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Tiger from Bor tiger reserve killed in road accident

A young dominant male tiger from Bor Tiger Reserve became the latest casualty of ‘killer highways’ after it was found dead after being knocked down by a vehicle around 7.30pm on Friday, on the Nagpur-Amravati Highway stretch around 40 kilometers away from Nagpur.While the forest department claimed that as per primary investigations the tiger seems to be T2 but the confirmation would only be given after a detailed study of the stripes pattern during the post-mortem. However, wildlife experts and photographers confirmed that the tiger was T2 who was also famously nicknamed as Bajirao and several photographers had clicked his image.Digamber Chable a wildlife lover claimed that the tiger was hit by a vehicle on a dark patch near Bazaargaon area and it seems that it died immediately. “It was a young tiger and it’s sad that Maharashtra is losing tigers who are in their prime to road accidents,” he said.Also readAssam Shocker: Five elephants mowed down by train Dr Anish Andheria, President, Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) who has been one of the strongest voice demanding proper mitigation measures near wildlife corridor took to social media stating, “T2 (called Bajirao) was the most dominant male tiger of Bor, holding a huge territory that extended all the way to Kalmeshwar, a forest patch over 30 km from Bor. He shuttled between the two forests, unaware that the road that he crossed often will take his life.” He also said that the NH6 cuts vital corridor between Bor and Melghat and despite repeated appeals by conservationists no mitigation structures were built on not only this but also most of our killer roads. Wildlife experts have been calling for the need to build elevated roads near wildlife corridors. “We only wake up when a Tiger or Elephant is dead after being hit by a vehicle or Train but one should understand that over 90% of roadkills are never reported. No one accounts for the smaller mammals and reptiles that die traumatic deaths after coming under speeding vehicles,” said a wildlife conservationist adding that wildlife lovers and experts now need to show their force to the Government and demand that first no road be built through an important wildlife corridor and if there was no other option it be allowed only after proper scientific mitigation measures are adopted.As per Tigernet- the official database of the National Tiger Conservation Authority a total of 17 tiger mortality has been reported in the year 2017 making this the 18 death in Maharashtra.

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Rajasthan fails to safeguard sloth bears

The Rajasthan government is reportedly not doing enough to save the sloth bears in the state.In 2005, the Sariska Tiger Reserve near Alwar saw a tragedy with all the tigers in the park lost to poaching. It was shocking because it was not before several months had passed that the forest department and the state government took notice of the situation. Although tigers were then trans-located into the reserve – of which a good numbers are surviving today – but a decade since the debacle, another blunder is about to take place, this time due to the apathy of the forest department.Due to the lethargic attitude of the department, the chance to revive a species long extinct in the area has now been lost. The species being talked about is the sloth bear, which was once abundant in the entire Aravalli range.In March 2013, a lone bear had strayed into a village near Malarna forest check post under Rajgarh forest of Sariska tiger Reserve. The six-year-old bear had come from Bharatpur. It was rescued and relocated in Kalighati forest area and the animal marked its territory in the park. It roamed around Kankwari, Tehla, Kalighati, Slopka region till Pandupol forest in the park covering a huge area. With this, hopes to revive the species were ignited. But four years since the bear was brought to Sariska, there is no representation of the species in the area. Whats more, the bear has not been sighted by forest officials for nearly a year.”There were no signs of the bear in the last year. We have not come across any carcass. We do not know if the animal was poached or has gone out of the area or has died a natural death” a highly placed official in the department said.Thought was given to the possiblity of reviving the species and plans were also made. However, the department took too long to formulate as in 2015 the final report for reintroduction was completed and tabled. “A factual report, along with a Sloth Bear Reintroduction Project, was forwarded to the forest department in May 2013 year regarding bringing a female bear to the park. It was, however, not put up before the Wildlife Board for consideration,” a forest official told DNA.More red tapeism followed in the state government and the final nod was received in 2017 from NTCA. “There was a glitch, however. The department could not just lift any female bear but the ones that had strayed out of the forest and towards city or village and was healthy to undertake such a journey could only be shifted,” sources said.Officials in the knowhow claim that there have been several incidences over the years particularly in Sirohi district wherein sloth bears have ventured out of the forest areas.But officials claim that the animal might have moved out of area. “Although it has not been sighted for a long time, we think the bear might have gone out of the area and towards Jamwa Ramgarh. It is a free ranging animal and might have gone anywhere” said Balaji Kari, DFO Sariska.Interestingly, reports of a bear in Jamwa Ramgarh have not been received over the past several months.

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Thane forest dept needs trained vets

While the leopard that ventured into a preschool in Andheri East on Sunday was rescued successfully by the same evening, the incident has exposed the lack of trained wildlife veterinarians that plagues the Thane forest department.While the leopard entered the preschool’s premises around 7 am, the rescue was completed only around 6.30 pm — after a eopard rescue team from SGNP led by Shailesh Deore, Superintendent Lion and Tiger Safari and Dr Shailesh Pethe, Veterinary Officer, SGNP, reached the site. The reason for the delay was that the Thane territorial team does not have a trained wildlife veterinarian to tranquillise and carry out a rescue operation, thus they had to wait for the SGNP team that was returning from Chalisgaon after being called in for another leopard rescue operation.“What would have happened if the SGNP rescue team was still stuck in Chalisgaon or the leopard escaped from the area which is far from a forest? This incident highlights the pressing need for Thane territorial forest department to strengthen its rescue team as the cases of human-animal conflicts have been increasing in its area and it is evident that the SGNP team cannot do everything single-handedly,” said a wildlife activist.Pawan Sharma, Honorary Wildlife Warden, Thane said, “The number of human-animal conflict cases in Thane’s jurisdiction have been increasing and apart from that the vet could also help in taking care of the animals that are rescued or seized by the anti-poaching team.”Currently, the SGNP leopard rescue team ends up travelling far and wide as it is the only team that has a wildlife vet.

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18th Sanctuary Wildlife Awards: From saving tigers to teaching wildlife conservation; know these green crusaders

From a Nagpur based lawyer whose legal acumen has helped in keeping poachers behind bars to a ‘bird nerd’ who became the first Indian to complete a ‘Big Year’ to a young wildlife biologist who has helped understand Mumbai’s leopards better-these are some of the environment protectors amongst others who will be felicitated for their exemplary and dedicated work towards protection and conservation of Indian wildlife by Sanctuary Nature Foundation on Friday.DNA lists some of the bravehearts and winners amongst the 13 who will be awarded the 18th Sanctuary Wildlife Awards who during a function at National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) on December 8, 2017 in Mumbai.Valmik Thapar- Lifetime Service AwardHe hardly needs any introduction and has been leading the battle to save the Tigers. Thapar has spent almost four decades tracking and protecting the most enigmatic cat and has taken their story to across the globe through his books and photographs. He has also served on over 150 committees of both central and state governments. His influence has been expansive, and though today he works almost exclusively in Rajasthan, with the state government, he has been instrumental in the revitalisation of other parks such as Maharashtra’s beloved Tadoba Tiger Reserve. Author of 32 books, including four on Africa, presenter of 16 international documentary films, and an excellent orator, Valmik Thapar’s gruff genius is what it took for India and the world to sit up and acknowledge the tiger’s magnificence, its predicament, and the urgency for conservation. Jayachandran S- Wildlife Service AwardsJayachandran S. has been at the forefront of the fight to save the Nilgiri and Sathyamangalam landscape in Tamil Nadu’s Western Ghats for over three decades. It was in 1990 that he started the Tamil Nadu Green Movement and, ever since, this people-powered initiative has stemmed the onslaught of unscrupulous industries and the timber mafia on this global biodiversity hotspot. He is a scrappy fighter, yes. But he’s also a solutions provider. By establishing a web of intelligence networks, he has been instrumental in helping the Kerala and Tamil Nadu Forest Departments bust poaching rackets, make seizures and apprehend hardened poachers. He has inspired many poachers to turn over a new leaf by surrendering their arms and ensuring alternate livelihood opportunities for them. Many of these ex-poachers today help the Forest Departments in blowing the cover on the modus operandi and operations of active wildlife criminals. Jayachandran is a hero whose contributions it is impossible to justly chronicle. He is a man in whose steps we hope many more will follow.Kartik Shukul- Wildlife Service AwardsIt was in the year 2013 that he managed to convince the judiciary that just because poaching attracted a sentence of seven years, it did not mean that the accused should be granted bail immediately. His legal acumen helped changed the perspective that the crime of poaching should be judged on the basis of its impact and it has ensured that several poachers not only went behind bars but also stayed behind it.A special public prosecutor for the State of Maharshtra, Nagpur based Shukul has ensured that in the year 2017 itself there were six convictions in tiger poaching cases. Despite the tedious rigours of his work, Shukul also manages to devote many hours every month to building capacity within members of the lower judiciary, police officers, Forest Department, and fellow lawyers by teaching them how to effectively wield his weapon of choice – the Wild Life Protection Act. Kartik Shukul is a man of integrity and intelligence, whose resilience is taking out wildlife criminals one court case at a time.Ramesh Pratap Singh, (IFS (Retd.)- Wildlife Service AwardsAfter serving in the Indian Forestry Services for more than three decades, R P Singh has worked through every tangent of wildlife conservation required to enable the revival of some of India’s most visited tiger destinations. His profound understanding of wildlife conservation, forest management, administration and law and his sensitivity to local communities, led to landmark developments across various Protected Areas. From voluntary relocations to wildlife crime control, Singh displayed exemplary management capability. R P Singh, in the pursuit of the preservation and protection of his beloved wilds, has left an indelible mark in India’s history of forest management and conservation, inspiring a whole generation of young officers.Shashank Dalvi- Wildlife Service Awards While birding at Jamnagar on the evening of December 31, 2015, Mumbai based wildlife biologist Shashank Dalvi spotted a Common Ringed Plover just an hour before dusk. While for others it might have been an end of a typical birding day, but for him it meant being the first Indian to not only successfully complete the prestigious ‘Big Year’ (an informal competition initiated in the United States amongst birders to check who can record the maximum number of birds in a span of one calender year) challenge taken up by birders but also recording a whooping 1128 birds in a calender year. Infact in 2016 he along with a team of scientists found a new species of bird- Himalayan Forest Thrush, a new bird species to science, and only the fourth bird to be described from India since its independence and named it after Indian ornithologist Dr Salim Ali. In 2012, he was a member of the team that discovered the shocking Amur Falcon massacre in Doyang, Nagaland, which catalysed an International conservation movement. A self-professed ‘bird nerd’, his long-term goal is to pioneer a nation-wide conservation programme for birds outside Protected Areas.KS Smitha- Green Teacher AwardSmitha’s passion for the wild coalesced with her love for children in 1997, the year she chose teaching as her profession. Ever since, Smitha has been an affable pied-piper, leading her students to the tunes of conservation. Having built a green army, she spares no opportunity in taking her regiments of future green activists out of the classroom to explore and marvel at the beauty of nature. In order to fulfill her fundamental agenda of connecting children with nature, she has created multiple nature clubs for her school. Smitha, along with her students, has even lead an agitation against the Kolkata municipal corporation when it decided bulldoze dozens of trees for a road-widening project. She petitioned, rallied and took concrete steps to stop the rampage. Nikit Surve- Young Naturalist Awards Nikit is credited with conducting the first-ever official, scientific census of leopards in the urban wilderness known as the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and has been able to showcase how the leopards are co-existing with humans. At 25, Nikit is a Research Associate with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and is working with dedication and passion on a complex and burning conservation issue – that of sharing space with our wild cat neighbours. Surve has also been helping the forest guards to understand more about leopards and engage them in understanding how camera trappings is carried out. He engages in impactful awareness campaigns based on his research findings that he conducts in schools, colleges and even in the remote sugarcane fields of Maharashtra, where communities live. Pandurang Pakhale- Special Sanctuary Tiger AwardsAn iron man of the Maharashtra Forest Department, he is presently posted at the Pench Tiger Reserve as a Range Forest Officer (RFO) of East Pench Range. He is responsible for the arrest of more than a dozen tiger poachers. He has continued investigations despite strong protests and police complaints – the result of political clout and support of fish mafia for the poachers. In January 2017, he took on pangolin traders and poachers whom he took to court and stood up to political leaders who demanded his arrest and transfer. He also busted monitor lizard poachers and arrested eight of them in June 2017.

