Original source, credits text and photograph

India – The Hindu

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Data.

Content

The fourth national tiger survey has generated much euphoria, whereas the first one in 2006 had cast a pall of gloom. However, missing from all the four survey reports are details necessary to assess the reliability of the tiger numbers.

A brief history of India’s tiger censuses can shed some light on this issue. The tradition of reporting tiger numbers dates back to the 1970s. These numbers were based on the ‘pugmark census method’, which simple-mindedly assumed that the pugmarks of every tiger could be found, recognised and tallied.

As scientific critiques showed, these assumptions failed, rendering the numbers meaningless. However, the forest bureaucracy (the Ministry of Environment and allied institutions) ignored the problem for decades.

Commentary

India recently announced beautiful new tiger numbers. But since then the comments on the report and the real situation of Indian tiger conservancy are growing.

One of the main criticisms is about the used methodology. A beautiful video, even with the great and respected Sir David Attenborough starring, about explaining how India counted tigers now seems more and more as a decoy for the way India actually counted tigers.

This article shows that the Indian Government (Project Tiger – National Tiger Conservation Authority) is blocking any attempts to give insights on the counting itself.

It raises a lot of suspicion – fueled by comments of renown ecological statistical experts.

What has India to hide?

Spotting tigers

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Business Insider

Ranked: India's Most Popular Tiger Reserves — And The Chances Of Spotting The Majestic Wild Cat.

Content

With only 3,890 tigers left in the world, it is next to impossible to spot wild cats in their natural habitat.
 
Those to venture to, require a lot of time, and a bit of luck. Changing habitation, wildlife poaching, and other human activities have been too harsh to the tiger population around the world. In the past century, three out of every nine tiger subspecies became extinct. India, which is home to more than half the population of tigers in the world has been working hard to conserve them.
 
According to the government, their population increased from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018.
 
Those who want to spot a tiger, can try them at over 40 sanctuaries and tiger reserves in the country.

Commentary

Tigers are becoming more and more popular in India. This is good news because they always say “the more eyes, the better” – as tourists have a preventing effect on poaching.

However, the role of media (also social media) is important. Stories or messages about the exact whereabouts of a tiger can lead to activation of poachers.

So please be careful when you see a tiger and want to share your joy with your friends and family – as poachers scan social media as well.

Tiger skin

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Mongabay India

Tigers Are Vanishing Outside Protected Areas In The Northeast.

Content

The annual marathon used to be a big event in Bokolia, a small town in eastern Assam’s picturesque hill district of Karbi Anglong. The participants would run from Bokolia to Manja, a neighbouring town, and return to Bokolia, covering a distance of about 80 kilometres.

For several years the undisputed champion of the annual event was Mangal Singh Terang, a brawny youngster from Sar-at Terang Gaon in Bokolia. He won the championship seven times consecutively. However, the 1991 marathon was the last one Terang participated in.

One chilly winter morning that year, equipped with the traditional Karbi bow and arrow, Terang, along with 30 fellow villagers, participated in the community hunting in the nearby Kaki Reserve Forest, looking to bring home wild boars and deer.

But that was not to be. Something unexpected was waiting for him.

Commentary

Although numbers of tigers rise in India the root problems grow bigger.

One alarming fact is that India loses more and more tigers outside the protected areas. The reasons are known: mining, poaching, lack of prey, no corridors etc.

This article gives a splendid overview of all of this in the Northeast of India.

Rupee tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – The Daily Pioneer

Money Spent On Tiger Reserves’ Management Brings Indirect Benefits.

Content

Every rupee spent on the management of tiger reserves in the country brought in indirect benefits worth Rs 346 to Rs 7,488 within and outside the protected areas, as per the findings of a Government study which analysed 10 of India’s 50 big cat habitats. Most of the benefits have been indirect.

For instance, noted the report “Economic valuation of tiger reserves in India: A value + approach,” a series of reservoirs and weirs have been constructed in and around Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR), which is blessed with 15 rivers and 64 streams and has various rivers and tributaries, under the multipurpose Parimbukulam Aliyar, Amaravathi and Kadamparai projects. These reservoirs supply water to residents of Coimbatore and Tirrupur districts of Tamil Nadu and parts of Kerala and generate approximately 589 MW of electricity annually.

Commentary

A study in India shows that all investments in tiger conservation lead to massive benefits – direct and indirect – for Indian society.

Every rupee spent on the management of tiger reserves in the country brought in indirect benefits worth Rs 346 to Rs 7,488 within and outside the protected areas.

The proceedings don’t go up as high as billions but to trillions!

These new insights call for new, extra and substantial investments in tiger habitats.

Tigers Count

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Deccan Chronicle

More To Tigers Than Numbers.

Content

The latest report on tiger population is music to ears for conservationists in Kerala.

Officially, the country has doubled its tiger population in just over a decade — from a precarious 1,411 in 2006 to 2,967 in 2018.

India now has more than 75 per cent of the globe’s tigers trotting in the wild. The feel-good is justified as the national animal is faring well in most of the tiger range states despite several odds.

In Kerala, the population of big cats increased from 136 in 2014 to 190 in 2018.

Commentary

The chief forest conservator in Indian state Kerala (Pramod Krishnan) wants to express his pride for the Kerala tiger reserves.

