Tiger crossing road

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Times of India

Disturbances from road affect wildlife: Study.

Content

Road-related disturbances can influence presence of species in adjacent forest areas, a study by Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, has found.

The study titled ‘Road effect zones of major prey species in roaded landscapes in India’ is part of a larger road ecology research project being conducted by WII. The results were presented by senior research fellow with the project Akanksha Saxena at the annual research seminar at WII recently.

The research project aims to assess ecological impact of roads on wildlife and is based in three important landscapes — Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong (Assam), Nagarhole-Bandipur (Karnataka), and Central India (Maharashtra & Madhya Pradesh) tiger corridors including roads around Navegaon-Nagzira, Tadoba and Kanha-Pench tiger reserves.

According to the study carried out on road segments passing through forests, roads can reduce chance of some species inhabiting forest areas up to 500 metres from the road, an area that is ecologically called ‘road-effect zone’.

Commentary

The presence of roads near or in wildlife habitat has en effect on wildlife, shows a study in India.

The effects vary, from species inhabiting (or not) forest areas near roads to the total absence of e.i. prey of tigers (like sambar deer and chital).

#tiger #tigernews

Tiger numbers India

Original source, credits text and photograph

USA – Nature

India’s tigers seem to be a massive success story — many scientists aren’t sure.

Content

The Maruti Gypsy 44 sped along a jungle track, jolting us out of our seats. We had signed up for a wolf safari, but the trip leader had another quarry in mind. The vehicle barrelled towards a pungent smell on a hillside — a fresh tiger kill.

The forest guide spoke to one of his colleagues in a different vehicle and then barked at our driver to rush towards a nearby meadow. A tigress and four cubs are at a watering hole just beyond our sights, he said.

Commentary

Tiger numbers are going up in India. But behind this apparent success is a mist of intransparency and a cloud of tangible problems.

This excellent article reveals the doubts on the current policy of Indian tiger conservation and offers a good insight on what needs to be done to improve.

#tiger #tigernews

Stressed tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Mongabay

Tigers highly stressed during the tourist season in central Indian reserves.

Content

Ever wondered how tigers feel in response to hordes of vehicles ferrying tourists eager for the thrill of a perfect close-up encounter?

Now, a study examining stress hormones in tiger scat collected from two popular central Indian tiger reserves has revealed that these iconic carnivores suffer from high levels of physiological stress due to wildlife tourism and a large number of vehicles entering the parks.

Commentary

Survey shows: tigers get stressed from tourists.

The result of this stress is that the chances on reproduction decreases,

#tiger #tigernews

Alarm bells for tigers

ABOUT THE WRITER

Sagnik Sengupta

ID photo Sagnik Sengupta-02

Sagnik Sengupta is co-founder of SAGE- Stripes and Green Earth. An avid wild life enthusiast, a supply chain professional, also likes to highlight the current scenario in the Indian tiger conservation through articles. Working in various projects under SAGE for improving the socio economic and living conditions of people living around the jungles so that they be a part of the movement to save not only tigers but jungles too. 

 

The IATA Tiger News platform is not only bringing news from other media  but it also provides a platform for people that have an interest in tigers or tiger conservation.

Around 1900 some 100,000 tigers roamed the forests of Asia.  Now only an estimated 4,642 tigers have to live on only 7% of their original habitat.
 
Tigers are facing many threats. We all know about poaching but most people don’t know how the wildlife crime market works. We all know about deforestation but how mining, palm oil and paper & pulp corporations work is a blind spot for most people. We all know about medicines for potency but we don’t have a clue about the Chinese mafia and its relation with Tradtional Chinese Medicines. We know about circuses and zoos but most people don’t know anything about the money and politics involved to maintain the status quo. We know about governments and NGOs involved in tiger conservation but only few people know how hard and difficult conservation really is.
 
Our contributors help you to learn more about tigers and what’s happening with them.
Contributions

India lost 51 tigers in the first five months since January 2019. With jungles & its living beings in the last priority, the days will not be far when we get to see few handfuls of the Royal Cats either in a zoo or in pictures – if still we don’t wake up and start to relook into the entire scenario of tiger conservation.

