B2 (1997-2011)

B2 (1997-2011)

Friday, 28 January 2011

Tigers News

Tiger kills elephant in Corbett Reserve
January 29, 2011

A 20-year-old female elephant has been killed by a tiger in the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR), a forest official said.

The half-eaten body of the pachyderm was found by a forest patrolling team on Friday morning, Uttarakhand Chief Wildlife Warden Srikant Chandola said.

‘Rare incident'

“The killing of elephant calves by a tiger is a common incident in jungles, but this is a very rare incident when the tiger has attacked and killed an adolescent elephant,” he added.


Alleged Man-Eater was gunned down by forest guards

A male tiger of Corbett National Park, blamed for six human deaths, was shot dead by the forest guards in Ramnagar division of Uttarakhand on Thursday afternoon.

The man-eater had created a terror in the area and was being hunted for three months. It was tracked down by the forest officials in the Sunderkhal area while the animal was devouring its latest human prey.

The hunters encircled the tiger and sprayed bullets killing it on the spot. The villagers of the area rejoiced the beast's death and carried its body on an elephant for public display.

It was initially believed that a tigress was killing and eating human beings in the area since November. On January 11, forest guards shot at a big cat injuring it but the animal escaped in the dense forest.

The Uttarakhand forest officials confirmed that the tiger killed by them was the one which was killing humans in Corbett. It carried an old bullet injury on its shoulder which had healed, the officials said.


It must be noted that almost all human deaths were caused after humans intruded into the forest. It is not like tigers came into villages and kill the people. It is other way around. Instead of asking villagers not to enter into the forest, Authorities bowed down to the pressure of villagers (most of them are uneducated) to kill the tiger. Sad state of affairs in India.

Space crunch triggering man-tiger conflicts.

KAZIRANGA: Over 2,000 rhinos, 1,292 elephants, 1,400 wild buffaloes and about 700 swamp deer are already jostling for space in the 430 sq km area of Kaziranga National Park. Add to it about 80-odd tigers. Kaziranga National Park, which boasts of highest tiger density in the world, has virtually run out of space. And the worst sufferers, it seems, are the tigers they stray out of the protected area in search of prey and run into the risk of getting engaged in fatal conflicts with fringe villagers.

Kaziranga Park authorities admit to the problem. "The need of the hour is to add new areas under the park's administration. Even as the process to add new areas is over, these areas are yet to be handed over to us," Kaziranga National Park director Surajit Dutta said.

"Regaining the sand islands on the Brahmaputra which are used as natural corridors by tigers is of utmost importance for proper conservation of the big cats and ensuring their safety. Most of these island are either encroached by human beings or are being used by them to set up cattle sheds. This increases human-tiger conflicts," he added.

A park official said if one combines the total number of big mammals in the park area, it only reveals a terrible space shortage. "Incidents of straying out by tigers and conflicts with locals living in villages along the park are rampant. We have to extend our management beyond the existing area of the park," an official observed.

"Whenever a tiger strays out, it preys on livestock. This triggers conflicts. In fact, human-tiger conflict has posed a challenge for us. However, in collaboration with WWF-India, we are making all efforts to mitigate the conflict by providing compensation to owners as early as possible," Dutta said.

A joint study by Aaranyak and WWF-India, in collaboration with the forest department, has confirmed that over 100 sand islands dotting the Brahmaputra between Kaziranga national park and Orang national park are frequently used by tigers for their movement.

Spotting tigers in places like Koliabor, Naltali and Dhakuakhana within the Kaziranga-Orang Riverine Landscape has confirmed that big cats are using the islands for establishing new home ranges once they move out of the protected areas.

The trend of more and more tigers straying out of Kaziranga is also a cause of concern for the fringe villagers. "Last monsoon, I lost three cows in tiger attacks. They sneak into our village and prey upon our cattle. Our cattle sheds are not well-protected ones," said 75-year-old Hemai Tokbi, the village headman of Inglem Pathar, a non-descript hamlet bang opposite the Kohora range of the national park.

Though Tokbi claimed that residents of Inglem Pathar have never tried to kill a tiger, he could not vouch the same for people of other villages surrounding Kaziranga. "It's a difficult question. Don't ask me that," was his curt reply.

P J Bora, programme coordinator of WWF-India's Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Landscape Programme (KALP), said: "We provide these villagers with immediate relief whenever there's report of tiger depredation. For proper conservation of the tigers, managing the park and the firing villages is of utmost importance. One should always remember that the human and wildlife interface in an area like Kaziranga is quite diffused that there is constant interaction, sometime fierce, and close relationship among both the parties."

The 185 km long Kaziranga-Orang Riverine Landscape (KORL) comprises the protected areas of Kaziranga, Orang, Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary, Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary and a number of reserve forests. The study said KORL served as a major gateway for movement of other animals including deer the major prey base for tigers.


