There was a BIG surprise waiting for one of our keeper tour guests recently, when her partner had organized a surprise proposal in our tour waiting area at the sanctuary!
Saturday, May 29, 2010
28 May 2010
It might seem odd to say that one of the world’s most impressive natural predators needs our help. But wild tigers, and the places where they live, have been under such constant pressures for decades –mostly manmade pressures – that we’re at make-or-break time for the species. Turning our back is not an option.
This is a big year for tigers – and not just because it’s the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar.
In January, governments of all 13 countries with tiger populations committed to doubling wild tigers in the coming 12 years – by the next Year of the Tiger.
And then there’s the upcoming Tiger Summit in September – the first ever of its kind. Heads of government from all those countries will sign up to a solid global tiger recovery plan.
It’s the kind of year we relish at WWF – when we hope to see rewards for lots of hard work and dedicated support.
It takes us by surprise a bit when some doom-monger asks: “Why bother? Why not just let tigers go extinct?” But it’s also good to tackle those questions head-on, even if it just confirms our belief that we’re doing the right thing.
There’s an obvious emotional response, from our hearts. How could we let such a beautiful creature disappear forever? And let it happen on our watch, when we still have a great chance to save it?
But there are sound scientific and environmental reasons for saving the species too. Tigers are crucial for entire ecosystems around them, and beyond. As top predators, they keep populations of prey species in balance. When tigers thrive, the whole ecosystem thrives. Biodiversity is the key to a healthy world – it’s what keeps our planet working.
Are tigers an unsuccessful species?
Tigers manage very well if left to their own devices. The fact that the world’s wild tiger population is in crisis – down from an estimated 100,000 animals a century ago to just over 3,000 now – has nothing at all to do with natural selection.
There’s very little ‘natural’ about the problems tigers face. By far the biggest threat to them is human activity – particularly the persistent destruction of forests, industrial-scale farming and poaching (of both tigers and their prey).
Poaching in particular is a huge problem right now. We need to tackle the poaching itself, and also eliminate the demand for, and thus the trade in, tiger skins and body parts, which are used in some traditional Asian medicines as well as ornamental purposes.
Turning the situation around is not a quick or simple process – it involves training, social and political diplomacy, technological ingenuity, and helping create alternative incomes and options for local people so they‘re less dependant on the forest resources. And WWF, in conjunctiomn with governments and other NGOs has been working on all these approaches – and more.
And there’s a precedent that gives us added hope we’ll succeed. There was another species that was widely persecuted for its body parts, whose population crashed to even less than the tigers: the white rhinos of southern Africa.
At the start of the 20th century there were fewer than 100 white rhinos left, hunted almost to extinction, mostly for their horns. Today there are more than 17,000. If we can successfully bring back a slow-breeding mammal like the white rhino, we can certainly do the same for tigers, which breed much more quickly.
What has our tiger work achieved so far?
We’re deeply committed to tiger conservation because we believe the work we’re doing has a genuine impact. We can see that the investment of time and money is helping protect this amazing species.
Yes, we’ve had setbacks, but also significant successes – for instance working with the Indian government to rescue the Indian tiger from oblivion in the 1970s, and more recent conservation projects that helped stabilise tiger populations in the Russian Far East and Terai Arc in India.
Even in areas where we’ve so far been unable to stop the loss of tigers altogether, we’ve often managed to reduce it, so the losses are far less than in unprotected areas.
Think about the alternative. To be brutally honest, the global tiger population would be in a far worse position if it wasn’t for the work of WWF and other similarly driven conservation organisations, and our inspirational supporters. Not to mention the many local people in Asia who are passionate about keeping wild tigers as part of their lives.
The extinction of wild tigers in India was a very real possibility just a few decades ago. And it could still happen there and elsewhere without constant vigilance.
That’s why our teams of dedicated scientists, wardens and local field workers are out there protecting the animals on the ground (we don’t do it all from an office in Surrey you know!), and liaising with local communities and governments to find solutions. And we’ll carry on doing so for as long as it takes.
What’s a tiger life worth?
Ultimately, we argue, a live tiger is far more valuable than a dead one. A dead tiger is only worth the sum of its parts, and only to a small number of individuals involved in the unpleasant illegal wildlife trade. But a breeding tiger population will continue to benefit the wider communities and ecosystems of the countries they live in for years, across generations.
In India and Nepal, wild tigers have already attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to national parks and reserves, providing jobs and security for local people. And, as we’ve said, the process of protecting tiger habitats also benefits the thousands of other species that live in these areas.
