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.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Tigress-killing-condemned-NTCA-to-send-fact-finding-team/articleshow/10120954.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

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.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-09-25/nagpur/30200222_1_tigress-umargunda-forest-officials

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

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.

http://www.3news.co.nz/Tigers-Day-celebrated-in-Russia/tabid/1160/articleID/227433/Default.aspx

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

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 - www.ifaw.org ) 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 www.ifaw.org

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ifaw-launches-will-only-words-remain-campaign-during-tiger-day-celebrations-in-russia-2011-09-23

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

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 shop.usps.com or tigerstamp.com. 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.”

http://www.ouramazingplanet.com/new-tiger-cub-stamps-aim-to-help-save-endangered-species-2031/

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

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 tempointeraktif.com.

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.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/09/12/bengkulu-farmer-killed-tiger-attack.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

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.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/travel/With-200-tigers-Corbett-turns-a-proud-75/articleshow/9944144.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/