Tiger Task Force Report

Tiger Conservation

Posted by Susan Sharma on April 14, 2016

Blog
.....what most agencies in the government are silent on are the pressures of a developing economy on tiger habitats within the country. Most tiger corridors that are vital for the big cat to move out and colonize other areas are under immense threat, such as Kanha-Pench in Madhya Pradesh or the road that has destroyed the link from Kaziranga to Karbi Anglong in Assam.

All of these corridors are under siege from projects to build highways, canals and thermal power plants. If India’s tiger reserves were kept well-connected through a network of corridors, then lakhs of rupees would not have to be spent on reintroduction programmes. Tigers would naturally recolonize other areas meant for them. But that’s the elephant in the room that everyone wants to ignore......

Read more at 
http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/zmlFVaVsiDP5oEV7Gr9U2O/Should-India-be-sharing-its-tigers-with-Cambodia.html

Tiger Task Force Report

A first step to make Sariska tiger friendly

Posted by Susan Sharma on October 23, 2007

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Following the recommendations of the Ministry of Environment and Forests which made a case for the translocation of tigers to Sariska, the Rajasthan Forest Department decided on voluntary relocation of 11 villages from the core areas in Sariska. Out of these, four were to be relocated first on a priority basis. There are 17 more villages in the reserve.

Although voluntary relocation of the villages had been tried in Sariska in the seventies, it had not been successful due to various reasons. This time however, the approach was more focussed and Bhagani village was selected to be the first of the four. An eco-development committee was set up in mid-2006 and by October 2006, every family had given its consent to move out to a better life outside Sariska.

"For a Greener tomorrow," Ashok Kumar (Vice Chairman, WTI) planting a Neem sapling in the new settlement

Source: http://www.wildlifetrustofindia.org/html/news/2007/071018_sariska_relocation_of_village.html

Tiger Task Force Report

Tigers on the brink-LA Times article

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 28, 2007

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........................
"India still offers the best hope for the tigers’ future because it has the most
tigers and a conservation infrastructure. In 1973, the Indian government
initiated Project Tiger, designating protected areas and wildlife corridors.
This led to a dramatic recovery -- their numbers nearly tripled by the 1990s.
But that commitment faltered, and the population collapsed again. "....
.....
"Most important, the communities abutting tiger habitat, some of which are among
the poorest in India, must have a stake in protecting tigers. The residents need
to gain from conservation efforts and eco-tourism: There are very few places in
the world where tourists can see wild tigers. Poachers could be given rewards
for tracking and photographing the animals for monitoring. They might be given
new avenues for livelihood: In the forest reserves of Periyar in India’s
southern state of Kerala, for example, former poachers now work as tourist
guides."
From the Los Angeles Times
Stop tigers from going extinct
Unless drastic action is taken now, the lord of the jungle will go extinct this
century.
By Vinod Thomas
September 27, 2007
read the full article at the link
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-thomas27sep27,0,7598804.story?coll=la-tot-opinion&track=ntothtml


 

Tiger Task Force Report

A western point of view

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 26, 2007

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...................................
"Preserving tiger populations in India’s parks has been derailed by a ballooning human population and the lack of a clear management policy. Tigers are ecological stars for tourists and a rising Indian middle class. Others view the animals as a recreational asset in the history of Indian sport. As late as the early 20th century, hunters shot tigers from the backs of elephants in elaborate safaris called “shikars.”

...................

"In two years, India has lost thousands of square miles of forest, of which 14 are potential tiger habitat. And a number of parks are islands where the risk of inbreeding may lead to extinction. Management policies—dictated by the revenue that attends frequent big cat sightings—have shortchanged the animals’ best interests.

Tigers in India’s parks are becoming mere products, as they’re seen by poachers and buyers of skins and other body parts."

 Read the full article at
http://www.emagazine.com/view/?3849

 

Tiger Task Force Report

Tigers may be down to 1,300 in India

Posted by Susan Sharma on July 11, 2007

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Tigers may be down to 1,300

Aalarm bells begin to ring; States reluctant to accept statistics, responsibility

This alarming loss highlights the fact that never before has India had fewer tigers, even in 1972, when the census showed 1,827 tigers.

