Saturday, December 03, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saranda springs tiger surprise

Saturday, 15 October 2011 23:40 Sayantanee Choudhury

If the inhabitants of the Asia’s biggest Sal forest, Saranda, and initial evidence are to be believed, then its good news in the offing for wildlife lovers. Contrary to the general perception that big cats never existed in Saranda, there are hints for the first time of a tigress and a couple of cubs living there.

A team of wildlife experts has been rushed to the spot to examine tiger pugmarks found recently in the dense forest cover of Jharkhand. The team will also collect excreta and shed fur samples.

According to Saranda divisional forest officer KK Tiwari, locals spotted few unfamiliar pugmarks and informed the forest officials. “People even claimed to have seen one tigress and two cubs in the forest,” he added. However, the sighting is yet to be verified.

Jharkhand wildlife warden AK Gupta said, “A team of six members — including local wildlife officers and members from Ranchi — have been sent to Saranda to collect samples.”

He added that a large numbers of leopards and hyena inhabited Saranda earlier and that the forests often give conflicting signals on the presence of big cats.

Saranda is considered an unspoilt world, where nature rules supreme. It is the home of the endangered flying lizard. It is famous for its Sal forests and majestic elephants. However, news of tigers in the area then would definitely be good.

“The samples will be sent for forensic examination and results will be available within 10 days. Since there were no evidences of existence big of cats earlier, so we want to get a confirmed report from the forensic laboratory,” Gupta said.

The Singhbhum Elephant Reserve is the only elephant reserve which exists in this forest, with traditional routes taken by the pachyderms. “We are also trying to trace the routes of the tigers, if they are in the forest. No big cats have shown their existence even in neighbhouring Dalma forests either. It is possible that the tiger family has migrated from Odisha or Andhra Pradesh,” said the wildlife warden.

Gupta added, “Of late, tigers are probably trying out new routes. Few of them might have been isolated towards the Saranda forest and are trying to re-establish themselves here.”

Environmentalists and investors draw claws over plan

Next generation ... $30 million has been ploughed into helping secure the future of the endangered South China tiger. Photo: courtesy Li Quan

Ben Cubby
October 17, 2011.

A BOLD plan to shield the South China tiger from extinction has become a battleground between environment groups and so-called ''angel investors'', who have plunged $30 million in cash into the big cats' future.

Li Quan, a former executive at fashion label Gucci, and her financier husband Stuart Bray, have been working for 13 years to rebuild a sustainable tiger population. Perhaps fewer than 20 South China tigers are thought to still inhabit remote and mountainous regions of China's south. They are likely to be extinct in the wild within a decade.

The couple have sunk a fortune into a breeding program for cubs in South Africa, and are now ready to start sending them to China for release.

The Save China's Tigers program has just been recognised as a charity in Australia. But it has been criticised by some environment groups, including the international arm of WWF. The battle highlights the critical choices behind many conservation decisions

In a letter seen by the Herald, WWF said the program is misguided, and the $30 million in funding would be more wisely deployed elsewhere. Others have publicly described the plan as a ''vanity project''.

''Yes of course I have heard this term 'vanity project','' Ms Quan said. ''The criticisms have been coming for many years now, but we are doing the right thing for the animals, we are sure of that.''

Fisherman killed by tiger in Sunderbans

Ananya Dutta
KOLKATA, October 17, 2011

A fisherman was killed by a tiger deep inside the forests of the Sunderban Biosphere Reserve on Sunday.

Satyabrata Jana of Kultuli had gone fishing with four others in the Gazikhali forest area within the Sajnekhali wildlife sanctuary. They had spread their nets in the waters and were sitting on the land when a tiger attacked the group, Subrat Mukherjee, field director of Sunderban Tiger Reserve, told The Hindu over telephone.

“We have received reports of one person being killed by a tiger. They had gone fishing in the restricted area of the forest and did not have a permit for fishing,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

Since Mr. Jana was killed in the restricted areas of the forest, his family will not be eligible for the compensation that is given to victims of tiger attacks.

Illegal fishing in the restricted areas of the forest is a perennial problem that plagues the region and results in several incidents of man-animal conflict.

“The fishermen try their best to dodge the guards of the Forest Department and enter the restricted areas. Since they are flouting the rules they are not entitled to any compensation if any such incidents occur,” said Sarba Mondal, a resident of the Sunderban islands.

3 Bor tigers can be rehabilitated: WII team

Vijay PinjarkarVijay Pinjarkar, TNN Oct 17, 2011, 05.29AM IST

NAGPUR: Amid debate over proposed release of three rescued tigers in Bor wildlife sanctuary, 60km from Nagpur, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, has submitted a positive report about their release.

After assessing the three tigers - two female and one male - a two-member WII team, consisting of scientist K Ramesh Kumar and veterinarian Dr Parag Nigam, said that the Bor tigers are good candidates for rehabilitation in the wild. The team had visited Bor on October 4. The team submitted the report to A K Saxena, additional principal chief conservator of forests (APCCF), East, Nagpur, four days ago.

The WII team was accompanied by A Ashraf, chief conservator of forests (CCF) & field director, Pench. The members, who were in Bor for over two hours, said that the tigers were in good condition, even better than those released in Panna.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had sent the team only after principal secretary (forest), Maharashtra, Praveen Pardeshi continuously took up the matter before the authorities. This comes after the respective chief wildlife wardens and officials had written a series of letters to the NTCA but failed to elicit any response. This bureaucratic red tapism led to unwarranted delay in deciding the fate of these cubs, which were rescued from Dhaba forest range in Gondpipri in Chandrapur district in September 2009.

"Our first priority is to shift the Bor tigers to a bigger enclosure in Pench. Funds for this have already been sanctioned. Releasing the cubs into the wild doesn't come in our domain. The final decision in this regard will be taken only after consulting NTCA. Entire protocol will be followed," Saxena told TOI.

Wild life experts had claimed that the cubs were 14-months-old when found and hence, are over three years of age now. They look quite grown up. However, the WII team have fixed the age of the cubs at around two-and-half-years.

Initially, the tigers were kept in small cages for treatment in Chandrapur before being shifted to Bor on November 9, 2009, with an aim to rehabilitate them. It has been two years since, but neither serious efforts nor right steps were taken to see that the tigers were relocated successfully. The team also stressed the need for giving live feed to the tigers, which is not being made available.

NTCA joint director S P Yadav told TOI that the matter is under consideration and a committee has been constituted to examine the issues related to orphaned cubs in India, which will decide the fate of such cubs.

Pardeshi said, "WII and NTCA have been asked to give permission for the rehabilitation and only under their guidance, we will release the tigers into the wild."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Film on R'bore tiger wins 3 awards in US

Anindo DeyAnindo Dey, TNN Oct 11, 2011, 02.28AM IST

JAIPUR: In a rare laurel for Ranthambore National Park, a documentary film on a tiger at the park has recently won three awards including that of the 'best film award' at a film festival in Jackson Hole, US. The film christened 'Broken Tail' is the true story of a tiger in the park which had disappeared but survived in an unprotected hinterland for several months and eventually died after a train hit him. The film won three awards in separate categories for the best overall film, best conservation film and best presenter at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (JHWFF).

Internationally renowned as the largest and most prestigious biennial competition of the nature genre, this year's festival that concluded on October 8 included 510 films from more than 30 countries in 800 categories. According to conservationist Aditya Singh of Ranthambore Bagh, who was part of the production crew in India, "Broken Tail was one of the two male cubs of Machali, Ranthambore's best know tigress. In the summer of 2000, sometime in April, Machali mated with a large male tiger called "Bamboo Ram" and three-and-a-half months later, she gave birth to her first litter of two male cubs called Broken Tail (because his tail was broken) and Slant Ear. By the end of December 2001, both these cubs separated from Machali and we never saw Slant Ear again," says Singh. The production team also included conservationist Dharmendra Khandal.