Indian tigers have been in the crosshair for centuries and every time we hear the news of a tiger death we believe it to be the last incident and wish it not to happen again. The reason behind such expectation is the continuous efforts of the tiger conservation like Save Tiger, Project Tiger and WWF who work round the clock to preserve the endangered species. However, a recent response to National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) states that India has lost 51 tigers have been killed in the territorial fight, poaching or electrocution in the first five months, untill May 29, 2019. On average, the country has lost 10 tigers every month which is half of a total of 102 tigers that were killed in the year 2018. While most of the cases are still under scrutiny as per NTCA website but with reference to on the spot facts – it is seen that almost 40% is due to infighting and another 25% is due to poaching while the rest died natural deaths.

Historical 1411 Tigers Left In India Despite Project Tiger.

The tiger population in India was estimated to be around 40,000 but then it plunged with a count reaching as low as 1411 in the late 2000s. Despite the consistent efforts of the Project Tiger which was started in 1973 in India, there has been a decline in the tiger population with an ever-growing threat of poaching, cannibalism and other reasons.

India is slowly losing the war to save the tigers. According to a recent data available from Tigernet, a database (NTCA),  Madhya Pradesh has remained at the top of the list with about 18 tiger deaths followed by Maharashtra with the deaths of 8 tigers in the first five months of the year 2019. In 80% mortality, the cause of the deaths couldn’t be identified. However, NTCA officials are still investigating the cases.

Some of the cases of tiger deaths over the past five months are mentioned below

Tiger deaths 2019

Tiger Deaths in India Since 2012 - 2018

Below you can find the registered tiger deaths in India.

N – Natural Death
UNP – Unnatural not attributed to poaching ( Including tiger died due to accident, tigers eliminated in conflicts events etc.)
US – Under Scrutiny
P – Poaching  

What To Expect Next?

The future of tigers, with approximately 4,642 remaining in fragmented habitats worldwide, hinges not just on population expansion but also in ‘gene flow’ or the ability of the species to migrate and breed outside their territorial gene pool should be the need of the hour.

Gene flow – both within tiger subspecies and between subspecies separated today by national boundaries – is vital in protecting the existing ‘reserve’ of genetic diversity of this endangered species.

While inbreeding has not yet effected wild tigers, their survival has never been more precarious, their habitat has shrunk to just 7% of historic estimates. Poaching has eliminated a substantial amount of tigers since 2000 worldwide including India and three of the nine subspecies are now extinct – Bali, Javan and Caspian.

The good news is that the Indian subcontinent, which harbours 60% of the world’s wild tiger population, also has significant genetic diversity in the species. But once lost, the reserve genetic diversity will not be regained ‘for million of years, even with higher tiger population’.

 

Genes And Genetic Variation.

The genes of a species hold its history. Tigers once roamed the length and breadth of India, as well as much of the rest of Asia. Historical records chronicling the animal’s slow fall are bound to be incomplete, but the tiger genome adds to the animal story. We will never know for sure how many tigers once lived. We know that at least 80,000 were killed between the latter decades of the 19th and early 20th centuries, their skins proffered to collect bounty payments in British India, but many were also killed for sport.

One Indian prince killed 1,100 tigers within his lifetime — almost half of India’s tiger population today. The drop in tiger numbers in the 19th century was precipitous enough that it shows up in the tiger genome as a bottleneck, roughly two centuries back: wiping out much of the species’ genetic variation, even as tens of thousands were killed due to hunting and habitat loss. When a species comes close to extinction and then recovers, as the tiger is beginning to do, its struggles are still far from over. Genetic variation can take many thousands of years to return to previous levels.

The African cheetah suffered a severe bottleneck roughly 10,000 years ago, and still has low genetic variation as a result. And in the long run, low genetic variation can mean low resilience for a species. Even if the population is doing well at the moment, it lacks the genetic resources to adapt to a changing environment – rather like an individual with a narrow skill set in a fluctuating job market. 

If the winds change, as they always do, being perfectly adapted to yesterday’s environment may turn into a liability.

Genetic Variation Threatens Tiger Reserves, Even Ranthambore.

