildlife facility.

Read the actual news story...


Camping: What You Should Really be Afraid of

Although some people's biggest worry while camping is the fear of being mauled by a wild animal, statistically these encounters are far down the list of dangers. See how attacks by bears and mountain lions compare to other outdoor risks.

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

-----

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

Mycat hails ban on hunting of tiger prey

Mycat hails ban on hunting of tiger prey

The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat) – comprising the Malaysian Nature Society, Traffic South-East Asia, Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Programme and WWF-Malaysia – congratulates the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia on instituting a nationwide ban on hunting of sambar and barking deer (The Star, July 22).

The two-year moratorium on hunting that will begin this November – the annual month-long hunting season for these species – is welcome news indeed. Both are vital tiger prey species, and an insufficient prey base is one of the threats to the tiger’s survival.

The sambar deer particularly is in a precarious situation. Previously categorised as least concern on the IUCN Red List, it has recently been upgraded to the vulnerable category, due its decline in recent years.

It faces a real threat of local extinction. Sambar deer are difficult to find outside of protected areas and rare even within.

We are pleased that the Department of Wildlife has realised that when populations are in decline, they cannot be sustainably harvested.

The department’s proactive action will hopefully be a step towards allowing wild populations to recover, and take us closer to our target of having 1,000 wild tigers by the year 2020, as set out by the National Tiger Action Plan for Malaysia.

At the end of two years, there should be a multi-site scientific assessment with various stakeholders of both the sambar and barking deer populations to indicate the future sustainability.

LORETTA ANN SHEPHERD,
Mycat Programme
Coordinator.

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/7/23/focus/4371649&sec=focus

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Gun seized in Keri tiger case in Keri

Gun seized in Keri tiger case in Keri

TNN 23 July 2009, 04:09am IST

PANAJI: Forest department officials seized a gun on Monday which might have been used to kill the tiger that was found dead in Keri in late February this year.

The officials, however, were tightlipped and declined to provide details. The tiger was shot after being trapped in a seasonal stream amid two cashew plantations belonging to Ganesh and Arjun Majik.

Almost three months later, forest department officials found bones, molars, fur and some other remains of the tiger in the cashew plantation. An exposed cartridge was also found by forest department officials a few metres away from the site of the killing.

The remains of the tiger had been sent on June 3, to the Wildlife Institute of India at Dehradun for confirmatory forensic tests, but no report has been received as yet. Chief conservator of forest Shashi Kumar, who could not be contacted for details about the seizure of the weapon, had stated that if need be, the department would consider sending the remains to another institution to ascertain whether they were parts of the tiger.

Sources aver that the gun may have to be sent to ballistic experts as part of the investigation. However, no more details were available about the person who had obtained a license for the fire arm, but speculation was rife that it was sought for crop protection.

Meanwhile, one Naguesh Majik, who had been taken for interrogation and later arrested by forest department officials on Friday in connection with the tiger killing case, was released on bail Tuesday.

His remand was to end on July 21. The department had been granted five days custody of the suspect to interrogate him. But sources said that he had denied all involvement in the crime.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4809233.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

UP sets up steering committee to oversee tiger conservation

UP sets up steering committee to oversee tiger conservation

22 Jul 2009, 1739 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: Three years after the National Tiger Conservation Authority proposed setting up steering committees in states to oversee conservation efforts for the big cat, the Uttar Pradesh government has constituted the panel which is headed by chief minister Mayawati.

"The UP government has already constituted the Steering Committee," an NTCA official said and hoped the step would ensure better management of the endangered species in its Dudhwa Tiger reserve.

The NTCA has already given in-principle approval to the state government to declare Pilibhit forests having good number of striped cats as a tiger reserve.

Apart from the chief minister as the committee's chairman, the forest minister will be vice-chairman and the principal secretaries of the Forests departments, Tribal Welfare and Social Welfare departments will be members as stipulated under the Wildlife Protection Act.

Uttar Pradesh is the sixth state which has constituted the steering committee after Andhra Pradesh, Arunanchal, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh.