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Wildlife experts suspect that Chalisgaon leopard could have been ‘translocated’

Even as forest teams from around five districts are busy carrying out a combing operation in a five-kilometre radius near Chalisgaon, Jalgoan to either trap or shoot the leopard, which has so far killed six people, wildlife experts state that they suspect that this leopard could have been ‘translocated’ from a different area, as a similar situation had unfolded 12 years ago.The fact that locals from Varkhed village and other villages including Londhe where the leopard has been spotted frequently and even attacked people, claimed that they have never heard or faced any leopard conflict for years now only makes the suspicion of experts stronger.“In 2005 a female leopard was trapped in Junnar Forest Division and it was released more than 200 km away in Yaval Wildlife Sanctuary. When she was captured in Chalisgaon, she had travelled 90 km in the direction of Junnar and was responsible for many attacks on people in areas which had never reported human-leopard conflict before,” shared Wildlife biologist Dr Vidya Athreya adding that the situation unfolding currently at Chalisgaon seems very similar to what they faced in 2005 and there are chances that it could be a translocated leopard.Also readLeopard enters society, members mull awareness driveAthreya who has been working on measures to mitigate human leopard interactions shared that their own study had indicated that translocation ended up increasing leopard attacks on people in the vicinity of the release sites as these big cats have homing instincts and want to return back to their origin and while doing that they end up entering areas they do not know about and there is always a chance of conflict occurring.“We have data that around Junnar between 2001 to 2003 the leopard attack rose to 17 per year from an average of 4 per year for the around eight year period due to rampant translocation,” she said adding that the forest department will need to put its foot down and stop these illegal translocations.Also readWatch: CCTV footage of leopard that strayed into Maruti Suzuki plant in Haryana’s ManesarAnother forest official who has been using scientific approach in his own jurisdiction to mitigate human-leopard conflict shared that several forest division accross Maharashtra are involved in illegal releases of leopards. “if a leopard is spotted or there is a killing of livestock or human in a particular area there is lot of pressure on the Range Forest Officer (RFO) from locals and politicians to trap the leopard and ensure it is not released in the same area,” he said adding that in such scenario the RFO’s trap the leopard and at night travel to the areas on border districts or even different division and release the leopard there.Some of the officials also shared that this leopard was not getting trapped despite over 10 trap cages being set up, which also indicated that it has been trapped earlier and know about trap cages. A senior forest department official who is currently involved in the combing operations and himself has helped trap leopards that have entered human dominated areas shared that after speaking to the locals he too began suspecting that the leopard could have been translocated.“Its high time that Chief Wildlife Warden comes up with a proper policy on leopard translocation as it needs to be ensured that forest department stop such practises, which is done mostly under political pressure. Human-animal interaction is only going to increase in the coming days and it needs to be dealt scientifically,” he said.
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Birdwatchers and wildlife rescue groups demand action plan to protect migratory birds

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With migratory birds, which descend in and around Mumbai during winters gradually beginning to make their presence felt, birdwatchers and organizations working for protection of urban wildlife have asked Forest department as well as Maharashtra State Mangrove Cell to jointly put an action plan, which will ensure better protection of several species including flamingos, whose arrival in the city is being eagerly awaited.According to Pawan Sharma, Honorary Wildlife Warden of Thane and President of Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW) between June 2016 and July 2017 they had rescued seven flamingos of which all were victims of wounds caused by pellet guns and only one of them survived. “Every winter there is large scale poaching and hunting of the migratory birds for meat as well as just for the fun of shooting them and forest department is yet to take this issue seriously. Flamingos and more migratory birds will begin coming down in bigger flocks soon and this was the ideal time to put in place an action plan,” he said adding that they have already written to both the Mangrove Cell as well as Forest department to be vigilant.In fact, Sharma pointed out that most of the hunting of these migratory birds were done in and around Vasai, Virar, Mahul and even at Thane Flamingo Sanctuary, which is a protected area and ideally the Mangrove Cell should begin intensive and regular patrolling along the creek, which will prove a major deterrent. “We have suggested that Mangrove Cell call a meeting of various birding groups, which regularly visits wetlands and other areas for bird watching and ask them to keep a watch but also promise them that their identities will be protected and also announce some incentives for those helping nab those involved in killing birds with proof,” he said adding that another suggestion was to also set up CCTV’s at strategic locations to monitor such illegal activity.A Thane-based birder said that it was a well- known fact that rampant hunting of migratory birds especially flamingos is carried out and despite knowing well the locations where poaching occurs Forest department doesn’t take any action. “On several occasions, we have told officials to keep a watch on a certain stretch of Thane creek where locals gather to hunt migratory birds but nothing was done. The birding community will always like to work with forest department in helping prevent such incidents of poaching but even the department should respond and be interested in nabbing the culprits,” he said.A senior official from Mangrove Cell said that they were carrying out patrolling but would like to work closely with birding community to crack a whip on hunting if any. “We will request birding community as well as fishermen living along the creeks to help us nab such offenders by alerting the forest department on the helping apart from intensifying patrolling,” said an official.As per birders Flamingos arrive between late October-early November and can be spotted at Sewri, Thane, and Navi Mumbai. However this year their arrival has been delayed so far.

Green ministry panel defers nod for Indo-Nepal hydel project

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The environmental clearance for the Rs 33,108-crore Pancheshwar hydroelectric dam project in Uttarakhand, proposed to be the world’s second tallest at 315 metres, has been deferred.The expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said in its meeting on October 24 that pending submission of supplementary impact studies wildlife and environment, the wildlife clearance and a site visit, decision on the project should be deferred, official minutes show.The project is a joint venture between India and Nepal conceived under the Mahakali treaty signed in 1996. It involves construction of a 315-metre tall rock-fill hydropower dam across Mahakali River, 2.5-km downstream of the confluence of Mahakali and Sarju River and would have a total installed capacity of 5,040 MW with the inclusion of a smaller 240MW hydropower dam.The project requires a total of 9,100 hectares of land and area of 7,600 hectares, while 31,023 families will lose their land. The EAC said it would require to study the environmental impact assessment report for the Nepal portion of the project to get a holistic view. It also directed the project proponent to obtain wildlife clearance as the project was located 300 metres from the Ascot Wildlife Sanctuary.

J’khand irrigation project gets nod for felling over 3 L trees

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The North Koel irrigation project in Jharkhand that got a renewed push under the NDA government has got an in-principle forest clearance for felling of 3.44 lakh trees and submergence of 1,007.29 hectares of forest inside the Palamau Tiger Reserve. The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recommended the in-principle approval with 14 general and standard conditions that included, among others, compensatory afforestation over double the diverted forest land and at least 1,000 plants per hectare. It also sought strengthening of wildlife corridors connected to the tiger reserve.The project has already received wildlife clearance from the National Board for Wildlife subject to specific conditions that include plans to mitigate adverse impact on wildlife and preparation of a wildlife management plan.The Palamau Tiger Reserve is the lone reserve in Jharkhand under Project Tiger and has seen its tiger population dwindle from 42 in 2005 to three in recent times. Local activists have raised concerns that the renewed push for completion of the project would lead to yet another round of displacement of tribals. Meanwhile, conservationists have cautioned that the submergence and loss of biodiversity could affect the long-term sustainability of the forest. According to official records, the Kutku range is currently home to wild boars, barking deer, golden jackals, elephants, bears and tigers that are seen there occasionally.Work on the irrigation project had first commenced in 1970s and got a fresh push from the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Water Resources in 2015. The project was to originally submerge part of the tiger reserve’s core. But, in a meeting in August 2016 held under the chairmanship of PMO principal secretary Nripendra Misra and Jharkhand and Bihar governments, it was decided to reduce the project dam’s full reservoir level.The North Koel project was sanctioned at a cost of Rs 30 crore. Till now, Rs 780 crore has been spent to complete construction of a dam over North Koel river in Latehar district and a barrage in Palamu district. The project, though, is not yet fully operational as the dam gates have not been installed. At present, this partially completed project is irrigating 56,000 hectare of land in Bihar and Jharkhand during Kharif season.

Save our tigers, Cambodia tells India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With an eye on reviving their extinct tiger population, a high-level delegation of the Cambodian government made a two-day visit to Panna Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, in October end to study its successful tiger reintroduction programme.Cambodia’s population of Indochinese tigers has become functionally extinct, with no breeding population left, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had declared in April 2016. The south-east Asian country is currently looking to rope in India as partner to seek technical cooperation in their still nascent project to revive tigers, hence this visit assumes significance.Following the visit, the Cambodian government may soon write to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, seeking technical co-operation.The high-level delegation of 18 comprised among others, Svay Sam Eang, Governor of Mondulkiri province, ministers of tourism and environment, and top forest department officials. The visit came close on the heels of an Indian delegation’s visit to Mondulkiri forests in September. The Mondulkiri province in the eastern plains landscape of Cambodia is home to a vast forest expanse of 4,249 sq km, which was the last place tigers were seen in the country.According to officials from PTR, the Cambodian delegation was taken around various ranges of the Panna forest and were introduced to functioning of ground staff and monitoring of radio-collared tigers. There are 11 radio collared tigers in Panna and the PTR staff tries to track most of them on a daily basis using radiotelemetry equipment.”They wanted to see first-hand the landscape of Panna and specifically how our staff works round the clock to monitor tigers inside PTR. I believe they took away a lot from their visit on the professionalism of forest staff since their conservation is largely drive by non-profit organisations,” said SP Yadav, assistant secretary general, Global Tiger Forum, an intergovernmental international organisation.After a near wipeout of Panna’s tigers in 2009, a first-of-its kind tiger reintroduction programme was started. This involved translocation of female tigers from Kanha and Bandhavgarh to Panna. Today, there are 26 adult tigers in PTR.The delegation was also informed about the camera-trap monitoring methods that help in maintaining a photographic database of individual tigers inside PTR. “We have nearly 200 camera traps across the 542 sq km of the reserve. Along with the reintroduction programme, informing them about how we are sustaining the population was of equal interest to them,” said Vivek Jain, field director, PTR.Independent experts said the Cambodian delegation’s visit was a step in the right direction, irrespective of whether the south-east Asian country requires India to share a tiger for repopulating their forests. “Since Panna and Mondulkiri share a similar latitude, it was a positive step to assess our landscape. They need to first focus on setting their house in order in terms of establishing proper prey-base, which is low right now,” said K Ramesh, scientist, Wildlife Institute of India.A 2013 WWF study on tiger reintroduction in Cambodia stated that though Malayan and Amur tigers are closest genetic relatives of Indochinese tigers, their habitat and prey base do not match. Moreover, the Bengal tiger shares similar habitat and prey assemblage to Cambodia’s tigers, which made India and Nepal ideal to source tigers from.Tracking big catsThe Cambodian delegation was taken around the Panna forest and introduced to monitoring of radio-collared tigers. There are 11 radio-collared tigers in Panna and the staff tries to track most of them using radiotelemetry equipment.

Security staff of minister comes to rescue of injured peacock

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When the security staffers of Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot spotted a peacock at the minister’s residence on Wednesday morning, they were not surprised for the area houses a lot of these majestic birds. But as they went closer, they realised that the bird wasn’t moving.Upon inspection, it was revealed that one of its wings had a deep injury and it was writhing in pain. Moved by the pitiful sight, the officials immediately reached out to a wildlife rescue service. The bird is now being nursed back to health and will soon be released in its natural habitat.Recounting the incident, Gourav Singh, a personnel at the minister’s residence, said: “The peacock was struggling to move and appeared to be in considerable pain. I immediately contacted the Wildlife SOS, and they responded promptly. They reached the spot to provide medical aid to the peacock.”A two-member team arrived at the VIP residence and initiated ‘operation peacock’, ensuring that the injured bird suffered least amount of stress while being administered help. The peacock is currently undergoing treatment and will soon be released into its natural habitat.He further said that last year as well, they had sought the organisation’s help to rescue a kite fledgling, which had collapsed in the premises due to exhaustion.Commenting on the incident, Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS, said: “We are thankful to the staffers for alerting us about this emergency. This indicates a high level of compassion on their part and sets an example for others. Often, the plight of urban wildlife is dismissed because city dwellers consider them to be a nuisance.”OPERATION BIRDA two-member team arrived at the VIP residence and initiated ‘operation peacock’, ensuring that the injured bird suffered least amount of stress while being administered help.
The peacock is currently undergoing treatment and will soon be released into its natural habitat.

E-way: MSRDC to seek ASI approval

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will be approaching the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to obtain no objection certificate (NOC) considering the heritage locations are located close to the proposed Mumbai Nagpur Expressway.The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has asked the MSRDC to obtain NOC from the ASI as the proposed Expressway is planned in the 7-km radius of some famous heritage locations like Bibi Ka Maqbara, Aurangabad Caves, and Daulatabad Fort.Kiran Kurundkar, joint managing director, MSRDC, said, “We are going to approach the ASI to seek its NOC as per the MoEF’s directions.”Recently, the MoEF while giving environment clearance had said that MSRDC should seek clearance from ASI and also the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to provide locations of animal crossing and suggest safety measure for the presence of wildlife corridor crossings.”We have already passed the underpass for wildlife throughout the Expressway. However, we were suggested to change locations of a few underpasses. We will accordingly accommodate the recommendations of changing locations of wildlife underpasses,” Kurundkar added.The Expressway would have total over 400 vehicular underpasses, over 300 wildlife and pedestrian underpasses and over 50 flyovers. The Rs 46,000-crore Expressway project is expected to reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Nagpur to 10 hours from the current 15-17 hours.Between Bhiwandi and Nagpur, 84 per cent of the total 10,000 hectares required land for the Expressway construction is prime agricultural land, while 13 per cent is uncultivated land. The remaining 1.92 per cent is a forest land.

Guj to hold wildlife week to avoid man-animal conflict

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gandhinagar: To avoid the conflicts between human and wildlife, Gujarat government will observe a wildlife week in the state. The celebrations will be held between October 2 and 8 across 1200 venues, crisscrossing the state and as many as 18 to 20 lakh people are expected to attend these programmes.The incident of clash between human with sloth bear in Jesor sanctuary in North Gujarat was reported in March this year. The issue raised the eyebrows of the wildlife activists across the nation. The government has precisely held programmes to create awareness at places where such incidents are frequent.The forest department informed about the celebration of wildlife week through a release issued on Friday.The department informed that the special weight will be given to the issue of clashes or conflicts between wildlife and human nearby the sanctuary areas.As many as eight workshops have been organised at different places where the wildlife can be affected badly due to routine activities by humans.The workshop for sloth bears will be held at Jesor sanctuary, for cranes and vultures in Gandhinagar, for great Indian bustard in Bhuj, for alligators in Vadodara, for the wolf in Junagadh, for Dugong in Meethapur near Dwarka and for leopards and panthers at Ratanmahal Sanctuary.The state government has prepared films and different presentations to attract the youth for sensitisation towards wildlife. The government will also appeal the cinema halls in cities to arrange shows of such films.There will be competitions of essay writing, picture and photographs, slogan writings, drawing and scratches and of that kind to attract the stakeholders. The government will also give prizes to winners of these competitions.

Mumbai: Predator and prey trapped after Russel viper and rat get stuck on glue trap

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In yet another incident highlighting the perils of the rampant usage of glue traps, a one-and-a-half-foot long Russell’s viper got stuck while trying to hunt a rat that incidentally was also stuck on the same glue trap.Mahesh Ithape, a rescuer with Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW), said that he received a call from Director General Quality Assurance, Complex at Vikroli West informing about the snake around 10am on Wednesday. “I first asked them to send me a photograph of the snake so that i could identify if it’s a venomous or a non-venomous. As soon as they sent me the photograph, I identified it as the highly venomous Russel’s Viper. I then instructed the the people to not touch the snake nor try to help it free as the snake could bite in defence,” he said.After reaching the spot, Ithape using oil and water first safely managed to free the snake whose lower body was completely stuck on the glue trap along with it jaws and then even released the rat. “The snake had to be removed very carefully as handling a snake that is stuck and is covered with oil is not easy. Once it was freed, I rushed it to a veterinarian for treatment,” he informed.Dr Deepa Katyal who treated the viper said that it was a juvenile snake and was lucky to have been rescued at the right time. “The lower jaw of the snake is thin and had it struggled any more, its skin might have peeled off. The rescuer also did a very good job while freeing this snake from the glue trap and ensured there was no damage to its skin. We have cleared all the glue from its skin and it is now healthy for release,” she said.Honorary Wildlife Warden Pawan Sharma said that the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) had asked that these glue traps be discontinued as it was inhuman way of catching rodent and also dangerous for other animals getting caught. “In recent times we have rescued several animals and birds getting stuck on these glue traps including kingfisher, owls, squirrels and others and hence it is important that they be completely banned. While a combination of awareness and writing to authority will help, however in the long term only if people stop using it the problem can be completely resolved,” he said.

