Karnataka tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – WIO News

Growing tiger numbers leads to big cats spilling out of forests in Karnataka.

Content

In July 2019 India had reasons to cheer after the Prime Minister announced the All India Tiger Estimation results of 2018. In four years, India had seen an increase of 700 of these big cats. But with the growth in tiger population, bigger challenges now face the forest departments.

On October 13, a 4-day operation by the Karnataka Forest department led to the capture of a young tiger from around the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. The tiger had been tormenting villagers, by killing 2 people and over a dozen cattle. 6 veterinarians, multiple teams and forest department elephants identified the tiger using camera traps and pug marks and managed to tranquilise it.

But while the department has been lauded for capturing the big cat, the problems are bigger than that.

Commentary

Because Indian state Karnataka has been successful with tiger conservation some of the forests are filled with tigers.

So they go looking for other places, also entering human habitats. The result: increasing human-tiger conflicts.

The state of Karnataka refuses to expand the tiger areas in a real progressive way, getting more and citizens jeopardized by growing chances on human tiger conflicts.

#tiger #tigernews

Tiger homes

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – ScoopWhoop

In This Battle Of Environment Vs Development, Our Wildlife Is Losing The Fight For Their Homes.

Content

Human beings and wildlife have been co-existing on this planet for centuries. But recent instances of felling of trees in the name of development have put a question mark on the existence of wild animals.

Imagine someone encroaching on your home and destroying it to pieces. It feels terrible, right? Now think of what we are doing to forests and other protected areas where lakhs of wildlife species reside.

Commentary

If you wanna know how India is doing with its wildlife conservation, please read this article.

#tiger #tigernews

Bandipur tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Times of India

Prowling tiger captured in Karnataka's Bandipur.

Content

The tiger was injured in the head, ears and other parts The forest department tranquilised a nine-year-old tiger , which had created panic among villagers, near Hediyala , Nanjangud on Sunday.

The tiger had killed a cow in a village on the fringes of Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Some residents had spotted the tiger prowling near the village at night. As panic gripped the area, villagers demanded that the forest department capture the big cat.

The department personnel launched an operation to capture the tiger on Saturday. They placed cameras at various points near the village and at a cotton field, based on pug marks and information from villagers. Forest department personnel launch an operation to capture the tiger.

Forest department personnel take away the nine-year old male tiger after tranquilizing it.

Commentary

A tiger in India that has lost a tooth and couldn’t hunt anymore was hunted itself by more than 100 people in the Bandipur forests.

Because the tiger couldn’t hunt in the forest anymore, as the canine tooth was broken (crucial for tigers), this tiger went into farmland and villages for easy prey (dogs and cows).

While doing so this tiger (allegedly) also killed two humans.

The hunt for the tiger was successful after intervention of a local tribe, whose members spotted the tiger.

The tiger was tranquilized by a dart and is now in custody. As the tiger was very week thorough examinations will be done to see if it could be released back into the wild.

#tiger #tigernews

China Belt and Road Inititiative

Original source, credits text and photograph

Australia – ABC News

China's Belt and Road Initiative will pose serious threat to South-East Asian wildlife, conservationists warn.

Content

Beijing’s multi-trillion-dollar project to connect China with Europe and Africa is slated to cut through large swathes of forest and run close to dozens of biodiversity hotspots, sparking fears of habitat destruction and wildlife extinction.

The initiative, which promises to be the largest in human history, involves more than 7,000 projects spanning 72 countries across Asia, Africa and Europe.

Hundreds of roads and railways will be built to facilitate trade and bind China’s economy to two-thirds of the world’s population.

But research has revealed 60 per cent of the biodiversity across the three continents could be damaged, with impacts ranging from forest fragmentation to outright destruction.

Commentary

China is conquering the world with ingeneous tactics. One strategic element is the construction of roads and trains.

Many countries in Europe, Asia and Africa already signed agreements with China, like India, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The result will be that up to 60 per cent of habitats will be affected. Sometimes fragmentation, sometimes even complete destruction. With the availability of roads and railroads poaching will become more easy too.

Please be aware of this and inform people you know that love wildlife too.

#tiger #tigernews

High altitude tiger
Original source, credits text and photograph
India – The Hindu
Photo credits – International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

India, Nepal, Bhutan To Count Tigers In High Altitude.

