B2 (1997-2011)

B2 (1997-2011)

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Wild Tiger Pictures

Raja - Dominant male from Bandipur

Bamera male

Tiger(Langda) from Kanha

Tiger from Ranthambore

Tiger from Kaziranga

B2 in 2009

B2 in 2011

Young Tiger from Corbett

Family of Late Jhurjhura Tigress (Bandhavgarh)

Machli - 15 year Old Tigress from Ranthambore

Death of a Ruler, T-2 The Senior Most Tiger Gets Guard of Honors!

Camera traps reveal presence of four tigers in Anamalai Tiger Reserve

Top Slip (Pollachi): Camera trap images released by the Anamalai Tiger Reserve authorities have revealed the presence of four tigers in three ranges of the sanctuary area.

Anamalai Tiger Reserve with 958 sq km is spread over six ranges in Coimbatore and Tirupur revenue districts. Ever since the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve, with the additional funds available the protection and conservation measures have been stepped up by a team led by Field Director H. Basuvaraju, Deputy Director A. Thiagaraj and District Forest Officer Rajkumar.

The authorities had deployed many innovative methods to determine the presence of tigers. One of the methods was installation of camera traps at 21 strategic locations with the help of funds from Project Tiger.

The cameras were installed after understanding the movement of the territorial animal through front line uniform staff, anti-poaching watchers particularly through tiger trackers to capture the pictures of animals focusing more on carnivores especially tigers.

The camera traps were installed at Ulandy, Valparai, Manambolly and Amaravathy ranges.

The cameras installed at Ulandy and Manambolly ranges had recorded tiger sightings.

In Ulandy Range, the cameras recorded presence of a tiger on March 27 and another in Varagliar beat on April 28.

Similarly, in Manamboly range, the cameras have recorded sightings of two tigers on April 30 in Sheikelmdui and Manamboly beats.

The images have been compared with the other especially the stripe patterns on the body and it was arrived that the tigers in all the four images were different ones, ATR officials said. Stripe patterns are normally studied as finger prints are studied with regard to human beings, they added.

Encouraged by the above results, camera traps have been relocated in different strategic locations to know the presence of tigers in these tracts in a phased manner throughout the reserve.

Officials said that ascertaining the presence of tigers would help in re-orienting the management, protection and conservation strategies.


Hunt begins for the big cat - First comprehensive tiger survey in Karbi Anglong district

Guwahati, May 24: Is it there? Or is it not? It is time for some answers as WWF India officials have for the first time begun a hunt for tigers in Karbi Anglong.

Twenty-five cameras are being placed at the Marat Longri wildlife sanctuary for this study to find big cats, the first comprehensive tiger sign survey in Karbi Anglong.

The Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong has been identified as a priority tiger landscape and is among the top 12 in the world.

The work on the survey, which will encompass nearly 2,000 square km in Karbi Anglong and will take around a month, has started from Monday with the forest department providing all necessary support to the team.

There is hope for finding tiger signs,” Jimmy Borah, assistant coordinator Tiger programme WWF India, said. Kaziranga, bordering Karbi Anglong, has the world’s highest density of tigers at 32.64 tigers per 100 square km. The WWF team had just returned from Arunachal Pradesh.

The survey also holds importance for tigers in Kaziranga as it is shares a border with Karbi Anglong. For the survival of tigers in Kaziranga, Karbi Anglong is important as we would like to know the habitat there,” tiger expert Firoz Ahmed of Aaranyak said.

The 451square km Marat Longri, which was declared a wildlife sanctuary in April 2003, is an important component of Dhansiri-Lumding elephant reserve. The survey will also examine the elephant status and habitat.

Last year, forest department authorities of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, in collaboration with the Wildlife Trust of India, had started a reforestation drive to restore parts of encroached land in the Marat Longri wildlife sanctuary.

Karbi Anglong, the largest district in Assam with its five wildlife sanctuaries and two elephant reserves, plays a vital role in the protection and conservation of natural resources of the state.

A forest official said the corridors linking Kaziranga with the forests of Karbi Anglong have suffered extensive degradation because of encroachment, illegal logging, stone mining, growing settlements and tourist movements, which have severely disrupted wildlife movement, particularly during the flood season.

A report on Monitoring Tiger and Prey Animals of Kaziranga National Park, by Aaranyak, with technical support from Wildlife Institute of India last year, said gaur — one of the major prey species of tigers — which was common in the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape, has nearly disappeared from the Kaziranga National Park.

The primary reason for this depletion could be hunting in Karbi Anglong.

The report has suggested a scientific study in the hills of Karbi Anglong to address the issue of establishment of protected areas and protection of wildlife from hunting.