Silencing roars of big cats

KAZIRANGA: It was a dark, chilly January night when a majestic tigress silently sneaked out of the dense, 6-9 feet high grasslands of Kaziranga and crept into the human habitation at Baghetapu Moukhowa one of the hundreds of chaporis' (sand islands) dotting the Brahmaputra flowing along the northern flank of the national park. Apparently hungry, the big cat targeted one of the 20 cattle sheds at Baghetapu Moukhowa and killed a cow.

The tigress who left the half-eaten carcass of the cow at the chapori' returned to the island the next night to finish off the meal. But she perhaps had no idea that it would turn out to be her last feast. On January 13, the carcass of the tigress was found floating on the Brahmaputra near the Hoflot Forest Camp. And the obvious needle of suspicion veered towards the Baghetapu villagers. Some of them allegedly poisoned the big cat to death, dealing another blow to the dwindling tiger population in the country. Kaziranga alone lost five tigers in 2010. And the New Year took off with the news of the death of this tigress.

But is it that easy to kill a tiger? If villagers surrounding Kaziranga are to be believed, all that one needs to do so is procure a pesticide called Thiodine. And with a recent report revealing that Assam stands second in terms of tiger mortality in the country, it's time to take note of the way the big cats are managed in the state's parks particularly Kaziranga that boasts of the highest tiger density in the world.

The Setting

Many sand islands situated within the 300 sq km of Kaziranga are now under the park's administration. But full-fledged control over these small patches of land is still a distant dream. Some islands are still used as cattle or buffalo sheds by those living in fringe villages. Though forensic tests are yet to confirm the cause of the latest big cat casualty, instances of retaliatory killing of tigers in the past hint at the same modus operandi poisoning.

Baghetapu Moukhowa chapori' is barely 45 km from Biswanath Chariali in Sonitpur district. And pesticides are just a boat-ride away from Gomirighatt to Biswanath Chariali. "Generally, island dwellers opt for a pesticide called thiodine whenever they have to kill a tiger," said a local of Biswanath Chariali who didn't wish to be named. In fact, threat looms large on the big cats once they stray into islands bordering Kaziranga right up to Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park. Tigers from either of the parks use the chaporis as a natural corridor. Ironically, most of these islands have been encroached upon.

"Once they stray out of the protected areas, they become vulnerable to retaliatory killings. And one cannot rule out the involvement of poachers in luring the island dwellers for a trifle," said the villager.

The Danger Of Straying

Between 2008 and 2009, at least 12 tigers died in Kaziranga. Officials attributed the death of two big cats to retaliatory killing. But why are these animals straying out? "Kaziranga may boast of having the highest density of tigers in the world, but it is turning out to be a bane for big cats," said an official.

Assam's only World Heritage site has 32 tigers in every 100 sq km, which is very high in comparison to other tiger-populated protected areas in the world. Corbett National Park and Ranthambore have a density of 19.6 tigers per 100 sq km and 11.46 tigers per 100 sq km respectively.

"High density means more tigers in a unit area. In Kaziranga, they are facing an acute space crunch. A highly territorial animal, a tiger's home range shrinks because of lesser space. This triggers confrontation (for territorial dominance) and straying out . The result is casualties," the official said.

Kaziranga field director Surajit Dutta is worried. "It's true that tigers straying out of the park is a natural phenomenon. But their protection becomes a major problem once they are out. Many natural tiger corridors outside the park are encroached upon by people." He said addition of new areas to Kaziranga would be of immense help in saving the tigers. The situation in Orang is similar. "With an estimated 14 tigers in a 78 sq km area, Orang, too, has a high density of tigers. Between 2005 and 2009, at least seven big cats have been poisoned to death after they strayed out of the park," the official said.

Then, is addition of new areas the only way?

Area Addition: A Riddle

Md Firoz Ahmed, a wildlife biologist at Aaranyak, a Guwahati-based conservation organisation, said, "The tiger density in Kaziranga is too high given its 500 sq km core area. In terms of prey-base, it can support a density of 30 tigers per 100 sqkm, but area-wise, it may not be able to sustain the population. Relocation is not a solution. Orang is already populated. Retaliatory deaths are being reported from Nameri and Manas as well.

"When you have high tiger density, chances of straying out becomes high. It is like ten people living in a room that has a capacity for five. Grown-up tigers are often scared to hunt inside the park. They opt to go out and prey on livestock. This increases the chances of conflict with human beings."