But we also know that without sustained work to combat poaching and protect habitats, tiger numbers can rapidly dip. That’s why it’s vital that long-term, global solutions are put in place now, before it’s too late.
This year offers an unprecedented opportunity to ensure the survival – and revival – of tigers in the wild. At September’s tiger summit in Russia we’ll help finalise the detailed plans for achieving this. Giving up on tigers is the last thing on our minds…
Find out more about our work to protect tigers
Adopt a tiger!
Friday, May 28, 2010
IANS, May 28, 2010, 04.06pm IST
Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio has launched a campaign to protect the tigers.
"Tigers are endangered and critical to some of the world's most important eco-systems. Key conservation efforts can save the tiger from extinction, protect some of the planet's last wild habitats and help sustain the local communities surrounding them," Contact music quoted him as saying.
The "Titanic" star has joined hands with the World Wildlife Fund to create "Save Tigers Now" with a view to raise $20 million for the cause.
DiCaprio, who is currently in Asia learning about the declining number of the species, hopes to double the population of the big cats by 2022.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tampa, Fl.… On Thursday, May 27th, company members from the North American touring production of MARY POPPINS, currently performing at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts (formerly the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center) through Sunday, June 6, 2010, will visit Big Cat Rescue, the largest accredited sanctuary in the United States dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of exotic cats.
The MARY POPPINS North American tour celebrated its first anniversary on March 25, 2010 and announced that it had achieved the milestone of being the most successful touring theatrical event in 2009.
Big Cat Rescue, a non-profit educational sanctuary, is devoted to rescuing and providing a permanent home for exotic (i.e. wild, not domestic) cats who have been abused, abandoned, bred to be pets, retired from performing acts, or saved from being slaughtered for fur coats. The sanctuary’s mission includes educating the public about these animals and the issues facing them in captivity and in the wild.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to partner together with the cast of Mary Poppins” said Jeff Kremer, Director of Donor Appreciation with the nonprofit sanctuary.
The company of Mary Poppins will arrive at Big Cat Rescue at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 27th , for a private tour of the sanctuary, where “A Spoon Full of Catnip Helps the Medicine Go Down!”
Big Cat Rescue is a 501(c)(3) not-profit charity. The sanctuary receives no government support and relies on its educational activities, such as tours of the facility, and the generosity of donors such as the cast and crew of Mary Poppins to support the magnificent animals that call the sanctuary home.
Following their visit to the sanctuary, these energetic folks will head back to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts to take the stage in what will likely be a most inspired performance.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
By KATE JACKSON
Published: 24 May 2010
IN A dingy market stall in southern Tibet, a trader empties out a sack full of bones.
These pitiful relics were once a magnificent tiger, roaming wild and free.
Now sold on the black market to be used in medicines and Tiger wine, these bones can fetch around £600 per kilo
It's a sickening sight.
At the turn of the twentieth century, there were estimated to be over 100,000 tigers in the wild. Now that figure has dwindled to approximately 3,500.
Despite efforts to protect the species, the demand for tiger bones, teeth and hide means poaching still continues. This, together with the decimation of their habitats and loss of natural prey due to hunting, has put tigers on the endangered list.
Scottish Debbie Banks, 38, travels the world hunting out illegal traders who profit from the sale of tiger products.
As head of the tiger campaign at the London-based Environmental Investigations Agency, Debbie compiles information about these salesman and how the tigers are taken from their native land to the shops.
With seven years experience at EIA, Debbie admits she never fails to be saddened by the plight of the tiger.
She says: "In 2005, I went to the traditional horse festivals in Tibet with a colleague.
"We thought we might see half a dozen people wearing animal skins.
"But there were literally hundreds of people wearing tiger, leopard and otter skins, some with the animal heads on.
"It was quite chilling.
"I realised then that I had seen more dead tigers and leopards than I would ever see alive.
"It still saddens me. But what drives me on is knowing that something can be done to increase wild tiger populations. They can recover very well if they are given enough forest and prey species. We have seen the trend reversed in parts of India, Russia and the Far East."
In a hard-hitting documentary, Inside The Tiger Trade, on Nat Geo Wild tonight (mon 24th) at 10pm (*must keeP), we see Debbie travel back to the Tibet, to the horse festival at Nagchu.
Despite the Dalai Lama proclaiming in 2006 that wearing animal skins was wrong, prompting mass burning of furs, there has been a resurgence in the trend.
Debbie admits she was physically sickened to see so much animal hide on the Tibetans costumes, or Chupas.