Creating the right environment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After terming it a ‘roadblock ministry’ under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance government has set about changing the face of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to one that enables ‘ease of business’ while attempting to maintain sustainable development. While the jury is out on the ‘sustainable development’ aspect, over the last three years, the ministry has certainly gone about revising and overhauling the regulatory regime of environmental governance.This trend has continued as the ministry is in the process of ushering in more crucial changes to central environmental legislations such as Environment Protection Act, Coastal Regulation Zone notification, 2011, and is also on the cusp of approving commercial cultivation of a genetically modified crop for the first time.Ease of businessAt the heart of wholesale changes made in environmental regulations during the last three years has been the mantra of ‘Ease of Business’. This has translated into relaxing norms under several key environmental regulations and streamlining of the crucial project-clearance process, to cut down delays. In 2014, under Prakash Javadekar, the ministry moved at a rapid pace to introduce a flurry of policy tweaks to facilitate development and industry.Foremost among these changes was the streamlining of the clearances processes through an online system, an initiative that was introduced under former environment minister M Veerappa Moily just prior to the regime change. It decided to grant general approval to border road projects within 100 km of Line of Actual Control (LAC) on the India-China border. Besides, general approval was enough for forest clearances in 117 Left Wing Extremist districts, which was done to boost infrastructure in these conflict zones.On the policy level, the Environment Ministry embarked upon an overhaul of almost the entire regulatory framework of environmental governance that has existed in the country in the past three years. In 2014, it constituted a high-level committee led by former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian to review and recommend specific amendments to Environment Protection Act, Forest Conservation Act, Indian Forest Act, Wildlife Protection Act, Water Pollution Act and Air Pollution Act.Key among its recommendations is the creation of the new umbrella law and replacing the National Green Tribunal with district level administrative tribunals. While the ministry began with some changes based on the recommendations, its pace slackened after the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment and Forest asked to scrap the report.”The Prime Minister’s Office issued a host of directions to streamline clearances which included reducing recommendations for studies by expert committees that appraise projects, to cut delays. Further, there were also specific directions that expert bodies need not put additional riders on projects while granting clearances,” a senior ministry official said on condition of anonymity.Policy shiftsFrom specific changes that were introduced in the project appraisal procedures, there are also overarching changes that are in the pipeline as the ministry moves ahead. The Coastal Regulation Zone notification, 2011, that regulates development on coasts is set to be changed and MoEF&CC came out with a new draft notification a few months back. The draft notification provides for easing construction close to the high-tide line in line with development norms of municipal corporations.Further, even as the House panel recommended scrapping of the TSR Subramanian report, NITI Aayog said that the Subramanian committee’s key recommendation to create an umbrella law on environment should be implemented. The Subramanian committee report had said that the umbrella law should create — Environmental Laws Management Act (ELMA) — to enable creation of the institutions NEMA (National Environment Management Authority) and SEMA (State Environment Management Authority).The ministry is also in the process of amending the Environment Protection Act, 1986, the keystone environmental protection legislation in the country to increase environmental costs for pollution up to Rs 1 crore, reportedly, without judicial action.Commenting on the MoEF&CC’s regulatory changes, environmental policy experts said that the ministry has stuck to its ‘ease of business’ mantra unabashedly.”Right from achievements to notifications, the ministry has stated up front this mantra to align with the overarching agenda of development. This has manifested through the numerous changes made in environmental regulations,” said Kanchi Kohli, legal research director, Centre for Policy Research — Namati, environment justice programme. Kohli added, “Other than that, the ministry has also tried to regularise environmental violations either through monetary penalties or through post-facto clearances.”Big-ticket decisionsIn recent months, some of the big-ticket decisions of the MoEF&CC have come under scrutiny and also faced legal challenges. The ministry’s decision to recommend the Ken-Betwa river linking project was faced with some internal resistance and is currently awaiting a final nod on forest diversion and environmental clearance.In the weeks and months ahead, the MoEF&CC is also facing one of the biggest decisions on the issue of Genetically Modified Mustard crop. The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has recommended commercial cultivation of the crop and now the final decision lies at the door of the environment minister.The commercial cultivation of the GM Mustard crop has faced intense protests from farmers who have questioned the fundamental need for such a crop. They have expressed concerns about its yield claims too.What the government has donePolicy revisions to enable business projectsThe NDA constantly termed the environment ministry as a ‘roadblock’ ministry during UPA’s regime, due to perceived delays in appraisal of big-ticket projects. After coming to power, the NDA government set about undoing the ‘delays’ by introducing a series of wholesale changes in regulatory and statutory bodies and through policy revisions.Overhauled major environmental ActsThe government sought an overhaul of six environmental laws: the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980; Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972; Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981; and the Indian Forest Act 1927 and constituted a high-level committee under former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian to recommend changes to these laws.New drafts and amendmentsThe ministry though has continued with its stance on amending key laws. It has brought out a draft of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification to ease construction near coasts. It has brought out a draft of Wildlife Protection Act, a new draft Wildlife Action Plan for 2017-2031 and is also mulling over major changes to the Environment Protection Act.Waste management normsThe ministry overhauled several statutory rules and regulations that dictate the management of waste in the country and brought in new pollution norms for several key industry sectors. Key among these rules were Solid Waste Management Rules, Electronic-waste Management Rules (E-waste), Plastic Waste Management Rules, Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules and Hazardous and Other Waste Management Rules. These rules came into effect by April 2016.Demarcate and notify ESZsDuring the UPA regime, the demarcation and notification of Eco-Sensitive Zone or ESZs around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries was pending for several years. ESZs are the buffer areas around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries and allow regulated development.The NDA contended that pending notification, projects that fell in 10-km radius of the ESZs had to be approved by the National Board for Wildlife clearance and the Supreme Court too. It initiated the demarcation and notification process seeking proposals from state governments. Over 600 proposals were received and out of them 423 ESZs have been notified till March 2017.Shortcomings and challengesProject TigerOne of the major schemes of the ministry, the budget for Project Tiger has shrunk by Rs 30 crore to Rs 345 crore this year. Though the tiger population has seen a 30 per cent rise — from 1,706 to 2,226 — the threat of poachers has sustained over the last three years. In fact, 2016 saw 122 tiger deaths, the highest in the past five years. Government data and independent analysis attribute the rise in deaths to infighting among tigers due to fragmented habitats and poaching.Pollution controlIn the past three years, the country’s apex pollution watchdog — CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) has been in the thick of things due to the alarming pollution levels in Delhi-NCR and due to the Namami Gange project. While CPCB has increased air pollution and water pollution monitoring stations, it has not led to effective curbing of pollution on the ground. Experts have rued that the pollution laws lack teeth to initiate impactful civil and criminal penalties.Monitoring of projectsMonitoring of conditions stipulated in environmental clearances and enforcement of environmental norms is one of the biggest sore points for the Ministry of Environment and Forest. Former Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar had acknowledged this several times and so did his successor, the late Anil Dave. At the root of this problem is lack of field staff across the ministry’s ten regional offices and weak enforcement of laws by Central Pollution Control Board.Shortage of staffEven as the clearance process of big-ticket development projects is centralised, regional offices hold the key in following up on the compliance of environmental norms and conditions stipulated in environmental clearances. In a recent audit, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had said in March that once projects are granted, there is widespread non-compliance of general and specific conditions imposed in the environment clearances (EC). Also, to monitor defaulting companies, regional offices are not well-equipped, the CAG had noted.Polluters go unpunishedUnder current legislations, maximum civil penalties for pollution and environmental violations is Rs 1 lakh. There have been next to no instances of the MoEF&CC initiating civil and criminal proceedings against polluters. MoEF&CC has also taken a stance of moving away from closing down industries.Dilution of lawsWholesale changes in regulations and laws has largely been criticised from within and outside the ministry. Civil society and environmental activists have now termed the ministry as a ‘clearance’ ministry rather than one that protects the environment and natural resources.

Man arrested for smuggling rare Indian Star Tortoises

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the Forest Protection Squad in Tamil Nadu have confirmed the arrest of a person for keeping 2515 rare Indian Star tortoises for smuggling purposes. The tortoises were recovered from the residence of a person living in Avadi which is on the outskirts of Chennai. After the operation, it was found out that a group of people procured these animals from different parts of the country and smuggled them to countries like Sri Lanka. The arrested smuggler has admitted to smuggling more than 10,000 such turtles through the southern coast of Rameswaram. At the time of the seizure, the tortoises were found to be transported in cramped up spaces over long distances. They were sent back to Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai for further rehabilitation. The total value of the animals seized was approximately Rs. 25 lakhs. The Indian Star Tortoise is protected by Article IV of the Wildlife Protection Act and smuggling of this species is linked to illicit pet trade.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Assam floods claim 11 more lives

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The floods in Assam claimed 11 more lives today even as the authorities said there were some “signs of improvement” in the overall situation. According to a report by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), three persons died in Dhubri, while two lives were lost in Morigaon in flood-related incidents. One person each died in Baksa, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, South Salmara, Kamrup and Kokrajhar districts due to the floods, it said. The third wave of flood has so far claimed 60 lives in the north-eastern state. With today’s casualties, the toll in flood-related incidents this year in Assam has gone up to 144, including eight in the state capital of Guwahati. The ASDMA said 25.93 lakh people were affected by the floods in the state. As per its report, Morigaon is the worst-hit district with 5.29 lakh affected people, followed by Dhubri where 4.76 lakh people are hit by the floods. As many as 2,210 villages were under water and 1.23 lakh hectares of crop area were inundated and damaged, it said. The authorities have set up 488 relief camps and distribution centres in 17 districts, where 90,566 people have taken shelter. Nearly 1,300 people had been evacuated to safer places by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and various district administrations, the ASDMA said. The floods had damaged embankments, roads, bridges etc. in several districts, it said, adding that heavy erosion had been reported from Biswanath district. The Brahmaputra river was flowing above the danger mark at Nimatighat in Jorhat, Goalpara and Dhubri towns, it said. Other rivers such as the Dhansiri at Numaligarh in Golaghat, Jia Bharali at NT Road Crossing in Sonitpur, Kopili at Dharamtul in Nagaon and Beki at Road Bridge in Barpeta were flowing above the danger mark, the ASDMA added. Vast forest areas in the Kaziranga National Park, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Lawkhua Wildlife Sanctuary were under the flood waters, it said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Lioness found dead in Amreli, probe launched

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A lioness was found dead in “suspicious” circumstances at a remote village in Dhari taluka of Amreli district in Gujarat today, prompting the state forest department to launch a probe, officials said. The carcass of the lioness was found near Lakhapadar village of Dhari district, which is close to the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, said Deputy Conservator of Forest, Gir-East, T Karuppasamy. The death of the feline appears to be suspicious, he said adding, “We have launched a probe from our side to find out how the lioness died.” According to him, the feline might have died after consuming meat laced with pesticide. “Prime facie, it appears that the lioness consumed something that had pesticide content. We have also found a dead goat near the lioness carcass. The probe is still underway,” he added. A census conducted in 2015 has revealed that there are 523 lions in and around the Gir Sanctuary, considered as the last abode of the Asiatic lions. Meanwhile, a video showing three adolescent lions taking a night stroll in Rampara village of Dhari taluka has was doing rounds in social media today. In that video footage captured on CCTV, three lions can be seen strolling around in the village during night. At one point, they can be seen running for their lives after being chased away by a cow. Though it is believed that the lions sneaked in for hunting, Karuppasamy asserted that such activity is common during monsoon, as the lions feel uncomfortable in the forest due to the rise in the number of mosquitoes and other insects. “Lions get irritated due to mosquitoes and other insects during monsoon. Just to get a relief, these lions might have came out of forest and entered the village” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

100 kg sea cucumber seized, two arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>: About 100 kg of sea cucumber valued at Rs 10 lakh in the international market, was today seized near Dhanushkodi by coastal marine police. Two persons were arrested when they were found to be shifting it to a boat. They were allegedly planning to smuggle the sea cucumber to Sri Lanka via Dhanushkodi, police said. About 300 kg of sea cucumber was seized on August 10 by coastal marine police from a boat anchored at Mandapam North Sea here. Sea cucumber has been classified as an endangered coral species and their harvest is banned under the Wildlife Protection Act.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Assam flood situation serious, 11 more dead

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The flood situation in Assam continued to deteriorate with 11 more lives lost today. Around 33.45 lakh people in 24 districts of the state remained affected due to the flood. With the deaths reported today, the toll in the third wave of floods has gone up to 39 in the north-eastern state. The floods have claimed 123 lives so far this year in Assam, including eight in Guwahati. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal left for Delhi today to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and apprise him of the preliminary damage caused by the third wave of floods. According to a report by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), three persons died in Bongaigaon, two each in Dhubri, Nalbari and Morigaon in flood-related incidents. One person died in Dhemaji and Nagaon districts each due to the havoc. The ASDMA, in its report, said 33.45 lakh people in 24 districts were affected due to the floods. Dhubri, with 8.5 lakh affected people was the worst hit, followed by Morigaon where 5.1 lakh people were affected, said the ASDMA. As many as 2,970 villages were under water and 1.43 lakh hectares of crop area were damaged, the report said. The ASDMA said the authorities were running 304 relief camps and distribution centres in 21 districts, where 1,38,648 people had taken shelter. Over 4,600 people have been evacuated to safer places by State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel. The flood has damaged embankments, roads, bridges etc. in several districts. The ASDMA said heavy erosion was witnessed in Chirang and Biswanath districts. The Brahmaputra river was flowing above the danger mark at Guwahati, Nimatighat in Jorhat, Tezpur in Sonitpur, Goalpara and Dhubri towns, officials said. Other rivers such as the Dhansiri at Numaligarh in Golaghat, Jia Bharali at NT Road Crossing in Sonitpur, Kopili at Dharamtul in Nagaon, Beki at Road Bridge in Barpeta, Kushiyara at Karimganj town were flowing above the danger mark, they added. Most of the forest areas in the Kaziranga National Park, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Lawkhua Wildlife Sanctuary were under the flood waters, they said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Flood situation in Assam deteriorates, toll reaches 28