The other tiger-range states are yet to set up the steering panels which have been proposed to ensure better protection of the big cats whose numbers have dwindled to 1400, as per Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Flora-Fauna/UP-sets-up-steering-committee-to-oversee-tiger-conservation-/articleshow/4808050.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org
Conservationists 'killing' threatened Indian tiger

Conservationists who use tranquilisers to sedate Indian tigers while fitting radio-tracking collars may in fact be killing the last remaining big cats in one of the country's main reserves.

By Dean Nelson, South Asia Editor
Published: 5:49PM BST 22 Jul 2009

A report by the National Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, an Indian government agency, has reported that the technique may have led to their demise from Madhya Pradesh's Panna reserve which is the second in India to lose its last remaining tigers.

Thirty-five tigers have been killed by poachers in the reserve in the last seven years, and the NWCCB has filed a report to India's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, claiming excessive use of tranquilisers was to blame. Investigators believe the sedatives made the cats docile, restricting their movement and leaving them easy prey for poachers.

The claims come as new figures show India's tiger population has fallen significantly in the last three years, from 1,411 in 2006 to 1,200 this year.

Officials estimate 49 tigers have died this year alone as conservation schemes fail to protect the cats from poachers, who often work in collusion with corrupt park officials and poor villagers living nearby.

The National Wildlife Crime Control Bureau's report has sparked a row within the conservation world over the use of radio-collars to monitor tiger movement within the reserves. Supporters claim their use should lead to a significantly decline in poaching.

Dr Pradeep Mallik of the Wildlife Institute of India, who collared tigers in Panna reserve between 1996 and 2002 told The Daily Telegraph that the sedative, which is fired by a dart gun, lasts up to 45 minutes, but an antidote is administered as soon as the tiger is collared and the cats fully recover within five minutes.

He said only two or three tigers were collared at any one time. "If only two or three tigers out of 35 are radio-collared, how can the collaring be responsible for poaching?" he said. He had recently collared three tigers at Sariska reserve and said all three remained alive and at large in the park.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/5888136/Conservationists-killing-threatened-Indian-tiger.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Save Tiger, Save Humanity: A Much Called For Rally in New Delhi

Save Tiger, Save Humanity: A Much Called For Rally in New Delhi

Alarmed with the almost daily reporting of rapidly declining tiger numbers and the inaction that follows, school children and several civil society groups in the Indian capital city of New Delhi are coming together to demand the basic right of the tiger–a Right to Survival. And in that, ensuring the survival of the entire human race. The Rally that follows a tiger consultation will also be a shift from all that has been done to all that needs to be done. As an organizer of the rally, comments like these are both inspiring and thought provoking.

Written by Govind Singh

Published on July 21st, 2009
Posted in About Animals, About Society, In Asia

Delhi Greens, Sanctuary Asia, Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, The Shri Ram School, The Climate Project-India, Nature First, Green India States Trust, Center for Social Markets, IYCN, Wildlife Conversation Trust, Bengal Tiger Campaign, National Tiger Conservation Authority and 350.org are all coming together for a Rally and a Tiger Consultation - of what is perhaps the LAST CALL FOR SAVING THE TIGER AND HUMANITY.

Being organised in the house-complex of India’s first Prime Minister: a stone’s throw from both the Parliament of India and the President of India’s House, the rally will demand action from the Government while also raise awareness among general public. While the civil society in urban India remains hyperactive in addressing urban environmental issues, the tiger almost never gets the attention it deserves.

It has now become clear that the almost four decade old Project Tiger has not been able to do much in stabilizing, let alone enhancing the tiger population in India. Its recent successor, the National Tiger Conservation Authority is said to be, for lack of better words, without teeth. And the tiger, perhaps unaware that so much is happening in its name is fast losing the battle to survive.

There are a total of 27 tiger reserves all over India that come under Project Tiger. But there is no reliable estimate of the total number of tigers that inhabit these. Media records and experts in the field have suggested that the government figures are inflated and misleading. And as if that was not all, tiger relocation from one reserve to another with none left is such that siblings are being made to interbreed in the wild.