Content

A study jointly conducted by three countries had established that there were 52,671 sq.km. of tiger habitat in high altitudes or Himalayan habitats of India, Nepal and Bhutan.

With studies earlier this year reporting the presence of tigers in high altitude regions in India, experts from India, Nepal and Bhutan — under the aegis of their governments — will next year begin a detailed assessment on how entrenched tigers are, in these regions.

A study jointly conducted by experts from three countries had, in a report this month, established that there were potentially 52,671 square kilometres of tiger habitat in high altitudes — or Himalayan habitats — of India, Nepal and Bhutan. 38,915 square kilometres of this habitat lay in India.

Commentary

Bhutan, together with Nepal and India, is going to count tigers on high altitude to understand more about their behavior, also in the light of overcrowded tiger habitats due to conservation success.

Scientists believe that tigers can be translocated to high altitude areas as a possible solution for overcrowded tiger habitats.

#tiger #tigernews

Bilal Habib

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Hindustan Times

‘Problem’ Tigress Caught From Melghat, Sent To Rescue Centre In Nagpur.

Content

The Maharashtra forest department on Sunday captured a three-year-old tigress from the buffer area of Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR). The tigress, who has killed two people in the past four months, was sent to a rescue centre in Nagpur.

Forest officials said the tigress, E1, was transported to the Gorewada Rescue Centre (Zoo) in Nagpur on Monday and will remain there till a decision is taken on whether to release her back in the wild.

Commentary

E1, a tigress that was already translocated from another area, has now be taken out of the wild – just for being a tigress.

There seems to be enough proof of her killing one and most probably two humans in the buffer zone of Melghat tiger reserve.

To prevent problems with humans this tigress is now taken out of the wild and removed to a zoo.

Time will tell what’s gonna happen with her.

#tiger #tigernews

Bhutan

Original source, credits text and photograph

Hong Kong – Asian Sentinel

Massive Dam Complex Threatens Bhutan’s Philosophy

Content

The kingdom of Bhutan, whose now-abdicated monarch Jigme Singy Wangchuk won the admiration of the world’s environmentalists by weaving sustainable development, environmental and cultural preservation and good governance into his governing philosophy, now has raised alarms because of a plan to dam numerous rivers and export the power to neighboring countries as a method of lifting the kingdom out of poverty. 

The regime in the capital Thimpu governs one of Asia’s most intriguing countries, with its snow-dipped Himalayan mountains, maroon-robed monks, given the formerly absolute monarch’s voluntary decision to bequeath democracy to his people and the plan to measure well-being through what Jigme called Gross National Happiness rather than development – until now. 

Commentary

Strong rumors of a dam being built in the jungles of Bhutan are getting stronger.

Will Bhutan, where the now-abdicated monarch Jigme Singy Wangchuk won the admiration of the world’s environmentalists by weaving sustainable development, environmental and cultural preservation and good governance into his governing philosophy, going to wreck its precious ecosystems?

#tiger #tigernews

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.

10 year study tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Hindustan Times

10-Year Study Planned To Observe Changes In Maharashtra’s Tiger Habitat.

Content

With Maharashtra reporting a steady rise in its tiger population since 2006, the state forest department and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) have planned a 10-year study to understand the changes in the animal’s habitat in the state. Titled “Long term research in the state of Maharashtra”, the study will also analyse populations of sloth bears, honey badgers and wild dogs in the state.

The Rs 19 crore study was approved last week by the technical committee of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and initial grants have been released by the Maharashtra government. “We are facing a problem of more tigers in certain pockets. It is important to know their dispersal pattern to strengthen wildlife corridors and reduce man-animal conflict over an extended time frame. The main intention is to give a boost to conservation,” said Nitin Kakodkar, principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife).

Commentary

The state forest department of Indian state Maharashtra and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) have planned a 10-year study to understand the changes in the animal’s habitat in the state.

Although its motives are plausible it is unacceptable that tigers are being collared to track its whereabouts.

Not only because of security of the tiger (poacher can easily hack the frequency and thus track the tiger) but also because of animal rights.

Tigers should not be tagged or collared as it should be left alone in its own habitat. Like it is normal with people in a free world – they are also free from tags or collars.

Fences tigers

Original source, credits text and photograph

Times of India

Nagpur: Forest Boundaries To Be Fenced To Check Man-Animal Conflict.