To get the information she needed as to where these skins were coming from, she acted as an enthusiastic tourist who was fascinated by the outfits.
She says: "I found it really uncomfortable surrounded by people wearing real leopard and tiger and I had to pretend I was excited about what they were wearing.
"All the time, inside I was squirming and wanting to get out."
It was in Lhasa, in Tibet, where she witnessed the horrific sight of a near-complete tiger skeleton being emptied out of a bag. There, the seller boasts of having two to three more complete sets.
And elsewhere in Tibet, she and her team of undercover investigators equipped with hidden cameras and microphones, found tailors who took orders from Chinese and Tibetan buyers for leopard and tiger skin.
Debbie says wearing endangered animals is a sign of wealth.
She says: "The traders were saying that if someone works in government, they are compelled to wear animal skin as a sign of prestige.
"It's very troubling that people would be wearing this who don't want to wear it.
"The prestige of wearing skin goes back hundreds of years in Tibet, to when the military were given a strip of fur if they had proved themselves in war. It was similar to us giving medals.
"Now that has expanded to people wearing animal skins for the prestige. It's also expanded into home decor.
"We're told a mixture of people are involved from Chinese businessmen and officials, and there are claims that an increasing number of Chinese military are buying tiger, leopard and snow leopard skins. It's a luxury market."
Traders claim big cat skins are sourced from India where there is the largest wild population - but even that is thought to be just around 1,400.
The tigers or their parts are trafficked into Nepal via porters who carry the bones during an arduous trek across the mountain passes.
They are then taken into China, defying the ban on the tiger bone trade which came into force in 1993.
Traders no longer used vehicles to pass through the borders anymore because of the fear of arrest.
Traditionally, tiger bone was used in medicines, particularly for arthritis and rheumatism. Even though it is no longer used in the manufacture of medicines, there is still demand for skin and bones.
In Xining, central China, Debbie discovered a shop in a tourist market where tiger teeth were on display for £700 (£480) each.
The trader admitted: "It's more expensive than ivory."
He also says he can source tiger bones, but demands a deposit of $400 (£280) just to see the products.
For Debbie and their team, paying money to a tiger bone trader is an ethical line they are not willing to cross.
In one frightening incident, an EIA investigator accepted a lift from a trader, who then drove him to an mystery location and up six flights of stairs in total darkness to see a skin for sale at $20,000 (£14,000)
Meanwhile Debbie, who doesn't go undercover but provides back-up surveillance, was left helpless, not knowing where her investigator had been taken.
Debbie says: "It is a dangerous job.
"Years ago, I was able to speak to traders and they wouldn't wonder why a tourist was asking questions about their tiger products.
"Now they are more suspicious and that's why we use Chinese-speaking investigators.
"In this case, we didn't know where the investigator had gone. He was having to pretend he's an interested buyer so he couldn't get on his mobile to tell us where he is.
"When the operatives come back from any surveillance, there's that immediate relief that everyone's made it out safe and sound."
As EIA is a non-governmental organisation, it has no enforcement powers. Any information it uncovers is therefore passed onto the authorities, including CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and the global police force, Interpol.
The trade doesn't just exist overseas though.
In March, in London, a full sized stuffed tiger was confiscated by the Metropolitan police who believed it was being touted for an illegal sale.
Officers from the Wildlife Crime Unit arrested a 47-year-old man during the operation involving a tiger which had previously been used in a photoshoot by the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
Following his interview, the man was bailed until June 1.
Detective Constable David Flint, of the Wildlife Crime Unit says: "This was an obvious example with a tiger product being sold, we believe, illegally.
"It's not common to find these sort of things but it does happen from time to time.
"This particular tiger was being sold for £50,000.
"You have to think about how this impacts on the world population of tigers. If you create a demand for such products in the western market, then sooner or later someone has to supply that demand and that's where poaching comes in."
Since the launch of Operation Charm in 1995 - the name used for police operation against the illegal trade in endangered species - the Metropolitan Police has seized more than 30,000 endangered species from sale in London.
These include traditional Chinese medicines, elephant ivory, animal skins and so-called fashion items like the 1960s style tiger skin coat seen in our pictures.
In this year, the Chinese Year of the Tiger, all hopes for the future of the tiger rests with a summit of world leaders led by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in September.
And now, with a new government in place, Debbie says she hopes Prime Minister David Cameron will push for moves to protect the majestic cats.
She says: "It would be very encourageing for us if David Cameron or Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg were present at that summit.
"It would be a real indication that our leaders are uniting on this.
