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.

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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.

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.

Sariska tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Hindustan Times

Plan For New Tourism Routes In Sariska Tiger Reserve Draws Flak.

Content

The state forest department’s plan to open new routes for tourists through the Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR) will put more stress on tigers with villages yet to be relocated from the reserve, said former officials associated with wildlife protection.

Possible new routes through STR were discussed at a recent meeting held at the chief wildlife warden’s office in Jaipur regarding tourism in tiger reserves and protected areas.

Commentary

The state forest department’s plan to open new routes for tourists through the Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR) will put more stress on tigers with villages yet to be relocated from the reserve, said former officials associated with wildlife protection.
 
Merely opening tourism routes to please hotel lobby and tourism industry will create more fear among the already stressed tigers due to excessive human population around STR.
 

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.

tiger crossing highway

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Deccan Herald

Bandipur: Supreme Court Asks Centre To Develop New Route As National Highway.

Content

The Supreme Court has asked the Union government to develop the alternative route as the national highway to ensure that the roads, passing through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, is shut down permanently, since the issue related to “nothing less
than the core area of the national park”.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Surya Kant, which ordered that the night traffic ban on the national highway 212 should remain in operation, asked the Ministry of Environment, Forest (MoEF) and Climate Change to give suggestions within four weeks as to how NH 275 and the State Highway number 90 can be made into a national highway.
 

Commentary

The Supreme Court has asked the government to develop the alternative route as the national highway to ensure that the roads, passing through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, is shut down permanently, since the issue related to “nothing less than than the core area of the national park”.

A victory for the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and a lesson for ignorant, egoistic governments and construction companies.

 

Corbett tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Down To Earth

Centre Interviews Official Named In Tiger Poaching Probe For WII Directorship.

Content

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) interviewed eight people on August 8, 2019 for the position of the director of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, said sources. One of them — Samir Sinha, former director of Jim Corbett National Park — was named in an inquiry report on poaching of tigers in the state for “administrative laxity” in 2016. However, Sinha told Down To Earth that he is “not aware” of any such report.

In March 2016, five tiger skins and 136 kilogramme of tiger bones were recovered from Shyampur in Haridwar district. After this, in early 2017, the then Uttarakhand Forest Secretary Ranbir Singh had ordered an inquiry into poaching of tigers in Jim Corbett National Park.

The inquiry report held Sinha responsible for administrative laxity in preventing the poaching. It was filed by Jai Raj, principle chief conservator of forest, Uttarakhand, in June 2018.

Commentary

Article on the application for an important tiger job with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), showing that one of the applicants was accused of administrative laxity in tiger poaching issue.

But also that the whole application procedure is a designed circus as everybody seems to know who the next director will be.

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

Scoopnest tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Times of India

Gaping Holes In Indian Srisailam Tiger Reserve Management, According To Tiger Authority NTCA.

Content

The National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India (NTCA) have found fault with the management of Nagarjunasagar Srisilam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) in Andhra Pradesh for not having a unified command. In its ‘Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserve in India 2018’, the NTCA said that NSTR is facing a severe problem of jurisdiction issues.

“The entire tiger reserve is not under the unified control of the field director. The core and buffer of Rajiv Gandhi wildlife sanctuary are supposed to be under the unified control of the field director.

Commentary

Shocking report on the status of an Indian tiger reserve (Nagarjunasagar Srisilam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) in Andhra Pradesh) – where the management is failing in many ways.

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.

 

Legal rights tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph.

India – India Legal Live

Relocating Tigers: Belling The Big Cat

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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.

Bengal Tiger NTCA

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – The Telegraph (text), Panthera, NTCA, APFD, NNPA, and Aaranyak (photo).

Panel moots Choppers For Namdapha.

Content

A committee constituted by National Tiger Conservation Authority to review Namdapha tiger reserve in Arunachal Pradesh has mooted the idea of providing choppers to authorities for effective management of the reserve.

The reserve’s management effectiveness evaluation report was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi recently.

“There is a helicopter service between Miao and Vijaynagar. The tiger reserve management should also be provided with helicopters. They should stay in Vijaynagar and protect the tiger reserve from there. This can continue till the Miao-Vijaynagar road is made suitable for vehicles,” the report said. This point was strongly recommended in the report.

Commentary

The NTCA wants to help park management with helicopters until a road that should create more accessability is ready. For the NTCA it is important that there is sufficient communication with forest tribes to get them translocated.

Kaziranga tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – The Telegraph

Kaziranga Scores Low As Brand Tiger Reserve.

Content

Kaziranga National park, the abode of one-horned rhinos and a tourist hotspot, is still not a “brand” tiger reserve, says a study carried out by the Indian Institute of Forest Management.

The study on the brand equity of six tiger reserves — Corbett, Ranthambore, Kanha, Sundarbans, Periyar and Kaziranga — found Kaziranga to score the lowest. Brand equity is the value of a brand, assessed on its high brand loyalty, name awareness, perceived quality and strong brand associations.

Commentary

The NTCA released a report that the by floodings devastated Kaziranga National Park is scoring low as a tiger brand – related to five other tiger reserves.

