Assam floods: 225 Animals Dead in Kaziranga National Park
Posted by: at 11:46, August 19 2017.

Guwahati: Earlier this month, the first wave of floods had submerged over 70 per cent of the park and led to the death of 105 animals, park Director Satyendra Singh told IANS.

Tiger drowned in Assam floods

In this Friday, Aug. 18, 2017 photo, the carcass of a tiger lies in floodwaters at the Bagori range inside Kaziranga National Park in the north eastern Indian state of Assam. (AP Photo/Uttam Saikia)

At least 225 animals have died in the Kaziranga National Park in Assam as a second wave of devastating floods lashed the state, park officials said on Saturday. As of Saturday, 30 per cent of the park was still inundated. Earlier this month, the first wave of floods had submerged over 70 per cent of the park and led to the death of 105 animals, park Director Satyendra Singh told a reporter from IANS. “The flood water is starting to recede but the pace is very slow,” Singh said. “It will take another few days to completely recede.” The dead animals include 178 hog deer, 15 rhinos, four elephants and one tiger. The second wave of floods hit the state earlier this month, submerging 25 districts and affecting over 33 lakh (3.3 million) people. The floods also damaged houses and public buildings, breached embankments, damaged roads and washed away bridges.

All the north eastern states have remained cut off from the other parts of India as rail connectivity snapped forcing the Railway Board to suspend train services beyond Malda and Alipurduar (West Bengal). In 2012, 793 animals died in Kaziranga due to heavy floods. Last year, a total of 503 animals were killed in the floods.


Here Come the Sundarbans Tigers
Posted by: at 06:36, July 27 2017.

Based on an Original Article by Pritha Lahiri

Sundarbans Tiger in its Mangrove Habitat

A Sundarbans tiger in its mangrove habitat

Tigers: the Kings of the Jungle may be facing a bleak future in some parts of India, but in the renowned Sunderbans National Park, which is famous for the big cat, tiger numbers are stable while the human death rate from tiger attacks has also declined.

Fewer human lives are lost from tiger attacks now the tiger population is not declining in the India's Sundarbans National Park (SNP), the world’s biggest mangrove forest and genepool and UN heritage-listed natural wonder, say officials of the forest department in West Bengal. While not all incidents of tiger attacks reach the mainstream media, one which made headlines was when a villager who was crab fishing in June 2014 was snatched away from a fishing boat by a tiger as his children looked on helplessly. Sushil Manjhi was crab fishing with his son and daughter when the tiger leaped aboard the boat and preyed upon him, dragging him in the mangrove swamp and then disappearing with his body.

While stories of man animal conflict abounds, the Park authorities say they carry out meticulous conservation efforts. A 96km long nylon net has been strung across the village-forest interface to prevent straying of the beast into human habitation. 'We carry out extensive awareness campaigns among locals to dissuade them from going into the core area,' says Nilanjan Mallick, Chief Conservator of Forest and Field Director, Sunderbans Tiger Reserve. 'SNP is the only forest in India where no human habitation has been allowed,' he said. Not just that, intensive patrolling is carried out in the buffer and core areas and at strategic locations in the Sunderbans National Park which was brought under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act in 1973. The patrolling is as much to contain man from venturing into the restricted area as to ward off poachers who are a major threat to the striped beast.

The Sunderbans National Park, located at the South Eastern tip of the South and North 24 Paraganas districts in West Bengal, got its name from one of the mangrove plants known as Sundari (Heritiera Minor). The Sundarbans are a part of the world's largest delta formed by the rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna. Sundarbans is a vast area covering 4262 square km in India alone, with a larger portion in Bangladesh. The 2585 of the Indian Sundarbans forms the largest Tiger Reserve and National Park in India. It mainly consists of mangrove forests. The core area of the park has its own natural boundaries with the river Matla on its West, the river Haribhanga on its East and Netidhopani and Gosba in the North.

Sunderbans tigers are a little smaller and slimmer than those elsewhere in India but remain extremely powerful and are infamous for destroying small wooden boats. They are not the only big cats who live close to humans though. The locals and government officials take certain precautions to prevent attacks. Local fishermen will say prayers and perform rituals to the forest goddess Bonbibi before setting out on expeditions. Invocations to the tiger god Dakshin Rai are also considered a necessity by the local populace for safe passage throughout the Sundarbans area. Fishermen and bushmen originally created masks made to look like faces to wear on the back of their heads because tigers always attack from behind.