"If we can save the tiger, you're not only saving the species but the forests they live in and the ecosystems that many other species rely on."
What are tiger's sold for?
Tigers are prized as powerful status symbols and used in medicine. Here is what is tigers are sold for:
Skin: Small pieces of tiger skin are used to protect the owner from black magic. The most expensive part is the forehead as the stripes resember the Chinese character for royalty and are believed to bring the owner luck.
Teeth: Used for jewellery and believed to bring luck and protection.
Claws: Often inlayed in gold to make pendants.
Whiskers: Believed to have magical powers.
Tail: Kept as a trophy to protect against curses.
Penis: Traditional tonic with aphrodisiac powers.
Flesh: Cooked and eaten to treat skin diseases.
Fat: Bottled and used to protect farms from damage from wild pigs.
Bone: Ground into powder and used to treat rheumatism and headaches, or dipped into rice wine.
Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
SRIVILLIPUTTUR: A tiger was spotted in the Shenbagathoppu forest near here. Local people claimed that it had taken away a calf reared by one of the tribals last week. However, the Wild Life Warden, Srivilliputtur, S.A. Raju, said, “It is not clear whether it is a tiger or a panther as the pug marks lifted were not clear.”
Stating that one of the anti-poaching watchers, who spotted the animal on Friday, had claimed that it was a tiger, Mr. Raju said that officials would monitor the Western Ghats range for some more time to confirm it.
The officials are planning to capture the animal's image using a camera.
Mr. Raju said that the animal could have strayed from the reserve forest into the thick forest area which has a huge population of deer.
Srivilliputtur Ranger A. Palaniraj said that forest officials would keep a vigil in the area as the tiger is an endangered species. The big cat usually roams around in a range of 25 km, he added.
Thirty-two tribal families are living in the forest area of Shenbagathoppu, he added.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Mir Ayoob Ali Khan, TNN, May 24, 2010, 04.45am IST
HYDERABAD: The Critical Tiger Habitat (CTH) in the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) now has a twin. Though developed at different times, it was discovered recently that Gundla Brahmeswara Wildlife Sanctuary (GBMWS), in fact, is a conjoined twin of the famous NSTR. Hence, the government came up with a declaration that GBM should actually be considered the extended core of the NSTR.
Spread over five districts connecting all the three geographical regions of the state, NSTR boasts of roughly 70 tigers. On the other hand, GBMWS, that controls the most dense part of the Nallamalla forest, has about 12 big cats. The two are connected by a wide corridor. The government order, which is in the process of being published as a gazette notification soon, is the result of behind-the-scene developments taking place for the past several years.
Before becoming NSTR in 1983, the place covering the catchment areas of Nagarjunasagar and Srisailam dams was first declared a sanctuary, the Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Wildlife Sanctuary (NSWLS). Later, with the objective of protecting tigers in the area more efficiently, the status of the sanctuary was upgraded to a 'tiger reserve'. This is the only tiger reserve of in the state in which 23 per cent of the total area is forest land.
The birth of GBMWLS took place much later, in 1998. The area under the sanctuary is rich and diverse in flora and fauna. While there are well known species of trees like teak, boswellia and terminalia, bamboo etc. There are numerous plants, shrubs and herbs that await scientific categorization and preservation. The animal world is equally rich there with sloth bear, wild dog, hyena, jungle cat, langur, bonnet monkey, sambar, nilgai, chowsingha, chinkara, mouse deer, monitor lizard, marsh crocodile and python etc. found in abundance. Topping the list are, of course, the tigers and panthers. "The forest is free of human habitation and, at most places, too dense to be accessed even on foot," DFO Tulasi Rao said.
Since the 3,568 square km NSTR came into being, the forest department has been pestered with claims on land in the Nagarjunasagar area of the tiger reserve. Ideally, a tiger reserve should be free from human habitation. But NSTR has considerable number of tribals, especially Lambada population, in the Sagar catchment area.
According to some estimates, the number of Lambadas, Chenchus and others in the area has risen to about 30,000. Many of these people have also been given title books on their claims under the Tribal Act.
Rao said an expert committee set up on the advice of the central government found that the Sagar area has become porous with hardly any tiger population. Therefore, the committee felt 1,000 sq km in Sagar should be delineated from the NSTR. This 1000 sq km would not form part of the CTH, meaning the area is not vital for the survival and growth of tiger population. But at the same time, the area would continue to play a decisive role for the protection of hydrological and other natural heritage. Hence, it would remain within the boundaries of NSTR and considered part of the sanctuary, Chief Wildlife Warden Hitesh Malhotra explained.