Content

In a bid to tackle man-animal conflict, the state cabinet on Tuesday approved setting up of chain link fencing at the boundaries of forests near sensitive village blocks.

Forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said he also proposed Rs 50 crore in the 2019-20 budget for the plan. “There was a demand from local leaders and other public representatives to address the man-animal conflict ,” he said.

The project will be implemented in vulnerable villages by extending the ambit of the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Jan Van Yojana which is already in place in tiger corridors and buffer zones of the reserves in Maharashtra.

Commentary

Pilot-like initiative in Indian reserve where fences will be placed to protect villagers against tigers.

Wonderful news!

Madhya Pradesh tigers
Original source, credits text and photograph
Text: India – The Pioneer
Photograph: Tour My India

Tigers In Indian State Madhya Pradesh Need To Wait For New Protective House.

Content

As the rehabilitation and re-settlement issue of 30 villages in the buffer area of the Madhya Pradesh’s Ratapani Wildlife sanctuary — which is all set to be declared as tiger reserve — lingers on, around 12 big royal cats frequently straying out of the 900 sq km of the protected area will have to wait for some more time to get the designated home.

However, the delay has left them vulnerable to human-animal conflict and poaching, which the State is already witnessing. Till this date this year, 23 tigers have died in the State.

Commentary

Due to resistence within the Madhya Pradesh government tigers in this Indian state now already wait for 11 years to get to their new homes.

Nearly 80 tigers were reported dead in the past one and a half years in Madhya Pradesh, which is a strong signal that the government needs to give the thumbs up soon.

Jai tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Deccan Herald

Title

Content

India’s tiger conservation efforts have been richly rewarded with the latest tiger census revealing a sharp increase in the tiger population. According to Tiger Census 2018, there are 2,967 tigers in India, up from 2,226 in 2014.
 
This is a whopping 33% leap in the number of tigers in the country over a four-year period. The absolute number of tigers as well as the rate of increase in the tiger population has grown over the past decade. Tiger numbers rose from 1,411 in 2006 to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in 2014. This was a 21% increase between 2006 and 2010 and a 30% increase between 2010 and 2014.
 
The conservation efforts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have been a roaring success; tiger numbers rose in those states by 71% and 64%, respectively. This has enabled Madhya Pradesh to snatch the title of India’s ‘tiger state’ from Karnataka. As for Panna, which lost all its tigers some years ago to poachers, it has bounced back now with 30 tigers.

 

Commentary

Tiger numbers in India are growing. But because humans or areas controlled by humans are still expanding more and mmore human tiger conflicts occur.

But it is clear: tigers in India want their homes back.

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.

Human tiger-conflict tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

The Indian Express

Title

Content

Pandharkawda is no tiger reserve. Yet, one of the most gripping tiger stories to have emerged out of India’s forests in recent times was in this forest division in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra, where T1, a tigress nicknamed Awani who had been declared a maneater, was shot dead last year in controversial circumstances.

Over 150 km away, is Bramhapuri. Like Pandharkawada, this forest division in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra has had its share of man-animal conflicts. Over the last seven months, tigers and leopards have claimed about 10 human lives and the Forest Department has had to move out at least two tigers and two leopards.

Commentary

Because Indian tiger reserves get full of tigers other problems, like human-tiger-conflicts and poaching will increase. Therefore India needs to develop its conservation model.

Legal rights tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph.

India – India Legal Live

Relocating Tigers: Belling The Big Cat

Content

At Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, he was the monarch of all he surveyed. Today, Tiger T24, popularly known as Ustad, is languishing in solitary confinement at Sajjangarh Biological Park in Udaipur. Ustad attained notoriety after he killed a forest guard on May 8, 2015. Tragically, it was human interference that made Ustad a man-eater.

This is a tale which is repeated in Rajasthan’s three major tiger reserves— Ranthambore, Sariska and Mukundra Hills. They have all seen an increase in cases of poaching and tigers attacking humans which, wildlife experts say, is due to human habitation in the vicinity of the reserves. In 2007, the state government decided to relocate villages which fall within the periphery of the sanctuaries. But till now, not much progress has been made. In March 2019, the Rajasthan High Court even issued notices to the state government and authorities concerned over their failure to relocate 43 villages around Ranthambore Tiger Reserve.