On the other hand it distracts from the plausible points he is making on the future of Indian tiger reserves.

So please read and just look through the bragging about Kerala.

CHINA tigers

Why China Wants To Kill Tigers - And It Is Not Medicines.

Today a major political wild animal circus starts in Geneva where CITES, an organ of the United Nations, tries to deliver a new agreement of the trade in endangered animals.

The result of the negotiations on tigers of more than 190 countries will be the same as it has always been – as we will find out when CITES presents their results: CITES will put pressure on China to stop with tiger farming and China will find ways to avoid it or plainly not obey.

The big question that nobody is asking, is WHY?

Why is China so opposed to stopping the poaching business and why is China so opposed to stopping the tiger farming? This article will give the only answer possible.

Commentary

This article was published on the day the CITES-negotiations start in Geneva (Switzerland): the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP).

This CITES-meeting has an agenda. The species ‘tiger’ is not even on the agenda, while other species like leopard, elephant and apes are. And we all know that tigers are threatened with extinction.

The big question for CITES is why tigers are not addressed more prominently on the agenda as it obviously sends out a bad signal. Another question is why CITES keeps allowing China to carry on with tiger farming, while already many years ago CITES urged China to stop.

This article expresses deep concerns about the way China constantly avoids necessary action towards stopping tiger farming, smuggling, poaching and trading of tigers or tiger products.

Tigers are doomed in China, as most people know, especially the ones in conservation and wildlife crime. But many people don’t know why besides pointing a finger to medicines – which is partly right.

4 in 1 – and from 10,000 to almost none

The tiger originates from China, as Chinese scientists like to point out. In Gansu province, the two million-year-old remains of a tiger were found in a town called Longnan, making the Longnan tiger the oldest tiger in the world. But China has – or had – more to offer. A short history lesson shows that China once was blessed with no less than four sub-species of tigers. The Bengal tiger roamed in and near Tibet, the Indochinese one near Laos and Vietnam. The South China tiger only roamed in China and covered the forests in the south and the fourth sub-species – the Siberian or Amur tiger, which the Chinese prefer to name it the North China tiger – roamed in the north of China.

Sjanghai zoo - South China tiger

Sjanghai zoo – South China tiger (source: Wikicommons)

More than 10,000 tigers once roamed the Chinese forests. But not any more, besides a handful of Amur tigers near the Russian-North Korean border and some Bengal tigers in Tibet (which the Chinese consider China).

The rest has been wiped out from China. The South China tiger is officially extinct in the wild, with only a few in zoos and a breeding farm in South Africa.

Chinese culture is not leading to tiger killings

The same history lesson tells us that China has a large cultural history with tigers, which in fact is no different than other countries – like India, Nepal, Thailand or other countries where tigers reside. People tend to believe that the Chinese people had a history of killing tigers but that is not the case – that is, not more than in other countries.

The Chinese people feared the tiger and this fear made the tiger become an important part of the cultural inheritance, which (of course) is different in China compared to other countries.

You might say that the old Chinese culture is not supportive of conserving tigers, but the contrary seems more likely as tigers are worshipped in cultural legends.

Systematic killing of tigers started in the Mao-era

However, the moment that the Chinese started to kill tigers systematically happened only recently – historically seen.

At first the Chinese tiger genocide (a strong word but highly applicable) was fueled by ‘the great leap forward’, the economical program of Mao Zedong, ruler of China from 1949 until 1976. Agriculture was key in his program and tigers – like we also saw within the former Soviet republics – were feared by farmers, which endangered the required economical progress. Most of the four thousand tigers in the south of China were killed because the Chinese government considered them as pests, even offering bonuses to hunters.

Tombstone

The agricultural program of Mao in action during his Great Leap Forward, lead to millions of deaths due to hunger (source: Tombstone]

In a later period Mao was confronted with ‘something’ else: his big plan didn’t work. More and more people got into trouble and without food. Because this subject (the great Chinese Famine) is still a taboo in China, the numbers of people that died between 1955 and 1961 remain unknown. The estimations of people that starved to death in that period, however, go up to as far as 45 million people.

TCM – the start of a brand in folk solutions

Mao needed to do something, being desperate that his plan didn’t work. He realized that there were not enough doctors or medical specialists to deal with all medical problems and created a solution – even one he didn’t even believe in himself. All folk remedies (effective or not) were collected under his command. The result of that collection was another red book: Traditional Chinese Medicines, more commonly known as TCM.

TCM red book

The little red TCM book – Source: Amazon.com

From that moment on wild animals in China were really doomed as wild animals were the main ingredients for TCM.

Something else is important to mention, as this is part of the reason why China is opposing the ending of tiger farming. China has the biggest army in the world. During the ‘Great Chinese Famine’ soldiers were suffering too. Because the army was considered more important than China’s people, the army became a main consumer of available TCM.

TCM as the start of international wildlife crime

When TCM was institutionalized in the fifties by the Chinese authorities all hell broke loose for wild animals. Even the seemingly endless forests of China started to get empty.

The Chinese mafia (or syndicates) started to realize they could make serious money out of wildlife. The demand for wildlife remained strong due to TCM but the supply was getting lower and lower due to the empty forests. In other countries however there was enough wildlife available but it was illegal to hunt abroad, although that didn’t stop people without moral.