He said some six years ago, the forest department had sent a proposal to the Centre to convert the 1196 sq km GBMWLS into a tiger reserve. The government of India suggested that instead of making GBMWLS an independent tiger reserve, it could be connected with NSTR and the entire sanctuary be considered an extended core of tiger habitat. Malhotra summed up the situation by saying that while about 1000 sq km from the NSTR is taken out from CTH, 1196 sq km of GBM has been added. The area of the two sanctuaries together now adds up to 4,763 sq km while within this boundary the CTH for tiger would be 3,763 sq km.
With this new development, the forest department has begun working out a fresh management plan for the core one and core two of the tiger reserve together. The core two or GBMWLS would be brought under the Project Director, Tiger, of NSTR and he would be given more assistant conservators (forests), range officers and other staff to jointly manage the two cores. The objective would be to manage Project Tiger better with improved results, Malhotra said.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
TONGA, a very rare White Serval - (Only two in the world that we know of) was found to have a broken tooth. We assessed the tooth and decided that the best thing to do was to capture Tonga and take him to the veterinary clinic where it could be treated.
WATCH THE VIDEO TO SEE HOW HIS TREATMENT WENT!
Friday, May 21, 2010
Updated: 05/21/2010 05:23:06 PM MDT
The India Cultural Center of Utah will sponsor a presentation on tiger conservation on Monday, 7 p.m. at the WPR in Orson Spencer Hall on the University of Utah campus.
Speakers are Harshawardhan and Poonam Dhanwatey, the founders of Tiger Research and Conservation Trust (TRACT).
TRACT is a non-profit organization that focuses on tiger conservation and habitat within and beyond the boundaries of protected reserves in the forests of central India, where Harshawardhan and Poonam were raised.
The free event is co-sponsored by Utah's Hogle Zoo, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife Without Borders Tiger Conservation Program, and the Indian Students Association-University of Utah
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN, May 20, 2010, 06.30am IST
NAGPUR: Tiger conservation took a hit on Tuesday when one death was reported inside the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, 475 kms from Nagpur.
This is the 18th tiger death in India since January and comes at a time when census readings are being studied to check if the tally of 1411 from the count four years ago has gone up or down. The new figure will be announced by the Wildlife Institute of India in October this year.
The incident took place at 10am in Zurzura in Tala Range of the reserve. There are conflicting claims not only about the reasons of death but also of the tiger's sex.
Some tourists from Nagpur told TOI that the tiger had died due to suffocation after its neck got entangled in a wire snare which may have been put by villagers to trap herbivores. Others claimed the tiger was hit by a tourist vehicle and died due to injuries.
Forest officials, however, rule out both the possibilities and are giving a completely different view.
CK Patil, field director & conservator of forests at Bandhavgarh, feels that the tiger – a male according to him — could have died in a territorial fight. He denied that it was injured and attacked tourists' vehicles.
Patil was also emphatic that the tiger did not have had wire snares on its neck.
Contradicting his boss' claims, JN Shukla, the Tala range forest officer (RFO), told TOI the dead animal was a three-year-old female and there were no external injury marks on its body. This clearly indicates that the tiger did not die in a territorial fight as is being claimed by Patil.
STAFF WRITER 18:2 HRS IST
Bhopal, May 19 (PTI) A 30-month-old tigress today died in Madhya Pradesh's Bandhavgarh tiger reserve due to internal injuries.
"The tigress was around 30 months old and possibly died after sustaining some internal injuries in a fight with another tigress over territorial rights," Reserve Field Director C K Patil told PTI over phone.
The tigress was found dead at Tala range of the reserve in Umaria district.
Patil said some tourists spotted a limping tigress this morning.
He, however, ruled out the possibility of the tigress being hit by some tourists' jeep in the reserve.
Before the feline died it entered a water body in Tala range, Patil said, adding there was no external injury mark on the tigress' body.
Patil said the post-mortem of tigress will be done as per the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) tomorrow.
Monday, May 17, 2010
A bobcat with a broken leg nears starvation so his human neighbors called Big Cat Rescue to come to his aid. Voting for Big Cat Rescue at the Animal Rescue Site is a great way to help rescue bobcats like this at no cost to you.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Tiger killed a fisherman and injured two more in separate attacks at Satkhira Range of the Sundarbans on Thursday and Friday. Sources said that the slain fisherman was fishing along with other fishermen in Bara Keyakhali canal at 8:30am Friday and then a man-eater tiger swooped on Sabiruddin, 40, son of Kiamudddin from Burigoalini village under Syamnagar upazila and dragged him deep into the forest.
