China tiger lead

Original source, credits text and photograph

Hong Kong – Asia Times

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Less than a decade ago, the 13 nations where tigers still lived free met in St Petersburg, Russia, and pledged to reverse this majestic cat’s long prowl toward extinction at the hands of human predators. The moment was hailed as historic – the start of an unprecedented undertaking spearheaded by the tiger-range states and supported by a number of partners that included the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility, the United States, Germany and non-governmental organizations including WWF.

Their simple-sounding but ambitious goal was to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger on the Chinese lunar calendar. In 2010, it was estimated there were as few as 3,200 tigers remaining in the wild.

Commentary

WWF, the Worldwide Fund for Nature, is a leading conservation NGO and hardly speaks out against tiger farming.

One is because WWF helped China starting its farming, with delivering pure Amur tigers from US zoos (in cooperation with WCS). Another reason is that WWF can’t raise its voice against China as it is affraid to lose its permit to work there – jeopardizing all their work.

Now one of the WWF-employees speaks out against China, but still very diplomatic. It calls for China to take the lead in fighting the tiger trade.

In the article the St Petersburg conference is mentioned. An historic moment for tiger conservation. WWF was the co-organizor of the Global Tiger Initiative and everybody expected that the subject of tiger farming would be on the agenda.

But is was not. China blocked this. And WWF agreed upon it – for obvious reasons.

Now – 9 years late – WWF is making a U-turn.

What would be the reason?

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.

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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.

Fences tigers

Original source, credits text and photograph

Times of India

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

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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!

Narendra Modi

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Live Mint

PM Modi Breaks Stereotypes With Discovery Show.

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In an effort to break stereotypes of a politician and reach out to the youth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday evening appeared on television series Man vs Wild that airs on Discovery TV. Modi is the first politician from India to appear on the hour-long show with Bear Grylls.

The trailer for the programme was launched on the same day that Modi released India’s tiger count. The shooting for the hour-long programme took place at the Jim Corbett National Park which is known for tiger conservation.

Commentary

During a TV Show with Bear Grylls for Discovery TV Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi calls for suggestions for tiger conservation via the NAMO App.

Captive tigers

Original source, credits text and photograph

USA – Mongabay

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

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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.

tiger crossing highway

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Deccan Herald

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

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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.

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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.

Bangkok Post tiger

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation is in negotiations to reclaim a forest pass from the military in a bid to improve the wildlife habitat in the Western Forest Complex.

“If the pass is annexed with the national park, the break in the forest will be bridged and tigers from the Upper Western Forest Complex will easily be able to move to into the Phetchaburi and Ratchaburi areas and then onwards into Myanmar. That will enlarge their breeding area,” said Songtham Suksawang, director of the National Park Office.

The pass is located between Sai Yok National Park in Kanchanaburi and Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi.

1 year old tiger

For the first time, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) have included one-year-old tigers to arrive at the national figure. The All India Tiger Estimation (2018-2019) report released on Monday states that of the 2,967 tigers, the two agencies have photo images of 2,461 individuals of over one year of age.

The norm until 2014 was that cubs will not be enumerated as their mortality rate is high. Only sub-adults of over 1.5 years old used to be part of the census.

As per the NTCA, 1-year-old individuals are considered as cubs. Talking to TOI, NTCA member-secretary Anup Kumar Nayak said, “The tigers photo-captured must be above 1.5 years. I will have to check.”

TOI compared the census data released in 2014 and today. In 2014, it was clearly stated that tigers 1.5 and older were taken into account. Latest data shows 1 year and over.

Wildlife experts TOI spoke with feel that there might well be over 2,600 tigers. However, they expressed fears that despite habitat destruction and loss of occupancy by 17,881 sq km as per government data, “the steep rise of estimated 741 tigers from 2014 seems to be an extrapolation and too optimistic to be real”.

TIGERS AND CATTLE

The Union Environment Ministry and the Department of Livestock and Animal Husbandry are exploring a scheme to devise an insurance policy that will compensate people who lose their livestock to tigers.

A day after India declared that it had 2,967 tigers — a 33% jump since the last tiger census in 2014 — officials from several Ministries met on Tuesday to discuss ways to ensure that these gains were not lost.

