Sunday, August 2

Why Wildlife Tourism..?

A Beautiful Film by TOFT expressing the Need and Importance of Wildlife Tourism in Wildlife Habitat.

Tuesday, June 9

Facts Regarding DNA News about Tiger Poaching in Tadoba

Dear Friends,

Following is the news given by Mr. Ashwin Aghor Of DNA on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 1:48 IST. The Link is

20 tigers feared poached at Tadoba in past 5 months

Ashwin Aghor Tuesday, May 19, 2009 1:48 IST

Mumbai: Environmentalists are worried about the turn of things in the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), considered the best tiger reserve in Maharashtra. The man-tiger conflict in this Chandrapur forest area, which had grown alarmingly in the last three years, has suddenly come to an end in the past five months.

"The sudden end to the conflict should be taken seriously since it is an indication that the tigers in the conflict area are in serious trouble," said Kishor Rithe, president of Satpuda Foundation, an NGO working for forest conservation in central India. It is feared that around 20 tigers have been poached in the recent past in the Reserve.

The man-tiger conflict in Chandrapur district had become serious with 11 human deaths in 2006, 13 in 2007 and more than 26 in 2008. Surprisingly, only one incident of human death -- on January 21 -- has been reported this year.

Three reasons could be cited for this: 1. The tigers have uncharacteristically decided to stay away from humans; 2. Tigers and humans in the conflict area have "arrived" at a consensus not to invade in each other's domain and 3. All the tigers in the conflict area have been wiped out.

"First two possibilities are out of question and there are more chances that all tigers in the area are wiped out," he said, adding, "Tigers have no future outside TATR in Chandrapur district."

Even the forest department officials are accepting the fact. A senior forest official agreed that the tigers in the area must have been poached. "We have information that an organised poaching syndicate from Katni in Madhya Pradesh is active around Bhandara and Gondia," he said.

According to the official, there are around 40 tigers outside TATR and available information indicates that eight tigers have been poached leading to either death of three cubs and removal of two cubs from the forest, out of them one later died at Maharajbaugh Zoo in Nagpur.

The official said that there was an urgent need of undertaking 'know your tiger' exercise to create a data base. "Since poachers are far more advanced than the forest department, we should at least have detailed information about the tigers in the region. The poachers must have killed around 20 tigers in the region in past five months," the official said.

I don't want to raise any question about the information source or reliability of the news. The only thing which I want to discuss here is the confusation created in the minds of readers, Nature as well as Wildlife and Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) lovers. The continuous querries from so many people, that if it is true that the 20 Tigers have been poached in TATR, leads me to clear the fact.

If we carefully read the news, it can be clearly noticed that the fear of tigers being poached is outside the Tiger Reserve and the reason of confusation is just due to the HEADLINE and the FIRST LINE OF THE NEWS. Even the news itself mentioned clearly that TATR is a safe heaven for Tigers.

"Tigers have no future outside TATR in Chandrapur district."

The facts are:

1. There is no Human-Animal conflict, regarding Tigers, inside the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve except 2 cases in 2007-08.

2. The area which faced most of the Human-Animal conflict cases is Nagbhid-Sindewahi area which comes under Brahmapuri Division.

3. The Conflict later leads in the direction of Chandrapur area. Some of the cases registered in Chandrapur area were very close to Chandrapur City.

4. Remaining facts given in the news are correct.

Dear Friends, Please do not keep any confusation in your mind. Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve is still a safe heaven for Tigers. It is emerging very speedily as one of the best Tiger reserve in India.

Sunday, May 10

Now, Tadoba Tigers to help villagers

(News taken from Times Of India 8 May 2009, 0201 hrs IST written by Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN)

NAGPUR: In villages around Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, tigers are villains. Starved of prey base in forests outside the reserve, they have attacked cattle and also, quite frequently, human beings. Now, with a 1067 sq km area around the reserve being identified as the buffer zone by the state forest department, the villages will get funds under the centrally sponsored scheme (CSS) in future.

The buffer zone identified as the critical tiger habitat (CTH) comprises 79 villages. It will be in addition to the core area of 625 sq km of TATR. The TATR buffer area includes 671.37 sq km forested area and 393.83 sq km non-forested area. The move follows amendment to Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 in September 2006. The government has been asked to identify the peripheral area critical to the tiger habitat, designate it as buffer zone and prepare a tiger conservation plan (TCP) for both core and buffer zones.

Initially, on the basis of scientific data, preliminary buffer zone proposal of August 14, 2007, included around 133 villages in Chimur, Sindewahi, Mul, Warora, Brahmapuri, Bhadravati and Chandrapur tehsils with a forest area of 69,099 hectares and non-forest area of 46,295 hectares amounting to 1153.94 sq km. However, after discussions held on April 24 the expert committee on buffer zone has finalised a proposal for 1067.21 sq km having 79 villages.