World Wildlife Day 2015 Infographic

World Wildlife Day 2015 Infographic – source: African Wildlife Foundation

This was the moment Chinese syndicates stepped into a very profitable activity. The Chinese mafia started to create (illegal) ways to get wild animals from neighboring countries. They started organizing international poaching, smuggling and trafficking wildlife, which basically was the start of the international wildlife crime as it is called today. In 2015 this illegal business was estimated at US$ 23 billion – even going up to more than US$ 40 billion.

Easy money

Why is wildlife crime so interesting? There are two main reasons.

The most important one is the profit-side. The amount of money you can make with wildlife crime is mind-blowing, because the demand is high and the supply is low. Prices are skyrocketing. A panda can get as high as one million US$, a tiger easily to US$ 400,000 – if marketed and distributed wisely, which is easy for the Chinese syndicates.

The costs of poaching are low: a poacher will get a couple of hundred dollars, smugglers the same. Sometimes a bit more. For the syndicates these amounts are considered pocket money because of the prices they can ask for their products – like oils, potions, tiger bone wine (business gifts), amulets, meat (for certain restaurants), skins (for furniture or clothing). Of course we can’t forget the pills because TCM was and still represents a large demand.

TCM products

Credits: unknown.

The other side is risk-avoidance. The risk of wildlife crime was always considered low if you compare it with drugs, human trafficking or weapons. Why? Because the chances of getting caught were like zero and when you were caught, chances of a conviction were also considered zero. Nobody cared in the beginning.

So for the syndicates it was easy money.

Until 1973.

The slow start of CITES

When the world realized that more and more species were getting extinct in countries like China, Myanmar, Laos, Bangladesh, Russia, South and North Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal and India (almost all neighboring China), it called for action. In 1963 the UN decided to act but it took no less than 10 years (!) before CITES was installed.

First meeting of CITES. Source: sdg.iisd.org

In those 10 years the Chinese syndicates were unattended and were able to go on with the slaughter of wild animals.

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES works by subjecting international trade in specimens of selected species to certain controls. All import, export, re-export and introduction from the sea of species covered by the Convention has to be authorized through a licensing system. Each Party to the Convention must designate one or more Management Authorities in charge of administering that licensing system and one or more Scientific Authorities to advise them on the effects of trade on the status of the species. The species covered by CITES are listed in three Appendices, according to the degree of protection they need.

It took a while before CITES became effective. But when it started in 1973 it actually slowed down the massive killings of wild animals. As a consequence, the mafia responded, putting more pressure in their value chain – with bribing law enforcers, extorting and even killing people that were in the way. They also realized that with that pressure their risks became bigger and bigger. Because of all new regulations, new laws and the growing law enforcement, the Chinese syndicates created other ways of making money. Even an easier one: farming.

Farming tigers as the solution for CITES

In the beginning of the eighties wild animal farming was suddenly introduced in China. The most prominent ones were the bear-bile farming and the tiger farming. Also the term ‘speed breeding’ was introduced: a way to breed animals in a way that female animals are constantly pregnant, delivering as much offspring as possible.

In 1983 China was out of tiger stock. The World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Wildlife Conservancy Society (WCS) helped China with moving eight purebred tigers from US zoos to the first tiger farm in China. China started breeding tigers, probably at first with conservational reasons, but no one knows for sure. Later another three tigers were delivered.

The tiger farming grew bigger and bigger – without any tiger being released back into the wild (up until today). Estimations now say that China has at least 7,000 tigers on more than 12 farms across China. Other estimations go even up to 15,000 tigers and 20 farms.

Tiger farming Chris Slappendel

Tiger farming in 2013 by Chris Slappendel. Source: National Geographic.

Although the original idea of the tiger farming might have been conservation, the Chinese mafia realized that the farms were the ultimate solution for the growing problems to get tigers from the neighboring forests.

Farming tigers as an extreme moneymaker

To show the extent of tiger farming it is best to look into this example.

One farm of 1000 tigers can easily have a male-female ratio of 30%. So 700 tigers are female of which (low estimated) 70 percent is fertile (if not too young nor too old – which is easy to manage if you are leading a tiger farm). Let’s assume that 500 tigers can produce litters. A litter is on average 2-3 cubs. A tigress can have two litters per year (with speed breeding) so it safe to assume that an average of 2,5 new tigers per year per female tiger is easy doable. In China it won’t be impossible to double this amount with their knowledge and expertise on speed breeding.

This means that a tiger population in a tiger farm can easily double in one year.

In reality reports about tiger farms (in newspaper or from investigators) always give the same numbers of tigers, despite all new births (of which you see countless pictures on the internet). It is therefore safe to assume that the growth of tigers is being used to serve the demand for Chinese customers.

Considering the turnover of one single tiger (US$ 400,000), one single tiger farm of 1000 tigers can bring a profit of 1000 times US$ 400,000. Each year. Regardless of the stock, which represents an equal value.

Four hundred million US$ per 1000 tigers per year can be described as a fantastic moneymaker.

Money makes China wants to kill tigers

With this in mind we can say that money is the only reason why China wants to kill tigers, whether they come from the wild or from captivity.