Commentary

Relocating tigers from tiger-full to tiger-poor reserves might be a good idea, but lots of work and problems need to be covered to get it working.

This article shows some views on the matter.

Tiger census

Amid the regular distressing news of tiger deaths due to vehicular accidents and retaliatory killings, the findings of the “Status of Tigers in India-2018” report are heartening. In 2010, the Chinese Year of the Tiger, at the Tiger Summit in Saint Petersburg, India and the other 12 tiger range countries committed to doubling wild tiger numbers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger. In 2010, the estimated wild tiger population in India was 1706; the latest corresponding figure is 2967, within sight of the target, and well in time. Collectively, the nation needs to celebrate. Since the last estimate of 2266 tigers in 2014, the report shows an impressive 31 per cent increase.

Although the report has its share of unanswered questions as well as grey areas of interpretation, we do not find any obvious discrepancies. Particularly impressive is the scientific rigour and the use of modern techniques of estimation. The methodology is as robust as it can be, using a combination of camera trap images, pug marks, tiger scats as well as habitat mapping. With a survey that covered 3,81,400 km of forested habitats in 20 tiger range states of India involving a foot survey of 5,22,996 km and camera traps deployed at 26,838 locations, one cannot question the robustness of the exercise. Most importantly, a total of 2,461 individual tigers were photo-captured. Thereafter, combining the estimated forest areas, grading them based on prey density and local ecology, the overall tiger population was anywhere between 2,603 to 3,346 with a standard error of approximately 12 per cent.

Census tiger

Large, solitary predators hate being seen. They owe their entire existence to being able to avoid detection by prey and sneak close before attacking.

Hence, when we want to count tigers, the tigers don’t help. But accurate population numbers are fundamental to good conservation. Every four years since 2006, the Indian government conducts a national census of tigers and other wildlife.

The efforts the project team undertakes to derive the tiger population estimate are nothing short of phenomenal: 44,000 field staff conducted almost 318,000 habitat surveys across 20 tiger-occupied states of India. Some 381,400 km² was checked for tigers and their prey.

North Sikkim tiger
A Bengal tiger – listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2008 – was recently spotted at Gamthangpu above Lachen Valley in North Sikkim by a camera trap laid out by World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature in collaboration with the Sikkim forest and wildlife department.
 

It was spotted at an altitude of 3,600 m, the highest recorded elevation for tiger sighting in the country. Worldwide, it was the second highest elevation after Bhutan, where the animal was sighted at an elevation of 4,000 metres in April last year.

Also, this was the second such sighting of the big cat in the Himalayan state since November last year.

MP tiger

Even though Madhya Pradesh has reported highest tiger population with 526 tigers, according to All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018 released on Monday, the state has lost 17781.588 acres of Very Dense Forest (VDF) and Moderately Dense Forest (MDF) in last four years, reveals the Forest Survey of India (FSI) report.

Between 2013 and 2015, the state lost 14,826.323 acres of land (60 sq km). Between 2015 and 2017, the state lost 2955.265 acres of forest land (12 sq km), the SFI report says.

Madhya Pradesh is the second largest state in terms of forest area in the country, but the forest is constantly shrinking in the state, the report says.

In 2013, the state had 77,522 sq km forest area, which reduced to 77,462 sq km by 2015 – marking a loss of 60 sq km (14826.323 acres). And between 2015 and 2017, the state has lost 48 sq km (11,861 acres) of forest land and total forest area shrunk from 77, 462 to 77,414 sq km. 

IUCN Cambodia tigers

Six tigers will be brought into Cambodia from India and released into the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province in 2022, while wildlife protection organisations have urged all stakeholders to raise awareness of the importance of tiger conservation.

Provincial Department of Environment director Keo Sopheak told The Post on Monday that India had agreed to export six tigers and release them into the sanctuary to help restore the species to Cambodia.

According to Wildlife Alliance, the last record of a tiger in Cambodia was in November 2007 in Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary.

Sopheak said: “From 2022 to 2023, if we think that the amount of food available for tigers has sufficiently increased, we will implement the plan and release them here.

Melaka zoo tiger

The fate of the Malayan tiger hangs in the balance as poaching continues even in the tiger priority site of Belum-Temengor forest reserve, along with the decline in the number of other wildlife that the tiger relies on for food.