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.

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.

Sundarbans tiger at risk

With the intervention of humans, be it poaching or destruction of habitat, Bengal Tigers are now facing a new threat in the form of a dwindling male population.

The number of male tigers has come down alarmingly; so much so that the male-female ratio now stands at 1:10.

According to experts, the ideal male-female ratio is 1:3, but it so happens that the threats of extinction has affected male tigers more than the females.

The government is in the process of relocating tigers to up their population, particularly of male tigers.

“The number of male tigers is declining, which is very alarming. We have observed one male tiger against 10 females, but the ideal ratio is one against three. If in any case a male tiger dies or becomes a victim of poaching, female tigers in that area will face severe problems,” Md Jahidul Kabir, conservator of forests of the forest department, told The Daily Star yesterday.

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.

ITD foto of tiger
Nearly a decade since 13 tiger range countries came together in St. Petersburg, Russia owing to double the big cat population by 2022, their goal seems nowhere in sight. In fact, India’s efforts to protect tigers is in some ways a victim of its own success.

Take for instance, a disturbing video shot in the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve of Uttar Pradesh recently, showed the local villagers brutally trashing a six-year-old tigress. It is believed that the tigress has injured nine people and hence the villagers decided to kill the animal.

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.

Malayan tiger conservation

The Perak State Park Corporation issued a call for global support to mark World Tiger Day 2019 to save the critically endangered Malayan tiger.

Once estimated at 3,000 animals in Peninsular Malaysia, recent studies have shown an alarming drop in tiger populations. Even as the Perak state works with conservation groups to create larger habitats for tigers, the greatest threat to the Malayan tiger is poaching.

WWF Malaysia had previously warned that the “influx of foreign poachers into Malaysia’s forests is alarming.” This followed an earlier warning that a “quiet invasion by poaching syndicates from Indochina” is due to the disappearance of the wild tiger in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The current population estimate of the Malayan tiger places their numbers at less than 200 animals in all of Peninsular Malaysia.

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.

Tiger census

New Delhi India’s latest tiger count, to be released on Monday, which is also International Tiger Day, will likely show an increase in numbers of the big cat, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) officials said, although some scientists and statisticians say questions around the accuracy of the methodology used — the same as in the previous count in 2014 — still persist.

The All India Tiger Estimation results for 2018 will be released on Monday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with a report evaluating the effectiveness of tiger reserves.

There is an appreciable rise in tiger numbers with the same states as 2014 (Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Tamil Nadu) taking top positions, according to officials at WII, which collaborates with the NTCA on tiger estimation. “The year there has been an increase in camera coverage of tigers. It is a good thing,” said one of these officials who asked not to be named.

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.

Namdapha Tiger Reserve

Conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger has taken a hit in India’s easternmost tiger reserve.

The authorities of the Namdapha Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh have discontinued the services of 53 frontline staff, all casual employees.

The 1,895 sq.km. tiger reserve in Changlang district, bordering Myanmar, is now left with 113 casual employees, who were inducted under Project Tiger of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

In an order on July 14, Namdapha’s Field Director T. Riba said the 53 were shortlisted after an assessment of the performing and non-performing workers. This was in view of non-payment of wages of the casual employees by the NTCA.

Flyover for tigers

The Dehradun-Haridwar national highway desperately needs a flyover to protect the Rajaji National Park it is adjacent to. From around 2000, the urban area of Dehradun has been expanding at an accelerated pace. The first casualties of this were the trees. Indeed, the city and its suburbs now choke the traditional elephant migration paths. But thanks to wildlife deaths along the highways cutting through the national park and an increasing number of devotees thronging the region during the Maha Kumbh and Kawariya festivals, the ecological stability of the national park has been under question.

One idea to resolve this problem has been to build an overpass for animals to walk over, instead of having to cross the highway and the railway tracks. In time, officials approved the construction of an elephant flyover, six metres high, between the Motichur and Chilla ranges of the park, allowing the animals safe passage. The Union environment ministry floated a tender and awarded the contract to Era Infrastructure. However, the company soon defaulted and the work came to a stop in 2016.

Since then, the half-finished flyover has remained like a scar on the region’s landscape, together with all the construction material. To make matters worse, highway truckers now use the parts of the highway that had been widened to make way for the flyover as resting spots, further disturbing animal movement. With traffic along this stretch having almost doubled in the last few years, it’s no surprise that many species of animals have become locally extinct as a result.

Maharashtra tigers

In a boost for tiger conservation, four villages in the Umred Pauni Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary (UPKWLS) will now be rehabilitated. This will enable better wildlife management in the sanctuary, which is populated by breeding tigers.

In addition, more villages in the vicinity of this protected area, are seeking their inclusion into the sanctuary in return for compensation.

“Four villages (Khapri, Jogikheda Rithi, Parsodi and Chichgaon Rithi) were already notified as part of the wildlife sanctuary. Now, we will compensate the villagers and rehabilitate them after settling their rights. This will free up around 348 hectares of land,” said Ravikiran Govekar, field director and chief conservator of forests of the Pench tiger project.