"For about a year-and-a-half, Broken Tail stayed in a small territory at the edge of Ranthambore National Park, not really a great neighbourhood for tigers. Somewhere in the summer of 2003, Broken Tail decided to leave Ranthambore and in August 2003, a passenger train ran over him, in Darrah sanctuary, nearly 100 miles away from Ranthambore. It took the forest department and everyone else, including us, over a year to realize that the tiger that was run down by the train was Broken Tail," he said. Directed by John Murray and Colin Stafford-Johnson, who spent about 600 days filming the documentary. Broken Tail had posed for the camera in his initial days, but one day it suddenly disappeared, abandoning the sanctuary.

Barely three-years-old then, Broken Tail had made an unprecedented 200 km trek across densely populated countryside while wildlife cameraman Stafford Johnson retraces the steps of the tiger. "Colin had come down to Ranthambore in 2005 to shoot a film for Tokyo Broadcasting Service and that is when he thought of doing a film on Broken Tail's journey. For the next four years, Colin, Salim Ali, one of Ranthambore's best guides, and I researched the film. This included tracking down the path that Broken Tail would have taken from Ranthambore to Darrah.

We did this by inputs from villagers, who had either seen him or whose cattle Broken Tail had killed, forest guards who had seen him or his pugmarks. We interviewed over 200 people including the train driver whose train ran the tiger down in a tunnel in Darrah. The actual filming started in 2009 and was over in 2010. However a lot of the footage was actually shot from 2001 onwards, when Broken Tail was a cub," he adds.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Russian and US veterinarians collaborate to solve mysterious wild tiger deaths

A camera trap image of a Siberian (Amur) tiger in the Russian Far East. A team of health experts from the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society and several Russian organizations have confirmed the presence of distemper in wild tiger populations, a finding that will enable conservationists to formulate measures to mitigate this recent threat. Credit: Image courtesy of WCS Russia

September 30, 2011

A' team of Russian veterinary colleagues and health experts from the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo are collaborating to understand how distemper -- a virus afflicting domestic dogs and many wildlife species -- may be a growing threat to Siberian (Amur) tigers.

The team presented its results at the first-ever Russian symposium on wildlife diseases held this week in the Russian Far East city of Ussurisk. The symposium underscores the growing recognition of the importance of the health sciences to successful wildlife conservation efforts.

Working at WCS's Wildlife Health Center at the Bronx Zoo, Russian health experts and WCS pathologists used histology along with PCR and DNA sequencing to confirm and characterize the infection in two wild Siberian tigers from the Russian Far East. This diagnosis provides long-awaited genetic confirmation of the fact that distemper is impacting wild tigers, which WCS and Russian colleagues first documented in 2003.

The collaboration will enable conservationists to formulate health measures to counter this latest threat to the world's largest cat.

The participants in the partnership included: Drs. Irina Korotkova and Galina Ivanchuk from the Primorskaya State Agricultural Academy; Elena Lyubchenko, county veterinarian for Ussuriski County, Drs. Anastasia Vysokikh and Mikhail Alshinetskiy from the Moscow Zoo; and Drs. Denise McAloose and Tracie Seimon from WCS.

Last year a tigress "Galia" -- studied by WCS researchers for eight years in Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve in the Russian Far East -- walked into the village of Terney. Galia displayed abnormal neurologic signs, seemingly unfazed by the new surrounding, appeared gaunt, and was searching for dogs as an easy meal. The tiger was shot by local police after several capture attempts failed. In November 2003, a similar event occurred when an otherwise healthy looking wild tigress walked into the village of Pokrovka in Khabarovski Krai. WCS staff working in the area immobilized the animal and worked with local Russian veterinarian Evgeny Slabe in treating the tiger, which later died in captivity. Samples for the diagnosis of distemper were collected only from these two animals.

Several other examples of tigers entering villages or stalling traffic on major roadways -- behavior possibly indicative of distemper -- have been reported in recent years.

"This exchange provides a foundation for elucidating potential disease threats to tigers in the Russian Far East," said Irina Korotkova of the Primorskaya Agricultural Academy. "Understanding the role of distemper in our wild Amur tiger population is vitally important."

Distemper is found worldwide in domestic dogs and has caused infection and death in wild species such as lynx and bobcats in Canada, Baikal seals in Russia, lions in the Serengeti ecosystem in Africa, and raccoons and the endangered black footed ferret in the United States.

"With all the threats facing Siberian tigers from poaching and habitat loss, relatively little research has been done on diseases that may afflict tigers," said Dale Miquelle, WCS Director of Russia Programs. "There are no records of tigers entering villages and behaving so abnormally before 2000, so this appears to be a new development and new threat. Understanding whether disease is a major source of mortality for Siberian tigers is crucial for future conservation efforts."

Anatoly Astafiev, Director of Sikhote-Alin Reserve, said, "We have seen a fall in tiger numbers within our reserve, so it is very important to know that at least one of the causes is a recognizable disease, something we may be able to address and potentially prevent."

Canine distemper is controlled in domestic dogs through vaccination. In Africa, massive vaccination campaigns of dogs in villages surrounding the Serengeti appear to have been effective in reducing the disease's impact on lions.

Dr. Denise McAloose, WCS's Chief Pathologist and leader of the investigation, said, "This is a great example of what international collaboration can achieve. Without our Russian associates there on the spot, knowing what samples to collect and how to preserve these specimens, samples would never have made it to our lab, and the cause of death would remain unknown. It's great that we're all here together to work on this issue as a team."

WCS is working with staff from the Primorskaya Agriculture Academy and other partners to establish a wildlife lab in Ussurisk to facilitate local diagnostic testing, although it will take several years until the lab is adequately funded and fully functional.

McAloose added: "Until then, there's still much to do including identifying the source of the disease."

It is still uncertain how tigers may have contracted the disease and whether it originated in another wild animal species or domestic dogs, both of which can act as reservoirs for the infection.

Latest reports suggest that fewer than 3,500 tigers remain in the wild; 1,000 are breeding females.

Provided by Wildlife Conservation Society

Poor genetic diversity a threat to tigers, says study

Krishnendu MukherjeeKrishnendu Mukherjee, TNN Oct 3, 2011, 03.59AM IST

KOLKATA: On her last legs, Machli - often called Ranthambore's matriarch for presiding over a majestic legacy of over a decade - can still make a tiger-lover crave for her glimpse. But her offsprings in the 400-500 sq km tiger abode in Rajasthan's Sawai Madhopur district face a genetic threat that could hit the population hard in the long run.

While Ranthambore Tiger Reserve (RTR) was in news for a sudden population crash in 1992 and 2003, it assumes more significance in the light of a recent study by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) that says tiger population in the park has shown a loss of genetic diversity over the years. "RTR tiger population is showing loss of many alleles, which may be due to an isolated population without any genetic exchange," said WII's Dr S P Goyal, the investigator of the report - 'Tiger Genome: Implications In Wildlife Forensics'. Alleles are a group of genes that decide an animal's hair colour and immunity, among other characteristics.

The park's tiger population had crashed to 12 in 1992 and 13 in 2003. It bounced back to 31 in 2010 but Dharmendra Khandal, a conservation biologist, feels lower genetic diversity would prove to be a new threat.

"Urbanisation and fragmentation in tiger corridors are the reasons. Ranthambore tigers used to take the Chambal river route to reach Madhya Pradesh's Kuno. But flattening of the river banks stopped tiger dispersal between Ranthambore and MP, resulting in no gene flow between the two tiger populations," he said.

"Since Sariska has lost all its tigers, now the nearest tiger reserve from Ranthambore is over 800 km away, be it Bandhavgarh, Corbett or Satpura," Khandal said. According to tiger expert Valmik Thapar, a growing human population is leading to encroachment of large landscapes making the survival of many species difficult.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Tourists throng tiger reserves on first day of season

TNN Oct 2, 2011, 10.22AM IST

JAIPUR/ALWAR: Living up to expectations, the Ranthambore tiger reserve saw a huge turnout of tourists, after a three month hiatus, on the first day of the season. Tourism also increased at the Sariska tiger reserve with 55 persons, including eight foreigners, making their way into it.

According to forest department officials, "The mood was upbeat at Ranthambore right from the morning. Around 20 Gypsies and nine canters made their way into the park and it included the conservationist Valmik Thappar. The tourists in the morning session spotted a sloth bear and a tiger in the Lakarda zone."