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The flood situation in Assam deteriorated today as the second wave of deluge affected 25 of its 32 districts claiming 10 more lives, besides displacing 33 lakh people. The Army was assisting the civil administration in rescue and relief operations as the Brahmaputra river and its tributaries were flowing above their danger levels snapping surface communications in many parts of the state. Three persons died in Morigaon district, one each in Dhemaji, Darrang, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Goalpara, Nagaon and Dibrugarh districts taking the toll to 28. According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) here, the toll in flood-related incidents this year now stands at 112. Thirty-three lakh people were affected in 25 districts, including Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Darrang, Baksa, Nalbari, Barpeta and Bongaigaon. Dhemaji district in upper Assam is the worst-hit where nearly one lakh people were affected. Flood water is flowing over the roofs of houses in many areas, the ASDMA said. As flood waters were flowing over National Highway 37, communication between upper and lower Assam have snapped. Vehicles were stranded on the highway and being diverted via Nagaland, official sources said. According to a defence spokesperson, troops of Gajraj Corps were involved in relief and rescue operations in Nagaon and other districts of lower Assam. The Army’s flood relief columns are involved in relief and rescue operations in Purabheti and Jaklabandha. They have established liaison with the state administration and are coordinating relief operations with them, he said. Army vehicles are assisting the civil administration in ferrying rations and other provisions to the relief camps, the spokesperson said, adding the commanders of the relief force are interacting regularly with the deputy commissioners of the affected districts. District administration sources said the Army was assisting them in air dropping food packets and other relief items in the flood-hit areas. Around 1.83 lakh hectares of standing crops has been inundated with Morigaon being the worst-affected, followed by Kokrajhar, the ASDMA report said, adding the deluge has affected at least 1.8 lakh domestic animals. The district administrations have set up 315 relief camps where 1.68 lakh people are taking shelter. The SDRF and NDRF have deployed 232 boats so far and rescued more than 14,000 people, the ASDMA said. Waters of the Brahmaputra river were flowing above the danger mark at Guwahati, Nimatighat in Jorhat, Tezpur in Sonitpur, Goalpara and Dhubri towns. The Burhidehing river is flowing above the danger mark at Khowang in Dibrugarh district, the Dhansiri river at Numaligarh in Golaghat, the Jia Bharali river at N T Road Crossing in Sonitpur, and the Puthimari river at N H Road Crossing in Kamrup. The overflowing waters of the rivers have damaged embankments, roads, bridges and other infrastructures in a number of districts including, Dhemaji, Sonitpur, Darrang, Nalbari, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Morigaon, Nagaon, Golaghat, Biswanath and Chirang districts. With a majority areas under Kaziranga National Park, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and Lawkhua Wildlife Sanctuary inundated, a large number of animals, including rhinos, were taking shelter in the highlands or have moved to safer areas across the hills, the forest department said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Wildlife experts to scan Red Fort area for snakes, monitor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A team of wildlife experts will be scanning the Red Fort area tomorrow for snakes and monitor lizards after a significant presence of these reptiles was noticed during a recent recce of the Delhi Police. The Delhi Police and the city government recently approached Wildlife SOS, an NGO known for its work of rescuing trapped animals, for this purpose, a functionary of the oganisation said. “The police noticed a significant presence of wild animals like snakes and monitor lizards during a recent recce and have sent a written request to Wildlife SOS to scan the area as a safety precaution and to also deploy trained personnel during the August 15 celebrations as a safeguard,” the NGO said in a statement. Accordingly, the NGO deployed a special team which is working with the police and the forest department. “Wildlife SOS has been working closely with forest department and Delhi Police to address wildlife issues in Delhi. Snake bites are a concern and we shall deploy our teams in the interest of public safety,” Kartick Satyanarayan, CEO of Wildlife SOS, said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘Gaj Yatra’ to secure elephant corridors launched in Mumbai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to raise awareness about the shrinking space for wild elephants in the country, a ‘Gaj Yatra’ campaign has been launched in Mumbai. The campaign was yesterday launched by NGO Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) at the Siddhivinayak temple in Prabhadevi area where Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu was present. The ‘gaj yatra’, partnered by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), will take the form of a roadshow that will move through 12 elephant range states over the next 15 months, with elephant-sized artworks created by local artists and craftsmen as the centrepiece, a statement issued by the trust said. Besides, ‘gaj mahotsav’ will be organised at different venues along the way, with concerts, parades, street plays and activities for children in particular. On the occasion, noted actor and WTI’s brand ambassador Dia Mirza said that for the gaj yatra to succeed, it must be a people’s movement. “I hope that over the next 15 months it will capture the country’s imagination, corporate India and people to come together and help secure 101 corridors for India’s wild elephants,” she said. India has about 30,000 wild elephants, which constitute over 50 per cent of the species’ estimated global population, the release said. The growing resource needs of India’s human population have led to the destruction and fragmentation of wild habitats across the country, depleting the area available for elephants to roam and causing the loss of their traditional migratory paths, it said. Elephant corridors are vital natural habitat linkages that enable the pachyderms and other wildlife animals to move through the degraded habitats lying between larger protected forests freely, without being disturbed by humans, it said. WTI has been working with the Government of India’s Project Elephant, state forest departments, and national and global NGOs to secure and protect the country’s 101 identified and mapped elephant corridors, the release said. Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and WTI CEO Vivek Menon were also present at the campaign launch.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Dia Mirza, Arjun Rampal and other b’wood celebrities at the launch of ‘Gaj Yatra’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Bollywood actress and Wildlife Trust of India brand ambassador Dia Mirza launched Gaj Yatra campaign to save elephants. The campaign was launched at the Shree Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai on Sunday. Gaj Yatra is a campaign that aims to raise awareness about the shrinking space for India’s wild elephants and the importance of securing elephant corridors. Gaj Yatra is partnered by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), is the biggest event ever planned around India’s wild elephants. It will take the form of a roadshow that will move through 12 elephant range states over the next 15 months, with elephant-sized artworks from waste materials created by local artists and craftsmen as the centrepiece. Speaking at the event, Mirza who was also the host for the event said, ?To understand that if we don?t bring ecological balance with our nature and wildlife then there will be no progress for our country. If we want rivers, forests, clean air and water then we should protect our forest and protect the animals that are living in it. The elephant that is a keystone species, we should protect their habitat because if we do that we indirectly protect all the other wildlife. So when we protect our wildlife, we save our forests.? She further briefed that there will be around 101 huge elephant installation across the country which will be made by waste materials. She says that Gaj Yatra is a people?s movement and urges people to pledge to protect and co-exist with the wildlife and the environment. Actor Arjun Rampal who was present at the campaign said, ?We have taken every right from the environment and the wildlife and in the process we have indirectly led ourselves in to trouble. So if you are really greedy and humans that you are, it?s time to give back because if you don?t give back then we are going to be destroyed, the planet is going to be destroyed.? ?So be the greediest human being and join our herd and help open these corridors which are very important for our survival and also think about our younger generations,? Rampal added. Celebrities like Diana Penty, Jackky Bhagnani, Pooja Hedge and Sayani Gupta was present at the event. Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu was the chief guest.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

3 wild jumbos stray into human settlements

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three wild elephants, which strayed into human settlements on the border villages of Thrissur-Palakkad districts since the past two days are giving sleepless nights to the people, even as forest and police officials are trying to chase them back into the forest. The jumbos, including a tusker and a calf, were spotted in various areas in Thrissur-Palakkad districts. According to local people, the animals were first spotted in Mundur and Parali areas of Palakkad yesterday and later found in Thiruvilwamala and adjacent places in Thrissur. The elephants strayed into the densely populated areas after crossing the National Highway, Bharathapuzha river and railway lines in many parts, they said. Wildlife officials have been deployed in large numbers in the areas where the animals had been spotted. Alerts have been issued to the public to confine themselves in their homes and not to assemble in large numbers near the elephants and provoke them. The forest department also sought the help of trained persons to drive the pachyderms back to the forest. Animal rights campaigner V K Venkatachalam said the forest officials should have driven the elephants back to the same forest where they came from. “The elephants might have come out of forest in search of food and water and they might have lost their way back to forest. Though three elephants were spotted earlier, the calf among them is said to be missing now,” he told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Months on, monkey catchers show no interest in govt job

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Months after the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) announced that it will hire monkey catchers on a payroll, the simian menace is still baffling the civic body as very few people turned up for the job.According to officials, despite giving advertisements and fixing the monthly salary at Rs 15,000, few people showed interest in the job. “We thought if we hired a dedicated team to handle the work, the number of complaints would drop. But hardly four-five people have applied for the positions till now,” a senior SDMC official said.”Earlier, we used to hire monkey catchers on a contract basis and used to pay Rs 1,200 per monkey. But it was extremely difficult to retain any of the catchers for even a year at a stretch,” he added.When DNA contacted some monkey catchers or ‘qalandars’ to understand their side of the matter, most of them said that in the past, activists have taken them to police stations, and people have slammed them for hurting their “religious sentiments”.”It had become really difficult for us to catch monkeys as people in several areas of Delhi took offense. A group of activists once took me to a police station, while I was doing my job in the Parliament Street area,” Salauddin, a resident of north-east Delhi’s Dilshad Garden, said.Echoing the sentiment, monkey catcher Irfan, who hails from Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district, said: “It becomes so difficult to do our job as a lot of people have their religious sentiments attached with monkeys. I was threatened by a group of residents in north Delhi once. I never visited the area again.”The civic body has been grappling with the simian problem for years now. Not just residential buildings, the monkeys have not spared even government organisations such as courts, office buildings, or the Parliament House itself. Recently, two monkeys had strayed into the multi-storeyed headquarters of the civic bodies and left several Councillors of north and south civic bodies stranded for hours.At the same time, several monkey-catchers have started freelancing. “After 0the government imposed a ban on using langurs to catch monkeys, it became difficult for us to work. We now have to use sound techniques to nab them, which is a tedious process and requires more time. The municipal corporation used to pay me only Rs 850-1,200 for a monkey. Now, I am catching stray monkeys on my own and charging Rs 2,000 for one,” Akram said.No response from other statesThe south corporation officials have said they have made multiple requests to the Chief Wildlife Wardens of the Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, and Rajasthan, to provide then with monkey catchers but there has been no response.

Tiger reserves get more teeth to curb poaching

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tiger reserves across the country will now be audited for their security preparedness to tackle poaching and protect forests. A new set of protocols have been released that tiger reserve administrations would have to adhere to.Independent teams constituted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) would then carry out field visits to assess the deficiencies on ground and eventually draw up a targetted security plan, along with the tiger reserve administration.The environment ministry and NTCA unveiled protocols for the audit on the occasion of the International Tiger Day on Saturday. The security audit will broadly require tiger reserves to list out the biggest threats to their protected area in the short term and long term, the strength of staff, both trained and untrained, their patrolling exercises, amenities they possess to patrol and even the resources at their disposal to investigate poaching.Once the tiger reserves submit the details, an independent field assessment would follow. The audit protocols were unveiled on the back of a pilot study NTCA carried out in Kanha tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh and Satkosia tiger reserve, Odisha, in January to test the suitability of benchmarks.NTCA officials said the availability of firearms with forest foresters in combating poaching would form a crucial aspect of the audit. In only select states of the country, such as Assam and Uttar Pradesh, forest guards have limited immunity under sections of the CrPC to combat poaching rings. “In states such as Bihar, forest department does not have any firearms to deal with poachers in protected areas. Many states have written to NTCA to give forest staff a status equal to police for combating poachers,” a senior NTCA official said.The protocols have been developed at a time when the poaching still remains one of the biggest drivers of tiger mortality in the country’s 50 tiger reserves. So far in 2017, NTCA has reported 15 cases of poaching, including cases of seizures of tiger body parts whereas non-profit organisation Wildlife Protection Society of India recorded 22 poaching cases.The audit, modelled on the global practices that is also actively used in most South-East Asian tiger bearing countries, was developed in collaboration with the Global Tiger Forum and the World Wildlife Fund.

J’khand dam to eat into land for tiger habitat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has cleared the construction of the incomplete Kutku Mandal dam, as part of the North Koel irrigation project, that will submerge and fragment over 1,000 hectares of forests and 15 villages inside Palamau Tiger Reserve (PTR), Latehar district, Jharkhand. After the Ken-Betwa river linking project in Panna, Madhya Pradesh, this is the second big project NBWL has recently cleared inside prime tiger habitat. The project has been in the works since the 1970s, but got a renewed push from the Centre and the Prime Minsiter’s Office from 2015 onwards.A substantial portion of the Kutku dam was built till 1997, but it came to a halt after intense protests by local tribal communities against the impending displacement.The project will submerge 116 sq km of Palamau habitat out of a total of 1,129 sq km. The reserve has seen its tiger population dwindle from 42 in 2003 to a mere 3, owing to grossly weak staff strength and strikes caused by Left-wing extremist groups. Conservationists fear that the situation would worsen after the submergence.While recommending the wildlife clearance, the NBWL said that the loss of tiger habitat has to be compensated by adding the adjoining government land into the tiger reserve. “The core area should be expanded suitably to cover adjoining uninhabited buffer zone or other forest areas to strengthen conservation measures, as proposed by the state wildlife board in its site-specific wildlife management plan for mitigation of impacts due to Mandal dam,” minutes of the NBWL meeting stated.NBWL noted that the project reservoir will fragment the tiger reserve and compel tigers, elephants and other wildlife to shift their route of dispersal through villages, which could lead to serious man-animal conflict. To prevent it, it has asked the state government to explore resettlement of some of the 13 revenue villages outside the tiger reserve through voluntary resettlement.”Villages willing for resettlement should be provided special financial and social development packages that go beyond the standard National Tiger Conservation Authority package for tiger reserves. In addition, sufficient funds should be provided to Palamau Tiger Reserve for dealing with human-wildlife conflicts,” the NBWL meeting minutes said.It also asked the state government to provide a comprehensive package to tribal families from 15 villages that still reside inside the tiger reserve. It added that for the trees that will be cut or submerged, ten times more should be planted and raised in the landscape of the tiger reserve, in tune with the management plant. The trees though, have to be planted outside the core area, the NBWL said.