Most Chinese citizens like tigers and don’t want them dead, surveys confirm that. Chinese medics and doctors warn about the devastating consequences of TCM, like the extinction of wild animals – which they openly do in newspapers and in brochures. The problem however is not with them although all news stories, gossips and rumors often indicate otherwise.

The one and only problem is the Chinese mafia that controls the tiger trade – in both captive and wild tigers.

CITES has become a paper tiger, especially after the WHO acknowledging TCM as an official medicine.

CITES is being considered a ‘paper tiger’ more and more: an organization that has lost its authority and power, as it obviously can’t stop China from tiger farming.

Especially after the decision of the World Health Organization, another UN organ, the position of CITES has weakened. The World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO), in May of this year formally approved the latest version of its influential global compendium, which includes a chapter on traditional medicine for the first time.

Source: Radiichina.com

Meaning: TCM is now an official medicine. The biomedical community says the WHO overlooked the toxicity of some herbal medicine and the lack of evidence it works, while animal rights advocates say it will further endanger animals such as the tiger, pangolin, bear and rhino, whose organs are used in some TCM cures.

For CITES it means a blow in the face as it weakens its position as ‘market master’.

Why are Chinese syndicates allowed to continue?

The main question of all this is never asked.

How is it possible that the Chinese triads are allowed to continue, even after so much pressure from CITES and animal welfare organizations on the Chinese government?

In the article the relation with the Chinese army was mentioned before. One of the tiger farms (in Harbin where at least 1200-1400 tigers are living) was established on a (former) military compound. Besides that, more than a thousand companies – owned by the Chinese army – deal with TCM. Reports of investigative organizations tell that a major demand in tiger products comes from the army, where tigers are considered as elements of power.

Part of the international law enforcement community suspects there the Chinese syndicates have ties with members within the Chinese Communist Party – which would explain a lot of the behavior of the Chinese government. Also suspicions are raised about Chinese leaders being customers of wildlife products themselves.

The lack of transparency and limited possibilities for independent research or investigations make it impossible to get to the bottom of these allegations, another reason to doubt the activities within the Chinese government.

What we also see with CITES and with law enforcement, is that attempts to stop tiger farming or increase investigations into syndicates involved in wildlife crime are consequently obstructed by China.

The coming CITES-meetings in Geneva and forthcoming results will be no different.

How to change this unwanted and extinction prone status quo?

The true challenge is how the world can persuade Chinese leaders like Communist Party Leader Xi Jinping to cut ties with syndicates to stop the worldwide trading, breeding and massacre of endangered animals.

To get him doing something, one has to bear in mind that trading is a Chinese invention. It is crucial to realize that China wants something in return.

What has the world to offer to save its precious wildlife?

Sources:

A.o. Global Tiger Initiative documents, CNN, Worldbank, Cites.org, EIA-international.org, The Guardian, The New York Times. World Animal Planet, Tombstone (Yang Jisheng), The Making of TCM (Birdie Andrews), Blood Of The Tiger (Judy Mills), Historic distribution and recent loss of tigers in China (Aili KANG c.s.).

Christian tigers

Original source, credits text and photograph

USA – Christian News Headlines

Of Tigers and Talents: Why Conservation Success Belong in a Christian Worldview

Content

The words “endangered species” brings to mind fatalistic headlines about animals on the verge of extinction. Landing on the endangered species list is, in the minds of many, as good as a death sentence. Lately, however, endangered species are more often making the news for being removed from the list, not making it.

The giant panda, the southern white rhinoceros, the Florida manatee, the grizzly bear, the snow leopard, the gray wolf, the humpback whale, and the bald eagle have all graduated from the endangered species list in recent years, thanks to diligent conservation efforts.

Commentary

Article on how conservation success is part of a Christian worldview raises the question why religions are holding back to take a prominent role to save (endangered) animals.

It seems that according to the author only success matters of conservation in Christian worldviews while the eye must be open to the failures of human mankind.

Dhaka zoo tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

Bangladesh – Dhaka Tribune

Is Bangladesh Going To Fail In Doubling Tiger Population?

Content

Due to the wildlife hunting and trafficking, illegal trade of wildlife, deforestation and environmental catastrophe, not only tigers but other wild animals also became endangered in the world. Considering the situation, the tiger range countries (TRC), including Bangladesh, in 2010 at the Tiger Summit in Russia, decided to double the number of tigers in their respective countries by 2022. 

According to the forest department, the number of tigers in Bangladesh has increased by eight in the last three years, which is only 8%. At the same time, the number of tigers in India has increased by 741.

Now the question is: “Is the Bangladesh Forest Department going to fail to achieve the desired goal of increasing the tiger population within a certain period?”

Commentary

Bangladesh fails in doubling the tiger numbers, as agreed upon in 2010.

The reasons are obvious but the excuses come as the year 2022 is getting closer.

Tiger corridor

Original source, credits text and photograph

USA – Mongabay

How Going Organic Brought Hope To MP’s Cotton Farmers And The Wildlife Around Them.

Content

Twenty-six-year-old Laxmi Salami comes from a long line of farmers who have remained true to the tried and tested ways of cotton cultivation that they know. Not surprisingly, she was unwilling to stray from the well-trodden path, into organic farming, an unfamiliar territory for her.

