Friday, June 8, 2007

Wildlife news from across India

News and Information from protected areas in India and South Asia

Vol. XIII No. 3
June 2007 (No. 67)

The Big Cat crisis

Elephants translocated to Manas suffer from bug bites
CAG report reveals bungling of Project Tiger Funds in Nameri and Manas
Eight lions poached in and around Gir; another 11 die in open wells
Salt makers to resist relocation from the Dhrangadhra Wild Ass Sanctuary
GEER to take up project on Great Indian Bustard
Himachal Pradesh
Survey for rationalization of PAs
Jammu & Kashmir
Mining inside Limber and Lachipora WLSs
Conflict in Dalma over ritual hunting
Proposal for Conservation Reserve status to Puttenhalli Lake in Bangalore
State approves hydroelectric project near Silent Valley NP
New tiger monitoring protocol in Periyar
Illegal trekking in Periyar TR
Fires reported in April in Parambikulam WLS, Nelliampathy forests
Crocodile research centre at Neyyar WLS
Madhya Pradesh
WII study indicates fall in tiger population in MP
Lesser florican spotted in Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary after 1879
Fires in Melghat and Tadoba Andhari TRs
KYKL camp busted in Keibul Lamjao NP
Protests against encroachment in Intanki NP
Management school in way of Chandaka WLS elephants
Forests around two villages in core of Simlipal BR undisturbed: AnSI
Tourism facilities to be developed in Bhitarkanika, Satkosia; tourist influx promotes poaching in Bhitarkanika
Coastal Community Resource Centre near Bhitarkanika
Turtles fitted with satellite transmitters
Proposal for community reserve for sarus cranes in Gurdaspur district
Watchtowers, close circuit TV for Keoladeo NP to fight fires
Leopard radio telemetry project in Sariska
Tigers to be reintroduced into Sariska TR
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu, Kerala to jointly protect Anaimalais
Road under-passes for Rajaji elephants
West Bengal
Train kills another elephant in Buxa TR
Five elephants found dead in Buxa TR
Rs 10.28 crores for relocation of villages in Buxa TR unused: CAG report
Forest near Bethuadahari WLS to be developed for tourism
Serious staff shortage in West Bengal FD
New newsletter on Community Based biodiversity conservation
Planning Commission stops funding for Project Snow Leopard
Details of funds released for relocation of villages from Protected Areas
Inter-State Coordination Committees to check poaching
Dr. TN Khoshoo Award 2007 For Dr. BR Ramesh
Forestry fund of Rs 3,500 crore unused
TRAFFIC reopens
TigerLink restarted

Sonaha community demands rights in RBNP

Increase in Black Necked Crane, Bar Headed Geese populations in Tibet
Working Group on High Elevation Grasslands
Workshop on Governance and Categories Assessment for PAs in ASEAN region

Fourth International Conference on Environmental Education

Deputy Director for the Corbett Foundation
Oppurtunities with ATREE
Volunteers for Leopard awareness program around SGNP in Mumbai
Director – Madras Crocodile Bank / Centre for Herpetology


In the Supreme Court

The Big Cat Crisis

The Big Cat Crisis comes to us from at least two clear directions. Lions in Gujarat are being poached for the first time ever with a clear commercial motive in mind. Where the tiger is concerned it is about the numbers of how many are there (or not there) in the wild.
There are confirmed reports of the poaching of eight lions from in and around Gir in the last few months. The claws and bones of the animals were found missing indicating that the Asiatic lion too has started to figure in wildlife trade. It is also important to note that in the last four years another 20 odd of these extremely endangered cats have fallen to their death into open wells that dot the Gir landscape in their hundreds. The combined implications can only be considered ominous. If that was not enough the controversy over moving some lions from Gujarat to Kuno-Palpur continues unabated. Whether it is a strategy that will work in the long run is something that one can know only if it is tried. The message from the Gujarat Government is that they rather have the lion die in Gujarat; sending the animal outside the state is out of the question.
In the case of the tiger it continues to be an issue of their numbers. As we go to press there is much anguish being expressed over the fall in numbers of tigers as reported by the Wildlife Institute of India. Estimates based on a new counting protocol indicate that tiger numbers could be about half (or even less) of what were reported in the last census five years ago. Those figures from some of the main tiger states is rather alarming: In Madhya Pradesh from over 700 in 2001-02 in to less than 300 now; Maharashtra – from 238 to about 100 now and in Chattisgarh from 227 to only about 30 (the Indravati Tiger Reserve was not included in the count).
What this can only mean is that a large number of them have died (many poached) in the intervening period – if this is not a big crisis, what can it be? It also points out to the huge inadequacy in the process and attitudes in the earlier methods of counting.
Initial government responses have been rather characteristic – a combination of denial and skepticism – a refusal, it seems, to accept the figures that are coming out. MoEF secretary Dr. Pradipto Ghosh (he has since retired) was reported as having said that these numbers could not be compared to those from the last census and that, in fact, there was nothing wrong with the pugmark method.
The numbers from the counts still perhaps need a final confirmation and validation. Some correction could still perhaps happen. Yet, it would be difficult to deny that we have a serious problem on hand; and that denial would be the most inappropriate way of dealing with the issue.
The combination of responses needed is also well known to us…more numbers and better trained/equipped ground staff, rapid response teams, joint operations with local communities, winning communities over to conservation rather than making them enemies prone to being exploited by poachers and hands-off tiger habitats to 'development' projects.
The direction, however, to finding a solution would be to acknowledge and accept that we have a problem in the first place. The rest can be then made to happen.

Protected Area Update
Vol. XIII, No. 3, June 2007 (No. 67)
Editor: Pankaj Sekhsaria
Illustrations: Madhuvanti Anantharajan
Produced by: Kalpavriksh
Ideas, comments, news and information may please be sent to the editorial address:
KALPAVRIKSH, Apartment 5, Shri Dutta Krupa, 908 Deccan Gymkhana, Pune 411004, Maharashtra, India. Tel/Fax: 020 – 25654239.
Production of PA Update 67 has been supported by Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), Anand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Was very surprised to read about the Asiatic Lion problem of Gujarat as I remember reading that Gujarat CM had decided to take up the matter of the lions on priority.