WIth the tiger population threatened all across Asia, and the existence of a major underground market in China (and an almost porous border between the two countries in the form of Nepal and Tibet), tiger poaching and trade has always been a very lucrative business. Consequently, Save the Tiger campaigns have always been carried out by reputed NGOs in the country and eminent personalities have extended their support.

The tiger is still in trouble which is only an indicative that more needs to be done than has ever been done before, and differently. The Rally will be just this, a message to the government and to the people and also a call to grassroots organisation and initiatives (like the one carrying out poachers rehabilitation program) ensuring we save tigers in flesh and blood, not sell them as stuffed toys.

Image Courtesy Dr. Dharmendra Khandal of Tiger Watch

http://ecoworldly.com/2009/07/21/save-tiger-save-humanity-a-much-called-for-rally-in-new-delhi/

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Survey in Sunderbans on tiger prey base

Survey in Sunderbans on tiger prey base

Monotosh Chakraborty, TNN 22 July 2009

BONNY CAMP (SUNDERBANS): The prey base in the Sunderbans has finally come under the scanner. The state forest department has launched an extensive survey to check if the number of deer and wild boar has dropped drastically, forcing tigers to stray into villages.

Last Saturday, an adult male tiger was found dead at Chargheri in Gosaba. Two cobras were found in the animal's stomach.

The entire forest area in the subdivision is being surveyed to check if there has been a decrease in prey animals. Footprints of deer and boars are being counted. Pugmarks are being studied as well to check if the tiger density has gone up in certain areas leading to a prey shortage. "There is no evidence yet that there has actually been a prey shortage, but we must try to find that out. The survey is on. We have also decided to release prey animals that are now in captivity," said Subhendu Bandyopadhyay, DFO, South 24-Parganas.

To begin with, 22 deer will be released in the forest from the Jharkhali rehabilitation centre. It will also be checked if poachers have been entering the forest area in the guise of fishermen. "We have started scanning the fringe areas and will keep an eye on the fishermen. There will be a strict vigil against poaching. We have started a search to check if traps are being laid to catch deer," Bandyopadhyay added.

Termed as "protection monitoring protocol", the vigil will continue for several more weeks. "During the monitoring exercise, we will also try and assess the damage that might have been caused by Cyclone Aila," the DFO said.

The South 24-Parganas forest division has been running two medical camps at cyclone-affected Deulbari and Jharkhali. An ultrasound machine has been installed for Aila victims at the Jharkhali camp. "The camp is attended by around 700 people every week," said Bandyopadhyay.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4805078.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Security tightened at Kartaniyaghat Tiger Reserve to curb poaching

Security tightened at Kartaniyaghat Tiger Reserve to curb poaching

ARSHAD AFZAL KHAN Posted online: Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Faizabad : To put a check on tiger poaching, smuggling of animal parts and forest produce at the Kartaniyaghat Tiger Reserve, armed security personnel have been deployed to keep vigil round-the-clock.
“Trained forest guards, including ex-Army jawans hired by the Forest department, conduct joint patrolling with teams from the Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB),” said Divisional Forest Officer R K Singh, in-charge of the reserve.

The reserve, spread in Bahraich district in a 400-sq km area, shares a 55-km-long open border with Nepal. The arrangement has been made especially for the monsoons when bad weather, water-logging, damage to forest tracks and the dense vegetation create conditions which poachers and smugglers use to their advantage. They can easily cross the open border and slip into Nepal.

The jungle has been divided into 40 beats, including 28 special vigil zones. The Sixth Battalion of the SSB, with its headquarters in Nanpara, has got 16 border outposts.

“We are regularly patrolling the area and taking assistance from the police,” said Singh.

He added that well-trained personnel have been deputed to man the special vigil zone — the permanent habitat of the tigers. “The team is armed with rifles and other equipment,” he said.