The evening session saw 22 Gypsies and 14 canters making their way into the park. Some tourists on a Gypsy spotted a tigress in the evening session.

"It was a great day at the Ranthambore reserve. As every year on the first day of the season we welcome tourists with a tilak as they enter the park and it happened this year too. The system of checking identity card was enforced and no fake booking was detected. They even managed to spot a tiger, T-16, in the morning session," said UM Sahai, chief wildlife warden, Rajasthan.

In Sariska some confusion prevailed when officials stopped Gypsies from going into the park saying only canters will be allowed inside. The Gypsy owners potested and even sent a protest letter to the Union minister of state for home Jeetendra Singh.

Accordind to Puranmal, a Gypsy owner, "In 2009, we were called by the then DFO Sudershan Sharma and were lured into buying Gypsies as he felt that the localites must get the benefit from the reserve. We had then bought our Gypsies and were even promised that we would be allowed to ply our vehicles for a long time. But this change in directives has been a blow to us. We will not allow the canters to ply under any condition."

Mahabaleshwar farmers oppose tiger reserve

TNN Oct 3, 2011, 02.05AM IST

PUNE: Thousands of farmers in Mahabaleshwar gathered on Sunday afternoon to oppose the Sahyadri Tiger Project, which was initiated last year by combining the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary and Chandoli National Park in Satara as they fear it would hamper developmental activities. The meeting was held at Taldeo village, about 15 kms from Mahabaleshwar.

Balasaheb Bhilare, member of the Satara Zilla Parishad, said, "The tiger reserve project is most likely to affect people of Patan, Javali and Mahabaleshwar. For us, the only source of income is farming and tourism. If our lands are marked under the reserve, farming activities will stop and the affected families will have to find new sources of income."

The villagers also posed the question of security before the guardian minister. Bhilare said, "What security would villagers around the reserve get? They will be most exposed to the reserve and if animals walk into the village, it will pose a danger to them."

The conservation plan, which was declared by the state government last year, will come up in an area of 740.5 sq km spread across the districts of Satara, Ratnagiri, Kolhapur and Sangli. The tiger reserve will focus on conservation of habitat, breeding of tigers and ensure food and water availability for tigers.

Pramod Shelar, president of the Mahabaleshwar Taluka Sarpanch Sanghtna, said, "When farmers and villagers need to construct a house, there are several restrictions imposed. At the same time, the government is giving space for animals when human populations are multiplying every year. The government has still not relocated villagers displaced by the Koyna dam. The same situation will prevail with the tiger project as well."

The land for the reserve is divided into buffer and core areas. The core area will not have human habitation, while in the buffer areas animals and humans can coexist. The reserve includes 83 villages in both the sanctuaries that cover four districts - Satara, Ratnagiri, Kolhapur and Sangli. Many villagers have already been shifted and the remaining will be relocated soon.

Meanwhile, Nimbalkar has assured villagers that the issues will be taken up and discussed with the government and a solution will be arrived at after a proper study.

6 tiger cubs are Melghat's new guests

Vijay PinjarkarVijay Pinjarkar Oct 3, 2011, 03.58AM IST

NAGPUR: While recent lynching of Navegaon National Park tigress in Bhakru Tola in Chhattisgarh by a furious mob came as a rude shock, there is a good news from Melghat - sighting of six new cubs has thrilled wildlife buffs and officials.

"In the past couple of months, tigresses with two cubs (around 6-8 months) each have been recorded in camera traps by the field staff in Sonala range in Ambabarwa wildlife sanctuary, part of Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR), Dhakna and Raipur ranges," revealed an overjoyed AK Mishra, field director and chief conservator of forests (CCF), MTR.

He adds, two months ago, driver of a forest vehicle sighted a tiger with a kill in Semadoh tourism zone. He also recorded the movements on his mobile. However, several such claims are not considered unless authenticated.

Tigers have always remain elusive in MTR, fondly called as the 'Kipling Country' and known for its mystifying landscape with high hills and deep valleys. Sighting of cubs in three places at a time makes big news in Melghat. Till now, such reports in the region could be heard only from Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur district which has a distinction of producing 12-15 tiger cubs every year.

Melghat, where sighting of tigers is like cracking jokes, has made a major turnaround over the last two years. The last such record of tiger sighting was in February 2009 from Narnala where a tigress with three cubs was sighted. "With the new additions, we expect tiger numbers to go up to 50-55," Mishra says. However, the NTCA-WII estimation of 2010 puts the tiger count in Melghat at 39.

About the success, Mishra says strengthening protection and group patrolling, awareness among villagers by distributing pamphlets and educating them and imposing curbs on grazing have led to improving the situation.

"Controlling forest fires is our big successes. From 7.5% with 401 cases, the number of incidents has been brought down to 3.2% with 177 cases," said Mishra.

"In the past two years, we seized around 500 cattle and filed cases in the court against illicit grazers. Such measures are yielding results," Mishra says. The field director said relocation of three villages - Barukheda, Amona and Nagartas in Wan sanctuary and partial relocation of Vairat and Churni villages in Melghat sanctuary has also helped in reducing grazing pressure of 4,500 cattle.

In 2006, MTR in Amravati was rated as 'poor'. However, in 2011, it has bounced back and has been graded as 'good' by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII). The result of 2011 management effective evaluation (MEE) puts MTR in line with high-profile reserves like Corbett, Dudhwa, Ranthambore and Manas.

Even tiger conservationist Kishore Rithe, who works in Melghat, admits protection mechanism has been revamped and is very systematic despite shortage of trained and good staff. "Villages in core are willing to resettle. If MTR hands over tourism management to communities, it will help improve livelihoods and thus increase public support for tigers," he adds.

Melghat's sweet success

* Better protection measures, foot patrolling monitoring mechanism

* Resettlement of 3 villages done in 2001-02 and 5 (two partially) in 2010

* Getting young forest guards posted in sensitive areas

* Concentrating on threats like overgrazing, encroachments and forest fires

The area

MTR 1,676.93 sq km

Gugamal NP 361.28 sq km

Melghat WS 788.75 sq km

Wan WS 211 sq km

Ambabarwa 127.11 sq km

Narnala WS 12.35 sq km

Buffer Zone & MUA 1,268 sq km

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tigress killing condemned; NTCA to send fact-finding team

Vijay PinjarkarVijay Pinjarkar, TNN Sep 26, 2011, 03.58AM IST

NAGPUR: Even as the brutal killing of the Maharashtra tigress by a furious mob in Bhakru Tola near Bamni on the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border is being widely condemned, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) will send a fact-finding team to ascertain the truth.

The full-grown tigress (around 4 years) was beaten to death right in front of the Rajnandgaon DFO and other field staff by a mob of over 5,000 villagers on Saturday.

"We've taken a serious note and are considering sending a fact-finding team to look into all aspects of the incident," SP Yadav, joint director of NTCA told TOI on Sunday.

When asked whether the NTCA nod was sought before releasing the tigress in the Navegaon National Park, Yadav said, he will have to check up. NTCA member-secretary Rajesh Gopal did not respond to the calls made to him.

State officials deny or are not ready to confirm whether it is the same tigress that was released in Navegaon. However, there are indications from the field staff that it is the same tigress that was spotted in the South Deori range. A forest official even confirmed that the pugmarks of the dead tigress matched with the ones recorded by them.

The brutal killing of tigress has come in for sharp criticism. Kishor Rithe, member, National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), condemned the act of the villagers. "People should feel ashamed for killing the vehicle of 'Durga' especially ahead of Navratri," he said.

When B Majumdar was PCCF (wildlife), he had started the practice of fitting transmitter chips below the tail of problem leopards trapped in Chandrapur. However, the practice seems to have been discontinued. Both the Katlabodi and the Navegaon tigress were not fitted with chips nor were they radio-collared.

Rithe said that such gears are good tools to monitor animals post their release into the wild. "The practice should not be stopped. If it is the Navegaon tigress, it supports the claim that there is a strong connectivity between Nagzira-Navegaon to the Chhattisgarh forest and tigers still disperse through the corridor which needs to be protected," Rithe said.