Later, his badly bruised body was recovered by the co-fishermen at noon with the help of forest guards. In another incident, a minor son of a fisherman and another youth were injured in another tiger attack at the time of catching crabs at Chushkhali in Sundarban's West Zone area on Thursday last.
The injured were identified as Ruhul Morol, 13, son of Mostafa Morol and Khokon Morol, 22, son of Rashid Morol hailed from Harinagar village of the upazila. They were rushed to a local hospital in critical condition.
Witnesses said that Mostafa Morol along with his son Ruhul Morol and neighbor Khokon went to the area to catch crabs in the morning. Toufikul Islam, ACF of Satkhira Range confirmed the incidents.
(AFP) – May 10, 2010
DHAKA — Poachers in Bangladesh could soon face life in prison under legal reforms aimed at protecting wildlife, including the critically endangered Bengal tiger, an official said Monday.
Under the country's existing law, which dates from 1974, the maximum penalty for a wildlife poacher or smuggler is a 2,000 taka (30 dollar) fine and a two-year prison sentence.
The laws are "outdated and too lenient" to preserve the country's rapidly shrinking big game populations, including the Bengal tiger, the government's top conservation official told AFP.
"We are now amending the law to fight poachers who have become increasingly sophisticated and are now often armed. They must be stopped," Tapan Kumar Dey said.
Dey said the government has already formulated the new Bangladesh Wildlife Preservation Act, under which a poacher could be sentenced to a maximum life term and fined up to 300,000 taka.
Bangladesh's cabinet is expected to approve the law later this month and then send it to parliament for final approval, he added.
The new law -- a summary of which has been seen by AFP -- also boosts protection of ancient forests.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) more than 13 species have become extinct in Bangladesh over the past 40 years, and over 100 species are now considered endangered or critically endangered.
The country's human population has tripled during the same period, while forest cover has shrunk to just 10 percent of land mass, resulting in more frequent clashes between people and animals, experts say.
Bengal tigers, which used be found all across the country five decades ago, are now confined to the Sunderbans, the world's largest mangrove forest.
Experts say only 200 big cats now live in the forest, down from 440 in 2004 -- thanks largely to poaching by smugglers and mob beatings by villagers who are traditionally hostile to tigers.
Sanjeev Kumar Verma, TNN, May 14, 2010, 04.42am IST
PATNA: Almost after a gap of six months, a tiger was sighted in Bihar's Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) on Thursday morning. The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) assistant manager, Samir Sinha, sighted the big cat near the rest house in the Govardhana range of the reserve. Sinha is looking after the camera trap work of the ongoing tiger census work in the reserve.
"Around 5 am, while moving on the Govardhana-Manguraha forest road for collecting certain census-related data, I sighted the tiger," Sinha told TOI, adding: "I have been working in VTR for the last seven years but didn't have the chance to sight a tiger earlier."
VTR director J P Gupta, who was the first one to be informed about the tiger sighting and who had himself sighted a leopard in the Govardhana range itself a few months back, said: "Such things indicate that the efforts put into making the reserve a safe place for the felines are showing good results."
Prior to this, one tiger was sighted by forest guards in the Someshwar block of the reserve in November last year. A tigress with two cubs was sighted in August in the Manpur area located near the eastern boundary of the reserve last year as well.
The news of tiger sighting from Bihar's only tiger reserve must be music to the ears of wildlife lovers, as VTR, in the past two months, witnessed the killing of a tiger and a leopard.
While the tiger was poisoned to death in the Madanpur range of the reserve in March after it killed one buffalo belonging to locals, a leopard was killed by villagers at Shahpur Parsauni village four days ago after it strayed into the village and killed a villager and injured five others.
The Thursday sighting apart, wildlife lovers can also take solace from the fact that the ongoing tiger census has given some very encouraging signs. "Camera trap data collected from Raghia, Manguraha and Govardhana ranges is very encouraging with movement of tigers being trapped in these cameras on a regular basis," Sinha said.
Refusing to draw conclusions about the exact number of tigers on the basis of these findings, he, however, claimed that such things could be done only after comprehensive analysis of data collected in different stages of the census.
IANS, May 13, 2010, 05.45pm IST
PANAJI: Evidence of at least three tigers' presence has been found in Goa's wildlife sanctuaries during the ongoing wildlife census in the state by forest department officials.
A forest department official said tiger faeces was found at Surla and Nandran, in the Mollem National Park in the thickly-forested eastern part of Goa, 80 km from here.