U K Neyal, Commandant of the Sixth Battalion of SSB, said: “We are providing all support to the Forest department. We conduct three to four joint patrols every week.”

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Security-tightened-at-Kartaniyaghat-Tiger-Reserve-to-curb-poaching/492580/

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Field director to be punished for tiger loss

Field director to be punished for tiger loss

Neha Shukla, TNN 22 July 2009, 06:18am IST

LUCKNOW: The security of tigers all over the country has been upgraded with new provisions rolled out by ministry of environment and forest (MoEF). The unfortunate experiences of Sariska and Panna tiger reserves have made National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) fix the responsibility of tiger-loss on the official heading the management of tiger reserve.

In the sense that loss of even a single tiger or its habitat will call upon a penal action against the field director of the said reserve through the state government. The instructions packaged as tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NTCA, state governments and field directors of reserves have reached Dudhwa officials as well.

When contacted Shailesh Prasad, director, Dudhwa chose not to comment on the feasibility of the broadly laid out framework. "It is a government order and we will obey," he said. But, under requirement to submit the proposal for funding, tiger conservation at Dudhwa has got its twin objectives defined -- habitat management and protection to big cats.

The authorities shared that the `annual plan of operation' (APO) to go to the ministry has been planned around making tiger habitat livable for the big cats and also according to them protection against poaching and human reprisals or revenge killings. "Controlling man-animal conflict will be a major focus," added the director.

The state has submitted the proposal for funding to NTCA which has acted strict even in release of funds. The authority will release second instalment only after progress report for the previous instalment has been submitted by the field director. The authority has clearly laid out that state must have successfully utilised at least 60% of the funds released under first instalment to be eligible for the second one.

The plan empowers the field director to spend money made available, for immediate execution of schemes as per norms. But the plan does not allow diversion of funds without prior approval of NTCA. Besides, it is a broad-based one that asks consulting gram sabha and zila parishad in case of doling out compensation funds to humans (in case of cattle lifting, crop depredation, injury and death of men) and putting local work force on job of intelligence gathering.

But the officials in UP are ready to go with it. "We will go ahead with it and if there comes a problem in managing it we will intimate central government about it," said Prasad.

The field directors will have to follow day to day monitoring protocols for tigers and other wild animals to ensure forecasting of untoward happenings in the habitat. Non-adherence to MOU will invite stoppage of funds to the reserve and incentives provided to officials and staff of the reserve.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4804825.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

12 nations seek joint agenda on tiger conservation

12 nations seek joint agenda on tiger conservation

Shyam Bhatta

KATHMANDU, July 20: Countries with habitats for tiger are coming together to formulate a common agenda for conservation of the big cat at a time when its numbers are dwindling globally.

Nepal, India, China, Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan, Russia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Mongolia and Malaysia are coming together in Kathmandu to discuss the three main agenda items of preserving tiger habitat, banning international trade in tiger parts and conserving other animals that tigers feed on, through identification of areas for tiger conservation, management officer of the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Department Shivaraj Bhatta disclosed.

National and international non-government organizations working on tiger conservation and donor agencies will also participate in a meeting of the Global Tiger Forum to be held in Kathmandu on October 26 and a subsequent four-day Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop.

A ministerial meeting of these 12 countries scheduled for 2010 will endorse the agenda discussed during the meetings and workshop.

Monitoring is considered the best way for conserving the beast whose carcass is never found after it is killed. Deputy director of the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Department Megh Bahadur Pandey sees poaching as the main challenge for tiger conservation in Nepal. Conservationists in Nepal have been on high alert ever since the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan, India announced that it lost all its tigers two years ago.

The tiger is considered to be under threat even in Nepal after counting done in the Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve two years ago showed that the population of the animal went down by around 50 percent that year. Camera trapping had tracked 27 tigers in 2006 but it was just 15 in 2007.