But when the young cotton farmer, hailing from Gajandoh village in Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh, reluctantly agreed to participate in an organic farming project and try something new on her field, the results were a welcome surprise. “Last year, I harvested 12 and a half quintals of traditional cotton in seven acres. I sold it all for Rs. 62,500, but my costs towards pesticides, fertilisers and labour came to almost Rs. 40,000, so my net profit was not much,” she says of her experience with cotton farming before the intervention. Now, on the remaining one acre of land where she experimented with organic cotton farming, her production costs have been negligible and her profit from the one acre cultivation, a 100 percent.

Commentary

Wonderful initiative of NGOs to help local cotton farmers into organic cotton, helping the forests and tiger corridors.

Anup Kumar Nayak

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Times of India

‘The Tiger Is Not Only A Charismatic Animal; With It We Are Conserving Pristine Forest Areas Contributing To Water Security.’

Content

The tiger number has risen to 2,967. How did you carry out the count?

Tigers are counted based on their stripe patterns which are akin to human fingerprints. These stripe patterns are recorded through camera traps which are placed in forested habitats to identify individual tigers. In addition, factors which influence tiger numbers like habitat, prey availability and human disturbance are recorded through structured field protocols as well as remotely sensed data. This year camera traps were placed at 26,880 locations spread across 141 sites for mark-recapture analysis. Tigers were estimated directly within camera trapped areas. In areas with tigers, but not camera trapped, the figure was arrived at by extrapolation based on joint distribution of covariates. Out of 2,967, the number of individual tigers that have been camera trapped is 2,461.

Is such an increase possible when tiger habitats and occupancy areas are shrinking?

Yes. Though there is no significant change in tiger occupancy areas in the last few years, most of the source areas have shown improvement and hence the increase in numbers. Occupancy for dispersing tigers and isolated population of tigers in low-density areas depend on multiple factors such as availability of prey, congenial habitat, presence and absence of co-predators and level of biotic interference, which keeps on changing in dynamic ecosystems outside tiger reserves and other protected areas.

Commentary

While explaining things about the recent tiger census in India the head of the National Tiger Conservancy Authority, or Project Tiger, also played down critiscm about the tiger census.

He trivialises the change from including the 1 year old cubs (which was 1,5 year olds) and he says there is no significant change in tiger occupancy areas.

Also he neglects the presence of individual wildlife lovers taking part in the census.

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Outlook

Last Bagha Nacha.

Content

The mighty roar is now a mere whimper in the forests of Odisha. The Royal Bengal tiger, once lovingly described by writer-conservationist Jim Corbett as a “large- hearted gentleman”, is waging a grim battle for survival in the state.

The latest tiger census estimates the number of big cats in the state at 28, the same number reported four years earlier. In contrast, the all-India growth in tiger numbers is 33 per cent, with nearly 3,000 counted across the country in the 2018 census. States like Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra rec­orded spectacular growths of 71 per cent and 64 per cent, according to data released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on World Tiger Day, July 29.

Commentary

Odisha, once a safehaven for tigers, is now struggling. Poaching, lack of prey, respected men that quarrel about methods…

The state of Odisha and the NTCA need to get their acts together and
end the ego-wars to create the best conditions for tigers again.

Sundarbans

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Telegraph India

A Common Survival Strategy For The Sunderbans.

Content

The prime minister of Bangladesh is likely to visit India in October. This will be her first visit here after assuming office for the third consecutive term. The prime minister of India is also well placed after the emphatic mandate.

The external affairs minister will possibly visit Dhaka later this month to finalize the date and the agenda of the Bangladesh prime minister’s trip.

There are numerous issues deserving attention at the highest political level. Here, I will only argue for adaptation to climate change in and around the Sunderban region. Besides the mangrove forest, the region hosts millions of marginal people.

Commentary

Due to climate change the Sundarbans, a unique mangrove forest and home to more than 200 Bengal tigers, will disappear within 50 years due to rising sea level.

Indian and Bangladesh governments both have addressed the issue and signed papers to do something about it.

But both parties seem reluctant to take necessary steps, not only to save the 200 tigers but also to save the 7,2 million people that live around this nature area.

Captive tigers

Original source, credits text and photograph

USA – Mongabay

Big Cat Trade Driven By Demand For Traditional Asian Medicine, According To Report.

Content

Traditional Asian medicine is driving the growing international trade in big cat products and leading to the mistreatment of thousands of animals, according to a recent report.

Bones, blood, and other body parts of big cats are made into products such as balms, capsules, gels, and wines that practitioners of traditional Asian medicine believe to be able to cure ailments ranging from arthritis to meningitis, though in fact they’ve been found to have no provable health benefits. Even before the cats are killed, however, they’re treated more like products than living, breathing creatures, according to the report, released last month by the London-based NGO World Animal Protection.

Commentary

Survey of World Animal Protection shows that the big cat trade is driven by the demand for traditional Chinese medicines (TCM).

This demand from China leads to extensive poaching, tiger farming, illegal wildllife trade, extortion and even instable governments.

Karnataka tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Deccan Chronicle

Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright... But Not In Karnataka.