"We also found pug marks of a tigress near the Anjunem dam, located near the Goa-Karnataka border," a forest official said, requesting not to be named.
The official said the pug marks found at the Anjunem dam catchment area indicated that a tigress had passed by the water's edge along with two cubs.
The development is a shot in the arm for green activists who have been lobbying for Goa's forest areas being declared as tiger reserves.
However, no forest department official is willing to come on record to acknowledge the development.
According to noted wildlife expert Rajendra Kerkar, there's a reason for the forest department's silence.
"There has always been proof that tigers are there in our forests. But the forest department has been consistently denying the presence of tigers because they are hand-in-glove with the mining lobby," said Kerkar, who recently exposed tiger poaching in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary.
Kerkar said if the Mhadei, Netravali, Cotigao and the Bhagwan Mahavir sanctuaries were declared tiger reserves, illegal mining near these green havens, secretly endorsed by the several powerful politicians and allowed by the forest department, would have to immediately stop.
Goa's Rs 6,000 crore open cast mining industry rings the state's forests in the north and eastern parts which border with Maharashtra and Karnataka.
According to Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar, nearly 20 per cent of the Rs 40 million ore exported from Goa comes from illegal mining.
HYDERABAD, May 15, 2010
Over 1,000 families, predominantly tribals, residing in the core of the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam tiger reserve are likely to be relocated as part of the efforts to revive the sanctuary, considered to be one of the largest in the country.
The Central government, under whose purview the project lies, has initiated negotiations with the families likely to be affected by offering a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh each for their relocation. “We are working with these families. We cannot shift them forcibly,” Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh says. Mr. Jairam Ramesh, who is currently in the tiger reserve on a two-day visit, sees “great potential” for revival of the area.
Mr. Ramesh said in an innovative measure to protect the dwindling population of tigers, 400 youth hailing from the Chenchu tribes had been recruited and entrusted the task of monitoring the tiger population in tiger reserve. The tribal youth will be offered payment of Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 4,000 a month for fulfilling their responsibility. “Police and forest guards alone would not be in a position to protect tigers and we have preferred local youth for the purpose,” he said.
Mr. Jairam Ramesh, who held extensive interactions with the ‘new recruits', told The Hindu that these local youth would forthwith be the ‘tiger watchers and protectors'. Though the department had taken up similar initiatives elsewhere, “it is really taking off in Andhra Pradesh.” He said the department was also facing one of the biggest threats to the protection of ecology in the form of grazing. Close to four lakh cattle came to the reserve for grazing and efforts had been initiated to identify lands where fodder could be grown or areas which could be converted into grazing grounds to prevent cattle from entering the reserve. In addition, the location of nine temples in the sanctuary area was creating hindrances in the revival efforts. “We have to first regulate the traffic flow through the forest area and a mechanism is being evolved in this direction.”
He said the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam tiger reserve, spread over 3,600 sq. km, was by far the number one among the 39 notified areas in the country, but suffered destruction over a period of one decade from 1994 to 2004. Efforts to revive the reserve had started yielding results with the current tiger population, pegged at 70, showing “great scope for revival”.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010
By James Lamont and Amy Kazmin in New Delhi
Published: May 12 2010 02:33 Last updated: May 12 2010 02:33
India wants to agree on a pact with China to protect its fast dwindling tiger population from extinction, as part of an attempt to capitalise on the goodwill created between the neighbours in their alliance during recent climate change talks.
Closer co-operation between the two countries is seen by some tiger conservationists as key to preserving India's few remaining big cats. A trans-Himalayan agreement to calibrate national strategies would be the first of its kind. India has an estimated 1,400 tigers in the wild.
Jairam Ramesh, India’s environment minister, said tiger conservation was part of a proposed bilateral agenda on environment and natural resources that included sharing information and expertise on Himalayan glaciers and regional water resources. He said a “special relationship” forged at the United Nations climate change talks in Copenhagen last year was ready to address a wider agenda.
“I would like to work very closely with the Chinese on tiger conservation. China is one of the reasons our tiger population is being decimated,” he told the Financial Times.
The killing of tigers is a source of friction between India and China. Indian officials and conservationists say an illegal trade in tiger parts used for medicine encourages poaching. Last year, about 60 tigers were killed in India. Many fell victim to traffickers that operate between India, Nepal and China.
However, Mr Ramesh’s overtures to Beijing reflect India’s ambivalent relationship with its wealthier neighbour. New Delhi recognises the need for closer co-operation on issues such as the environment. Yet India’s security apparatus remains suspicious of Chinese intentions, reflected in India’s informal ban on telecommunications equipment made by China’s Huawei.
