Thursday, June 18, 2009

Indian Wildlife - Some news from Of Cats.

To India now. Some good news for Asiatic Lions in India as their population goes up in the Gir forest, their sole sanctuary. The rise is attributed towards a significant number of healthy cubs that are being reported in Gir this year. More good news from Gir is that the government there has doubled the grant money for covering up of the wells across the forest. Numbering in thousands across the reserve these abandoned wells have been responsible for the death and injury of dozens of lions who have succumbed by falling into them. Fortunately they are being covered at an increasing rate now, thanks to money raised by conservationists and provided by the government, and hopefully will be fully covered by the end of this year. More on the two positive developments here and here.

There's some negative news coming from Gir too. Barda wildlife sanctuary in the proximity is being threatened by mining. A number of mining projects have been set up in the reserve's periphery, perhaps not in full accordance with laws. The news has emerged only recently, not long after government announced an initiative to shift some of the lions from Gir to there. Disconcerting news therefore for the lions and wildlife of Barda, that will certainly be affected adversely if the mining ventures continue in the sanctuary. More here.

Bengal Tiger
To tigers now. And there is a mix of good and bad news here. First the good news. The Indian government has taken some major initiatives recently for protecting its Bengal Tigers. The first involves drastically altering the travel itineraries of tourists across its forests. The authorities are attributing the decline of the striped cats partly to the visitors' interference in tiger's breeding grounds. As a result the movement of tourists across the core areas of tiger reserves is now being restricted. However, it remains to be seen if the move will play a decisive role in saving the tiger in the long run, for there are some counterarguments against it too. To read them and more about this move go here and here.

Another significant move for tiger conservation in India is the announcement by officials there to relocate away from the forests nearly one hundred thousand families who are residing in and around tiger reserves in India. A landmark move, this will entail nearly a decade of work and one hundred billion Indian Rupees, or roughly two billion US Dollars. Let us hope that this bears fruition for the tigers and wildlife in due time across India. The full report here.

In some forests across India though, government is currently employing the tribal population to help protect the wildlife. One example is that of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve near Udhagamandalam, one of the best preserved sanctuaries in the region. Here the wildlife department is employing the locals to patrol the forest and help the authorities protect the fauna and flora. A unique and somewhat refreshing approach towards conservation that may be sustainable in the form of development of ecotourism and employment of the natives. More on this here.

In more good news, the relocated tigers in Sariska have mated, leading to the possibility to a litter by the coming rainy season. Just a few years ago Sariska tiger reserve was wiped clean of all its tigers by poachers. Over the course of past few months a male and two female tigers were relocated there to repopulate the forest. And now it appears that a new generation indigenous to Sariska may soon reappear. More here.

Some bad news now. A decline in tiger number has been reported from forests in the Indian states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. In Bihar tiger numbers fell from fifty six to just thirteen over the past seven years, a significant decline attributed largely to poaching. And in Madhya Pradesh five tigers have been lost in the past year or so. In Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in the state of Maharashtra, twenty tigers have been lost in the past five months alone. An alarming rate of decline. It appears that despite the best efforts and apparent good intentions of authorities, the great Bengal Tiger continues to disappear from forests. More on these sad news here, here and here.

Another threat to tigers in India - a national highway that is being constructed through the world's largest tiger habitat in Satpura, central India. The road will have quite an adverse impact on the wildlife and ecosystem of the reserve. The conservationists have already lodged their protests against this to the central government. More on this here. And to read an article on tiger conservation and how you can help, go here.



C.R.Jayaprakash said...

Parambikulam Tribal Reserve uses Tribals in a better way than at Mudumalai. Tourism menace is kept under strict vigil here.


Thanks, Mr C R Jayaprakash