Content

There has always been an intimate connect  between the royals of yesteryears and tigers and the Mysore royals were no exception, doing everything possible to safeguard the big cat for posterity so that  Karnataka would always have a place of pride in the hearts of animal lovers who adore the striped wonder.

In recent decades, the love for the tiger and conservation efforts have gained momentum helping its population in the state record a steady rise from 290 in 2006 to 524 in 2018.

But now, tiger lovers have reason to be worried after a survey placed Karnataka second to Madhya Pradesh in the number of tigers with the state losing its numero uno position. Tiger reserves like Bandipur and Nagarhole are no doubt ideal retreats for them  and have been favourite destinations for those who can’t rest till they have their rendezvous with the big cat.

But not all is perfect at these reserves—for instance temples located deep inside the forests have to be shifted to avoid human interference and so do tribal families settled inside the forests. On the positive side, tiger reserves like Bandipur, Bhadra and Nagarahole have imposed a night traffic ban to help nocturnal animals cross from one side of the road to the other which was a much needed step considering the number of road kills in recent years.

M.B. Girish examines the state of the big cat in these reserves and finds out what more needs to be done to help Karnataka top in the number of tigers—an honour it enjoyed not so long ago.

Commentary

Problems within Indian state Karnataka grow bigger with the increase of tiger numbers.

Like more poaching, more timber stealing and more human-tiger-conflicts.

Human tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – First Post

How Does India’s Tiger Conservation Policy Impact The Local People And The Forest?

Content

Once every four years, the Indian government releases an estimate of the total number of tigers in India. The estimate for 2018 was announced on 29 July 2019, which is the World Tiger Day. While announcing with sufficient fanfare the estimate of 2967 tigers (up from 2226 in 2014), the Prime Minister of India said that the target of doubling tiger numbers in India was achieved four years earlier than promised. He went on to add that India’s tiger conservation model could now be replicated in other tiger range countries.

What have been the social and ecological costs of achieving this goal of doubling tiger numbers? In a recent paper, my colleagues and I analysed the case of Biligiri Rangasamy Temple (BRT) Tiger Reserve where an Adivasi (tribal) community has been dispossessed of their means of livelihood by a ‘successful’ tiger conservation policy.

Commentary

The impact of India’s conservation policy on locals (indigenous people) and forests are underestimated according to a survey.

This article, a bit hard to read, is about these subjects.

Interesting read to understand more about the “success” of Indian conservation.

Legal logging

Original source, credits text and photograph

Malaysia – Free Malaysia Today

 

Legal Logging Biggest Threat To Tigers, Says Green Activist.

Content

An environmentalist has called for a stop to logging in the parts of the Belum-Temenggor forest complex where it is currently allowed, saying it is the biggest threat facing wildlife, particularly the endangered Malayan tiger.

“Belum-Temenggor is large and tigers need big areas in which to roam,” said Andrew Sebastian, the CEO of the Malaysian Eco-tourism and Conservation Society.

The forest complex comprises the Royal Belum State Park and the Temenggor, Amanjaya and Gerik forest reserves.

Commentary

Finally some attention to the real cause of the problems Malayan tigers face: destruction of habitat due to logging and palm oil.

Maybe the Malayan authorities start to realize they can’t protect the logging and palm oil companies any longer.

Chhattisgarh Tiger

Law And Order Issues Leading To Drop In Tiger Numbers: Chhattisgarh Officials

Content

 Senior officials of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) that overlooked the tiger census in Chhattisgarh have said that they are not “surprised” at the drop in numbers of the big cats in the state’s tiger reserves, and highlighted poor protection and the need for an improvement in habitat in the state. 

Nationally, tiger numbers have increased to 2,967, as per the estimate report released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. Chhattisgarh was one state where the numbers dropped drastically – from 46 in 2014 to an estimated 19 tigers in 2018

Commentary

How is it possible that in 4 years time the number of tigers in Chhattisgarh tiger reserves drop with more than 50 per cent (from 46 to 19)?

And even more important: how come the NTCA is ‘not suprised’?

If they knew all along, why didn’t they anticipate?

Trillion dollar tigers

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Mongabay

Save Tiger Reserves And Reap Trillions In Economic Benefits, Says Report.

Content

Making a case for the conservation of tiger reserves in India, a study has worked out the monetary value of the reserves and deduced that for every rupee invested, the returns amount to an average of Rs. 2,500 per tiger reserve. 

A latest government study that calculated the economic valuation of 10 of 50 tiger reserves of the country, reveals that for every rupee spent on their management, the reserves provided benefits ranging from lowest of Rs 346.7 to highest of Rs 7,488 within and outside the tiger reserves. Mongabay-India analysed these benefits for all the ten reserves and found that, on average, it translated to Rs 2,500 per rupee for each tiger reserve.

The study looked at tangible and intangible flow benefits that result from investment in tiger reserves, including employment generation, fishing, fodder, fuelwood, carbon sequestration, water provisioning, water purification, sediment retention/soil conservation, nutrient retention, biological control, pollination, gas regulation, climate regulation, gene pool protection, moderation of extreme events, cultural heritage, recreation, spiritual tourism and more.

Commentary

Shocking report about the immense monetary value of Indian tiger reserves!