On the release of problem tigress in Navegaon, Rithe said every tigress which is released is only after permission from the NTCA. "If it is a fit case for release, then only NTCA gives it nod," he added.

Nitin Desai, director of Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), Central India, says the incident proves that people don't have sympathy towards wildlife.

"It is still a source of cheap meat and tigers continue to be considered as perpetual nuisance. The department needs to wake up now," Desai stressed.

"Why was the tigress made a villain?" asks Prafulla Bhamburkar, manager of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). The tigress moved to Chhattisgarh from the Maharashtra side and it was the Chhattisgarh forest officials' duty to protect it.

This also indicates lack of coordination and monitoring from both states. It would have been better had the tigress been released in its original habitat in Brahmapuri.

"The Katlabodi tigress near Nagpur settled down after it was rescued and released back in the same habitat in January 2011," Bhamburkar said.

It is learnt that villagers armed with lathis were on the hunt for the tigress for the past eight days, especially after it killed a woman from Murmadi. This indicates that forest officials had no clue and hence police help was not taken.

Honorary wildlife warden of Gadchiroli MS Chouhan says the tigress gave enough indications by attacking scores of cows near Navegaon and South Deori.

Although difficult, officials should have tranquillised the beast after continuous monitoring. Once released, there was hardly any serious monitoring of the animal.

"It's really sad that the forest department has a separate publicity wing but no steps are taken to spread awareness among villagers about tiger dynamics. It happens only when such incidents take place," Chouhan added.

Meanwhile, People for Animals (PFA) termed the incident as one of the worst episodes of the 'save tiger' campaign. "Crores of rupees spent to save wild cats look a sham after the Bamni incident. Officials should not forget that it is because of tigers that they have their jobs. God will not forgive those responsible for the mess," remarked Karishma Galani, city PFA chief.

Will the killing hit Bor tigers' release?

The basic principle of re-introduction of tigers should be within the tigers' former natural habitat and range and should require minimal long-term management. This may be one of the reasons behind the killing of the Navegaon tigress in Bhakru Tola in Chhattisgarh. However, the tragic incident is likely to cast its shadow on the release of three tigers - two females and a male - back into the wild.

The wildlife wing is planning to shift the three tigers in a big enclosure of around 4-6 hectares to the Pench National Park. Subsequently, they will be released into the wild. However, after the Navegaon tigress mess, sources said that officials are in a quandary whether to release the Bor tigers in the wild or keep them in a big enclosure forever.

Wildlife experts say that animals kept in a cage for long periods of time make them unfit for 'translocation'. The three tigers in Bor have been in a small enclosure for two years.

The Navegaon tigress was in captivity for more than two months. Its release ended in disaster. Noted tiger experts, including Valmik Thapar and K Ullas Karanth have already sounded a note of caution. They said release of such tigers is full of problems. Unable to find their own source of food, they can turn into cattle lifters or man eaters.

Chhattisgarh villagers pound Maharashtra tigress to death

Vijay Pinjarkar & Supriya Sharma, TNN Sep 25, 2011, 08.19am IST

NAGPUR/RAIPUR: In perhaps the first case of revenge killing of its kind, a tigress around 4-5 years old was beaten to death with stones and sticks on Saturday afternoon by a mob of over 5,000 people in Bhakru Tola near Bamni in Chhattisgarh.

The spot is about 6km from the Maharashtra border. There are possibilities that it is the same problem tigress which was captured from Umargunda talao in Brahmapuri (Chandrapur district) range on April 3 and released in Navegaon National Park on June 12 after treatment. Navegaon falls in Gondia district of Maharashtra and shares the border with Chhattisgarh.

Forest officials are issuing very guarded statements now. AK Saxena, additional principal chief conservator of forests (APCCF), Nagpur (East), said: "Unless we ascertain the facts, it is difficult to tell if it is the same." "The only fact that can be confirmed is that the killed animal is a tigress," said SV Ramarao, deputy conservator of forests, Gondia division very matter-of-factly. After six hours of being pounded by stones, when the bloodied tigress finally collapsed in a heap, a delirious cry broke out in the village. The villagers even took out a victory procession to celebrate the killing and refused to hand over the carcass to forest officials. The spot falls in Naxal-infested Churia forest range under Rajnandgaon division. TOI got to hear two versions of the incident. Some villagers spotted the tigress in a nullah at 6am on Saturday.

Tiger's Day celebrated in Russia

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 10:37a.m.

Vladivostok and several other cities in Russia's Primorsky Krai celebrated "Tiger's Day" over the weekend.

Tiger's Day is an annual festival celebrated in Russia to promote the protection of the Siberian Tiger, a mammal also known as the Amur or Manchurian Tiger.

In several Russian cities, orange became the most popular colour to wear, as locals and visitors alike celebrated the event. In Vladivostok, many children dressed up as tigers, and a number of young adults wore tiger stripes. On this particular Sunday, people around the city sported these tiger looks in promote the protection of tigers.

"(The Siberian Tiger) is gradually disappearing from Earth, and only very few are left. It's among the world's most endangered species," said one local youth.

Tiger's Day is an important festival recognised both by the government and local residents of Vladivostok. People paraded through the city all united under the common cause of raising awareness regarding one of the county's endangered animals. The city square also created an attraction for children to express their will to protect tigers by creating drawings.

According the activity's planners, more and more young people and organisations are being drawn to the festival. Nearly 50,000 people joined in this year's celebration, including many Chinese students currently studying in Russia. These exchange students are also very passionate about the cause.

"China also has few tigers, so we have to protect them, starting with any way we can help," a Chinese student said. Another student emphasized that, cracking down on illegal trading of tiger skin and tiger teeth is a very important part of the effort.

Since 2000, "Tiger's Day" has been celebrated on the last Sunday of every September in Vladivostok. The festival hopes to attract international attention in its effort to help the Siberian tigers and endangered species.

Friday, September 23, 2011

IFAW Launches 'Will Only Words Remain?' Campaign During Tiger Day Celebrations in Russia

Press Release Sept. 23, 2011, 10:32 a.m. EDT

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- As thousands of Russians prepare to celebrate annual Tiger Day festivities this weekend from Moscow to Vladivostok, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - ) is launching a public awareness campaign, Will Only Words Remain?, to promote tiger conservation throughout the Russian Far East, home to the last few hundred Siberian (Amur) tigers.

"Tiger Day provides an opportunity for the Russian people to celebrate tigers and better understand their plight," said Masha Vorontsova, Director of IFAW Russia. "This is also a good time to remind the Russian government that they must stay focused on their commitment to tiger conservation, or only words, not tigers, will remain."

The world's wild tiger population has plummeted by 97% over the past century; as few as 3,000 survive in small pockets of scattered habitat in 13 Asian countries.

Just 10 months ago, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin brought together the leaders of tiger range countries in St. Petersburg to forge a new global plan with specific commitments and time-lines to save these critically-endangered animals. However, Russia has not yet joined the Global Tiger Forum, which is the world's only intergovernmental organization dedicated to tiger conservation.

"Tigers are in dire trouble. No single government or organization can save this critically-endangered species on its own," said Vorontsova. "It's time for Russia to join the Global Tiger Forum and continue the momentum of the St. Petersburg summit by working with all tiger range countries to conserve critical habitat, stop poaching and end all trade in tiger body parts and products."

During Tiger Day celebrations at the Moscow Zoo on September 24 and in Vladivostok on September 25, IFAW is partnering with the US Embassy to present a new U.S. postage stamp featuring an image of an Amur tiger cub. The special stamp, which was first unveiled in the United States on 20 September, will cost 11 cents more than regular U.S. stamps. The extra money generated will go toward an international conservation fund for some of the most threatened animal species around the globe: elephants, rhinoceros, great apes, marine turtles, as well as tigers.

For more than 10 years, Russia's Tiger Day has been organized annually on the last Sunday in September by regional and municipal governments in partnership with IFAW, Phoenix Foundation, the Amur branch of WWF, AMUR Fund, and corporate sponsors. Officials, celebrities, musicians and thousands of local people take part in Tiger Day parades, festivals, education programs and concerts throughout the country.