The government of India has become serious about tiger conservation and its prime minister chairs the Tiger Conservation Project. The Indian union budget this year raised the budget allocated for the project to Indian Rs 1.84 billion from the previous year´s 720 million, but Nepali budget has yet to address the issue.

http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=7700

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Tribal community gripes about release of tiger into park

Tribal community gripes about release of tiger into park

Oyos Saroso H.N. - The Jakarta Post - Bandarlampung
Tue, 07/21/2009 3:40 PM

Members of the Belimbing traditional community in Way Haru hamlet, Belimbing district, West Lampung regency, have complained about the release of a Sumatran tiger that has attacked 11 people.

They say the release of the man-eating tiger, named Salma, in the Tampang Belimbing (Tambling) forest inside the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (TNBBS) is a subtle move to evict them.

Pangekahan is an enclave that was once part of the national park, but eventually grew apart from the park and became a village legally recognized by the government.

"President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called off the release here of three tigers from Aceh on June 5 because we put up a strong fight," community leader A. Zulqornain Syarif Gelar Suntan Panji Negara said recently.

"Suddenly, on July 12, the tiger from Jambi, which had attacked 11 people, was released near our village. Our lives are further threatened."

Zulqornain said a map drawn up during the Dutch colonial era showed the Tampang-Belimbing area, spanning around 30,000 hectares, was owned by the Belimbing traditional community, and legally recognized by the state.

After Indonesia's independence and under the New Order government, the area was incorporated into the TNBBS.

"We urge the government to respect the traditional community's existence," Zulqornain said.

"Evicting us from our own property implies a violation of our basic rights."

On July 22 last year, two of five Sumatran tigers caught by residents in Aceh were released in the Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation area (TNWC) within the TNBBS. The management rights of the TNWC, spanning around 300 hectares, is entrusted to noted businessman Tomy Winata.

During the release of the two tigers, Forestry Minister M.S. Kaban and Winata assured the villagers the tigers were unlikely to stray into the village, due to the ample supply of prey within the TNWC, including deer, wild boar, monkeys and wild buffalo.

Ichwanto M. Nuh, head of the Nusantara Traditional Community Forum's Lampung branch, said the Belimbing community had not made the most of their farmland in the past year, and lived in fear of tiger attacks.

The West Lampung regency administration previously planned to relocate 164 families from the Belimbing tribe to safer areas.

West Lampung Regent Mukhlis Basri had sent a letter to the forestry ministry for assistance with the relocation, but limited funds and licensing constraints are holding back the move.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/07/21/tribal-community-gripes-about-release-tiger-park.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Goa's Bondla zoo gets pair of tigers

Goa's Bondla zoo gets pair of tigers

STAFF WRITER 20:34 HRS IST

Panaji, Jul 21 (PTI) Goa's Bondla zoo has got a pair of tiger under a exchange scheme with the Vishakapatnam zoological park, a senior forest officers said.

The state forest department has exchanged a pair of Indian bisons with a pair of male and female tigers of Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Vishakhapatnam, they said

"The tiger pair is named as Rana (male) and Sandhya (female)," deputy conservator of forest Debendra Dalai told PTI today.

He said with the acquisition of the pair, the people of Goa now no longer require to visit the zoo outside the state to see the royal predators.

The tigers have been placed in quarantine for a period of three weeks as per the conditions stipulated by the Central Zoo Authority before being released into the enclosures for public display.

The pair will be on display for the public during mid-August and date will be announced subsequently, he said.

http://www.ptinews.com/news/186606_Goa-s-Bondla-zoo-gets-pair-of-tigers

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Malaysia urged to beef up war against tiger poaching

Malaysia urged to beef up war against tiger poaching

(AFP) – July 21, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia's dwindling tiger population could be wiped out in less than a decade unless authorities quickly halt the illegal trade in tiger parts and poaching, a wildlife expert warned Tuesday.

Wildlife activists last week said that Malaysia, estimated to have just 500 tigers still living in the wild, was losing its battle to save the endangered big cats after a series of raids that netted tiger carcasses and bones.

"The two major threats we see here are poaching and illegal trade of tigers, and also the loss of habitats," Washington-based Save the Tiger Fund director Mahendra Shrestha told AFP after a conference here on tiger conservation.