The value – worth trillions of US dollars – shows that the Modi government can easily invest more than 1 billion US dollars extra per year into the protection of Indian tiger reserves (stopping encroachment, preventing poaching) and expanding the core and buffer zones, as well as the corridors.

 

Tiger census

Original source, credits text and photograph

​India – India Today

Decoding Tiger Census 2018: WII Scientist Explains Method, Talks About The Smaller Tiger Populations Gone Extinct.

Content

On International Tiger Day 2019, July 29, PM Narendra Modi released the tiger estimation figures in India and said that the country had achieved its target of doubling its number of tigers an incredible four years earlier than the given deadline. Now, India has 2,967 tigers – a reported growth of 33% in the fourth cycle of the Tiger Census which has been conducted every four years since 2006.

In 2006, the census showed that the number of tigers in India was only 1,411. In the next cycle of 2010, the numbers grew to 1,706, and in 2014, the tiger numbers grew to 2,226.

As per the Tiger Census of 2018, the state of Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers at 526. It is followed by Karnataka with 524 tigers and Uttarakhand at 442 tigers. However, the states of Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in tiger numbers while Odisha maintained its population.

PM Modi said that today, India was one of the safest habits for tigers in the world. But is the picture really this rosy?

Commentary

Excellent interview with Yadvendradev Jhala , scientist with the Wildlife Institute of India, responisble for the executing of the recent tiger census in India.

It shows how the census was done (the methods used) but also that the NTCA is still failing in many areas.

NTCA tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Hindustan Times

Why NTCA’s Tiger Action Plan Is A Giant Leap - Analysis.

Content

The National Tiger Conservation Authority’s action plan for tiger conservation released last month is different from other government action plans on environmental issues for two reasons. It states that indigenous people living in or near forests are primary stakeholders in tiger conservation, and doesn’t mince words on how core or critical tiger habitats need to be made inviolate even for infrastructure projects. If accepted, these recommendations will make help reduce human-animal conflict and help afforestation.

In June, 20 scientists from the National Centre for Biological Conservation, Centre for Wildlife Studies, University of Chicago and others, including leading conservationists like Krithi K Karanth and Vinod Mathur, reviewed the status of 104 national parks and 551 wildlife sanctuaries concluded that local support is key in ensuring survival of species and improvement of the reserves.

Commentary

The National Tiger Conservating Authority presented a bold plan to increase tiger conservation.

The plan consists of two important elements:

1. indigenous people living in or near forests will be primary stakeholders in tiger conservation

2. core or critical tiger habitats need to be made inviolate even for infrastructure projects

Chevron tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

Indonesia – Antara News

Forest Fire Allegedly Drives Tiger Into Chevron Facility.

Content

A wild Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) was captured on camera roaming around the facility of oil firm PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia, Siak District, Wednesday, allegedly fleeing from the forest fire that gutted the region.

“Yes, it has been confirmed that it is a Sumatran tiger. It appeared this morning at 7 a.m. local time,” Head of the Riau Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BBKSDA) Suharyono told ANTARA on the sidelines of the commemoration of National Natural Conservation Day 2019 here on Wednesday.

Commentary

A Sumatran tiger on the run of forest fires due to destroy precious rain forest to creat palm oil industry was seen on a oil facility of Chevron.

The Riau Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BBKSDA) agency has sent a team to rescue the endangered animal.

No news yet about this.

Culture tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

Indonesia – Antara News

Sumatran Tiger Preservation To Entail Adoption Of Cultural Approach.

Content

The comprehensive adoption of a cultural approach is deemed necessary to preserve some 600 Sumatran tigers (Phanteratigris sumatrae) surviving in the wilderness.

In the olden days, the Sumatran people, such as those in Kerinci, Jambi Province, lived on stilt houses in harmony with faunal species, including tigers, Hizbullah Arief, communication and reporting staff of the Tiger Project of the UNDP Sumatra Tiger Management Unit, noted in Batam on the sidelines of a discussion on Sumatran tiger preservation efforts on Tuesday evening.

The people had applied local wisdom and led a life in harmony with the environment, he pointed out.

Commentary

Article telling about the cultural approach to save tigers in Indonesian Island Sumatra.

The initiators hope that with a changing culture less people get into the forests to use snares.

Zoo tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

United Kingdom – The Sun

Inside The ‘World’s Worst’ Zoo Where Painfully Thin Elephants Suffer Mental Breakdowns And Tigers Are Kept In Filthy Cages By Cruel Thai Keepers.

Content

Harrowing footage has emerged from inside the world’s ‘worst zoo’ where elephants suffer mental trauma and bears are dumped in filthy pits.

Footage taken just last week shows painfully thin elephants chained up while rocking their heads from side-to-side in a clear sign of ”psychological distress”.

The animals are then paraded around the park before being made to play football to entertain mainly overseas visitors.

The upsetting clip comes just months after zookeepers were filmed stabbing the elephants with sharp spikes and forcing tigers to pose for pics at the park is Thailand.

Commentary

Inside the ‘world’s worst zoo’ in Thailand: the Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm in Bangkok.

Here tigers, elephants and crocodiles have to live in terrible conditions to entertain people, in order to make money for the owners.