The current estimates have been arrived at as part of the all-India estimate of tigers conducted by Wildlife Institute of India - a task entrusted to them by Project Tiger. It may be recalled that on May 23, the Ministry of Environment and Forests released to the media tiger numbers for Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan - the rest detailed are expected to be made public sometime later in the year. ---------------
 
The enumeration shows that the big cat is severely depleted across its range - in some cases to the point of no return. For example, in Jharkhand(12), Chhattisgarh (25) and Bihar (20), the tiger is almost a write-off. Besides the abysmally low populations, insurgency plagues protected areas in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, so much so that they are out of administrative control. One can also forget about a safe haven for the tiger in the Northeast, except for Assam which has about 75 tigers, mainly concentrated in Kaziranga. The rest would not total over 25 spread over three parks - Namdapha has at the most five tigers, with not enough prey base even to sustain these, Dampha in Mizoram would have between three to five, Pakhui-Nameri in Arunachal being the best among them, with five to eight tigers. The marshy terrain of Sundarbans did not allow for a census by the WII, but a previous enumeration carried out by the Indian Statistical Institute showed that the reserve has no more than 65 tigers, while Buxa and Jaldapara in North Bengal has a low, unviable population.
 -----------------
Source : http://www.dailypioneer.com
Article by Prerna Singh Bindra on 5July 2007

Tiger Task Force Report

"The Great Indian Tiger Crisis" Film has won an award

Posted by Susan Sharma on July 05, 2007

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"The Great Indian Tiger Crisis" won the award for Best Point of View  at the International Wildlife Film Festival 2007 at Montana, USA

Synopsis

The Great Indian Tiger Crisis

Mirror Films Private Limited

Producer: Arindam Mitra

India was shocked to learn, in early 2005 that some of her Tiger Reserve Forests had actually no tigers left. The Prime Minister set up a task force with eminent conservationists and sent them out on a fact finding mission across the length and breadth of the vast number of Reserve Forests. This film stalks the task force to unearth shocking facts and becomes an important critique of the conservation policies in India. Part road movie, part fact finding, part political discourse and part philosophy this is a fascinating piece of film too. (77 min)

Tiger Task Force Report

Issue is not People vs Tigers...

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 13, 2007

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….Simple arithmetic provides a total, today, of around 1,300 tigers in the country; some tiger biologists believe the actual number may be less than 1,000, perhaps even as few as 800.
 

We do not need to argue the numbers: whichever way you look at the tiger’s situation, it is dire; it is a national crisis. But is the government bothered? Do we see the Ministry of Environment and Forests galvanised into action now that their own Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India project is providing data that confirms what conservationists have been saying for the last few years. Tragically not. What we find is a government at best silent, at worst still disowning and denying the figures. What will it take to convince it? We have had facts and figures and images of Indian tiger skins poached and swamping Tibet; we have had Indian tiger biologists with scientific data to back their arguments, we have had children petitioning the PM in for the tiger’s cause, we have a high-profile tiger reserve (Sariska) lose all its tigers; we now have a major ‘official’ study showing exactly where tigers can still be found and from where they are missing, a study showing how fragmented their habitat is, how precarious their existence: yet, the point is argued and denied. 

 

The issue is not people versus tigers, it is not that wildlife conservationists ‘bicker’ or put their egos before the tiger, it is not that there is a controversy within the informed community as much of the media like to portray; the major stumbling block to saving the tiger is simply that those with the mandate and muscle to maintain and protect natural India are failing to do so. The true battle is people — the forest-dependent people especially — and tigers versus the government. It is not only the tiger and other wildlife that is being squeezed. It does not take much newspaper reading even for city-dwellers to know that the farming communities, the tribal populations and other marginalised people are equally being sacrificed in our shining India march towards a global economy and double-digit economic growth in emulation of industrialised countries elsewhere.

…………… we must forge alliances and speak out in one voice to prevail upon the government that a new and professional system of wildlife care and management is required and must be instituted: one that involves and gives respect to all those living in and around the wilderness areas, that is transparent and accountable, that understands that knowledge is the basis for creative care and that science and research are required to provide that base. We do not have this now. The present poaching profile is that of serious organised crime and it will not disappear only by patrolling and regarding all local communities as potential poachers. We need a management system that understands that they are custodians of the most precious resources, not rajas with fiefdoms. We need a system that keeps communication channels with the wider world open so that it can evolve. If India’s wild areas are to survive, if India’s environment is to remain conducive to human survival, such changes must happen now.