Even at the rate of fifty or sixty kills per year, humans would provide only about three per cent of the yearly food requirements for the tiger population of the Sundarbans. Thus, humans are only a supplement to the tiger's diet, not the primary food source. This does not mean that the notoriety associated with this area is unfounded. Even if only 3% of a tiger's diet is human meat, that still amounts to a tiger killing and eating around one person per year, given the amount of food a tiger typically eats. Villagers in the area have agreed to occasionally release livestock into the forest in order to provide an alternative food source for the tigers and discourage them from entering the villages. The government has agreed to subsidize the project to encourage village participation. 'The human death rate has dropped significantly due to better management techniques and fewer people are killed each year,' Mallick maintained. 'No illegal entry is allowed. Neither is encroachment encouraged,' he specified. The efforts have brought in two-fold results. Human casualty has decreased and the number of tigers has increased.

Before modern times, Sundarbans tigers were said to "regularly kill fifty or sixty people a year". The number has drastically slumped to three kills a year now, according to recent statistics. On the brighter side the number of tiger has registered an upswing. According to Mr Mallick camera trappings carried out in 2015-16 showed their number at more than 86. 'This number though does not include cubs and sub-adults,' the Chief Conservator said. Despite all efforts some people do sneak in, he rued.

Apart from poaching, which has been considerably contained, threat to the king of the jungle comes from another quarter. 'The tiger may slowly lose its habitat as the rise in sea level because of global warming may swamp land,' Mr Mallick warned. The four Sunderbans National Parks have been lumped together as they all share common features of the estuarine mangrove ecosystem. The park area is divided into two ranges. Each range is further sub-divided into beats. The park also has floating watch stations and camps to protect the property from poachers. Forest guards work round the clock in Sundarbans to prevent man animal conflict. The delta also harbours large reptiles like the Monitor Lizard, Estuarine Crocodile and the Olive Ridley Turtle, for which there is a conservation programme in the Indian park. The Leopard, Indian Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros, Swamp Deer, river terrapin, Ganga river dolphin, hawksbill turtle, Hog Deer and Water Buffalo have all become locally extinct from the delta in recent decades. It is also home to a variety of bird, reptile and invertebrate species.

The present Sundarbans National Park was declared as the core area of the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve in 1973 and a wildlife sanctuary in 1977. On May 4, 1984 it was declared a National Park. It is a UNESCO world heritage site in scripted in 1987. It is considered as a World Network of Biosphere Reserve (Man and Biosphere Reserve) in 2001. The natural environment and coastal ecosystem of this Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site is under threat of physical disaster due to unscientific and excessive human interference. Conservation and environmental management plan for safeguarding this unique coastal ecology and ecosystem is urgently required. SNP also offers exciting boating facilities. Boat rentals for the Sundarbans from Godhkhali on a per day basis is available. Well equipped modern boats with sitting capacity on the deck for 60 persons and overnight stay facility in the boat for a maximum of eight persons are available. Meals are provided on board. The charges are Rs.600 per person per night. Navigational direction is the sole discretion of the boat crew as cruising in the Sundarbans is dependent upon the timings of tide and avoiding shallow rivers and creeks.


Tiger Carcass Found in Nilgiris Forests
Posted by: at 07:13, July 15 2017.

Chennai: A few bones and body parts of a tiger were found in Thengumarahadda reserved forests in the Nilgiris North Forest divisions a couple of days ago. Sources in the forest department said the body parts were found by a group of workers, who wre involved in clearing several `seemai Karuvelam (Prosopis juliflora) trees, an invasive species, in the woods. The skin, nail and tooth of the animal were missing. When contacted, Nilgiris North division forest officer S Kalanidhi said that it was only a rumour that a tiger had been poached in the Then Gumarahadda area in their division. “We have sent patrolling teams inside and nothing was found in the forests,” the officer asserted.