The State of the Forest Report, 2009, had found that the district had lost 37 square km of forest cover, compared to the 2007. Insurgency and shifting cultivation are the main reasons for this decline of forest cover in the district.

After covering Marat Longri wildlife sanctuary, the WWF team will then go to Lumding and Dhansiri areas.

Firoz Ahmed, a tiger expert with Aaranyak, said a lot of research work needed to be done on tigers in Assam as issues like genetic diversity are yet to be delved into.


Sunday, 22 May 2011

Wild Tiger Pictures

T28 "Star male" from Ranthambore

Bokha, The large male from Bandhavgarh

Bamera male

New male spotted in Bandhavgarh (I suspect him to be Bokha's son)

Machli (15 year old tigress from Ranthambore)

Late Jhurjhura Tigress (Bandhavgarh)

Kalua (Apr,2010)

Tigers from Ranthambore

Tigress with cubs cooling off from Summer heat in Pench

Kaziranga Tiger Update

Camera Trap Helped to Arrest Poachers

Panthera Camera Trap Catches Poachers

Panthera's camera trap captures a photo of a poacher in India’s Orang National Park.
Last December marked an exciting milestone for Panthera with the distribution of our new and enhanced camera trap model, which consists of a remarkably energy-efficient camera that snaps photos of passing wildlife in just three-tenths of a second.  Given that wild tigers are very elusive and increasingly rare, these camera traps serve as a particularly valuable research tool that allow Panthera’s scientists to identify individual tigers using their unique stripe patterns and learn more about the abundance, movements and behaviors of these endangered big cats.

Orang National Park in Assam, India was one of the first sites in which 48 of these camera traps were deployed.  Not far from India’s Kaziranga National Park, which is home to the world’s highest density of tigers, Orang maintains a small but thriving tiger population in its 78km2 area.  Panthera recently partnered with Aaranyak – a well-established regional wildlife conservation organization – to use these camera traps to learn more about Orang’s tiger population, which could represent an important source population.

The killing of tigers due to conflict and poaching are the biggest threats to tigers in Orang National Park, and across their range.  The 60-70 rhinos that live in Orang are also targeted by poachers, particularly for their horns.  Just weeks ago, after learning of a poached rhino near one of the local anti-poaching camps, Aaranyak’s field staff checked their camera traps in the area in hopes of unraveling any clues about the incident.

Park rangers stand over a rhinoceros killed for its horn in India’s Kaziranga National Park, not far away from Orang National Park.
The team was surprised to find that just four days prior to the rhino being poached, a set of camera trap images had been taken of three people walking down a park road armed with .303 rifles.  Amazingly, the clarity of the photos allowed two of these individuals to be identified as poachers from a village on the eastern border of the park.
Presuming that the individuals photographed by the camera traps may have been involved in the rhino poaching incident, Aaranyak’s field team acted swiftly and notified the management of Orang Park of the evidence.  Soon after, the officials traveled to communities bordering the Park to hang posters of the photos and announced a Rs.25,000 reward (equivalent to nearly US $550) for information leading to the identification and arrest of the individuals caught on camera.Hours later, the identities of these individuals were revealed by members of a local community, which resulted in the two poachers surrendering themselves to local police. The third poacher has since fled the area.

Despite the loss of one of Orang’s rare rhinos, this turn of events is an incredible example of how collaboration between wildlife conservation organizations and local governments can help protect the wildlife of Orang National Park.  This incident also goes to show that while Panthera’s new camera traps have been designed to help monitor and understand more about wild cats, they can also serve as a surprisingly effective enforcement tool that helps protect rare species. Panthera  congratulates the Aaranyak field staff and the Orang National Park officers who helped bring these poachers to justice. 

Photo 1: A male tiger walking down a path in India’s Orang National Park.
Photo 2: Another male tiger walking down the same path, just minutes before two poachers are photographed walking along this path in the opposite direction.
Photo 3: A poacher out on the hunt is captured by Panthera’s camera trap. This image was used to identify and apprehend this individual.
Photo 4: Two poachers, unable to identify where the quick flash from the camera trap came from, in confusion check their flashlights by shining them onto their hands, and are photographed for the second time. This image was also used to identify and apprehend these two poachers.


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Wild Tiger Videos (Bamera Male)

Ranthambore papa tiger takes motherhood seriously

In a rare sight in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, a male tiger has been spotted ‘fathering’ two orphaned cubs. The cubs had gone missing soon after the mother tigress had died in February. The forest officials took a sigh of relief recently when they found the cubs in the safe custody of the male tiger-T-25, believed to be their father.