According to principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) B Majumdar, the buffer was necessary to ensure integrity of TATR. "It's a legal requirement. We will ensure that agricultural, livelihood, development and other interests of the people living in tiger sensitive patches in buffer are not affected. The areas will remain as it is. Only status of protection will be increased."

Nandkishore, chief conservator of forests (CCF) for Nagpur wildlife circle, said: "We will ensure ecologically compatible land uses so that wildlife is not harmed. We'll also aim to promote man-animal co-existence with due recognition to the rights of the people. The approved buffer zone proposal will be soon sent to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). The NTCA will later refer it to the state government for notifying it."

In the buffer zone, highest 66 villages are in Chandrapur forest division, followed by 13 from Brahmapuri division. Although the buffer includes 12,550 hectare area of West Chanda division, not a single village falls in the proposed area. Interestingly, the buffer proposal also includes compartment number 390, where coal mines of Adani Power Limited have been proposed. The buffer also includes some 7-9 compartments proposed for mining near Agarzari near Tadoba. These blocks have been proposed by the Maharashtra State Mining Corporation (MSMC). "The mining blocks have been included because these are within 10 km of the tiger reserve," officials told TOI.

Kishor Rithe, member of the state committee for buffer area to critical tiger habitats (CTHs), who was part of the meeting held on April 24 to approve the buffer proposal, said: "Coal has taken toll on water, fresh air, health, agriculture etc. But now tigers will prove to be a bigger boon for Chandrapur district than coal. Buffer area of the TATR will have a legal sanctity now. It will boost economic and ecological development of Chandrapur. This is the beginning of environmental democracy and coming months would frame the 'real economic-ecological development' package for the villages living around TATR."

Rithe further said people in buffer area will not face displacement nor will they have to fight for funds for their development. Government will have to work with villagers for their economic-ecological sustainable development. This is the real 'win-win' situation for tigers as well as stakeholders.

On March 17, 2008, officials of wildlife wing, territorial and Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) had reached a consensus on creating buffer zones around three tiger reserves - Tadoba, Melghat and Pench - situated in Vidarbha. As per the amendment to section 38(v)(2) of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, establishing a buffer or peripheral area around tiger reserves is mandatory.

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has already suggested that for every 20 breeding tigresses, an area of 800-1,000 sq km be maintained inviolate. This would help maintain an overall population of 70-100 tigers that would be maintainable in the patch around the buffer areas. Nandkishore informed that consultations with the gram sabhas were done and people have been told about the benefits.

Tuesday, January 13

Tadoba is not Closed for Tourism

It was asked by many Nature Lovers if Tadoba National Park is closed for tourism.
It's true that Hon.PCCF (Wildlife) of Maharashtra State had issued the orders about the closure of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) for Tourism from 25th December 2008.
The background behind this panic decision, taken by Hon. PCCF (Wildlife) and Hon. Field Director, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, was lack of Field-Staff and responsible officers in the Park.
Only three responsible officers (Hon. Filed Director, an ACF and a RFO) were managing the park when this panic decision was taken.
The Posts sanctioned for the smooth Management of the Park are - A Field Director(IFS), An ACF (MFS) and 5 RFO's (MFS).
Out of these, as I had already said, only 2 RFO's were working in the Park, of which one RFO was on the training at WII, Deharadun.
So there was only one RFO looking after 4 offices and one Subordinate Round Officer was handling the Charge of Kolsa RFO, who was on training.
This situation was very badly affecting the whole management of TATR. Resulting into the fustration and thus leading the mentality of only working RFO towards Voluntary Reitirement.
Hon. Field Director and PCCF (Wildlife) tried to acquaint government's attention towards this problem but they were failed to get the officers.
Finally they decided to stop tourism till further order so as to reduce atleast some pressure on the park management and subsequently issued and published the orders in various media.
Now it's the time when government came into action, admitted and fulfilled the demand of Park Mangement and sent the required number of RFO's to Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve.
Just before the closure of Park for tourism, i.e. on 25th December, the previous order was cancelled and Tadoba was not closed even for a single day.
The cancellation of orders, regarding closure of Tadoba for tourism, neither attracted proper attention of various media nor government has given due publicity, thus the situation of dilemma continued in the minds of Nature and Wildlife Lovers.

Today TATR is flourishing as one of the best Tiger breeding center. It has a great ratio of Tiger sighting alongwith other major manmals and birds as well as rich variety of Plants.