DDA ‘declined’ proposal for solid waste management site in

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly and DDA member Vijender Gupta today claimed that the urban body has declined the proposal for setting up a solid waste management facility in Maidan Gari area in south Delhi. In a statement, Gupta said the South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s proposal for setting up the facility near IGNOU campus, was rejected, because the proposed site was “near a heavily built-up area”. “It is near the IGNOU campus, the proposed South Asian University campus, the Asola Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary and the DDA’s proposed Tilpat Valley Biodiversity Park; water bodies, catchment and water recharged areas of water sources, an old and famous religious place and air tunnel of Palam Airport,” Gupta said in the statement. However, senior DDA officials, when contacted, could not immediately confirm the claim. Gupta further said residents of nearby villages have been “opposing the establishment of the facility at the proposed site, since long”. “The DDA, upon considering the demand of the villagers and residents, had constituted a board of inquiry…on December last year. “The inquiry board after going through the ground realities and representation by people opposing the solid waste management plant at the proposed site, recommended in its report to the DDA, for rejection of the proposal,” Gupta said, adding he was part of the board of inquiry.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bombay High Court refuses to lift ban on capture and exhibition of snakes for festival

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court on Friday disposed off a public interest litigation (PIL), which sought to reverse a previous order banning the capture and exhibition of snakes on Nag Panchami. The festival will be celebrated next week.A division bench of Chief Justice Manjulla Chellur and Justice NM Jamdar, while disposing off the petition filed by Pradeep Joshi, said that the court had already decided on the issue. They added that the order can be reviewed, provided some new ground is raised in the petition filed.The PIL claimed that the high court, in its earlier order, had not properly appreciated the document in Gazetteer of District Sangli, published by the government. The petition also states that the festival is being celebrated over several years and thus it is part of the tradition.The court had ordered the ban based on a petition filed by Ajit Patil, an animal activist from Sangli district, on July 15, 2014. Citing references to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the court rejected Battis Shirala’s opposition to the ban, a town in Sangli where the festival is popular.Before the one day festival, snake groups and volunteers capture snakes from nearby forests that are stored and later displayed. As per belief, the cobra snake has a special significance in Hindu mythology.

Ahead of I-Day, govt advisory warns against Chinese Manjha use

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Independence Day less than a month away, the Delhi government on Wednesday issued an advisory, reminding people to not buy the sharp, synthetic kite flying thread, popular as ‘Chinese Manjha’. The move is aimed at protecting birds and preventing fatal accidents.Chinese Manjha is so sharp that it is known to slash birds and even cause fatal accidents for humans.The advisory stated that there shall be a “complete ban” on the sale, production, supply, and use of Chinese Manjha or any other kite-flying thread made sharp by lacing it with glass or metal, in the national Capital.”Kite flying shall be permissible only with cotton thread, free from any sharp, metallic, glass components,” the advisory read.People can also register complaints regarding this on helpline numbers 23962825 (Divisional Commissioner), 9871963535 (Chief Wildlife Warden), 1266 (Commissioner, north and south Delhi Municipal Corporations), 155303 (Commissioner, East Delhi Municipal Corporation), and 100 (Delhi Police).Earlier, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had called for a country-wide ban on Chinese Manjha. In a 113-page order, the NGT had directed the state governments to enforce the directive.The judgement described Chinese Manjha as one that is made of synthetic material or yarn in place of cotton and has a coating of material that can cut the skin of animals and human beings. Such string is also a good conductor of electricity, resulting in many accidents from it getting caught up in high-tension electricity lines.In January, Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal had approved a Delhi government proposal to ban Chinese Manjha and similar lethal kite-flying material.

Two men get 3 year jail term for smuggling leopard skins

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Delhi court has sentenced two persons for three years of imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 for smuggling leopard skins in East Delhi’s Kondli area.Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ajay Garg convicted Balwant Rai and Rumaran after they were found in the possession of two uncured leopard skins, one uncured baby leopard skin, and one uncured leopard cat skin, which they had on their persons for the purpose of trade.According to the case, police received a tip-off on April 12, 1997 that a person was coming in a blue Maruti van with a tiger skin and heading to Noida to supply it. One tiger skin wrapped in a bedsheet was seized from Balwant Rai. Following his direction, his relative Rumaran was arrested from the road with a jute bag containing another tiger skin.Pursuant to this seizure, Rumarsan’s house was raided and two more animal skins were recovered from his house on the next day.The court, however, acquitted the owner and driver of the Maruti van Parminder stating that he did not have any clue about the crime as the skin was wrapped in a bed sheet and was not visible from outside.”There is not even an iota of evidence to show that accused Parminder had the knowledge about the animal skin being carried in his vehicle. Case property was not visible from outside being wrapped in bed sheet….as there is no direct evidence of his involvement, prosecution has to establish inevitable chain of circumstantial evidence leading to the only hypothesis of guilt of Parminder,” the court said.The court said that minor discrepancies are bound to occur due to the lapse of time. However, these would not throw away the case of the prosecution as the witnesses remained constant regarding the recovery of leopard skin from the possession of accused persons.The judge held that the two were found guilty under section 49 and 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 thereby sentencing them to simple imprisonment and imposing a fine in default of which they are to be in jail for another three months.

India alarm over rising tiger deaths

Wildlife activists accuse Indian authorities of secrecy around steadily rising tiger deaths.

Sagareshwar to be Maharashtra’s first completely-fenced sanctuary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While man-animal conflict is rising around forest areas, the State Forest Department will completely fence-off the Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Western Maharashtra to prevent animals from raiding human settlements and farms.Once this fencing of the 10.87 sq km-sanctuary gets over in the next four months, it will become Maharashtra’s first protected area to be completely enclosed. Located in Sangli district, Sagareshwar has another first to its name — it is the first man-made wildlife sanctuary.”We have chain-link fenced most of the sanctuary and will soon cover the remaining part. We will ensure 24X7 vigilance,” V Clement Ben, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) and Field Director of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve told DNA. He added that the move was initiated after repeated crop depredation by herbivores.”The sanctuary is surrounded by human settlements and agricultural fields. “We have no option but to fence off the area,” said Ben. Combined with watch-towers and protection huts, the fence will ensure the safety of the animals in the sanctuary.Work on parts of the fence commenced around five years ago in areas where the crop damage was huge.A forest official said the fence would be 7-feet tall to prevent animals from crossing over. “The sanctuary has an around 39 sq km boundary, of which just a 1.60 km patch is to be covered,” he said.Sagareshwar has herbivores like spotted deer, black bucks, sambar, wild boar, and nilgai, and birds like peacocks. Hyenas and fox are the main carnivores. Since the forest was created artificially, it isn’t linked to other forests or the Western Ghats.However, officials admit that fencing other forest areas similarly will impede animal movement and thus, the quality of the genetic stock.The Sagareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary located in Sangli is the first man-made wildlife sanctuary in Maharashtra.It was built by freedom fighter and environmentalist Dhondiram Mohite in 1975. Animals were introduced artificially.It is surrounded by agricultural fields in the Krishna basin and there have been instances of animals straying into these areas and destroying crops.The sanctuary will be fenced off to prevent this conflict.

Tigers are back in Panna, and becoming social media stars

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Motorists driving on Panna-Katni highway in Madhya Pradesh were treated to a wondrous sight of three tigers sauntering out of the Panna Tiger Reserve’s core area yesterday morning. Wildlife lovers in the country were shocked in 2009 when it came to light that not a single tiger had been left in the Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR); most of them had fallen prey to poaching. The Madhya Pradesh government then started a program under which tigers from Bandhavgarh and other sanctuaries in the state were relocated to Panna reserve. Population of the big cat in PTR has steadily grown since. A video of three tigers crossing the road, shot by a passer-by near Bandikala village on Panna-Katni highway yesterday morning, went viral on social media today. PTR field director Vivek Jain said the group consisted of a tigress and her one-and-a-half years old cubs who were moving from the core area to the buffer zone. “A tigress generally takes her cubs out to other areas when they grow up. At the age of around two-and-a-half years, tigers create their own territory. These cubs are now entering this age,” Jain said. The number of tigers in PTR has risen to 35 after the reintroduction programme was launched in 2009. Tiger conservationist Ajay Dubey however expressed his concern over the outward movement of tigers. “During the monsoon, tigers come out in open from the deep forest. Therefore forest officials need to be vigilant about tigers’ safety. PTR had once lost all its tigers to poaching,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Brahmaputra flood waters inundate Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in central Assam, the most dense habitat of one horned rhinos in the world, has been completely submerged by flood waters of river Brahmaputra, a senior forest department official today said. Due to the annual deluge submerging the sanctuary, all animals, including the Great Indian One-Horn Rhinoceros, are proceeding to nearby highlands for shelter, said Divisional Forest Officer, Guwahati Wildlife Division, P Boruah. The floods have breached the main connecting PWD Road from National Highway to Pobitora at several points today disrupting surface communication to the sanctuary, Boruah said. As shortage of fodder for animals within the sanctuary has already cropped up, he said the forest department has arranged alternative fodder supply to the rhinos and other animals there. The DFO, who is camping at Pobitora, said armed forest guards are intensifying vigil within the sanctuary to prevent poaching during floods. Country boats have been pressed into service for patrol duty to combat poaching in the sanctuary, he said. The 38.8 sq km Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in the flood plains of River Brahmaputra and in the district of Morigaon, with both forest and swamp land, is the habitat of 100 rhinos, 500 wild buffaloes, more than 400 hogs, besides thousands of different species of birds, snakes etc. Of the total 38.80 sq km notified area of the park, only 16 sq km is the effective rhino habitat, sanctuary officials said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mumbai: Two men arrested with 200 star tortoises

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An intelligence tip-off not only helped nab a father-son duo from Karnataka on Monday, but also rescued 200 star tortoises. The duo had stuffed the tortoises in a shoulder bag and had brought them to Mumbai, with the intention of selling in the illegal pet market.According to M Maranko, Regional Deputy Director, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), Western Regional office, a close watch was being kept on the network of men selling star tortoises and other turtles that have a huge demand in the market. On Monday, they acted when they had specific information about two people.“Our team along with Thane Forest’s anti-poaching unit reached Kalyan station and as soon as they saw Vijay (27) and Sagiram (40) in the parking area, they apprehended them. After a search, two bags full of star tortoises were found kept in the shoulder bag,” he said, adding that both the men were arrested and were produced before the First Class Judicial Magistrate Court, Kalyan. The WCCB has got custody of them for three days.Maranko informed that both the men hailed from Balegowdanahalle village of Karnataka. “Earlier too, we had arrested few men hailing from this village and during interrogation we got information that several men from the village enter the forest and collect star tortoises and once the number is substantial, they were packed and sent to various cities including Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and other places.”Star tortoises are a species protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 and are one of the highest and most popular selling tortoises in the illegal pet markets of Mumbai as people consider them lucky and a harbinger of good fortune, according to myths as well as principles of feng shui.

Man versus wild: Centre for wildlife studies stresses the need to strengthen human-wildlife conflict management

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>71% of 5,196 households across the country that border wildlife reserves lost crops, while another 17% lost livestock, a recently released report has revealed. The report also added that 3% of human injuries, including death were reported in these areas, highlighting the need to strengthen the human-wildlife conflict management across India.The study examined patterns of human-wildlife conflict and mitigation used by these households between 2011 and 2014 from 2855 villages across four Indian states—Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. It stated that a total of 71% of the 5,196 households reported experiencing some conflict with wildlife, ranging from 58% in Nagarahole to 84 percent in Kanha.“Resolving human-wildlife conflict requires revisiting the goals of conservation policies and investments by people and organizations. People may be better served by deploying early warning systems, compensation and insurance programs rather than by focusing heavily on mitigation.” said Dr. Krithi Karanth, conservation scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) who is one of the authours for the study along with Sahila Kudalkar, research associate with the Centre for Wildlife Studies.The surveys conducted by the team found that the around 12 different mitigation techniques were employed to protect crops, livestock and property, which included night-time watch, scare devices, and fencing by rural families in the periphery of reserves.Interestingly the report pointed out that the tribes such as the Gonds around Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, where 187 families were surveyed considered the forests sacred and thought of carnivores taking away livestocks as their offerings to the forest thus not employing any mitigation measures.Meanwhile across wildlife reserves, people reported average crop losses amounting to Rs 12,559 annually, which constitute a significant chunk of India’s rural economy, where the majority of the population earns less than Rupees 5000 per month.As per researchers the way ahead was identification of effective prevention techniques, strengthening existing compensation schemes, and an open inclusive dialogue between local communities, governments, and conservationists suggesting that failure to do so will only increase hostility and retaliation against wildlife.“32 different species were reported in conflict incidents across the 11 wildlife reserves. While wild boar, nilgai, and elephant top the list that cause crop damage, leopard, tiger, and canids were the species reported for livestock depredation. Infact wild boar related incidents were the most widespread, with reports from 10 of the 11 sites, followed by nilgai and elephant reported from five sites each,” the report stated.