Thus, the current study’s finding that the tigers of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan have low genetic variability, in addition to being genetically isolated from tigers in Central and Southern India, is a potential cause for concern. Ranthambore Tiger Reserve is a success story in many respects: its tiger population has grown to such an extent in the last decade that the reserve has started exporting tigers to other protected areas, such as Sariska Tiger Reserve, in order to reduce overpopulation. But a relatively homogeneous gene pool may spell trouble in the long run — both for Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, and reserves like Sariska Tiger Reserve repopulated exclusively with Ranthambore Tiger Reserve’s tigers.

Central India (including the North East) contained the most genetic variation of the three broad genetic clusters identified by the study, with the other two being Ranthambore and South India. However, this storehouse of variation is also under threat, given that tiger reserves tend to be small and physically disconnected, dividing the gene pool into a collection of Noah’s Arks under variable levels of protection. Threats to reserves in Central India include development projects, such as the future widening of National Highway 7 in Kanha and Pench Tiger Reserves, and the forthcoming submergence of Panna Tiger Reserve, all in Madhya Pradesh.

Call For Solutions From Indian Government- Like More Corridors.

One way to encourage the flow of tigers (and therefore genes) across an unpredictable, human-filled landscape is to build wildlife corridors. Such corridors would re-connect populations which are genetically close, and were therefore most likely connected in the recent past.

Since the official estimates that established a 30 per cent increase in the wild tiger population were released in January, many conservationists have repeatedly raised concerns over the government of India’s capacity to manage the increased number of tigers.

With the increase in number of tigers in past four years in India, the tiger density in some of the reserves has surpassed their carrying capacity. Therefore, a good number of tigers have either dispersed or are reported to be living outside the reserves, often coming into conflicts with people or becoming easy targets for the poachers

The government so far did not have a strategy to look beyond the tiger reserves and manage the big cats at a landscape level. But now, with an aim to address this problem, the Indian government’s tiger authority (National Tiger Conservation Authority – NTCA) has come up with a set of guidelines to rehabilitate the tigers that are ‘dispersing’ from the densely populated source forests and bring them to suitable forests with low or no tiger density.

On March 18, the NTCA released a “Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for rehabilitation of tigers from source areas at the landscape level” and presented it to the Chief Wildlife Wardens of the tiger-range states and field directors of the tiger reserves. The SOP identifies the population clusters with surplus tigers across the country and suggests areas where they can be relocated. The process for relocation has also been mentioned.  

What Guidelines Say.

With the increase in number of tigers in India, there will be several areas where dispersing tigers will move via human-dominated landscapes and at times result in human-tiger conflict… Often, the main reason for the dispersal of tigers is the high density of the source population. It is important to relocate such tigers to areas of low tiger density (or no tigers but have recorded tiger presence in the historical range), which have good habitat and prey populations. However, care needs to be taken to ensure that such relocations are done within population clusters that share a recent common gene pool,” say the guidelines. Based on the current genetic knowledge of tiger populations and the corridor connectivity, the NTCA has identified population with surplus tigers and the areas where tigers can be relocated.

The need of the hour is to relocate tigers from Non Protected Area’s to Protected Area’s where Tiger density is negligible and also from higher density Protected Area’s to Lower Density Protected Area’s. Along with Habitat management and restoration of corridors for free movement of tigers. As the concern are in today’s tiger conservation is increasing no of deaths due to infighting, poaching and human animal conflict

Sahebrao

Original source, credits text and photograph

United Kingdom – The Telegraph

Title

Content

A tiger maimed by a poacher’s trap is to be given a prosthetic paw, in a world first operation aided by a UK surgeon.

Prof Peter Giannoudis from University of Leeds earlier this week helped Indian experts carry out a preliminary operation on the seven-year-old big cat. The tiger called Sahebrao will be fitted with a artificial paw in around four weeks, in the first operation of its kind.

Sahebrao was rescued from a poacher’s trap in Gondmohadi village in Chandrapur district in 2012. His wound later developed gangrene, and a part of his injured front left leg had to be amputated.

Commentary

Sahebrao is a tiger that got gangrene because of a poacher’s trap. He lost his front left paw because of it.