The growing tiger base, however, has also brought with it challenges of man-animal conflict, with reports of tigers preying on cattle and sometimes mauling humans who live in the vicinity of their habitat. “Currently, there is no policy on compensating people for such cattle lost because tiger reserves are no-go areas, and people and cattle are not supposed to be present. However, in the larger interest of reducing man-animal conflict, we need to think of such measures,” said Siddhantha Das, Director-General (Forests), Union Environment Mministry. He was one of the participants in the meeting.

VOA tiger

Tigers are one of the world’s endangered species.

India, however, is working hard to change that classification for its national animal.

In just four years, its tiger population has grown from 2,226 to 2,976.

In 2010, India’s tiger population was down to 1,400.

India is now one of the safest places in the world for tigers.

“Nine years ago, it was decided in Saint Petersburg (Russia) that the target of doubling the tiger population would be 2022,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monday at the release of the All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018. “We in India completed this target four years in advance.”

IGP help tigers

Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador has committed 500 police general operations force (GOF) personnel to assist the Wildlife Department in tackling poachers.

This commitment came after discussions held earlier this month to form a joint action force comprising the police and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) to prevent the poaching and sale of protected wildlife.

“The support that we can offer on this joint action force is in terms of manpower.

“I have met with the home minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) and he ordered me to meet with the Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister (Dr Xavier Jayakumar), for further engagement).

“As the IGP, I’m commuting a GOF battalion based in Senoi Praaq, Bidor, Perak. One more battalion will be on standby,” he told reporters after the launch of the Global Tiger Day 2019 here at Le Meridien Hotel.

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.

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.

Tiger census India

The much-awaited tiger census is likely to be released on July 29, Global Tiger Day, two officials independently confirmed to The Hindu.

The results of the census, conducted once in four years, has been delayed for over 7 months because of the intervening Lok Sabha elections, data collection anomalies from the States as well as a first-ever initiative to coordinate the counting exercise with neighbouring Bangladesh and Nepal to avoid double-counting of the animal.

Since 2006, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) — an Environment Ministry funded body — has been tasked with coordinating the exercise. That year, the once in four years exercise calculated that India had only 1,411 tigers. This rose to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in 2014 on the back of improved conservation measures and new estimation methods.

Perak tiger

The Perak state government has pledged its full cooperation in the race to save the diminishing Malayan Tiger population.

In expressing support for the Land, Water and Natural Resources Ministry’s initiative, Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said he welcomed the plan to transform Gerik, the district where Royal Belum rainforest is located, into a “Tiger Town”.

“Poaching of wildlife, including the Malayan Tiger, has been a longstanding issue there as it (Royal Belum) covers such a vast area (290,000ha).

tiger Madhya Pradesh

The Madhya Pradesh government has decided to declare the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary a tiger reserve for better conservation of tigers, a forest department official said on Saturday.

The state had received an approval for the same from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) 11 years ago.

Confirming the development, minister of forest Umang Singhar said, “We have completed all the conditions of NTCA to declare Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary a Tiger Reserve. This will boost tourism and improve the local economy of the area.”

The final approval for the reserve will be given in the state wildlife board meeting, scheduled to be held in August, he said.

Indian protests

On the morning of 18 July, Rafiqul Islam, a resident of Bagori, on the western fringes of Kaziranga National Park, was surprised to find a tiger sitting on his bed. Islam, who is used to wild animals around his shack didn’t panic and his presence of mind avoided a fatal encounter. An ‘SOS’ call from him got the Assam Forest Department and the animal rescue team from International Fund for Animal Welfare – Wildlife Trust Of India (IFAW-WTI) to sanitise the area and provide a safe passage to the tiger, which moved out on its own later in the day.

The photograph of a Bengal Tiger resting on a floral-print bed sheet, it’s head next to a carry bag with the words ‘Billion Choice’ is the defining image of this year’s floods in Kaziranga – of what happens to wild animals on the move in times of trouble. Clicked by Samshuli Ali, veterinarian at the IFAW-WTI, the picture has gone viral across social media platforms and is still trending across the world.

Floods are usually associated with loss of life and business, yet they are also part of a natural process that creates fertile lands for agriculture, replenishes wetlands and riverine grassland ecosystem. Floodwaters of the river Brahmaputra are key to the ecology of Kaziranga. Annual flooding revitalises the famed grasslands, which shelter keystone species such as rhinos, tigers and elephants.

Madhya Pradesh tiger

David Hanson tigers

HTC-tigers

India's tigers

Poaching penalties

Chhattisgarh tiger

Tiger crossing highway

Wildlife Act tigers

Amrabad Tiger Reserve