When Indira fumed at Karan Singh over Proj Tiger plane idea!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A plan of Karan Singh to buy an aircraft in 1973 for use by Project Tiger officials was shot down by a livid Indira Gandhi who asked her ministerial colleague, “Have we got our priorities wrong?” This incident that took place mid-May 1973, barely a month after the launch of Project Tiger, finds mention in Congress leader Jairam Ramesh’s new book “Indira Gandhi: A Life in Nature”. Project Tiger was formally launched at the Corbett National Park. Karan Singh, who was the then Union minister for tourism and civil aviation, was made the chairman of the Indian Board for Wildlife. “The prime minister personally handpicked Kailash Sankhala as the first director of Project Tiger – this despite the fact that he was not popular at all in the forest bureaucracy and many were irked by his working style and actions. “If Indira Gandhi persisted with him it was because she knew he was passionate about conservation and also incidentally, enjoyed the full backing of (her close friend and fellow nature-lover) Padmaja Naidu,” says Ramesh, a former environment minister during UPA-II. He goes on to say that soon, there was a mini-crisis confronting Project Tiger. “(Indira’s key aide for environmental matters) Moni Malhoutra discovered that Rs 20 lakh raised by WWF was about to be spent for purchasing an aircraft for use by the Project Tiger officials – it emerged that this was Karan Singh’s idea. Indira Gandhi was livid and shot off a letter to her ministerial colleague on 25 May,” the book says. Ramesh quotes Indira as writing in the letter, “I understand that the money which the World Wildlife Fund has raised so far for Project Tiger is being used to purchase a small aeroplane. Have we got our priorities wrong? “I should have thought it is more important to get the Project going on the ground than to spend so much money on an aircraft which will yield no direct benefit to the parks and their animals” An aeroplane would be “a luxury which we can ill-afford”, she also wrote. “This was not the end of the story. Karan Singh, who obviously didn’t get the message that the prime minister was sending, tried to justify his stance. This forced her to write to him a second time on 28 June,” says Ramesh. “You wrote to me on May 28 and June 22 regarding purchase of aircraft for Project Tiger. I have thought deeply over the matter and have considered the reasons you have urged but I still feel this proposal should not be pursued at this stage. I hope you will inform the World Wildlife Fund accordingly,” Indira wrote. That closed the matter once and for all, Ramesh says. The book, published by Simon & Schuster India, seeks to look at the former prime minister with a fresh ‘green’ lens. “She got sucked into the whirlpool of politics but the real Indira Gandhi was the person who loved the mountains, cared deeply for wildlife, was passionate about birds, stones, trees and forests, and was worried deeply about the environmental consequences of urbanisation and industrialisation,” writes Ramesh. According to him, Indira used her political authority to save ecologically-sensitive areas from destruction like the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the entire northeast and the rainforests in the Western Ghats. Ramesh says Indira not only cared for tigers and mega- fauna, but was worried about the fate of all species. He then cites a letter which she wrote in the mid 70s to the then Manipur Chief Minister R K Dorendra Singh expressing her concern over the depleting population of the Manipur Brown-Antlered Deer. She asked the chief minister to give personal attention to the matter. “Not confident that the chief minister would take her plea seriously, she sent a similar letter to the governor, the redoubtable administrator L P Singh, asking him to take special interest in the matter,” Ramesh writes.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Only 2 wildlife inspectors keep a watch on 7,777-hectare green cover

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government’s Forest and Wildlife department has only two wildlife inspectors to keep a watch on the city’s green cover, spread over 7,777 hectares of land. This includes the wildlife, and the inspectors have to keep a check on poaching and illegal sale of birds and animals in different pockets.The sanctioned strength stands at seven. It has been one and a half years since the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered to fill up these posts, which are still lying vacant.”We had sent a request to the government to increase the sanctioned strength to at least 15 inspectors last year, to which the authorities had agreed. But even the present posts are lying vacant. Of the two officers, one is mostly engaged with court summons. There is nobody to follow up on complaints or for even regular checks,” a senior official said.Also, while the two inspectors have been serving for over a decade, they have not been promoted since.”These posts are crucial to be filled. When there are no officials on ground, one cannot expect to have a robust information network to get updates from every green pocket. We are missing out on crucial information. Also, when the staffers are not promoted for years, there is little motivation to run around,” the official said, requesting anonymity.There is no provision for promotion for these posts, he saidAlso, at present, there is only one old vehicle to go around for rescue operations. The department does not even have its own rescue centre. For many years now, most rescue operations are being conducted by NGOs.Responding to a query, a senior Delhi government official said: “The process to fill these posts has been in the works for long. We hope to fill them soon.”Delhi has a total ridge area of 7,777 hectares distributed across the Central Ridge, Southern Ridge, Northern Ridge, and Southern-Central Ridge. This includes the Asola Wildlife Sanctuary and the Aravalli Biodiversity Park.In its December, 2015, order, the NGT had asked the department to increase the sanctioned strength and file a compliance report within three months. According to environment activists, with no people to man these posts, the dangers of illegal tree-felling, encroachment, and poaching increase….& ANALYSISWith little manpower and almost no equipment, the forest department, which has the responsibility of protecting Delhi’s green cover, has turned rather defunct. It is time to strengthen the hand of those who protect our natural heritage.

Goa forest dept asks people not to carry liquor, plastic to

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The forest department in Goa has issued several guidelines for the tourists, prohibiting them from carrying liquor and plastic to the tourist spots located in the forest land, especially during the monsoon season. The move is aimed at keeping the forest areas clean and litter-free and the department said that anyone found violating the guidelines would not be allowed entry into these areas. Although the forest areas, sanctuaries and national parks are already deemed as ‘No Plastic’ and ‘No Alcohol’ zones, the department now plans to enforce it strictly “During the monsoon season from June to September, the state witnesses an increase in the footfalls to forest areas every year. The visitors from the state and outside undertake forest treks during the monsoon, besides visiting several waterfalls that spring to life in this season,” the guidelines issued this week said. “The forest areas, sanctuaries and national parks that are visited by tourists are deemed as ‘No Plastic’ and ‘No Alcohol’ zones, thereby strictly prohibiting carrying and consumption of alcoholic drinks on the trekking routes and/or approach routes to the waterfalls,” they said. There are a number of spots in the only national park and several wildlife sanctuaries in the state, that are promoted as spots of tourist importance by the state tourism department. These places are often visited during the monsoons when tourism is shut down in the beach belt. Most of the treks and waterfalls are located in the Wildlife Protected areas like Mhadei wildlife sanctuary, Bhagwan Mahaveer National Park and wildlife sanctuary, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary and Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary. “All the visitors are expected not to litter the forest are or the waterfalls sites with leftover eatables, wrappers, empty containers and the like,” the department has said in its guidelines. Cautioning that bathing or frolicking at waterfalls could be risky, the department has asked the visitors to observe all precautions and give special attention to children.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Missing from Umred sanctuary, tiger spotted near Pench reserve by tourist

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tiger sightings are always an exciting affair, but for a Nagpur-based doctor on his Friday safari inside the Mansingh Deo Sanctuary near Pench Tiger Reserve, it turned out to be extremely special. He spotted a male tiger- Bali, who must have travelled from the Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary (UKWS), even crossing two national highways on the way.Incidentally, the tiger that Dr Mohammed Shariq saw and photographed is the cub of tiger Jai and Chandi and for almost a year now, its whereabouts were not known even by the Forest department. The tiger’s identity was confirmed by a group of wildlife photographers, however, the forest department said that they do not have any information pertaining to it as tiger dispersal was a natural and very common phenomenon. Shariq who loves exploring off beat jungles, not frequented by tiger-chasing tourists, said that he chose the quiet route inside the Mansingh Deo and entered the forest from the Surewani gate along with two friends who were visiting the jungle for the first time.“We entered at around 5.30 am and by around 6.40 am we saw a male tiger and it was almost walking close to the same route that we were moving on for over 45 minutes and we took several photographs as well as videos,” informed Shariq. He added that his curiosity only multiplied on seeing that the tiger was not marking its territory and despite walking for almost three kilometres, it seemed from its behaviour that it was in a completely new territory.According to Shariq, this behaviour of the tiger caught his attention and as soon as he returned from the safari, he contacted wildlife photographer Vinit Arora who has a huge database of tiger images as well as Mohammed Junaid.“We were able to confirm the identity by matching the stripe patterns that it was indeed Bali from UKWS and it had travelled around 200kms to Mansingh Deo sanctuary. It’s even more exciting as there is no proper corridor between UKWS and Mansingh Deo and this tiger must have crossed two or three national highways on its route and even several human dominated habitats,” he said.According to Shariq even the forest officials from Nagpur as well as Pench Tiger Reserve contacted him for details of the tiger and by Friday evening they confirmed that it was indeed Bali. “I am extremely delighted that one of my regular forays into the jungle helped find a missing tiger and that too the cub of the iconic Jai,” shared Shariq happily.Sarosh Lodhi from Conservation Lenses and Wildlife (CLaW) an independent group of wildlife lovers and photographers said that it was indeed good news after months of only tragic news including the death of Jai’s cub Sriniwas in April. “This tiger cub is known as Santa as well as Bali and this incident proves why tourism in wildlife areas is important as it was a tourist who ended up sighting a tiger that has been missing for several months now. This also calls for protection of tiger corridors as this tiger must have travelled through a fragmented corridor to reach Mansingh Deo,” he said.Meanwhile, officials from the Forest department denied having any knowledge about this. “For us, a tiger is a tiger, irrespective of whose cub or relative it is and forget 100 odd kilometres, these big cats are known to travel over 500 kilometres and the movement of tigers from one forest area to another is extremely common. We have no specific information about this incident,” said a senior forest official adding that such things might excite wildlife photographers, but for the forest department every single tiger was important and not individuals.

After bout of deliberations, Ken-Betwa link gets nod for forest clearance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a round of deliberations on easing certain riders and modifying conditions over the course of two recent meetings, the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of Environment Ministry has finally recommended the Ken-Betwa river linking project for forest clearance. The proposal will now be forwarded to the new Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan for approval even as it is being scrutinised by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court.The proposal has already received nod for environmental clearance. The National Board for Wildlife has accorded it wildlife clearance as wel. The controversial project proposes to transfer water from the Ken river basin in Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR), Madhya Pradesh, to Betwa river basin in Uttar Pradesh, for irrigation. The project will submerge 6,017 hectare of pristine forest, much of it in PTR. It will have large scale impact on wildlife there.In its last meeting on May 16, the FAC gave a final recommendation for the project after settling pending issues pertaining to hydrology, conservation of vultures, gharials, and relocation of villages from PTR. “After careful consideration of additional facts placed before it by the expert committee…the FAC recommends the proposal…as per specific recommendations,” stated the minutes of the May 16 FAC meeting.The FAC had formed a sub-committee of seven members in its previous meeting in April, and based its final approval after scrutinising the sub-committee’s report.According to the minutes of the meeting, as reviewed by DNA, the FAC agreed to not persist with the demand to reduce height of the project dam by 10 metres. It also asked the National Water Development Agency, the project proponent, to identify non-forest area measuring about 4,000 hectare adjoining PTR from revenue and private land and add it to PTR as compensation.Further, the FAC has asked the Bombay Natural History Society to prepare an action plan for conservation of vultures, and asked the Wildlife Institute of India to prepare a species recovery programme for conservation of gharials.

Watch: Pregnant leopard rescued after falling in well, dies a few hours later

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an extremely unfortunate incident, which also highlights the urgent need to get all the open wells in Maharashtra covered – a pregnant leopard who was rescued from a 40-feet deep well in Junnar district died that too, hours after being pulled out. The feline suffered internal bleeding most probably caused due to injuries while she was trying to keep herself afloat.It was on May 24, Wednesday that the forest department alerted the Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Center (MLRC) in Junnar about a leopard fallen inside the well in Bhorwadi village of Otur area.The three-member rescue team from MLRC on reaching the spot were informed that a local farmer had spotted the leopard struggling to keep herself afloat inside the well around 2pm when he went to switch on the motor for irrigation.“With help of forest department as well as our members of the rescue team we formed a strategy and lowered a trap cage to extricate the scared animal from the well and after few attempts she got into the cage and was pulled out,” said Dr. Ajay Deshmukh, Senior Veterinarian at the MLRC run by NGO Wildlife SOS.According to Deshmukh it was evident that the female leopard was in trauma and it was brought to the rescue centre and after an initial medical check-up she was kept in an undisturbed location to calm her down. However, by late evening she collapsed and passed away.“While conducting the post mortem we found that her death was caused due to internal bleeding as she might have injured herself while trying to stay afloat. No one knowns how many hours she was in the well and she could have fallen late at night or early in the morning while attempting to catch a prey but due to the well having no wall she might have accidentally fallen in it,” said Deshmukh adding that she might have attempted several jumps and hours of paddling that could have caused her bleeding.Infact Wildlife SOS which was involved in this rescue operation has also launched an online petition drawing the attention of the authorities to the issue of open and abandoned wells that pose a threat to human as well as that of hundreds of animals each year.“It is estimated that the lives of over 1500 animals have been claimed by open wells in Maharashtra alone in the last decade. Several instances of leopards falling into wells have been reported over the last few years in Maharashtra and these cases have been increasing in the recent years and the main reason behind this appears to be the lack of proper covers and fencing around these wells,” shared Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder of Wildlife SOS.

Second phase of aquatic life census in the Ganga launched

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government today launched the second phase of the census of aquatic life in the Ganga river. Uttar Pradesh’s chief conservator of forests (wildlife) Sushil Awasthi began the survey in Kanpur. It will be conducted downstream of the Ganga from Kanpur till Farakka Barrage in West Bengal, covering 1,100 km, sources in the Union water resources ministry said. The Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII), is enumerating aquatic life in the Ganga for the government under the project titled ‘Biodiversity Conservation and Ganga Rejuvenation’, with an aim to “re-construct” the river’s biodiversity profile. Led by WII senior scientists SA Hussain and Ruchi Badola, the phase two of the survey will be carried out by a seven- member team. “The objective of this assessment is to determine the distribution pattern and habitat suitability of the Gangetic dolphin, smooth-coated otter, gharials, mugger, breeding birds and smaller fauna such as turtles, snakes, lizards and frogs and aquatic invertebrates and of the river,” the source said. The phase one of the survey, carried out the upstream of the Ganga between Bijnor and Kanpur from April 14 to April 25 had thrown up a few encouraging nuggets, suggesting the biodiversity in that 570 km-long stretch is “very active”. For the first time in 70 years, presence of Siebold’s smooth scaled water snake in the river was reported by the WII. It also found that the population of the national aquatic animal, dolphin, has risen to 50 from 42 in 2015 in that particular stretch. During the survey, several new nesting sites of Indian Skimmer, a declining species which preys on aquatic animals from the river surface, including one in Allahabad was spotted. Usually, the Indian Skimmer is found in the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary, located at the tripoint of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and in the Mahanadi river basin.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Gujarat govt to withdraw proposal to declare nilgai, wild pigs as vermin

Tue, 16 May 2017-12:40pm , Ahmedabad , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has said his government will withdraw a proposal seeking permission from the Centre to allow hunting of Nilgai and wild pigs by declaring them as vermin. Instead of hunting these animals, the state government would put up 97.5 lakh meters of fences around affected farmlands across the state, an official release said on Monday.As per the release, the state government has alloted Rs 200 crore for the purpose. There was a ban on the hunting of Nilagais (blue bull) and wild pigs, as they were protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.However, since there was a large population of the animals which were found responsible for destroying crops, the state government had sent a proposal to the Centre demanding that they be declared as vermin, the release said.
ALSO READ Will enact harsher law for cow-slaughtering and transportation of beef, says Gujarat CM Vijay RupaniRupani made the announcement after analysing various aspects pertaining to this issue during a recently held meeting of state board for wildlife, it said.

