Monday, January 09, 2012

Killer tiger resurfaces in Kodagu

TNN Jan 10, 2012, 01.56AM IST

MADIKERI: The tiger, which attacked and injured three buffaloes on Friday, killed a cow on Saturday night at Netkundh near Birunani in South Kodagu. Chottangada Rohith found the half-eaten carcass of his cow near its shed.

People in South Kodagu are fearful because the tiger, which claimed several livestock in October and November last year, has resurfaced. A forest department team had kept cages to capture it. These men were relieved when the tiger's pugmark was seen about 500 metres from the Kallalla forest touching Nagarahole on Nov. 9. No incidents were reported after that in Kanoor, Shrimangala, T Shettigeri and Hudikeri villages.

The trouble spot is on the Birunani Kodagu - Kerala border. Shrinivas Naik, the Shrimangala wildlife range forest officer, told TOI a leopard may have attacked the cattle. The incidents happened at Birunani near Brahmagiri wildlife forest range and the animal probably arrived from this forest he said, adding, "We are trying our best to chase the animal back to the forest by bursting crackers in the bushes and trees," Naik said. The animal can be identified only after veterinarians survey these area, he added.

KA Manu of Birunani villager and Kanoor villager S.P.Mahadevappa told TOI villagers are afraid to move about freely on work and students are tense on their way to school and back. After class, students reach home by about 7pm and they tremble with fear on their way back. Virajpet taluk in-charge deputy conservator of forests Anand said cages would be kept in certain points to capture the animal. He said forest guards in groups will try and capture the tiger.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

India's first anti-poaching tiger force begins work

By Habib Beary
4 January 2012
Last updated at 07:04 ET

India's first forest ranger unit charged specifically with preventing tiger poaching has gone into action.

The 54-member force will patrol tiger reserves in national parks straddling the borders of Karnataka, Tamil Nado and Kerala states in the south.

The Special Tiger Protection Force has received training in jungle survival and weapons use.

Tiger numbers have shrunk alarmingly in recent decades. A census last year counted about 1,700 tigers in the wild.

A century ago there were estimated to be 100,000 tigers in India.

Numbers up

"The force is operational," Karnataka conservation official BK Singh told the BBC. "They will deal with poachers and hunters."

The Special Tiger Protection Force was formed by the forest and environment ministry on the recommendation of the National Tiger Conservation Authority and Karnataka authorities.

With their special training course completed, the unit has moved into Bandipur and Nagarahole national parks, south of Bangalore.

The forested region has the highest number of tigers in India, according to a census released in March 2011 by the forest and environment ministry.

India's tiger numbers have shrunk from 100,000 to 1,700 in a little over 100 years Karnataka state, which has six tiger reserves, has about 300 tigers, followed by Madhya Pradesh in the north with 257.

The census indicated that tiger numbers had increased to 1,706 from 1,411 at the last count in 2007.

Officials say conservation efforts by the government and wildlife organisations have helped tiger and elephant populations increase.

But poaching remains a threat, with some 25 tigers killed in Karnataka alone since 2006.

A second tiger force will be set up in the eastern state of Orissa.

Senior National Tiger Conservation Authority official Rajesh Gopal said 13 tiger reserves in seven states across the country had been identified for special measures to protect the big cats.

Tiger expert Ullas Karanth said the new force would go a long way toward saving tigers from poachers.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Tiger count in south states this month

Sreenivas Janyala
Posted: Tue Jan 03 2012, 00:03 hrs

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) will start conducting its annual estimation of tigers in Kawal and Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam tiger reserve (NSTR) along with other tiger reserves in southern states later this month.

For Kawal tiger reserve where at least four to six tigers are known to exist, it is the moment of truth. Tribals, who are opposed to the new tiger reserve because they may be asked to relocate, claim that there are no tigers there, and are protesting and creating hurdles for the tiger reserve. Forest officials say that they will pay special attention to Kawal during the exercise to prove that it is home for a few tigers.

Camera traps and unofficial estimation in the NSTR indicated the presence of new tigers last October. The total tiger population in the reserve is estimated to be 70 to 90, including several cubs.

A two-day training camp for field officers and forest officials of southern states starts at Bandipur on January 4. Known as Phase IV of All India Tiger Estimation, the decision to monitor tiger populations annually, instead of once every four years, was taken in May last year. Phase IV of the All India Tiger Estimation is an exercise in intensive, annual monitoring of source tiger populations in 41 reserves. Hundreds of cameras will be placed for 45 to 60 days at a gap of 1 km to identify and record tigers.

Field officers will also use traditional methods like tracking pugmarks. The latest models of camera traps and estimation methods have been developed by Dr K Ullas Karanth of Wild Conservation Society (India).

Chief Conservator of Forests (Project Tiger) A K Naik says the estimation of tigers will now be conducted specifically in reserves every year. “The practice of census conducted in all wildlife sanctuaries and national parks will be conducted every four years as usual but in tiger zones, estimation will be conducted annually from now,” Naik said. Besides tigers, the condition and health of the habitat and ecosystem, and availability of prey base and prey population will also be taken into account.

The NTCA is providing necessary equipment and has allotted Rs 35 lakh grant this year to conduct the exercise. Besides forest officers, external experts who will monitor the estimation exercise are also being appointed. Imran Siddiqui of Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society has been appointed as outside expert for Andhra Pradesh.