In an interview with Bernama, WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Malaysia, Tiger Landscape Lead Dr Mark Rayan Darmaraj said the tiger population in the country today has sadly declined to fewer than 200.

Poaching activities, driven by high demand for the tiger body parts for traditional Chinese medicine and other purposes, have drawn hunters from as far as Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia into the country.

Dead tiger

With around 3,000 tigers, India is one of the safest habitats for them in the world, that is what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while releasing the results of All India Tiger Estimation on the occasion International Tiger Day. 

While there is no doubt that the number of tigers in the wild, which was once nearly on the brink of being wiped out has increased in recent years, the national animal is not out of danger yet.

With no natural predators in the wild, tigers face the biggest threat from humans. The ever increasing deforestation means the number of human-animal conflicts are also on the rise and more often than not it is the animals that are on the losing end.

Just in the past couple of days, there have been multiple cases where tigers were killed by humans.

Sumatran tiger drawing

The Environment and Forestry Ministry will release two Sumatran tigers into their habitat in Riau Province after it cooperated with the Dharmasraya Sumatra Tigers Rehabilitation Center-ARSARI Djojohadikusumo Foundation (PR-HSD-ARSARI Foundation) to conduct rescue activities.

The Sumatran tigers comprise a female tiger called Bonita and a male tiger named Atan Bintang, the ministry noted in a press statement released on Monday.

Bonita was rescued from a plantation at Tanjung Simpang Village in Indragiri Hilir District on January 3, 2018, while Atan Bintan was rescued from a residential area in Burung Island also in the district on November 18, 2018.

“The conservation of (endangered) animals would be successful if all sides were to work together. The result of PVA (Population Viability Analysis) shows the population of Sumatran tigers in their natural habitat reaches only 603 found in 23 habitat enclaves,” Director General of Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation of the Environment and Forestry Ministry Wiratno stated.

Future for tigers uncertain

An adult tiger from Pilibhit Tiger Reserve in Uttar Pradesh brutally beaten to death by villagers on July 24; 12 tigers dying due to electrocution in last 2.5 years and 5 tigers being poisoned to death in last six months in Maharashtra alone.

These are just indicators about the threats tigers face and also raises doubts whether conservation is heading in right direction. Even if figures released by Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), a NGO working for wildlife law enforcement, are considered, there is spurt in tiger body parts seizures indicating rise in poaching. In 2018, of the 104 tiger deaths recorded in India, 43 were unnatural including 34 due to poaching, 4 shot dead or killed by villagers and 3 dying in accidents.

“Till July 25 this year, 76 tiger deaths have been recorded, more than 70% of the total deaths in 2018. These include 31 due to poaching,” says Tito Joseph, programme coordinator of WPSI. The figures indicate that the highest-tiger-holding status with India is itself a challenge for tiger conservation.

The county’s tiger habitats are under critical conditions facing tremendous anthropogenic as well as development pressure as a result of which tigers are killed in human attacks, poaching, human-centric acts and linear projects. “Tigers could not even adopt natural behaviour for survival or avoid internal specie competition due to loss of large natural forest cover.

Even fragmented forest patches are hardly available for their survival. This is the biggest challenge India faces to manage tiger populations,” says Prafulla Bhamburkar, coordinator of Maharashtra, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). This year, Maharashtra lost 15 tigers, of which 6 deaths were due to poisoning (3 in Chimur) and 3 due to body parts seizure after electrocution in Bhandara district. The state is second to neighbouring Madhya Pradesh which lost 17 tigers in last 7 months.

Myanmar tige swimmingr

In 1903, a tigress prowling in the vicinity of Shwedagon Pagoda was shot and killed by a British soldier – an indication that there used to be plenty of tigers in Myanmar.

However, the country’s tiger population is decreasing and there are many difficulties in preserving the species.

The difficulty in preserving tigers is that there is an illegal wildlife market, shrinking habitat, and less food for tigers in the jungle,” said U Paing Soe, project manager of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The tigers are protected under the Biodiversity and Conservation of Protected Areas Law in Myanmar. Those convicted of poaching, killing, hurting, collecting and trading tigers face three to 10 years in prison.

However, there is a thriving black market for tiger products in Asia, including Myanmar, according to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNOC).

Striped lion

When the Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) was rolled out in 2010, it announced the exigency and intent in rather dramatic terms.