Conservationists feel that the Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary, the forests of Karbi Anglong and the sand islands between Orang and Kaziranga need to have adequate safety arrangements for long-term conservation of tigers in Kaziranga. "Ensuring the safety of nearby tiger habitats should be a priority in order to save the tigers in Kaziranga. In fact, Laokhowa and the sand islands of Brahmaputra between Orang and Kaziranga should be used for tiger conservation," Ahmed suggested.

Shadow Of Poachers

According to the 2010 study by Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), Assam stood second in terms of tiger mortality, next to Madhya Pradesh. Assam lost nine tigers last year, five in Kaziranga alone.

WPSI director Belinda Wright has said carcasses of two tigers were seized, one was a confirmed poaching case, four tigers were found dead, one man-eater was shot dead and another tiger died from reported infighting.

The increasing number of tiger deaths be it due to territorial fights or retaliatory killings by human beings has left wildlife enthusiasts a worried lot.

"Kaziranga National Park may boast of a very high tiger density, but it has its flip side, too. It's dangerous for a park to have more tigers than its carrying capacity. This can trigger inbreeding, will affect the animal's gene pool, make a tiger infertile and can also kill the preying instinct of the big cats," said Biswajit Roy Chowdhury of Nature Environment and Wildlife Society.

He also said that though the poachers mostly target rhinos in Kaziranga, chances of them training their guns on the tigers may not be remote with the big cats frequently straying out of the park. "After all, Assam is the gateway for smuggling of animal parts to southeast Asia. They reach China via Arunachal and Myanmar from Assam through Manipur," he alerted.


Finally Some Good news.

Tiger baby boom in Ranthambore tiger reserve

Indications of birth of new tiger cubs in the Indala region of Ranthambore National Park was caught on camera sometime ago, though forest officials confirmed that the images were not too clear and it had to be confirmed that the tiger cubs were recent new borns.

Now with closer inspection of these images it has been confirmed that there are three new born cubs, though the image of the tigress is not too very clear.

Also there have been unconfirmed reports of four more cubs being spotted in different areas of the National Park. "These four cubs are in two separate areas of the park. But there is no official confirmation on them as of now,'' an official source said.

In recent times Ranthambore National Park has lost a number of its tigers either due to territorial infighting between the animals or due to the big cats straying away in the direction of the villages situated on the fringes of the National Park. Some of the tigers that have strayed were killed due to poisoning by the villagers.

But now since September last year forest officials have spotted nine new cubs, of which five were caught by camera since September and forest guards had also then spotted two tigresses who were lactating. Of the total nine cubs, the camera caught two cubs born to T13 in September 2010, while three cubs were recently spotted with a tigress in Indala and there are unconfirmed reports of four more cubs spotted in different regions of the park.

The Indala tigress had given birth to cubs even in 2006, though none of the children survived. "On May 23, 2006, we suddenly got news that three cubs had fallen into a dry well near the park. We hurried there and realized that only two were alive. One had died on the impact of the fall. We brought up the two cubs from the well. But one of them died during treatment while the third was given treatment and kept near the well. At night, the mother came and took away the cub. It was a very heart-rending sight as such cases are very rare where the mother takes away the cub the day it is rescued and treated," he said. However, eventually the cub also died. Forest officials now hope that the unconfirmed report of four new tiger cubs is confirmed soon. With the tiger population in India figured at just 1411 and under constant threat, the birth of new borns gives hope.

Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand however reported the death of a three year old tigress in the Kalakad range of the park. Though forest officials cannot ascertain the cause of death the tiger’s chest was covered with porcupine quills and elephants footprints were found close to the spot. The animal’s body has been sent for post mortem.


Putin's' tiger gives birth to three cubs

Amur tigress Serga, who was given a tracking collar by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin two years ago, has given birth to three cubs, researchers said on Friday.

"Pictures from photo traps in the far eastern Ussurisky reserve dated January 17, 2011, show that the tigress is accompanied by three cubs aged approximately three or four months," the Russian Institute of Ecology and Evolution, which runs an Amur tiger conservation program, said in a statement.

The Russian premier attached a GPS transmitter to the tigress during his visit to the reserve in August 2008. Since then, the tigress has given birth to three other cubs, two males and one female.

Putin, who is known to have a weak spot for furry animals, has a particular fondness for tigers. He was given a two-month-old Amur tiger as a present on his 56th birthday in 2008. The tigress was named Mashenka and later sent to a zoo in southern Russia.

The Russian government says an Amur tiger could become the symbol of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, to be held in the Russian Far Eastern city of Vladivostok in 2012.

Siberian tigers, also known as Amur tigers, are classed as endangered by the World Conservation Union, with only about 450 individuals left in the wild.

MOSCOW, January 28 (RIA Novosti)



  1. Just started my own blog of my wild tiger conservation efforts in Japan - I'm heading to India soon! :) Looking forward to meeting and starting something new with my "online" community. :) Thanks for posting the news!

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