Due to the incredible work of Sushrut Babhulkar, a Nagpur-based orthopaedic surgeon, whose mission it was to make sure Sahebrao would get a new paw, the impossible will now be realized.

A UK-doctor, Peter Giannoudis from University of Leeds, did a first preliminary operation so the prosthetic paw will fit.

Within 4 weeks the prosthetic paw will be placed on the leg of Sahebrao, so he can walk again!

We’ll keep you updated!

#tiger #tigernews

Nepal tiger conservation

Original source, credits text and photograph

USA – Science Trends

Bengal Tiger Conservation Using Novel Technologies.

Content

In the Indian subcontinent, Bengal tigers inhabit tropical grassland, riverine, and moist semi-deciduous forests along major river systems. The tiger population in the southern belt of Nepal, often called Terai, is split into three isolated subpopulations that are fragmented by agricultural land and densely-settled human habitats. The largest population lives in the Chitwan National Park and in the adjacent Parsa Wildlife Reserve, encompassing an area of 2,543 km2 (982 sq. mi) of prime lowland forest.

To the west, Bardia National Park and the Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve hold the other two tiger subpopulations, well separated from the Chitwan population by one of the growing towns of Butwal.

Commentary

Nepal is using modern techniques to understand more about tigers. It helps with answering the next questions – and more.

How many tigers are there in each of the national parks? How healthy are they from a genetic perspective? Are there any interactions between pockets of tiger populations? Will we be able to track the source of poached tiger parts and help in the fight against wildlife crime?

Interesting development!

#tiger #tigernews

Bhutan tiger

Original source, credits text and photograph

USA – Market Business News

Bhutan sets global standard in tiger conservation.

Content

Tiger conservation has reached crisis point worldwide, prompting a need to review management strategies.

Fragmentation of the large carnivore’s habitat, poaching, and loss of prey are worsening the crisis.

At the current rate of decline, experts warn that it won’t be many decades before the tiger is extinct.

A recent study of tiger conservation in the mountainous landscape of Bhutan, however, suggests that all is not lost.

Commentary

This article is about an apparently useless study on conservation of tigers in Bhutan.

Some of the findings:

The researchers found that closeness to protected areas appears to be having a positive impact on tiger habitat use and availability of large prey. Being far away from human settlements also helps.

They suggest that well-managed protected areas can help species recovery and the conservation of biodiversity.

Tiger conservation is more likely to succeed when natural habitats and prey species are protected.

#tiger #tigernews

Tiger shit

Original source, credits text and photograph

USA – Knowable Magazine

From Tiger Scat To DNA To — Hopefully — Survival.

Content

Tiger DNA expert Uma Ramakrishnan gets special permission to wander India’s protected forests on foot, following the same trails the big cats tread. While she enjoys coming across tigers and their cubs and watching them with binoculars, those sightings aren’t the treasure she’s after.

What she loves most is to find tiger droppings — “almost like gold to me,” says the molecular ecologist at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore.

Territorial tigers oblige by leaving scat regularly, as a warning to other tigers that this space is occupied. These nuggets contain genetic material that scientists like Ramakrishnan use to understand tiger populations: How many are there, and what kinds? Where did they come from, and how far do they travel?

Commentary

Science learns us a lot. The sqat of tigers has a lot of DNA and can give us lots of information about the tiger and its whereabouts.

Not only that, it gives also hope for the survival of this species.

#tiger #tigernews

Garlic

Original source, credits text and photograph

USA – The Scientist

China’s First Cloned Kitten, Garlic.

Content

Businessman Huang Yu has become the proud pet parent of China’s first cloned cat. 

Devastated by the death of his previous cat, Garlic, Huang sought the services of biotechnology company Sinogene. The Beijing-based firm charged Huang ¥250,000 (about $35,000 US) to generate a clone of his beloved pet, according to the Chinese news outlet The Global Times. The resulting kitten, also named Garlic, was born on July 21 and will stay at the Sinogene lab for another month before being sent home, according to The New York Times.  

“In my heart, Garlic is irreplaceable. Garlic didn’t leave anything for future generations, so I could only choose to clone,” says Huang in an interview with The New York Times.  