IFAW works on the front lines of tiger protection in Russia by supporting and equipping ranger teams that have been instrumental in reducing poaching of tigers and their prey in protected reserves of the Russian Far East. IFAW has also trained and equipped more than a third of India's anti-poaching force.

To promote cross-border cooperation among wildlife enforcement teams, IFAW conducts bilateral trainings and visits between Russian and Indian rangers to share best practices about tiger conservation.

"These 'Tiger Watch' exchanges are especially meaningful for Russian rangers," said Vorontsova. "Wild tigers are so rare in Russia that most of our anti-poaching rangers have never seen one alive."

At Tiger Day in Vladivostok this Sunday, IFAW will announce the names of the two Russian rangers from the region who have earned a spot on the next Tiger Watch exchange with India in February 2012.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Tiger Cub Stamps Aim to Help Save Endangered Species

Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society

Sep 21, 2011 10:36 AM ET
By OurAmazingPlanet Staff

A new U.S. postage stamp, the Save Vanishing Species stamp, was issued today (Sept. 20, 2011) by the U.S. Postal Service. The stamp, featuring an illustration of a tiger cub, supports efforts to save species like elephants, tigers, and great apes.

Vanishing Species stamps are now available at Post Office locations nationwide and online at or They will sell for 11 cents greater than a First Class Mail stamp — 55 cents — and $11 for a sheet of 20. Also available is a special commemorative notecard set featuring the stamp’s image.

“The new wildlife stamp is a tremendous opportunity to help save wildlife around the world in a financially responsible way,” said John Calvelli, Wildlife Conservation Society’s Executive Vice President of Public Affairs. “The stamp is the culmination of a decades-long effort among conservation organizations, federal agencies and Congressional champions, making it a true collaborative victory for threatened wildlife. This gives every one of us the chance to make a difference by simply buying a stamp.”

The Save Vanishing Species stamps will contribute funding for projects supported by the Multinational Species Conservation Funds (MSCF), which are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conserve tigers, rhinos, great apes, marine turtles, African elephants and Asian elephants. The stamp was created through federal legislation which was signed into law in September 2010. Passage of the law was spearheaded by the Wildlife Conservation Society and World Wildlife Fund and was supported by the 33 organizations of the Multinational Species Coalition.

Today, only 3,200 tigers populate 42 source sites across thirteen countries in Asia that are now the last hope and greatest priority for the conservation and recovery of the world’s largest cat. Source sites contain the majority of the world’s remaining breeding females – approximately 1,000 individuals – and have the potential to seed the recovery of tigers across wider landscapes. Multinational Species Conservation Funds, soon to be supplemented by proceeds from the stamp, provide critical support to programs that protect these last remaining tiger habitats.

“This stamp marks the fourth semipostal issued by the Postal Service. These types of stamps provide an extremely convenient way for the American public to contribute to help protect threatened and vanishing species,” said Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman. “We look forward to working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Multinational Species Coalition to make this stamp a resounding success.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s MSCF program supports the conservation of many of the world’s most charismatic species. Despite the modest size of this program, its support is very broad‐based, including more than 20 million members of the Multinational Species Coalition. This program also stimulates public‐private partnerships and has leveraged more than three times as much in matching funds from conservation groups, corporations and other governments.

“The stamp provides a unique opportunity for the American public to work with the federal government to contribute to saving some of our most beloved threatened species,” said Herb Raffaele, Chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of International Conservation. “A commitment to the stamp will demonstrate that Americans really care about wildlife conservation abroad.”

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bengkulu farmer killed in tiger attack

The Jakarta Post Mon, 09/12/2011 8:00 AM

Jakarta: The body of Milyan, an 18 year-old resident of Pino Baru village in South Bengkulu Regent, Bengkulu, was found dead after apparently being mauled by a tiger, his family reported.

“He was attacked when he was alone in the coffee plantation,” Milyan’s aunt Surainah said Sunday, as quoted by

She said that other farmers had found Milyan’s body on Thursday night near his farm.

As a result of the incident, many local farmers decided to remain in their villages until the tiger was captured by the Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA).

The agency said that they would set traps to capture the tiger after receiving permission from the Directorate General of Nature Conservation and Forest Protection.

With 200 tigers, Corbett turns a proud 75

A majestic Royal Bengal Tiger in the Corbett National Park, which completes 75 years this year.

IANS Sep 11, 2011, 01.48PM IST

One of the nurseries of India's tiger conservation movement and Asia's first endeavour to have a national park, the Corbett National Park turns 75 this year, marking a string of successes despite a few incidents of man-animal conflict.

Some 200-plus tigers, or almost one in every eight of the big cats surviving in India, live in Corbett landscape, which is almost 2,000 square kilometres of grasslands and Sal forest covering the reserve and adjoining jungles in Uttarakhand's Shivalik foothills.

The tigers are not the only attractions; the resort hosts a wide gamut of animals, including leopards, elephants, sloth bears and various deer species including spotted deer, sambar, nilgai, hog deer, and barking deer.

The reptiles include the Indian marsh crocodile, gharials (alligators), the king cobra, common krait, cobra, Russels viper, python and monitor lizards, while more than 600 species and subspecies of birds are found.

Founded in 1936, the preserve was named after famous hunter and conservationist Jim Corbett, who was also one of its founding members.

To mark its platinum anniversary, the management has planned a range of activities which will continue till December. A series of activities have already been held, while many more are on the anvil.

"We are planning to release reports on conservation, and an archival film on Corbett tigers is also being made," park warden U.C. Tiwari said in an interview.

"Our Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal has also announced plans to invite Indian cricket captain (and the park's honorary warden) M.S. Dhoni in November," said Tiwari, adding special safaris for school students is also being organised.

Considered one of the best-managed parks in India, the park has withstood many challenges: from the onslaught of poaching to changes in the ecosystem and now man-animal conflict.

The Corbett Park was brought under Project Tiger when this flagship programme to save the big cats was launched by India in 1973. The Corbett Tiger Reserve today spreads over 1,280 sq km, also covering the 520 sq km Corbett Park.

However, with the expansion of the reserve over time, giving wild animals more roaming space has led to an increase in man-animal conflict in recent years since it brought them closer to human settlements.

Last year at least six people were mauled to death by tigers in the Sunderkhal area, adjoining the reserve, which is an important corridor that helps wild animals to move between the reserve and the adjoining forests.

Over 400 families live in this corridor. The government has been mulling to shift them to safer places but nothing concrete has been decided yet.

In addition, developmental activities too have taken a toll and threatened to damage the park's sensitive ecosystem.

"There has been a spurt of tourism activities, which is a big challenge. We need to have some regulatory measures to tackle it," says C.K. Kavidayal, deputy director of the Corbett Tiger Reserve.

"Besides this, there is always a threat of poaching with the increasing number of tigers. We track all these factors, and the credit goes to our staff," he said.

"People who venture into the forest for fodder and fuel wood become vulnerable to predator attacks, now more so when the tiger numbers have increased. But incidents like last year's have never happened around Corbett before," Kavidayal said.

"There are two major corridors connecting the reserve with the adjoining forests. Our task is to recover them so that wild animals could move between these forests," Tiwari said.

One of the corridors connects the reserve with the Ramnagar forest division and the other connects the Rajaji National Park, also in Uttarakhand, through the Lansdowne forest division.

These corridors are vital for the survival of wild animals that roam these forests in search of food.

According to the latest tiger census report released by the government in March, Indian tigers in the wild are around 1,500. A similar report in 2008 showed India had about 1,400 tigers.

Friday, July 22, 2011

SKIP the bobcat

Skip the bobcat was hit by a car on December 28th, 2010. After successful surgery to repair his shattered pelvis and 3 months of rehab at Big Cat Rescue he was unable to be released back into the wild...

Watch full episodes of the "Skipcam" camera trap videos here....

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tips to boost tiger numbers ignored, says ecologist

Panaji, July 19 (IANS) Key recommendations of a task force appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to boost tiger numbers have not been implemented, environmentalist Madhav Gadgil, a former member of the panel, said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a workshop in Panaji, Gadgil said the crucial recommendations made by the five-member task force, led by environmentalist Sunita Narain, were ignored by the central government.