The programme, endorsed in the St Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation, was billed as the “last best hope for tigers”. Inaction could lead to extinction of the “world’s most magnificent species”, the programme’s executive summary had warned. Nine years into the ambitious programme, designed over the period between 2010 and 2022, the intent appears to have translated to a rise in the number of big cats in India, one of the 13 Tiger Range Countries (TRCs) in the GTRP.

The TRCs’ shared goal of doubling the number of tigers globally by 2022 could still be viewed as unrealistic but conservationists see in these numbers a possibility to optimise ongoing efforts — in restoring a depleted prey base, reviving habitats, building new resources for site-specific strategies and more crucially, in improving protection of forests with minimal conflict.

Y V Jhala, scientist at the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India, sees in the task for 2022 a “good target for politicians” to work toward and feels that the post-2010 thrust has, despite setbacks in some of the TRCs, had impressive returns. The senior scientist is working on the 2018 tiger census, a project that monitors the status of tigers, co-predators, prey and their habitat in India. The report is scheduled to be released by the end of July.

Daily Star tiger

Research estimates there are fewer than 4,000 of the big cats left in the wild. A century ago there were around 80,000.

The crisis is blamed on poachers and trophy hunters. Economic development is also a major factor in their decline because it ruins their habitat.

Campaigner Martin Hughes-Games has been studying the tiger count in India, which accounts for 60% of those left.

He said: “India is a country that’s industrialising incredibly fast. There are roads and railway lines and industries everywhere you look.

Sariska tiger ecology

The recent spate of tiger deaths in Sariska Tiger Reserve, the last one being reported on 8 June 2019 (Suri 2019), does not augur well for big cat conservation in the country. It also brings into question the efficacy of the tiger reintroduction programme in the reserve that began in 2008. It is important to explore not only the immediate causes of tiger deaths, but also the long-term factors, given the chronic, larger challenges of wildlife conservation in a developing country like India. 

Poaching and Local Extinction

Sariska, an 866 sq km protected area located in the Aravalli Hills of Rajasthan, became the epicentre of conservation debates in early 2005, soon after tigers were reported to have disappeared from there as a result of poaching (Shahabuddin 2010: 1–4). At the time, government reports suggested that the last few tigers had been poached with the connivance of resident Gujjar villagers in Sariska (Rediff.com 2005; Gupta 2005; Environmental Justice Atlas 2019). Subsequently, a number of arrests were made and the reserve was blocked off to the public and researchers for investigations. Swift governmental action largely focused on poaching, and attempted to solve the issue by stepping up protective measures and amending the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 to enhance punitive regulations (Shahabuddin 2010: 5).

Malayan tiger under threat

Recently a tiger walked down the main thoroughfare of Kampung Besul (video here), a village in the north coastal state of Terengganu, sending villagers fleeing in all directions. The cat, dubbed the “friendly tiger” because it did no one any harm, later died of canine distemper disorder, which probably explains why it “went tame” and strolled through the town.

Malaysia is one of the most biodiverse countries on earth, and the rain forests of Peninsular Malaysia, along with those of southern Thailand, are the oldest on the planet. If anything, the death of the cat is emblematic of the peril to the country’s quickly-vanishing wildlife as urbanization, poachers and other problems eat into not just the tigers’ habitat but create a wide range of problems for other species as well.

The spread of canine distemper disorder into the wild cat population is very bad news on its own. A deadly virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous system, it is often spread to wild cats and dholes – wild dogs — in Asia from the feces left behind from hunting dogs and domesticated dogs which wander into wildlife habitat. According to another report, two tigers were seen prowling around the village, with a pregnant woman claiming a big cat chased her for 300 meters while she was riding her motorbike. Apparently one of the two was caught, later dying of distemper. The other escaped. It is still being sought.

Tigress beaten to death

A disturbing two-minute video from Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit district shows an adult tigress being beaten relentlessly with sticks by people this week, triggering widespread outrage.

The incident took place under a protected zone of the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, about 240 km from state capital Lucknow. The mobile video, shot by a resident of the Mataina village on Wednesday afternoon, captures the assault by the villagers and even has a background commentary by a witness who says they are assaulting the tigress because she had attacked and injured a villager in the morning.

The tigress was about six years old and she died of broken ribs and injuries to her body. The tigress was cremated after a post mortem. Local forest officials have registered an FIR against 31 identified villagers for the incident and four people have been arrested.