If it is confirmed that the death was due to poaching, then it will become a first of its kind in the state, where generally tigers are poisoned to death, known as retaliatory killing, Three years ago, a tiger was found dead in the region. The population of the big cat in Tamil Nadu, According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority last census conducted in 2013, was 163.


White Tiger Spotted in the Nilgiris
Posted by: at 06:33, July 5 2017.

Wild White Royal Bengal Tiger?

Curious cat: The tiger, with white coat and dark stripes, which was spotted in the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve.

Udhagamandalam: Photographer spots rare member of the Royal Bengal tiger family with a pale coat caused by a genetic mutation. A rare ‘white tiger’ with a pale skin colour has been spotted for the first time in the Nilgiris by a wildlife photographer, arousing interest among conservationists and forest officials on whether it is a true genetic mutant.

Photographer Nilanjan Ray from Bengaluru spotted the cat at an undisclosed location on a recent trip to the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. A keen wildlife photographer who has covered several national parks, he said the tiger did not seem to be an albino, and was whitish with golden brown patches. His pictures, reviewed by Parvesh Pandya, a zoologist with Sanctuary Asia and Belinda Wright, a conservationist and film-maker, point to a condition known as “colour morphism,” said Mr. Ray on Wednesday.

Scientific literature describes the cause as a genetic mutation among tigers that changes an amino acid responsible for the normal colour being formed, resulting in “natural polymorphism” (occurring in different forms). Such cats lack pheomelanin, which is responsible for the red-yellow hue in the skin coat. White tigers have been reported predominantly from Rewa, Madhya Pradesh. “The animal is not an albino or white tiger per se, but they are very rare, and Belinda Wright said she had last seen one in the wild in Ranthambore National Park in the 1980s. She said this one is even paler than the tiger she spotted in Ranthambore,” Mr. Ray said. The tiger, believed to be a sub-adult, was seen when the photographer was on a road trip through a reserve forest with a guide.

Seen with another cat

“We saw the cat maybe a couple of hundred feet away and it leaped up, onto the hillside when it saw us. We managed to get a few shots when another normal tiger was also nearby. It was then that we could clearly see the difference in coloration between the two animals,” he said. Forest department officials told the journalist from the Hindu that they were excited about the event, but did not want to disclose the exact location of the sighting. Mr. Ray had shared the details and camera traps would be set up in the area to monitor the situation.


Tiger Reserves to remain closed during the monsoon
Posted by: at 06:28, July 4 2017.

New Delhi: Conservation panel says it’s the breeding season for wild animals, especially tigers. Tourism zones falling in the national park areas of the world famous Ranthambhore and Sariska tiger reserves in Rajasthan will remain closed during monsoon this year as the Forest Department has revised its earlier orders for keeping them open. The decision was taken after the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) took up the matter with the State government. The orders for keeping the tiger reserves open for tourism during July to September were issued on June 9 following a meeting of the State Wildlife Board’s standing committee and Ranthambhore Tiger Conservation Foundation. The guidelines of NTCA were mainly examined at the meeting.

State Chief Wildlife Warden G.V. Reddy told a reporter from The Hindu on Monday that the revised orders for closure of tiger reserves would be applicable to the national park areas. “The fringe areas will be kept open for the tourism activities,” he said. The revised orders, issued after considering the views of Field Directors, provide for complete closure of tourism zones 1 to 5 at Ranthambhore and two tourism zones at Sariska. The forest officers will also observe the condition of local roads and safety issues for closing specified zones for specific periods. While the NTCA has laid emphasis on keeping the national parks closed during monsoon as it is the breeding period of wild animals, especially the tigers, the State Wildlife Board had observed that the breeding of tigers extended throughout the year in Rajasthan, which is a low rainfall area.

The criterion of closure due to monsoon season might not apply in the State and the damage caused by safaris to roads in the tiger reserve areas was “very negligible,” while the tourists were safe for travelling. Dr. Reddy pointed out that the zones 6 to 10 at Ranthambhore had been opened for tourism during monsoon in the past few years and no adverse effect on tigers and their conservation had been observed. Significantly, as many as nine parks in the rain intensive States of Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu remain open throughout the year. The NTCA, while identifying factors for closure during monsoon in its 2015 directive, had stated that the period for closure would be decided by the respective State governments.


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