Tiger child

Original source, credits text and photograph

Malaysia – New Straits Times

Title

Content

Many fellow citizens must have shared my sense of hope when Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, wife of our prime minister, made the emphatic call for us to help preserve our dwindling tiger population, which today numbers fewer than 200.

Dr Siti Hasmah, patron of the recently-created Save Our Malayan Tiger Campaign, noted that the Malaysian tiger species is unique to the forests of Peninsular Malaysia and pointed to their emblematic status on our national coat of arms.

Commentary

Finally some critical remarks on the current activities from an expert in Malaysia. Mr. Zakri Abdul Hamid, former chair and founder of IPBES, talks about the Indian succes – although he forgets the many downsides in India. And again: not a word about palm oil.
 
How is it possible that such a major cause is ignored all the time?

Missing tigers

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – The Telegraph

Tiger Tiger Missing From Sight.

Content

In April 1992, the then field director of the Buxa Tiger Reserve, Pradeep Vyas, was preparing to hand over charge. “I was touring the core area and was crossing Rajabhatkhawa and going into Trolley Line, when I sighted some wild boars. Next I saw spotted deer and a good number of sambar deer,” recounts the retired forest official at his Calcutta residence. “Boars, spotted deer, sambars form the prey base of the tiger,” he adds.

Commentary

While India is cheering about the new tiger numbers the focus starts to get on what is not going well again. In this case the focus is on three tiger reserves where tigers have vanished from the jungles.
 
The article is about the causes, told by former officials.

TRiger

The Moodie Davitt ‘Roarport’ Days 4 & 5: The team earn their stripes but not a tiger in sight

Content

There are 39 tiger reserves in India but arguably the most famous is Pench Tiger Reserve in Seoni, a vast nature reserve that straddles the central Indian states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Besides being one of the world’s most renowned tiger habitats, it is also among India’s most important bird sanctuaries. The Pench Tiger Reserve and the surrounding area…..

Commentary

Day 4 and 5 of this awareness campaign are highlighted in this article, including meeting with Nitin Desai, Director Central India with the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).

MD tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – The Hitavada

Tiger State

Content

Madhya Pradesh has regained its ‘Tiger State’ status with 526 tigers. In the Tiger Census Report 2018, which was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the national capital recently, Madhya Pradesh has seen an increase in the tiger population by nearly 70 per cent, as the population in the last census was recorded at 308 tigers. For the last two census reports of 2010 and 2014, Karnataka had beaten MP to twice become the ‘Tiger State’. However, with an increase of 218 tigers from the previous census, MP regained its pride of being the Tiger State. Interestingly, MP beat Karnataka by mere two tigers as the latter recorded 524 tigers while MP has 526 tigers.

Commentary

This article is about Madhya Pradesh, since the recent census in India the Indian state with the most tigers – even comparedd with other countries.

With this status, the forest department will get more responsibility. Since the numbers have increased, cases of man-animal conflict will come as a challenge.

Read more to see different views on the subject.

 

CNA tigers

Original source, credits text and photograph

Singapore – Channel News Asia (CNA)

Commentary: Tigers Belong In The Wild, Not In Our Homes, The Streets Or Farms.

Content

Some things are not meant to go together, like peanut butter on pizza or papaya trees in Antarctica.

Last month, our screens brought us the sight of another strange combination: Two tigers walking down a road in Terengganu, Malaysia. Advertisement Advertisement On Jul 18, Terengganu Wildlife and National Parks Department caught one of the roaming tigers , who unfortunately died just days later due to a canine distemper virus. The whereabouts of the other remain unknown. Some have speculated that the tigers might have been pets, due to their seeming lack of instinctual predator behaviour in the village that they strolled through.

We don’t know for sure why the tigers were roaming the streets, but regardless, tigers are supposed to be treading forest trails, not walking along paved roads meant for tires and cars with racing stripes.

Commentary

Article to raise awareness on the situation of Malayan tigers with examples of recent incidents.

Taj Safaris tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Travel Trends Today

Taj Safaris Celebrates the Increase of Tigers in India.

Content

Taj Safaris celebrates the increase in the number of tigers from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018 census of National Tiger Conservation Authority.

As India’s first and only safari circuit in Madhya Pradesh, guests of Taj Safaris now have a higher chance of sighting the Bengal Tiger as the recent census shows that the central state of Madhya Pradesh has the highest tiger population in India with 526 tigers.

Commentary

Big tourist chain celebrates the rise in tigers. But what do they actually do – besides earning money?

Bengal tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Deccan Herald

None To Help, Bengal Tiger To Go Extinct In Bengal.

Content

This year’s tiger census had a mixed bag for West Bengal. In the 2014 census, two tigers were sighted in the Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) in the north-western corner of Bengal. Unfortunately, a year-long search during 2018-19 by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) did not find a single big cat there.

On the other hand, the count of tigers in the Sundarbans, the only other tiger sanctuary of the state, has increased from 76 in 2014 to 88. Before the census was released, in a tweet Mamata Banerjee mentioned that ‘augmentation of tiger population in Buxa Tiger Reserve has been initiated’.

Commentary

Excellent article on the situation of Bengal tigers in the area that still bears their name, West Bengal.

It tells about the current and future dangers of the two reserves (Buxa and Sundarbans) and the ignorance of those responsible now.
 
Must read!