"The task force made recommendations that the management of tiger reserves should be made much more participatory and people-friendly," said Gadgil.

"But the recommendations of the task force are not at all being implemented. I am not happy with the rigid regulatory approach of the forest department," said the Padma Bhushan awardee.

The tiger task force was set up by the prime minister in 2005, following the shocking revelations that tigers had disappeared from the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan.

It was asked to recommend long-term actions to boost the numbers of tigers in the country and improve their natural habitat.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tiger Poacher, Via Phone, is Witness for His Own Prosecution

July 14, 2011, 4:41 pm

When a wildlife conservation patrol in Thailand’s Western Forest Province surprised some poachers, a pile of abandoned gear, particularly a cell phone, provided evidence of their crime:

The short slide show tells the story. In a statement, Joe Walston, who directs programs in Asia for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which is working with the Thai government on tiger conservation projects, noted that the push against poachers has come at a significant cost.

“The individuals apprehended by Thailand officials are suspected to have killed as many as 10 tigers in the region,” Walston said. “They are also involved in an organized crime ring that W.C.S. and other partners have been tracking in this region for the past year. However, such work comes with great risk to the park rangers working on the front lines of enforcement. One officer was shot in a nearby community on Friday in what is believed to be retaliation for the recent poaching arrests. The ranger remains in serious condition in the hospital. Nevertheless, the arrests are a great victory for the government of Thailand.”

I agree that Thailand should be credited for its multi-pronged crackdown on the trade in tigers and tiger parts. It was particularly heartening last year when a security officer screening baggage in the Bangkok airport disrupted a smuggling effort by noticing a live tiger cub in a bag filled with stuffed tiger toys. Here’s the image of that intercepted cub:

Tiger poachers caught on camera — their own

This tiger, its image captured by a hidden camera in 2010, was identified as one killed by poachers recently in Thailand.

This image was among those retrieved from a cell phone camera left behind by tiger poachers in Thailand.

Two suspects arrested in Thailand after park rangers recovered images on cell phone Updated 7/14/2011 1:14:17 PM ET 2011-07-14T17:14:17

Two men suspected of killing endangered tigers in Thailand have been arrested, a U.S. conservation group said Thursday, and the key evidence turned out to be cell phone images of them with their prizes.

A phone with the images was seized after a gun battle between Thai park rangers and suspected poachers in a protected area, the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a statement.

"The rangers also found other evidence of poaching, including animal body parts and insecticides that are sometimes used to poison tigers," the group stated.

The images led to three men, one of whom escaped and two who were arrested. The group is thought to have killed up to 10 tigers in the region — a significant number given that only 2,500 breeding adult tigers are left in the wild globally.

"When confronted with 'trophy' images of themselves posing over a dead tiger, the suspects claimed the big cat was poached in Myanmar in 2003," WCS said. "According to WCS Thailand staff, however, the tiger (identified by its unique stripe patterns) was a well-known male tiger that researchers had tracked with camera traps in Thailand for at least three years between 2008-2011."

The society said it believes the men are part of "an organized crime ring that WCS and other partners have been tracking in this region for the past year."

The cell phone also contained images of elephant tusks, suggesting the men had illegally hunted elephants as well.

The Wildlife Conservation Society, based in New York, has helped Thailand and other governments with funding and training for beefed up patrols to protect wildlife.

"Such work comes with great risk to the park rangers working on the frontlines of enforcement," WCS noted. "One officer was shot in a nearby community on Friday in what is believed to be retaliation for the recent poaching arrests. The ranger remains in serious condition in the hospital."

Tigers have lost ninety percent of their historic range — which spread across Asia from Turkey to eastern Russia — according to TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring group funded by the World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Tigers are poached mainly for their pelts and bones, which are used in traditional Asian medicines.

'Propose Mhadei wildlife sanctuary as tiger reserve'

TNN Jul 17, 2011, 12.40am IST

PANAJI: The state government should heed the central government's advice and propose that the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary be declared a tiger reserve after a proper study, the Pilerne citizens' forum (PCF) said on Saturday.

The demand has been made in a representation to governor S S Sidhu, chief minister Digambar Kamat and Union minister of state for forests and environment Jayanti Natarajan.

The representation has been signed by PCF secretary Aaron Paul Fernandes.

The PCF also slammed health minister Vishwajit Rane for his comments to a local television channel allegedly objecting to the proposed declaration of Mhadei wildlife sanctuary as a tiger reserve.

The PCF explained that the central government has advised Goa to propose the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary as a tiger reserve because of evidence of the presence of tigers there not merely as transit animals but as residents. The centre has urged Goa to seriously consider the proposal as Mhadei, situated in Sattari taluka, is a 'contiguous tiger landscape' to Bhimgad wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka to its southeast and to Anshi Dandeli tiger reserve to its south which has around 35 tigers.

PCF spokesperson Yatish Naik told the media that the forum and the people of Goa were shocked that even before the proposal of the Union ministry of forests and environment and even before the proposal was made public, a cabinet minister had opposed the proposal.

The representation read, "Declaration of Mhadei sanctuary as a tiger reserve should undoubtedly be made only after studying all aspects related thereto and most importantly considering the fast dwindling numbers of our national animal."

The PCF said "it is a matter of great concern" that the health minister has "shot down the proposal even before his own government has studied the same".

The PCF has called upon the chief minister to instruct his ministers not to indulge in making "non-meritorious and detrimental statements in a premature fashion without studying the concerned subject".

Saturday, July 09, 2011


Listen to Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Cougars and Ocelots BIG CAT RAP!! For FREE Big Cat Rescue ringtones visit:

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Easy, tiger! Incredible moment huge animal is released back into the wild after being rescued from a poacher's snare

By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 4:15 PM on 3rd July 2011

This is the incredible moment an angry and fearsome tiger makes a bid for freedom - after being rescued from a poacher's snare.

The hulking beast, named Victor, was nursed back to health by experts for a week after being caught in a brutal snare set by ruthless hunters.

The nine-year-old Amur tiger, who was spotted by students in a remote Russian forest who heard him roaring in pain after being trapped in a cable snare.

The bleeding beast, who would have been worth up to $10,000 on the black market for its bones and skin alone, was finally released to safety in the frozen wastes of eastern Russia after being treated for cuts to his skin.

Roaring to go: Victor lets out a growl as he is finally released back into the wild

Freedom: The Amur tiger bursts from his cage and leaps through the snow

The dramatic moment where he burst out of his cage was caught on camera for BBC Wildlife Magazine and shows the powerful animal leaping through the snow to freedom as the team of conservationists stood well back.

One of them John Goodrich, 45, who has spent 16 years working with the tigers in Russia, said: 'We chose a place with enough open space so that we could sit in our vehicles and watch as Victor left his cage to freedom.

'We had cameras ready as my colleague raised the door to the cage.

'Victor glared at us and roared, making a great cloud of steam in the cold air. But he stayed put.

'Then, letting out another roar, he turned toward us again and burst out of the cage. He hit the snow and, with one great leap, disappeared into the forest.

'The power and speed with which he leapt from the truck and disappeared into the forest was awesome and would have been terrifying had I not been sitting in the safety of my vehicle.'
When Victor was found, the kindhearted students drove 50 miles to the nearest telephone to raise the alarm, and alerted the Inspection Tiger Department to their find.

The organisation then contacted the Wildlife Conservation Society, which sent a specialist to anaesthetise the stricken tiger and transport it to safety.

He was examined by experts, who found him to be 'unusually fat and healthy', weighing 385 pounds, and stretching an incredible 10 feet long.

They kept him under observation for days, ensuring there were no internal injuries, before fitting him with a radio collar and driving him eight hours back into the wilderness.

John said: 'Watching him burst from his steel cage to freedom was incredibly satisfying; there was no doubt in our minds that we had made a difference.

'His beauty and power as he leaped from the cage into the forest was stunning and something I will never forget.

'This story is immensely encouraging.

'For the one or two poachers who set the snare to catch a tiger, there were several dedicated people willing, ready, and able to get the tiger out of the snare, against all odds.'

