Friday, May 9, 2014

Jhurjhura tigress a tragic demise

I read in papers and on FaceBook the ghastly incident that occurred in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve few days a go. Following the incident keenly I realized that what is a National Tragedy will soon be forgotten. The loss would get mired in administrative unaccountability and legal loop holes which will play their part if some substantiated findings are reached.

Jhurjura tigress is one of the many big cats that have died before their prime. This is not only the loss of an endangered species it is indicative of care and regards that we have for other life forms.

What exactly happened?

The facts are yet to come out was is arrogant reckless driving, which I have been experiencing often since number of years?

Was it deliberate murder?

Or accident?

Let us hope that we are soon enlightened of the facts. But what next? Will the incident fall in the same vein as Panna and Sariska and forgotten or setting up of a new order pacify us.? Will few heads rise and see that the incident is not forgotten till suitable corrective action ensues in order to prevent repeat?

This is the best chance to see how we regard our National Pride. This country as whole should react to this incident.

Any way whatever happened could have been prevented. The death is a testimony to the fact that more needs to be done in order to make tourism safer and fruitful in our tiger reserves.

Reckless driving is one issue

Death of a tiger!

Ever since the down slide of the tiger in India has become apparent the causus belli has created deep consternation. First it was the Project Tiger which elated then depressed. The NTPCA and what not. The down slide continues till today.

We keep on reading a death of a tiger or tigress here and then. The same goes for the leopard albeit more extensive. The situation is so precarious that a loss of one tiger in present circumstances is equivalent of hundred. The poaching of tigers in Panna and Sariska is a frightening spectacle since it happened right under the eye of the administration and that too in the core zones. Tiger deaths elsewhere ---- sans territorial fights.... They God they are

Question: Who was responsible, the poachers of course &......(sic)?

Question: Tourism (sic)?

Why it happened?

Since 1972 we are still learning and finding.....How to save the tiger?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Leopards in Kanha

The focus on tigers pushes this magnificent cat into the background. In most of the Indian tiger reserves leopards are not much sought after. They are treated as one of the inhabitants of the ecosystem. Very little work is done on these animals except at places where man eating menace exists.

Though much required, the attention only on the tiger is not a good policy. Consequent studies and research on both will assist in conservation of all big cats in he country. There are many common characteristic features in these carnivores, discovering facts related to one will lead to helping the other. 

Kanha is a large intact ecosystem that is home to the leopard besides the Bengal Tiger. The tigers presence puts the animal in a precarious situation - kind of nightmarish existence. This is the main reason for the leopard to turn nocturnal and making an arboreal existence. In Sri Lanka where the tiger is absent these cats exhibit diurnal behavior. 

In Kanha National Park the panther is more active in the periphery of the forests and the surrounding villages. Its range covers most of the buffer zone with some presence in the core area as well. Frequent incidence of livestock killing are those by leopards and surprisingly the animal has killed live stock bigger in size as was evident at Boda Chhapri Village.  But the core is noticeably dominated by the tigers. In a conflict with tiger the panther is killed and eaten without fail. Hence the spacing mechanism adopted by this animal is remarkable but nevertheless many of these cats are hunted down by tigers. The extent is not known in absence of reliable data but I presume the figure would be on the higher side.    

The competition for food is one reason for this lack of tolerance among these tertiary carnivores. The leopard cannot kill animals larger than female sambar deer, it definitely avoids large sized prey species. It's adaptability is more tenacious than that of the striped cat.  It can live on consuming small animals, birds, poultry, livestock, besides the prey available in the forests. This animal can also survive in broken ecosystems or denuded forests with little bit of day cover.

There are assumed to be around 70 leopards in Kanha Tiger Reserve in an area of 1940 sq km. But I believe that it is next to impossible to come to the correct conclusion since the animal moves in diverse habitats and is very elusive.  An extensive camera trapping can assist in this task besides keeping tab on livestock predation and records of sightings. 

In Kanha Zone a leopard was seen regularly last year near the Khatia Gate. One animal has been seen and photographed several times link road 7.  This animal is rarely seen in the grasslands of the reserve since these dominated by the much larger striped cousin. I have seen them near villages at night on Kanha Indri Road sulking in nullahs bushes in search of suitable livestock.   

The status of this animal is precarious all over with lot of killing by man wherever it survives. The number of hides being confiscated from poachers is suggestive of vary large numbers being killed in India. This is going to result in complete extermination of the animal from large part of its historical range. Man animal conflict and urbanization of denuded forest adds to the quick decrease in population.  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tiger Safari: Rates Kanha & Bandhavgarh

From the coming season the new vehicle entry rates will apply. The parks will open on 16th October as usual.

Kanha and Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve tourism zones have been changed and upgraded.

At Kanha the Kanha Zone is notified as premium and its charges are:

Rs.1500 for Indians and Rs.3000 for foreigners. Besides this guide fees filming fee etc will also apply.