Aquatic life in a stretch of ganga flourishing: survey

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre has stumbled upon a few encouraging nuggets while studying the Ganga, with the discovery of a flourishing aquatic life in a single stretch of the river, considered one of the most polluted in the world. After 70 years, the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII), which is enumerating aquatic life in the Ganga for the government, reported spotting Siebold’s smooth scaled water snake, a mildly venomous serpent which grows to a maximum length of 76 cm, in the first leg of the survey of the river’s mainstream from Bijnor to Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. It also sighted 50 Gangetic dolphins, an endangered species, at 28 spots, up from 42 spotted in a 2015 study by the UP government, in the 570-km long river stretch, a union water resources ministry sources said. Scientists attached to the WII have also discovered new breeding spots of the Indian Skimmer bird, protected under Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, in the river basin. The concentration of the bird, a declining species which preys on aquatic animals from the river surface, is prominent in Allahabad, where 350 nesting birds were observed in the WII survey conducted between April 14 and April 25. Usually, the Indian Skimmer is found in the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary, located at the tripoint of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, and in the Mahanadi river basin. The study, carried out by a nine-member team including four biologists, also found 27 gharials, released by the Uttar Pradesh government in the past, in the Ganga, particularly in the Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary. It found several prominent species of turtles, including the three-striped roofed, black pond, crowned river, Indian flapshell, Indian softshell, Indian roofed, Indian tent and brown roofed turtles. “Contrary to popular perception that Ganga’s water quality has deteriorated because of pollution, the findings suggest that biodiversity is still active,” senior WII scientist SA Hussain told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Guns, 100 kg nilgai meat seized from ex-army officer’s home

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over a hundred illegally imported firearms, 117 kg of nilgai meat, horns and skins of leopards and blackbucks were seized in raids, including at the residence of a retired colonel, as the DRI today claimed to have busted a global poaching syndicate. Of the seizures made, 117 kg nilgai (blue bull) meat stored in a refrigerator, animal skins, ivory, five deer skulls, horns of sambar deer, antlers of antelope and blackbuck and 40 guns were seized from a makeshift warehouse at the house of a retired army colonel in Meerut, a DRI and a forest department official said. The 17-hour-long raid at the retired colonel’s Civil Lines residence was carried out jointly by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the state forest department officials. The raid continued till 3.30 AM last night. The colonel’s son Prashant is a national level shooter and a key suspect in the case, a DRI official said. One of the members of this international syndicate had recently killed a leopard near the Jim Corbett National Park area, a DRI official said. Unaccounted cash of Rs one crore and two lakh cartridghes were also seized, the official said. The alleged racket came to light after three persons including a Slovenian national, suspected to be a supplier of illegal arms, were intercepted yesterday at the Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International(IGI) airport. The trio had come to India by a Turkish Airlines flight from Ljubljana, Slovenia via Istanbul carrying 25 prohibited lethal weapons, a DRI official said. They had incorrectly declared the quantity and value of the arms and ammunition to the customs officials and tried to get these items cleared by misusing the scheme meant for renowned shooters, he said. Rules permit professional shooters to import a limited quantity of arms and ammunition for practice. Following the information gathered from these persons, the DRI along with other agencies carried out the raids. “Searches were conducted by DRI teams at the whereabouts of members of the syndicate in Delhi and Meerut and a huge cache of illegally imported arms and ammunition, large stock of hides, skulls and meat of the endangered animals were seized,” he said. According to a press release issued by the DRI, firearms of various make and models–Glock (Austria), Italy-made Beretta, Arsenal, Benelle and Blaser (Germany) — were seized along with expensive cameras, thermal imaging binoculars and cartridges. In the follow up action in Meerut, DRI teams found hides of leopard and blackbuck, skulls with horns of blackbuck, sambhar and meat of various endangered animals, it said. “One of the suspects is believed to have recently killed a leopard near Jim Corbett area and processed the skin at his residence,” the DRI said in its statement. Nobody has been arrested so far in the case and the shooter alleged to be part of the syndicate is at large, officials said. In Meerut, Chief Conservator of Forests Mukesh Kumar said that the nilgai meat was seized from a refrigerator. A sample was taken and it will be sent to laboratory for testing. Action will be taken under relevant provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Leopard rescued from 60-feet-deep well in Madhya Pradesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A two-year-old male leopard was rescued from a nearly 60-feet-deep well in Karakwadi village near Bhopal in a night-long operation by a Delhi-based wildlife body and the Madhya Pradesh forest department. The leopard is currently under observation and will soon be released back to its natural habitat, the Wildlife SoS said. The wildlife body said a group of children from Karakwani village heard roars echoing from a deep well close to the field where they were playing. The locals found that a young leopard was trapped inside the 60-foot unused well, after which the forest department and the Wildlife SoS were informed about this incident. A three-member team led by the Wildlife SOS, accompanied by five forest officials, reached the location and tranquilised the leopard, the wildlife body said. The animal was then taken out of the well and shifted to Van Vihar National Park for observation. “The leopard is a healthy male of approximately two years. Physical examination revealed that the animal had sprained its hind limbs during the fall. But, apart from that, there are no injuries. We are providing him with necessary treatment and care,” Wildlife SOS veterinarian Amol Narwade said. Geeta Seshamani, co-founder of the Wildlife SOS, said uncovered wells pose a huge risk not only to wildlife but also to the safety of people. “As leopards are territorial animals, their chances of survival in the wild reduces if they are released in a different area. It is essential to release them in the vicinity from where they are rescued,” Seshamani said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Arunachal Pradesh monastery sets aside forest area as CCA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Buddhist Cultural Society and a confederation of over 20 villages in Arunachal Pradesh have set aside a sizeable forest area, belonging to a manastery, as a Community Conserved Area (CCA). Mon-Lhagyala Buddhist Cultural Society (MLBCS) and the Kalaktang Tsopa, a confederation of more than 20 Monpa villages in West Kameng district, set aside 85 sq km of a forest, belonging to the Lhagyala monastery, for biodiversity conservation. This is probably the first instance in the region where a monastery has taken the initiative to declare its forest as a CCA for long-term management and sustainable livelihood purposes. The western boundary of the forest area earmarked as Mon-Lhagyala Community Conserved Area (MLCCA) adjoins Bhutan s Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, that has some of the vast, pristine mixed conifer forest tracts and many rhododendron species. Millo Tasser, the DFO of Shergaon forest division formally inaugurated the CCA at a programme at Domkho village on Wednesday, a WWF-India press release quoting the DFO said today. This is a good beginning and noble effort by the people of Domkho and other villages, the DFO said. The CCA is located at an altitude ranging between 2500m and 4000m covering temperate and the sub-alpine biomes. It is an important habitat of the red panda, alpine musk deer, high-altitude pheasants, Asiatic black-bear, and is the catchment of Domkho Ri (river), crucial water sources for the Domkho-Morshing valley and the downstream. WWF-India has been supporting the local communities and the MLBCS to secure forests for species conservation and long-term management to address livelihood needs of the people. The CCA model is an important tool that can be effective in a state like Arunachal Pradesh where more than 60 per cent forest (roughly 30,000 sq km) belongs to local community and is governed by their traditional customary laws. The MLBCS, which manages the CCA, currently bans any form of hunting and illegal or commercial extraction of forest resources from the CCA. Violation of this order would be a punishable offence under the provision of customary laws of the Tsokpa and the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the release said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maharashtra: Srinivas tiger from Nagbhid ranges dies of electrocution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The April jinx for the Maharashtra forest department continues. Exactly a year after the mysterious disappearance of the famous tiger Jai of Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary (UKWS) his three-year-old male cub, Srinivas, has been found dead on Thursday after being electrocuted accidentally in an electric fence setup for herbivores by a farmer.As per the forest officials, Srinivas’s carcas was exhumed from a farm in Maushi village in Nagbhid range located in the Bramhapuri division. The tiger’s territory was around Paoni and Nagbhid ranges in Bhandara and Chandrapur district. “The radio collar that was strapped around its neck by Bilal Habib and his team of researchers from Wildlife Institute of India (WII) was found on April 19 after which a search operation was launched for the tiger. However after staff found tiger scat near a farm on Thursday and began enquiring with the locals and soon it led them to Mahadev Irpate, Shubham Uke and Uttam Irpate, who confessed that the tiger was killed due to the electric wire fence they had set up to protect their farm,” shared a forest official adding that they told the investigating team that they had no intention to kill the tiger and the fence was set for herbivores that damage the crop.According to Brahmapuri deputy conservator of forests Kulraj Singh, the accused even informed the forest department that after they found that a tiger had been killed they were scared and decided to bury it close to their farms and even removed the collar and threw it away, which finally led to the dead tiger. “The post-mortem was conducted and the carcas has been cremated as per the procedure,” said Singh.AT A GLANCENumber of Deaths of Tigers in 201739 Tigers to have died in India till 27 April 13 Tigers to have died in April 2 Tiger to have died in Maharashtra due to electrocution ​The death of Srinivas has also yet again ignited the collaring debate. “It’s become a trend to blame radio collars for everything. What can a radio collar do to ensure a tiger is not electrocuted, it was an unfortunate incident and in fact, it was the collar led to the site,” said a wildlife expert.“One tiger is killed every fourth day and at this pace, we will lose out our national animal sooner than we realise. Apart from various instances where collars have failed to work, this one goes to show that even after getting signals, the department could not do anything. Ideally, if the forest officials knew that Srinivas is in and around human habitation they should have begun patrolling to ensure there is no man-animal conflict,” said wildlife photographer Sarosh Lodhi, coordinator of Conservation Lenses and Wildlife (CLAW).The tiger was named after the former Field Director of Pench Tiger Reserve M Srinivasa Reddy and has a cub brother Bittu that has also been collared and was last spotted in the Paoni area. Srinivas is the second tiger from Maharashtra to have died of electrocution as in January this year an adult tigress was found dead due to electrocution in Pench Tiger Reserve.

Forest dept launches campaign to stop poaching of birds

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an effort to stop poaching, the state Forest department is conducting a sensitisation campaign among villagers about protecting birds frequenting water bodies in their neighbourhoods. “Forest department personnel of the Wildlife wing have met the Panchayat Pradhan at Kadamtala area in Rajarhat and villagers and discussed ways to stop poaching of birds in the local water bodies,” Range Officer Ullas Nath told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Peruvian police rescue rare Galapagos tortoises from traffickers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Peruvian police rescued 27 baby Galapagos tortoises, a highly endangered species, from a group of traffickers trying to take them to Europe, authorities said on Wednesday. The tortoises from Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands were found in a cardboard box in a bus traveling from northern Peru to Lima, according to The National Forest and Wildlife Service (Serfor). The agency said 29 turtles were found but two had died due to the poor conditions on the trip. The surviving turtles would be repatriated to Ecuador, said Jessica Galvez-Durand, in charge of wildlife management at Serfor. “Their value cannot be estimated as no sales are permitted of the few turtles that are remaining,” Galvez-Durand said. The Galapagos tortoise is the largest in the world and can live for more than 100 years.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Govt calls for report about ‘entire facts’ of soil purchase

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the soil purchase scam in Patna Zoo creating a flutter in Bihar politics, the state government today called for a detailed report on the matter from the Environment and Forest Department. RJD President Lalu Prasad’s son Tej Pratap Yadav, the state Environment and Forest minister is under attack from the BJP on the issue. Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh asked Principal Secretary of Environment and Forest Department Vivek Kumar Singh to present “the entire facts” about the issue to him. The CS confirmed asking the department to present the entire factual report to him about the matter. He, however, denied ordering any probe into the matter. Meanwhile, Sushil Modi today urged Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to break his silence on the soil purchase scam involving family members of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav. “The Chief Minister should break his silence (on the soil purchase scam),” he said in a statement. Sushil Modi also accused the state government officials of trying to suppress the alleged scam on Prasad’s direction and warned that such officials will be penalised. He also said such officials would lose their jobs like it happened in the fodder scam. Reacting on the government’s decision to seek a report on the soil purchase scam, Sushil Kumar Modi trashed it as a “conspiracy to give clean chit to Lalu Prasad’s family.” “Seeking report on soil purchase by the government is nothing but a conspiracy to give clean chit to Lalu Prasad’s family,” Sushil Modi tweeted. “Which official has the courage to inquire against Lalu Prasad’s family…coalition government will fall,” the BJP leader said. “Father indulged in scam in purchase of fodder for animals, son scripted soil scam,” Sushil Modi said in another tweet targeting Lalu Prasad and his family on corruption issue. The senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday last demanded Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to order an all party probe into the alleged soil purchase scam. On Thursday, he alleged that earth filling work at Patna Zoo was carried out without a plan or approval and asked the state government to explain why the work was done at all. He said that the soil was purchased from an under-construction mall registered in the name of a company whose board of directors include several members of Lalu Prasad’s family. The names include those of his minister sons – Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejaswi Prasad Yadav. “Five lakh cubic feet of soil was transported to Patna Zoo from the mall premises by trucks which made 1000 round trips over three months,” he claimed. The BJP leader also charged the Patna Zoo authorities for making a payment of Rs 90 lakh for soil from the corpus of Bihar Wildlife Conservation Fund by flouting guidelines under which the interest amount of the corpus of Rs 334.41 crore can be spent only for wildlife conservation. Sushil Modi also said that the Bihar Chief Secretary heads the Bihar Wildlife Conservation Fund and asked him to explain how the funds were used for soil purchase and whether any prior approval was taken in this regard.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Asiatic wildcat in Bandhavgarh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For a change, it’s not tigers that are hogging all the limelight at Madhya Pradesh’s Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (BTR). For the first time ever, presence of the elusive Asiatic wildcat has been confirmed here with photographic evidence, and has wildlife enthusiasts cheering. Asiatic wildcat is one of the five subspecies of the wildcat and is also a sub species of the desert cat.Late last month, camera traps set up by the forest department for tiger survey in the park captured the image of this nocturnal cat.“Several species exist in the forest landscape, but there may not be evidence recorded of their presence. It’s always delightful when such evidences are recorded by chance. We can now officially say that this cat, which is legally protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) has its home in Bandhavgarh,” said Mridul Kumar Pathak, Field Director of BTR.Not too long ago, a research team also managed to spot and get images of the Asiatic wildcat, DNA found. Dr Sharad Kumar, Deputy Director, The Corbett Foundation (TCF), said that they managed to get the images of Asiatic wildcat in 2016 while carrying out a study on dispersal of tigers and other wildlife in the buffer zone of BTR. “After taking the images, we consulted various experts and once we were certain that it was the first ever documentation of this cat in BTR. The finding will be published in a scientific journal this month.Kumar said that the team had spotted individual cats and a female with kittens, that indicates that they were breeding successfully in this landscape.“Asiatic cats are similar in size to domestic cats and mostly found around human habitats, “raising chances of mating with domestic cats creating hybrids. Hence a specific study will throw more light on these cats, he said.Why the sighting mattersKedar Gore, Conservationist and Director of TCF said, “Generally, the focus in the forest is only on tigers, and existence of several important species at times never get reported. The worry is that no one would ever know if such species were to disappear altogether from the landscape.”