For more information about tiger conservation, see .

Slot for N-E in tiger body


Guwahati, July 3: The Northeast has finally got a voice in the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), the apex body of tiger conservation in the country.

Firoz Ahmed, a wildlife biologist with Aaranyak who has carried out camera trapping in wildlife parks of Assam, has been inducted as a member of the NTCA.

Ahmed’s term is for one year and it will end in September next year. The notification for his appointment was issued in the last week of June.

“I will try to highlight the issues of the Northeast in the tiger conservation policies of the Centre,” he told The Telegraph today.

Ahmed was the team leader of the Kaziranga camera trapping exercise, which put the park on top of the world after it was found that the park had a tiger density of 32 per 100 sq km. Ahmed said though tiger reserves in the region have resources, rigorous planning was required at the management level to use the resources to their best.

He is also developing individual profile of tigers in Kaziranga, Orang, Manas and Nameri under the Tiger Informatics through Geospatial and Ecological Research (TIGER) project.

“This will assist the managers and other stakeholders with updated information on tigers of the region and create awareness among the masses,” Ahmed said.

He had recently carried out an appraisal of Dampa tiger reserve in Mizoram, one of the important landscapes in the Indo-Bangladesh border with contiguous forests in both the countries.

Feeding 100+ Tigers, Lions, Leopards...

What's the favorite time of day for BIG CATS? - - - - DINNER TIME! This is what the residents at Big Cat Rescue enjoy more than anything else, food, food, food! The cats definitely love to eat and we love to provide them with the best diet we possibly can, so if you would like to help us feed the cats please visit this site and donate what you can: THANK YOU!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sariska to get 3 more tigresses

ALWAR: The Sariska tiger reserve will soon host atleast three more tigeress from Ranthambore. Currently, the reserve has two tigers and three tigeress.

This was stated by Union forest minister Jairam Ramesh during his visit to the reserve. The minister spotted a tiger at the reserve for the first time in his life. "I have been visiting reserves in the country since 1984 but this is for the first time that I have spotted a tiger," the minister said.

Sources revealed that the minister spotted the tiger ST-6. This is the same tiger that had attacked ranger Daulat Singh Shaktawat and had fled to Bharatpur from where it was eventually brought to Sariska.

"In the next two or three months, we will be shifting three more females from Ranthambore," he said. However, Ramesh made it clear that the next male to set foot in the reserve would be from Madhya Pradesh. The minister was worried as no cubs were being born in Sariska for the past four years since the first tiger was relocated.

"It is just not Sariska but there are 13 tigresses out of a total 20 females in Ranthambore which, too, have not littered since the past five to six years. We are worried and have sent scat samples of these tigresses and from some in Sariska to Hyderabad for a hormonal test," he said. .

The ministry has recently sanctioned Rs 2 crore for the purchase of ten 35-seater buses for ferrying passengers from the gates of the sanctuary to Pandupole. A research centre, Kailash Sankhla research centre, would also be set up. The Centre will give various information on wildlife and will serve as a museum too.

Kawal in Adilabad to be new tiger reserve

Vijay PinjarkarVijay Pinjarkar, TNN Jun 27, 2011, 12.52am IST

NAGPUR: The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has in-principle agreed to recognise Kawal wildlife sanctuary near Jannaram in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh as the new tiger reserve.

The 892 sq km Kawal forest is located in northern Andhra Pradesh adjoining Chandrapur and Gadchiroli forest areas in Maharashtra. This would become the second tiger reserve in Andhra Pradesh after Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam.

The area was first surveyed jointly by a team comprising Kishor Rithe of Satpuda Foundation, Ashish Fernandez of Sanctuary Asia and Imran and Asif Siddiqui of Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society (HYTICOS), Hyderabad in 2003.

The corridor mapping was done from Maharashtra to Andhra Pradesh along with documentation of the wildlife and tiger potential of the area.

HYTICOS, with the help of Nallamalai Foundation, later spent more time on wildlife corridors along the northern boundaries of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The HYTICOS team travelled 1,800 km from Yavatmal to Adilabad, touching Chandrapur border and completed its search at Gadhchiroli border. The Satpuda and Sanctuary teams focused on Maharashtra corridors with Andhra Pradesh.

The proposal was under consideration of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) since then. The sanctuary was under threat from illegal encroachments after Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006 came into force. In May 2011, environment minister Jairam Ramesh and a team too had visited Kawal.

If Kawal formally becomes a tiger reserve, one more reserve will be added to the existing reserves in 300 km vicinity from tiger capital Nagpur. It will include Kanha, Tadoba-Andhari, Pench (MP), Pench, Indravati, Melghat and Satpura-Bori. The MoEF has already agreed to declare Bor and Nagzira-Navegaon as tiger reserves.

"Kawal will help reduce man-animal conflict in Chandrapur-Gadchiroli districts as our spill-over tiger population will find place in Kawal," stated Kishor Rithe, president of Satpuda Foundation and member of National Board for Wild Life (NBWL).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Meet Canyon the SAND CAT!


Canyon the Sand Cat is one of the smallest residents at Big Cat Rescue, he's often mistaken for a domestic cat or kitten by tour guests! Listen to our junior volunteers as they introduce viewers to the cutest cat at BCR!?


Sunday, June 19, 2011


It's Summer time at Big Cat Rescue, check out all the cool enrichment we hand out to the tigers, lions, leopards and more!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Liger Physical

Freckles is an 18 year old liger we rescued in 2008. She was in bad shape when she came to Big Cat Rescue, listen to what we have done to make her more comfortable while living at the sanctuary...

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Vote Big Cat Rescue in Toyota's 100 Cars for Good

Big Cat Rescue has been selected as one of 500 finalists in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program, which will award vehicles to 100 nonprofit organizations based on votes from the public. Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program will showcase five non-profit organizations each day for 100 days on Toyota’s Facebook page



Sleepy Tigers....

TIGERS SNORE TOO!! Check out our Tigers, Lions, Leopards and more doing what cats do best.....SLEEP! Big Cat Rescue is thankful to all our donors and supporters than enable us to rescue these cats and provide them with sanctuary so they can sleep in peace for the rest of their lives.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thai Police Arrest Suspected Tiger Trafficker

A 15-month-old female Bengal tiger looks out from its cage during a police news conference in Bangkok, Thailand Sunday, May 22, 2011. Police in Thailand have arrested a man suspected of being a key player in one of the country's largest tiger trafficking rings, police and a wildlife conservation group said Sunday. (Apichart Weerawong/AP Photo)

By TODD PITMAN Associated Press
BANGKOK May 22, 2011 (AP)

Police have arrested a man suspected of being a key player in one of Thailand's largest tiger trafficking rings, police and a wildlife conservation group said Sunday.

Authorities had been searching for the 49-year-old Thai man since last year, when they issued a warrant for his arrest after seizing a Bengal tiger cub during a separate operation, police said in a statement.

Police believe the network is buying tigers and selling them to purchasers mainly in China via land routes in neighboring Laos and Vietnam, said Chanadda Thanikulap of the FREELAND Foundation, an anti-trafficking group based in Thailand.

The suspect was arrested Saturday in northeastern Thailand and is being held in Bangkok, police said.

Chanadda said the animal was being held by the national park service and appeared to have been habituated to human contact, leading authorities to believe it had been bred in captivity.

Wildlife experts say the number of tigers in Asia has plummeted over the years due mainly to habitat loss and poachers who sell their skins and body parts to booming medicinal and souvenir markets, mostly in China. Conservationists say the government needs to do more to eliminate trafficking networks.

Thailand is a hub for illegal wildlife trafficking. Last year, authorities at Bangkok's international airport found a tiger cub that had been drugged and hidden alongside a stuffed toy tiger in the suitcase of a Thai woman flying to Iran.

Earlier this month, undercover anti-trafficking officers at the airport apprehended a 36-year-old man from the United Arab Emirates who was bound for Dubai with suitcases filled with drugged baby leopards, panthers, a bear and monkeys.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Assam tiger expected to boost gene pool at Bhopal zoo

New Delhi, May 29 (PTI) A four-year-old orphan tiger, shifted recently from a rehabilitation centre in Assam to Van Vihar National Park in Bhopal, seems to have brought cheers to the officials as they hope it will add to the gene pool of the wild cats in the breeding centre.