Such behaviour of the tiger has been unheard of,” said PCCF Rajasthan, RN Mehrotra.

The two cubs are being reared in the wild under close monitoring of the forest department. A forest staff has been deputed full time to keep watch on the cubs. They are largely being fed with goat meat by the forest department.

Mother Tigress T-5 from Kachida valley died in February after suffering from maggot-infested wounds below her tail. When the cubs disappeared after the death of the mother, worst was feared about their survival. But the officials had a pleasant surprise when they found the cubs in perfectly safe condition with the male tiger.

The known behaviour of male tigers is that of killing and preying upon the cubs, especially to take away the mother for mating. However, contrary to the above, “this unique sense of acceptance of the male tiger towards the cubs, is indeed amazing,” pointed out Mehrotra.

This has led us to believe that he could be their father,” said Mehrotra. Incidentally, T-5 tigress had been seen mating with him, but Mehrotra said no certainty can be established about their parentage.

Much to the surprise of the experts, it was found that T-25 has even reduced its territory, confining itself largely in Kachida valley to ensure protection of the cubs. Further, the food served to the cubs by the forest department is not snatched away by the male tiger either. On the contrary, they have been seen sharing kills made by the latter.

“We are yet lot to learn on the behaviour of the tigers,” pointed out Mehrotra. They are nocturnal animals and what ever activities have so far been recorded have largely been done during day. But this time, due to the extensive use of camera trapping and “intimate monitoring of these tigers, we could discover this new trait,” he added.


Thailand jungles mask surprise rise in tiger numbers

Deep in the jungle, armed forest rangers trek through the palms on a mission to confirm some rare good news: the discovery of a wild tiger population in an area of Thap Lan national park previously written off by wildlife experts.

Working with foreign conservationists, the rangers have been gathering evidence from camera traps over the past two years that suggests this single national park in Thailand may have more tigers than China.

Thap Lan, with its spectacular forests of saw-bladed plan palms, is an oasis of biodiversity amid expanding human development. Elephants, clouded leopards, spotted linsang, boar and deer thrive below the canopy, which is filled with the song of myna, lapwings, laughing thrushes and other exotic birds.

Locals have long insisted that tigers also prowl in this area. Camera traps, triggered by heat and movement, have been left strapped to trees for a month. Some have been destroyed by wild elephants or infested by nesting ants, but the memory cards inside have yielded a treasure trove of images of bears, leopards, itinerant monks, as well as tigers and – worryingly – armed poachers.

More than half the park has still to be checked, but rangers have already confirmed eight tigers. This is not yet enough to be classified as a sustainable population, but park managers are optimistic more animals will be found. "I'm very happy as this is beyond expectations," said Thap Lan's superintendent, Taywin Meesap. "There are areas deeper inside where we haven't placed camera traps yet. Given the results so far, there could be 20 to 50 tigers here."

The conservation group that provided much of the training and equipment for the operation said the results showed a gap in understanding and the need to invest more in research and protection.

Tim Redford of Freeland, a Bangkok-based group that helps rangers in south-east Asia, said: "This place was supposed to be devoid of tigers. But we did a course here and were surprised to find signs of tigers. The more we looked, the more we found. That led me to believe the forest must have tigers throughout and there is a big gap in our knowledge of where they live."

He called for further studies across countries where other small populations may have been missed.

The difficulty of measuring tiger numbers was evident when India increased its estimate by 10% compared with a survey in 2008.

The discovery comes amid a fresh global push to reverse a precipitous decline in the numbers of wild tigers, down 97% compared with a century ago. At the St Petersburg tiger summit last year, participants, including the World Bank, NGOs and range states, pledged $329m (£200m) to help double the predators' numbers in the wild from the current level of about 3,200.

But the new hope in Thap Lan is mixed with old fears. Thailand is thought to be home to between 250 and 300 wild tigers, but they are vulnerable. The biggest threat is a loss of habitat. Although nominally protected, Thailand's national parks are being encroached upon by human development, particularly monoculture plantations, roads and second homes for Bangkok's rich.

Many locals also subsidise their incomes by poaching and illegally logging aloe and tropical hardwood. Park managers and police are worried that poachers and illegal traders would target the tigers once news gets out about their numbers in the area.

Rangers mount night patrols and public education campaigns to halt these activities. It can be dangerous work. A Thap Lan ranger was killed in a gun battle with poachers three years ago. In Cambodia, forest protectors have been murdered in hand grenade attacks.

The stakes are high. According to conservationists and police, poachers are paid 7,000 to 15,000 baht – £150 to £300 – per kg for a tiger carcass.