 

-Joanna Van Gruisen is a wildlife photographer and former editor, TigerLink News

 

Source: Hindustan Times 25 May 2007

 

 

Tiger Task Force Report

Review by National Board for Wildlife

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 23, 2007

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 Project Tiger has been reviewed by the Tiger Task Force constituted by the
National Board for Wildlife, Chaired by the Hon¹ble Prime Minister. 

  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has already come
    into force w.e.f. 4th September, 2006. 
  • Apart from above, all the Tiger Reserves have been evaluated by a panel of independent experts based on a set of criteria (45) developed by the World commission on Protected Areas, as adapted for Indian conditions.  The evaluation has been peer-reviewed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).  Both the assessment as well as peer-review have been placed in both the Houses of Parliament.
  • The process of All India estimation of tigers, copredators and prey animals using the refined methodology, as approved by the Tiger Task Force, is ongoing in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India.  The said process on completion, would indicate the status of tiger population, its copredators, prey animals and habitat in the country.
  • Assessment of tiger habitat status in the country at Taluka amplification in the Geographical Information System (GIS) domain in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India. Comparative appraisal of forest cover status in and around tiger reserves (upto a radial distance of 10 kms.), in collaboration with the Forest Survey of India for evolving reserve specific restorative strategies involving local people in the peripheral / buffer areas.
  • Bilateral agreements have been signed with Nepal and Republic of
    China for controlling trans-boundary illegal trade in wildlife.

Source: Information  given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment and Forests,  in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on March 9, 2007

Tiger Task Force Report

Ullas Karanth on Tiger

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 31, 2006

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Wildlife biologist Ullas Karanth on Tiger

Q: What's wrong with the concept of sustainable use and the idea of financing projects for local people to make money from the forests, and in turn protect the animals?

A: It's naïve. People and tigers have never coexisted harmoniously.

They compete for land, protein, resources. In a country like India where there are so many people and so little land, sustainable development is actually a recipe for wiping out the protected areas.

If you want tigers, you can't have people sweeping through the reserves cutting down trees, gathering forest products, hunting for protein and creating gardens that fragment natural areas.

Moreover, you definitely should not be paying forestry officials - charged with protecting wildlife - to do rural economic development.

If you do it, their mission drifts toward development and the wildlife conservation part gets lost.

To protect wildlife, you have to do the harder thing, which is set aside some areas where human activities are reduced or eliminated. At present, about 5 percent of the country is designated as protected. But I estimate that 75 percent of that "protected" land has been compromised by human activity. This needs to be halted.

Q: Do you think the Indian tiger can be saved?

A: Certainly. If there's the will. One thing that gives us a head start: India actually has more wild tigers than our neighbors. We won't need to reintroduce them. Also, tigers reproduce easily; they are not like pandas.

Also, I believe that there are aspects of Indian culture that can be mobilized for conservation. If you look at the Hindu religion, there's real guilt associated with the killing of an animal.

Another thing, at the core of our religion is the belief that man is a part of nature. This supports the idea that wild animals have a right to survive. 

 Read the full interview at

http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/08/16/news/tigers.php

Tiger Task Force Report

Tiger Conservation Authority

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 26, 2006

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A national Tiger Conservation Authority (TCA) has finally been set up with constitutional power, though heavily diluted with 13 radical clauses to placate the tribal lobby.

The most crucial of these additions says that no direction of the TCA "shall interfere or affect the rights of local people particularly the Scheduled Tribes".

As the pending tribal Bill seeks to redefine these rights,the TCA's authority is likely to depend on the final shape of the tribal Bill.

Consider these:

• The core areas are to be "kept as inviolate without affecting the rights of the Scheduled Tribes and such other forest dwellers".

• "Save for voluntary relocation","no Scheduled Tribes or other forest dwellers shall be resettled or have their rights adversely affected for the purpose of creating inviolate areas for tiger conservation".

• There are certain provisions for relocation from areas where human habitation causes "irreversible damage" or where "options of co-existence are not available". But the power to determine such cases is with the Gram Sabhas and designated local expert panels and not with the TCA.

• The right to redraw the core-buffer boundary is also with

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