The tiger, named Vivek, reached Van Vihar on Friday evening after a five-day journey covering 2012km on road from the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) near Kaziranga in Assam.

"With the arrival of Vivek, the count of Royal Bengal tigers at Van Vihar has reached 10 and breeding among the big cats is likely to get a boost," said A K Khare, Assistant Director of the Central Zoo Authority-recognised modern zoo.

"Being a wild tiger, Vivek is expected to benefit the gene pool of tigers at Van Vihar," Khare told PTI.

The tiger was rescued from Methoni tea estate near Kaziranga National Park in 2007 when it was barely six months old.

The cub was found poisoned and in a critical condition when rescued by a team of forest officials and International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI) veterinarians. The carcass of another cub was found nearby and their mother was not located.

Since then, Vivek was hand-raised at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) near Kaziranga, jointly run by IFAW-WTI and the state forest department.

According to WTI chief veterinarian Dr N V K Ashraf, they decided to shift the tiger to another place as CWRC was just a rehabilitation centre and could not afford to keep adult animals for a longer period.

"CWRC''s priority is to release rescued animals in the wild, but since protocol for rehabilitation of hand-raised tigers has not been formalised, Vivek had to be shifted to a zoo," said Dr Ashraf.

"We decided to shift the animal to Van Vihar as it is one of the biggest zoological park and CZA-recognised breeding centre having near natural environment," he added.

Van Vihar National Park is a notified protected area and a modern zoo hosting animals in near natural conditions.

Spread over an area of 445 hectares, the national park boasts of the largest mammal enclosures.

Speaking about the tiger''s behaviour at Van Vihar, Khare said, "Vivek has not shown any sign of stress or discomfort since its arrival at Van Vihar. He has been very friendly and seems to be happy with the new location."

"We have provided him a 1,000-sq metre-enclosure with two chambers fitted with coolers to help him beat the summer heat. There is also a water hole inside the enclosure," he said, adding that the animal was being fed with 8kg of buffalo meat every day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Top 10 Tiger Facts

“If we can’t save the tiger from extinction, we can’t save anything!” was repeated in a myriad of ways over the past week in Washington, DC by conservation experts from around the world at The most important conservation initiative undertaken in the history of the world to conserve wild tigers.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

*BIG Cat Toys!

TIGER TOYS! Watch tigers, leopards & cougars playing with their oversized toys... THANK YOU to all our supporters and volunteers who enable us to provide these grr-eat enrichment items for the cats to play with!

Special thanks to: providing us with the music in this video.

For more info about BIG CAT RESCUE visit:

Friday, May 13, 2011


Help Big Cat Rescue with their mission! Vote for Big Cat Rescue on June 3rd in the Toyota 100 Cars For Good program and we could win a new rescue vehicle!

Vote here on June 3rd:


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Liger ROAR!

Freckles the LIGER at Big Cat Rescue, Freckles was rescued along with two tigers from Mississippi in December 2008, read the full story here:

Big Cat Rescue strives to make sure all of our cats are as comfortable as possible while living at the sanctuary, however we have to inspect and clean the enclosures daily whether the cats like it or not and this video clip is a good example of why these cats do not belong in backyards!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Two tiger cubs spotted at Ranthambore National Park

Jaipur, April 25 (IANS) Two new tiger cubs have been spotted at the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan's Sawai Madhopur district, taking the total number of cubs in the park to 12, and bringing cheer to wildlife enthusiasts.

The cubs of tigress named T-8 were spotted Saturday in Zone Number 8 of Chidikheda area in Phalodi Range of Ranthambore National Park.

"The tiger cubs were spotted in the morning shift of tiger safari. They were roaming around with their mother T-8," Nature Guides Association president Atiq Mohammad said Monday.

The sight enthralled the tourists who frantically took pictures of the cubs and their mother.

"The cubs strayed in the forest area, but the mother continued to hang around," Atiq added.

The guides, who had taken the tourists into the park, immediately informed the authorities. "We have set up 3-4 trap cameras in the area and increased tracking," said a senior park officer.

According to forest officials, the park houses 31 adult tigers. Other wild animals found there include leopards, wild pigs, deer species and monkeys.

Ranthambore National Park is spread over an area of around 400 sq km. If the adjoining Sawai Man Singh sanctuary, over 175 km from Jaipur, is taken into consideration, the total area is around 500 sq km.

The park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1957, and gained the protection of the central government's Project Tiger scheme in 1974. It was designated a national park in 1981.

The latest tiger census puts the total number of tigers in India at 1,706, marking an increase of 295 over the last census in 2006.

Forest union threatens to shut tiger reserves

TNN Apr 26, 2011, 03.07am IST

NAGPUR: The Maharashtra Forest Guards, Forest Employees and Forest Workers' Sanghatana has threatened to close down Pench, Tadoba-Andhari and Melghat tiger reserves if wages of van majoors are not paid immediately.

Working president of the Sanghatana, Siraj Patel, informed that over 1,500 forest workers (van majoors) in the three tiger reserves had not been paid wages for the past four months. These workers were last paid in December. Patel's threat comes a day before Union minister of state for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh is visiting Nagpur for opening the first regional office of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

Van majoors are backbone of any protected area as mostly they man the protection huts deep inside tiger reserves and conduct patrolling. "It has become a chronic problem but forest officials have failed to address it. NTCA has released the money but why is wildlife wing not paying the workers," Patel asked.

"We will not allow tourists to enter these three reserves, if wages are not paid in eight days," warned Patel. Wildlife wing officials, who did not wish to be quoted, said: "This year tiger reserves did not receive the second instalment under the centrally sponsored scheme (CSS) and hence the problem."

They said NTCA released Rs 41.39 lakh for TATR; Rs 13 lakh for Pench and Rs 61.35 lakh for Melghat towards second instalment on March 31, the last day of financial year. "We could not spend the money in one day. Now, unless Centre revalidates the payment, the funds will be kept in abeyance," official sources informed.

Patel said big talk was being made to save the tigers in the name of tiger capital but both NTCA and state government had failed to address the core issue of releasing wages to workers on time.

State government apathy was worse. The financial year begins from April 1 and MoEF releases its share under CSS in September. Shockingly, state finance department releases a separate GR, usually in January, to release this money.

"It's a vicious circle. As first instalment is delayed, utilisation certificates (UCs) are not submitted in time. Unless UCs for first instalment are submitted, MoEF doesn't release second instalment," officials stated.

Patel alleged at a time when tiger numbers had gone up in the state, no steps were being taken to create space for additional tigers. "There is no capacity building, no proper postings and time-bound promotions. How can you expect the field staff to be motivated and protect the tigers," the veteran union leader asked.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tiger Easter!

TIGERS & LIONS LIKE EASTER TREATS TOO! Watch Zabu the white tiger destroy her easter egg filled with catnip and leave the mess for Cameron the lion to investigate!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Big Cat Scares! :)

Big cats can be very scary, but so can Big Cat Rescue volunteers!Sorry interns! If you would like to take part in our intern program please visit:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom *Big Cats!!

Feeding over 100 tigers, lions and leopards each day requires lots of food, watch the cats enjoy their dinner in this fun video!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tiger reserve in Jharkhand ravaged by forest fire

2011-03-25 11:40:00

The Palamu Tiger Reserve in Jharkhand has been ravaged by fire for several weeks now and forest officials are desperately trying to douse the fire, day and night.

The officials state that the main cause of the fire was burning cigarettes thrown by passers- by into the forest.

Forest Ranger Ashok Kumar Singh said: " We are trying to bring the fire under control for several days. Our staff works all night and as per the latest report, we have almost controlled it. You will not find any new fire breaking out."

He also said that the fire may not harm big animals, but reptiles like snakes, lizards, etc. could be killed.

No one has been reported injured in the fire that has devastated about 72 square kilometers of the forest area.

Trackers and firefighters from the forest department are facing a lot of difficulty to carry out operations to douse the fire during the night due to low visibility and the complex nature of the terrain. (ANI)