Other zones are Mukki & Sarhi Gates.

At Bandhavgarh the vehicle entry fee is Rs.2000 for Indian and Rs. 4000 for foreigners. This is for Tala Zone which is premium.  

Other Zones are Panpatha, Khitauli and Magdhi Zones.

Jeep hire is extra for that contact manager of your accommodation in the tiger reserve.  

Access to zones may be from outside so leave in advance and be prepared to pay more for extra ride to reach the gates.  

Each Wednesday evening safaris are closed, so schedule village/school tours for this day evening. 

In the notification by forest department no tariff is given for non premium zones. Visit MP Online  for more information. There is vehicle restriction inside the park hence book your gate entry in advance. This can be done at MP Online. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Leopard Fights Back

The incidence at Siliguri village in Darjeeling  is one of the many warnings that the big cat is as threatened as the tiger. The leopard is in as precarious a condition as the tiger is. The animal was petrified in human surroundings and eventually died (killed). We have no solutions for man animal conflicts. 

The mishandling is and eye opener as to how the whole country faces a crisis. The administration and rulers of this country are enmeshed in attributes that help seek a way out rather than face the situation boldly. What were the policemen and forest guard doing there well fulfilling there duty. 

There was no solution from top level for an incident that is a regular occurrence. The immobilization should have been as fast as possible and proper. The big cat was on defensive strayed perhaps by some mental aberration or hunger into human habitation.  A precious life could have been saved. Yes big cats and all life forms constitute precious life. If any doubt please go back to Vedas.    

The human reaction to intrusion by other life forms will always be aggressive defense or offense - action wherein the animal always suffers. The cats are on brink of extinction thanks to our selfish approach and greed. It is not yet apparent that we should work in an ecosystem. The loss of other life forms does not create among us a loss at all. Somewhere down the line we will realize, how dependent we are on others. Our coming generation will have no solutions for the past misdeeds. They will only regret and curse.              

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tiger Safari More Expensive

Though I am not citing a confirmed report, it is obvious that rates will go up.  I have heard from a hotelier in Bandhavgarh about increase in gate fee in all Central Indian Tiger Reserves. Since a long time the administration was intent on increasing gate fees and all related fee. How much increase is there is yet to be seen by the author.  

This is necessary as the cost have gone up as they are bound to. Even the jeep safari rates have gone up which is understood. The rates of petrol affect the transportation cost all over India hence the tiger reserve. 

Will this impact tourism in our tiger reserves?

Well yes and no!

The rich will continue to come here and enjoy their wildlife holidays in larger numbers. The tigers and their habitat receive tremendous publicity in wildlife magazines and TV. This diverts more and more people towards tiger tourism in India.

But the increasing cost of the tours will certainly affect middle class and those below. Major impact will be on the hotels and resorts since not all cater to the upscale tourists.  Most of the accommodation will be stressed out.

The negative aspect is that the nature should be witnessed by wide spectrum of the society. It is quite understood that visitors begin to understand nature from close and develop a more practical approach towards it and its conservation. A lot of Indian tourists who visit these preserves on budget are going to be deprived of this eye opening experience and miss out on this amazing inheritance.   This applies to budget travelers from foreign soils as well. The negative impact of increased safari cost will make tiger tourism appear to be a prerogative of the wealthy. This will certainly create antipathy toward these parks amongst the have not’s.    

For the school going children a park visit is a learning experience and is vital for them. These very kids will grow up with a positive attitude towards the environment and all other life forms.    

Some way has to be found out in order to invite less privileged people sans some privileges. Another answer is to open up more wildlife sanctuaries for tourism with proper infrastructure development. But are we very good with finding solutions to problems, take the case of tiger conservation in India.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Saving a Sanctuary

In a rare example women in Bangladesh at Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary have taken the cudgel to save their precious heritage. Along with the forest guards they patrol the confines of the forest a vital elephant corridor. The women adorned in green saree work as volunteer but do get an initial compensation. They have succeeded in the task of preventing illegal wood felling and poaching. This has resulted in the forest recuperating quickly to regain its lost splendour.

The forests after local conservation efforts have shown remarkable signs of regeneration. There is a rational approach to benefiting from the forest produce with sharing arrangement between the department and the locals. In instances like these the uses of natural resources becomes sustainable since the value system is based on conserving one's heritage. 

The women have shown an exemplary display of value system since very few realize the importance of natural ecosystem. Forest wealth have been plundered by outsiders while those dependent upon it have watched helplessly. Well not in this case. Read more:  Sentinels of the forest    

The scourge of humanity has depleted all natural ecosystems for personal consumption. This is happening everywhere in India since the locals have not been educated regarding these priceless jewels. Once people realize that conserving these ecosystems is good for their communities more such conservation efforts will come into picture. Involving local communities is safeguarding the heritage wealth is a sound principle that will increase preservation of forests and wildlife.