Mr Ramesh came under fire in New Delhi on Tuesday for comments made on a trip to China last week, when he called Indian security officials “alarmist” and “paranoid” in their attitude towards Beijing. The Bharatiya Janata party said it would seek Mr Ramesh's resignation, and the minister has also been scolded by Manmohan Singh, prime minister, for his intemperate criticism of other Indian government ministries.
Mr Ramesh, who has visited China four times since he took up office last year, has built up a close relationship with Xie Zhenhua, China’s top climate official. He has also been encouraged by China’s preparedness to break new ground with a neighbour it fought a war against in 1962, particularly in the sensitive area of south Asian river systems.
“For the first time, the Chinese shared information on what they are doing on the Brahmaputra river. They’ve never done this before. They are building a 500MW run of the river power station,” said Mr Ramesh. “The Chinese had been very cagey. We don’t have a treaty on the Brahmaputra.”
Mr Ramesh’s ministry stumbled into controversy earlier this month when a top bureaucrat suggested India would consider a ban on tiger tourism to protect the dwindling numbers. Mr Ramesh denied that such draconian measures were under consideration, but that the government sought to lessen the impact of tourism on the creatures’ habitats.
“We are talking of regulating tourism. We are talking about bringing in eco tourism. No one is talking about closing tourism,” he said. “Tourism is the lifeblood of the local community.”
However he warned that uncontrolled resort developments at the world famous Corbett tiger reserve had become a “hazard”.
The Corbett national park has a “buffer zone” around its perimeter where commercial activity is banned. But weak implementation of restrictions has allowed their flouting.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Bokaro (Jharkhand) May 10, 2010
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A white tiger of Jawaharlal Nehru Biological Park in Bokaro died of cancer, park authorities said today.
The 10-year-old tiger died last night after suffering from mouth cancer for the last six months, sources said.
The tiger was brought from Bhilai zoo.
PTISunday, May 9, 2010 21:27 IST
Bettiah (Bihar): A tiger today killed one person and injured four others at Shahpur Parsauni village in Bihar's West Champaran district, police said.
Police said the tiger came out of the Valmiki Tiger Reseve Project and entered the house of one Hoshila Patel and killed him.
Four others includingtwo women were also injured.
The tiger is still inside the house of Patel and forest officials were trying to cage it, police said.
Press Trust of India, Sunday May 9, 2010, Panna
In a major boost to efforts to revive tiger population, a translocated tigress has for the first time given birth to three cubs in Madhya Pradesh's Panna reserve, where the big cats had disappeared.
The tigress, translocated from Bandhavgarh in the state to Panna in March last year after the reserve lost its tiger population, has given birth to three cubs, Panna Reserve Field Director R S Murthy said.
The cubs were believed to be 20 days old and were spotted by forest officials when the tigress was taking them out of her den. "The tigress and its three cubs are in fine condition," he said.
It is for the first time that a translocated tigress has given birth in the country. Two tigresses and a tiger were translocated to Sariska in Rajasthan in 2008 after it lost its tiger population but the animals have not been able to breed till now. There were reports that the tigers brought from Ranthambhor could be siblings.
Panna reserve, which had more than 30 big cats four years ago, lost all its tigers by last year following which two tigresses-- one from Bandhavgarh and another from Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh-- were translocated there on March 6 and March 9, 2009 respectively. A tiger from Pench reserve was also translocated on November 14.
In more good news from Panna, officials said that the second translocated tigress could also be expecting. Security has been beefed up in the area and entry of tourists banned for the safety of the tigers. "We will not allow tourist entry into the region to ensure safety of the tigress and its cubs," Murthy said.
Officials were tightlipped over the location of the tigress due to security reasons. Panna reserve is spread over an area of 543 sq km in Panna and Chhatarpur districts of eastern Madhya Pradesh.
"The cubs have opened their eyes. This development usually takes place after 10 days of birth," Murthy said.
The translocated tiger had disappeared on November 26 and it was only after much effort that it was brought back to the park on December 25 last year.
The tiger has now settled in the new environs in Panna and this is evident from the birth of the three cubs, an official said.
The government has plans to relocate six tigers in all in Panna.
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Saturday, May 08, 2010
Update on the three orphaned bobcat kittens...Midnight, Rain and Storm are all doing grr-eat thanks to their surrogate mum Bobbi the domestic cat!
They're all eating well and gaining weight and starting to explore their environment more!
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Thursday, May 06, 2010
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