Middlemen then sell the animals on for about 10 times that amount, mostly to customers in China and Vietnam, where the animal's bones and penis are used in tonics and aphrodisiacs. Yet penalties for wildlife offences remain absurdly low, with fines ranging from 500 to 40,000 baht.

Thailand has much to protect. The country is home to some of the most biodiverse tropical forests in south-east Asia. Just two hours from Bangkok, the Guardian's car almost ran over a King Cobra, which expressed its indignation by rearing up angrily and flickering its tongue.

Despite this ecological wealth, wildlife crime was a low priority for law enforcement authorities for many years. But there are signs that attitudes may be changing. Thai customs officials have made several high-profile arrests in the past two years, including that of a woman who attempted to smuggle a live baby tiger cub through Bangkok airport in a case full of stuffed animal toys.

A sting operation last week apprehended a United Arab Emirates citizen whose belongings concealed two leopards, two panthers, an Asiatic black bear and two macaque monkeys.

More impressive still was an undercover operation by the Thai police this year that exposed a large tiger-trading syndicate. Its ringleader, a woman known as "J", remains at large, partly because her husband is a police officer, but investigators said they were closing in.

"I believe she may have been selling 100 tigers per year for 10 years," said Colonel Kittipong Khawsamang, deputy head of the wildlife crime division as he leafed through police photographs of tiger carcasses kept on ice.

"We know she is a big trader and have been collecting evidence, but we don't yet have enough for a prosecution."

Khawsamang said recent raids have shown Thailand has become a hub of the tiger trade, due to its location between other range nations in south-east Asia and China, the main market.

The business is also supplied by Thailand's many tiger farms, some of which claim to operate as zoos while covertly breeding animals for sale. The most notorious is the Sri Racha zoo near Pattaya, which police have raided on several occasions, confiscating hundreds of animals.

Tourists still flock to watch the farm-bred tigers jump through flaming hoops, suckle at pigs and walk around on their hind legs to the music of the Can-Can and laughter from the audience.

Police and conservationists believe "zoos" encourage poaching both as a source of breeding stock and by sustaining the market for tiger products.

General Misakawan Buara, commander of Thailand's natural resources and environmental crime division, said: "The problem is, we can only check permits and the inventory, but we can't check which tigers and going in and out because we are police, not animal experts. We need more DNA checks, implanted chips or a tagging system so we can verify the origins of tigers."That – like training and equipping rangers – is not cheap. But little of the money pledged at St Petersberg summit is evident yet at the grass roots, where the budgets for rangers and wildlife police are unchanged "Tiger conservation at the top and the bottom are two different worlds.

The people who are high paid researchers and biologists jet-set around the world," said Freeland's Redford.

"The rangers are paid almost nothing. They get $50 to $200 a month to go out and face armed poachers. We need to give them every support we can if we expect to keep tigers into the future.

"There is not a shortage of money, we just have to get it focused in the right places."


Scientist points out loopholes in tiger census

New Delhi: It was a moment of celebration when the Environment Minister announced that India's tiger population has increased by almost 16 per cent. But now, leading tiger scientist Ullas Karanth has questioned if there were problems with the methodology used.

In a published paper, Karanth has stated, "Details now in public domain do not reveal critical information on tiger photo-captures at sampled locations, density estimation protocols used, and how these local tiger numbers were extrapolated across wider regions".

Karanth an expert in the tiger ecology is in fact credited with developing the famous camera trap method for counting tigers instead of the earlier method of using pugmarks which was scientifically inaccurate. He has also questioned the mathematics of the

Government in arriving at the magic numbers.

"What I find a bit unconvincing across the country is the fact that on one hand it is claimed that the habitat is actually shrunk by 22 per cent, while the population density has gone up by 50 per cent in the remaining occupied area. I don't think there was enough data to come to this conclusion," said Ullas Karanth.

Dr Gopal of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, responding to Karanth, has stated that four states of Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka have shown increase in tiger density thereby pushing tiger numbers higher.

On the allegation of not putting reports in the public domain, he said that the detailed reports are available on the Environment Ministry website.

"Dr Karanth and his associates consider anything that has not originated from them as 'Substandard Science' and fake selective amnesia," said Dr Gopal.

Even as the war of words continues between the tiger scientists, the Environment Ministry maintains that the figures are correct, while others say the focus needs to shift to active protection on the ground.


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Wild Tiger Pictures

T24 from Ranthambore

Tiger from Kanha

Tiger charging in Kanha

Tiger resting in tall grass in Kanha

Waghdoh Male - The enormous male from Tadoba

Tiger cooling off in Ranthambore