Prince, the famous tiger from Karnataka’s Bandipur National Park, is dead

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bandipur’s celebrity and the most photographed tiger, Prince is no more. The 14-year-old tiger’s carcass was found on Sunday in the Kundakere Range of the National Park in Karnataka.According to sources, the post-mortem conducted found that its stomach was empty, which indicated that the death could have been due to starvation. However, according to Forest Officials, all its body parts, including claws, were intact, which puts any foul play to rest.“It was a 14 year old tiger that had lived most of its life and there were reports that it was limping and it could be a reason that it was not able to hunt. Also, Bandipur is facing the worst drought in decades and most of the prey are moving out, which obviously means that it did not have enough prey and could have succumbed to starvation,” said Bengaluru based Joseph Hoover, who is member of State Wildlife Advisory Board.He added that fortunately the tiger did not go near any human habitation as there were no reports of cattle lifting, which could have led to a conflict situation.Meanwhile, wildlife enthusiasts said that it was actually a good decision by the forest department to not get too attached to the celebrity status of Prince at Bandipur and provide it with ‘feed’ the way it did with Machali from Ranthambore in Rajasthan. “Bandipur has the highest density of tigers and a 14 year old tiger dying naturally is actually a good news as now another tiger can take over the territory,” he said.Wildlife photographers remembered that massive sized Prince as the favourite of photographers as he would freely roam his territory and did not shy away from tourists and photographers.

Sahyadri tiger reserve sees arms inventory mapping

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To curb poaching in the Sahyadri tiger project, Maharashtra Forest Department is mapping out an inventory of arms licences issued in the districts in the vicinity of the reserve. The department will also collaborate with the police to crackdown on unlicensed weapons used in wildlife crimes like hunting for bush meat.“There are around 10,000 arms licences in the districts of Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur… We are launching an inventory mapping of these licences. We have sought information from the local Superintendents of Police,” V Clement Ben, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) and field director of the STR, told DNA.He said forest personnel, who have wide-ranging powers under the prevailing wildlife laws, will then visit these arms license holders at routine intervals to inquire about the use of the weapons and to seek an inventory of the ammunition. This, Ben noted, will curb the use of these licensed weapons for wildlife-related offences.The forest department is also collaborating with the police in the districts of Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Ratnagiri to crackdown on unlicensed and country-made weapons which may be used for such crimes.Last year, the tiger reserve authorities arrested around 50 people for crimes including poaching and illegal entry into the core area of the tiger reserve. Ben said this crackdown has helped send a stern message to poachers and hunters.Ben added that people from the Konkan used traditional hunting routes to enter the reserve from the crest of the Sahyadris. The forest department has stationed staff in these areas for better protection, and has also set up four eco-development committees under the Dr Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Jan Van Vikas Yojana to involve locals in conservation of forest, and also reduce their dependence on forests.“We are creating trekking routes on these traditional hunting routes,” said Ben, adding that this human presence will dissuade poachers. The resultant employment due to tourist inflows will also make locals stakeholders in the conservation.Prajyot Palve, Range Forest Officer (RFO), Chandoli National Park, said they had written to the police and revenue officials seeking details of licensed weapons. “A record will be kept and guards will visit gun licence holders every month to get details of the ammunition used. We can even seize unlicensed guns in buffer areas and lodge police complaints,” he added, noting that many licenses had been given out for purposes like protecting crops from animals before the tiger reserve was notified.On January 15, Palve and his team arrested nine people who had hunted a wild boar with two single-bore guns and also hunted dogs at Chandoli.Last year, the authorities had arrested nine people from Sangameshwar in Ratnagiri for poaching two mouse deer. Two country-made rifles and weapons were seized from these poachers who were caught moving around in the Chandoli jungles by camera traps .According to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, within three months of the declaration of an area as a sanctuary, every person residing in or within ten kilometres of such sanctuary and holding a licence granted under the Arms Act, 1959, shall apply to the Chief Wildlife Warden or authorised officers, for registration. Moreover, no new licences under the Arms Act shall be granted within a radius of ten kilometres without the prior concurrence of the Chief Wildlife Warden.The Sahyadri tiger project Western Maharashtra’s only tiger reserve and is spread over the Koyna wildlife sanctuary and the Chandoli national park covering a 1,165.56 sq km area including a 600.12 sq km core and 565.45 sq km buffer zone.However, the reserve suffers from inadequate tiger numbers. Maharashtra has six tiger reserves and around 190 big cats.

Trouble brewing again for the ambitious neutrino observatory

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the case of India’s most ambitious science project versus environment activists, the latest to make a score has been the latter.India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) proposed at the Bodi West Hills at Pottipuram village in Theni district, Tamil Nadu, has stiff opposition from locals and environmentalists. “If the government wants to go ahead with the project, they have to find a site outside the Western Ghats where it does not cause harm to the environment or the locals,” says G Sundarrajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal.Sundarrajan’s petition in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently led to the suspension of the environmental clearance for the project.On March 20, the NGT, in its order, asked the INO to make a fresh application for the environment clearance and also to get clearance from the National Board of Wildlife.The petitioner brought to light that the project was 4.9 km away from Mathikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district, Kerala. This makes INO a category ‘A’ project (within 5 km of a national park ) requiring clearance from the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL).Speaking to DNA, one of the spokespersons of the neutrino project, Professor D Indumathi, says that as per the NGT order, they will get environment clearance and nod from NBWL as soon as possible to commence the work. She says that the site near Madurai was finalised.A physicist at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), she says that the planned two-km long tunnel would cause “hardly any disturbance” after the construction period. “It’s during the construction that noise disturbance caused by the controlled blasting of the rocks will occur,” she says.The objective of INO is to conduct basic research on the elementary particle called neutrino. After photons, neutrinos are the most abundant particles in the universe. They are affected only by a “weak” sub-atomic force of much shorter range, making it possible for them to pass great distances through matter without being affected.The neutrino observatory will be located in a cavern 1.2 km under a rocky mountain about 110 km west of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. “The observatory has to be underground to avoid interactions that will submerge the neutrino event,” explains a scientist.At present, 23 research institutes, universities, and IITs from across India are involved with the project. INO is expected to galvanise interest in basic science research in India, making it possible for students to pursue cutting-edge research in the field of particle physics.When the INO was conceptualised, it was expected to be up and running by 2012. The project hit the first road block in 2009 when the Ministry of Environment rejected the proposal for setting it up at Singara in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. Scientists then found an alternative at Theni, which received a nod from the Union cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2015. The project, however, hit a roadblock in March 2015 with the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court ordering that they seek clearance from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board. Following the order, in May, scientists applied for clearance, but it took two years for the TNPCB to form an expert committee. In the first week of March, much to the scientists’ cheers, the TNPCB finally began to look into the project. However, three weeks later, NGT order has changed the course again.Observatory blue printThe underground neutrino observatory will be a complex of caverns. The main cavern is 130 metres long, 26 metres wide and 30 metres high. It will house a 50-kilo tonne magnetised iron calorimetre detector to study neutrinos. The observatory will have two smaller caverns for setting up experiments on neutrino double detector and dark matter. The complex will be approached by a two-km long tunnel.Environmental concernsSite stands on an aquifer that feeds three important river systems – Periyar, Vaigai, and VaipparRock-blasting during construction could seismically impact reservoirs including Mullaperiyar and IdukkiDepartment of Atomic Energy could use the underground space for storing high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plantsScientists explainTunnel construction will not have any impact on the environment and water sourcesControlled blasting will cause minimal vibrations. Railway tunnelling work close to INO site is underway.Neutrino detector has to be located away from any radiation. There is no question of storing radioactive waste there.

NH-12 widening near Panna Reserve cleared

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After paving the way for the Ken-Betwa river linking project inside Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR), the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has now permitted the diversion of 40 hectares of forest from Nauradehi wildlife sanctuary, which is to be added as part of PTR in lieu of loss of core forest land.The NBWL has granted permission to divert forest from the sanctuary for the widening of National Highway-12 from its the current two-lane to four-lane, according to minutes of NBWL meeting.Ironically, even as the project falls inside the sanctuary, during the meeting, the Chief wildlife Warden of Madhya Pradesh Jitendra Agarwal said that the area does not form part of any corridor and is located south of Nauradehi sanctuary. The NBWL cleared the project, “considering the utility of the widening in decongesting the traffic flow.”At its previous meeting in January, Agarwal had prescribed mitigation measures such as animal underpasses, chain-link fencing, artificial water bodies and other conditions. The NBWL had also sought comments of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), since the sanctuary is going to be a part of PTR.It was the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, that had first suggested that four wildlife sanctuaries, two each from Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, should be added to the Panna Tiger Reserve, to compensate for the vast forest that will be submerged under the river linking project.While granting wildlife clearance, the NBWL accepted this proposal to add Nauradehi, Rani Durgavati and Ranipur and Mahavir Swami wildlife sanctuaries to Panna.Besides clearing the highway widening project, the NBWL is also considering a stone mining project six km away from the Panna Tiger Reserve.Independent member of NBWL R Sukumar said that no mining should be permitted in the additional area to be added to Panna Tiger Reserve in lieu of the core area to be diverted for Ken-Betwa river linking project.NTCA also pointed out that the mine location has not been ascertained yet. The board has now asked NTCA and Wildlife Institute of India to the verify location of the mine and submit a report in a month’s time.

Thai jungle seen as breeding ground for Indochinese tigers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Conservationists say they have evidence that the critically endangered Indochinese tiger is breeding in a Thai jungle, giving hope for the survival of an animal whose total population may be less than 300. Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation along with two private organisations announced today they have photographic evidence of new tiger cubs in eastern Thailand, supporting a scientific survey that confirmed the existence of the world’s second breeding population of the tigers. The other breeding ground is in the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in western Thailand. The Thai agency, along with Freeland, an organisation fighting human and animal trafficking, and Panthera, a wild cat conservation group, said only 221 Indochinese tigers are estimated to remain in two Asian countries, Thailand and Myanmar. It is feared that tigers, which once ranged across much of Asia, are now all but extinct in southern China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and much of Myanmar, the groups said in a joint statement. Indochinese tigers are smaller than the better-known Bengal and Siberian tigers. “Poaching for the illegal wildlife trade stands as the gravest threat to the survival of the tiger, whose numbers in the wild have dwindled from 100,000 a century ago to 3,900 today,” it said. The statement noted the tigers’ “remarkable resilience given wildlife poaching and illegal rosewood logging” in the eastern jungle. “The Thai forestry department proved that with protection you can not only bring tigers back, but now the western forest complex, specifically Huai Kha Khaeng, is a global model of tiger conservation,” Alan Rabinowitz, chief executive officer of Panthera said in a video call from New York. “It is one of the best protected and best tiger areas left in the world. Thailand has shown that you can protect tigers and bring them back. They can do this now in the eastern forest complex as they’ve done in the western forest complex.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Book that turns focus on nature conservation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the occasion of World Forestry Day on Wednesday, the release of Hirawa Sangharsh (Green Battle), a book in Marathi language authored by engineer-turned conservationist Kishor Rithe, at the Mantralaya, recast the spotlight on issues confronting the state’s flora and fauna. “Contrary to what politicians say, Maharashtra has been witnessing a steady erosion of ‘dense forest cover’ for many years now. But, it has been camouflaged in official statistics with an over-all increase in forest area, says Rithe, a member of Maharashtra state Board for Wildlife, and the president of Satpuda Foundation, an NGO working to save wildlife and forests across central India. His book not only draws upon his personal experiences and observations over the last 28 years, but also seeks inspiration from the contributions of other eminent minds in the field of conservation. The main purpose of Hirawa Sangharsh is to focus on problems as well as offer solutions, says Rithe.While raising awareness about illegal felling of trees for domestic and commercial purposes, over-grazing of cattle, over-population of unproductive cattle, forest fires and depletion of underground water table, the book also talks about how the effective convergence of existing government schemes and the involvement of all stakeholders can bring about a lasting impact on the ecosystem. “Concurrently, we should also turn the core forest areas into inviolate space and prevent illegal encroachments in the buffer areas, forest corridors and all forest areas outside the protected areas of sanctuaries and national parks” says the green warrior, who is a strong believer in community participation for preservation and conservation practices.One of the chapters in the book dwells on success stories of tiger conservation and how villagers in the buffer areas of the tiger habitat have benefitted in the process. “The increase in big cat population at the Tadoba-Andhari Reserve has been a win-win situation for all. The revenue generated from the reserve has increased from Rs75 lakh in 2009-10 to Rs 5 crore in 2016. This money is being shared with the villagers in the buffer area who have realised the importance of protecting wildlife,” he says. Inspired by this development, other villages in that zone want to notify their areas as part of the buffer area. “The idea is to make them see that the tiger is not an adversary but a source of economic incentives and employment opportunities. Only then can we significantly reduce man-animal conflict.”

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