Commentary

Chinese company Sinogene have cloned the first cat to please a wealthy businessman.

With the cruel cloning process China reaches a new low in animal cruelty, which is possible because China does not have any animal cruelty laws.

#tiger #tigernews

High altitude tigers

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Hindustan Times

Tigers Present In High Altitudes In Four States, Says NTCA In Report.

Content

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has confirmed the presence of tigers in high-altitude areas of Sikkim, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh in a study submitted to the environment ministry.

Camera trapping has shown tiger presence in Kedarnath at about 3,600 metres above sea level. In Sikkim also their presence has been confirmed at about 3,300 metres above sea level.

Commentary

Next to Bhutan and Nepal also India confirms tigers on high altitudes, according to a study by the Global Tiger Forum.

“This provides the action strategy for a high altitude tiger master plan, with gainful portfolio for local communities and ensuring centrality of tiger conservation in development, trough an effective coordination mechanism, involving stakeholders and line departments operating within the landscape,” the statement of the Global Tiger Forum added.

If the action plan is just a difficult as this sentence, it will probably be a disaster in execution.

#tiger #tigernews

Tiger genetics

Original source, credits text and photograph

India – Mongabay

Genetics Shake-Up For India’s Tiger Conservation Plans.

Content

A recent study, by scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, states that India needs a paradigm shift in its tiger conservation approach.

India should stop “indiscriminately doubling” tiger numbers and extend the focus of its tiger conservation programmes from selected high-profile reserves to areas that are currently under-represented but harbour unique genetic diversity, recommends the study.

Commentary

Excellent article on the addition of genetic biodiversity as a main ingredient for successful conservation.

#tiger #tigernews

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.

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.

 

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.

China tigers

China is using cutting-edge technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data to monitor endangered Amur tigers and leopards, experts said at the International Forum on Tiger and Leopard Transboundary Conservation in Harbin, Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province on Sunday.

“Infrared cameras, AI and big data have helped us improve the establishment of a database of Amur tigers and leopards,” Jiang Guangshun, a deputy director of the Natural Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA), said at the forum.

“For example, the infrared camera can detect the tiger, and then AI will help analyze the tiger species, the weight and height, which will be marked in the database.”

Jiang noted the number of Amur tigers and leopards is increasing under the protection of China.

DNA tiger 4

Every year, since 2010, July 29 is celebrated as International Tiger Day to raise awareness about tiger conservation. India is home to over half of the world’s tigers. In 2010, India reportedly had 1,706 tigers, and this number increased to 2,226 in 2014. Isn’t a 30% increase in population in just four years remarkable? However, a study by an international team of researchers questioned the techniques used to estimate tiger populations in India and the accuracy of these numbers. Instead, they proposed a new mathematical model to determine tiger numbers accurately. Numbers drive most of the efforts and funds targeted at tiger conservation.

However, numbers do not necessarily mean healthy, hearty populations that can successfully breed and thrive for years to come. An alternative approach to monitoring tigers is to identify individuals and trace their health, family lineage and population. “Data generated from individuals can be used to estimate various parameters that help us understand the ecology, behaviour and evolutionary history of the populations,” says Prof Uma Ramakrishnan from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru.

“For instance, using the data on genetic variation, we can make inferences about connectivity between populations, changes in population size over time, inbreeding, assign parentage and so on,” she explains. Scientists use molecular techniques to get deeper insights into the lives of tigers, often without harming or disturbing them.

Ramesh Pandey

The forest can be a dangerous place. Not only for the unfamiliar visitor but also for the vulnerable animals. In a tiger reserve as dense and vast as Dudhwa in Uttar Pradesh, the risk of illegal wildlife poaching is especially high.

Considering the complications of poaching and the high-risk jobs of forest officials, IFS officer Ramesh Pandey introduced a mobile application in his department to phenomenal results.

Within a year of its introduction, M-STrIPES, which stands for Monitoring System for Tigers-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status, has been instrumental in catching 200 poachers in a patrol field that covers 2,50,000 km!

India's tigers

Stressed tigers

Tigers kill elephants

Green tiger

Sundarbans challenge

Nepal tiger

Bengal tiger snow