"The poaching level is becoming so high in many countries that if such things continue here maybe we will lose the tigers in less than a decade," he said.

"All you need to do is to increase the law enforcement, to reduce levels of poaching threats .... because there is an increase in demand on tiger parts in all the countries," he added.

Douglas Uggah Embas, natural resources and environment minister, said the government had sought the help of the military to battle poaching, adding that Malaysia was committed to an ambitious plan to double the tiger population to 1,000 by 2020.

"We hope by working together with the military and the local community, the enforcement will be more effective," he told reporters.

"It is very challenging but it is not a hopeless war (to save tigers)," he added.

Last week, the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MyCat) demanded that local authorities take action to stop the illegal trade in tiger parts.

It listed a series of seizures of dismembered tigers in recent months, from the Thai-Laos border right down to Malaysia itself, including three kilograms (six-and-a-half pounds) of tiger bones found in northeastern Kelantan state last month.

The coalition said that investigations into the seized tiger parts found that some were from sub-species not found in the wild in Asia, including the Siberian tiger.

It said the findings suggested that captive tigers, such as those found in zoos and theme parks, were finding their way into the illegal wildlife trade where they are butchered for traditional medicine.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gTReDXjrdkAtdmDJt2hsuA3-aadQ

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Monday, July 20, 2009

Conservationists Say Tiger, Rhinoceros Threatened by Illegal Hunting

Conservationists Say Tiger, Rhinoceros Threatened by Illegal Hunting

By Lisa Schlein
Geneva
18 July 2009

Conservationists say new strategies must be devised to protect animals, such as the rhinoceros and tiger, from extinction. Hundreds of delegates who attended a meeting by CITES, the Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species, are urging tougher police action to stop the lucrative illegal trade in endangered species.

The Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species oversees the implementation of trade rules for the recovery of nearly 900 endangered species. Topping the list of concerns is the rhinoceros.

The chief of CITES' enforcement unit, John Sellar, calls the illegal trade in Rhino horns the greatest criminal threat facing the organization. "It involves very sophisticated organized crime. It involves huge sums of money. It involves both the poaching of these species, but also the exploitation of legal hunting," he said.

Sellar says CITES recently asked the international law enforcement community for help because this is not just a problem involving wildlife.

He says rhinoceros horn smuggling from Africa to Asia is widespread. He says evidence shows criminal networks are using sophisticated techniques to circumvent currency controls through money laundering. He says diplomatic immunity is abused to perpetrate these crimes. "It truly is an international problem at the moment. The rhino populations in southern Africa are really getting hammered by poachers. You know within the last year, we have probably seen somewhere in the region of 200 rhinos killed. And, in some countries, the population sizes simply cannot sustain that. If you look at the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, the species may very well be extinct there," he said.

Sellar says there is a great demand for rhino horn in East Asia, especially in China and Vietnam, where it is used in traditional medicine.

CITES also is very concerned about the fate of the tiger. In the last century, there were more than 100,000 tigers throughout Asia. Now, it is believed no more than 4,000 of these animals are roaming in the wild.

Sellar says conservation efforts have failed miserably and tigers continue to move closer to extinction. One rare success story, he notes is found in the far east of Russia.

He says strong law enforcement work has saved the tiger there. He says a specialized enforcement team, which brought together people from a variety of policing, military and hunting backgrounds, was established. "And frankly, these are guys that when you meet them, you realize these are people that mean business. They are not the sort of men that you would want to meet in a dark alley late at night. But, that is exactly the type of person you need to come up against the individuals that are engaged in poaching and illegal trade," he said.

Delegates at the CITES conference agree. They say it would be possible to make huge inroads into this problem if governments would commit themselves to focus on law enforcement efforts.

Unfortunately, they note the poaching and illegal trade in endangered species is not recognized as a mainstream crime. Therefore, they say, the political will to make this a priority is lacking.

http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-07-18-voa25.cfm

http://www.bigcatrescue.org