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Dec 9 11 9:41 PM
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Dec 10 11 1:06 PM
NEW DELHI: Fifty-one tigers have died in different states of India between January and Dec 5, 2011, according to statistics collated by a prominent wildlife NGO. A tigress shot dead outside Kaziranga Park in Assam on Monday is the latest in that list.
Figures provided by Wildlife Protection Society of India show that 14 tigers perished in Uttarakhand, the highest in a single state. Karnataka takes the second place with six deaths while Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh account for five each.
Poaching, road accident, infighting and fight with other animals are some of the reasons for the deaths. Some tigers died of natural causes and diseases too. A few were killed by villagers, police and the forest department.
"Tiger poachers are still active. On Dec 2, forest department officials recovered a tiger trap placed by poachers in the Nagarjunasagar Srisailam tiger reserve of Andhra Pradesh," says Tito Joseph, programme manager, WPSI.
Skins, bones, skulls and claws of the royal big cat have also been seized in Manipur, Orissa, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand this year.
A tigress was found dead without claws, canines and whiskers in Chhattisgarh's Bhoramdeo Wildlife Sanctuary on Nov 15. "A labourer engaged in patrolling had committed the act. He has been arrested and jailed. He confessed that he had poisoned a cow killed by the tigress. The big cat came back for the kill and died of poisoning. He then took out the claws and other parts of its body," Ram Prakash, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Chhattisgarh told TOI over phone.
There were three more tiger deaths in November. On Nov 3, a tigress was accidentally electrocuted by a cable connection connected to an electric motor pump in vihirgaon village in Maharashtra's Chandrapur district. In another case on Nov 20, tiger died after getting trapped in a wire set up by villagers near Tipeswar Wildlife Sanctuary, Yavatmal, Mahrashtra.
"The tiger got entangled and was strangulated after it tried to break free. A local farmer has been arrested," says AK Saxena, Additional PCCF Wildlife, Maharashtra.
On Nov 20, an injured 14-year-old tiger known as B2 was tranquilized and rescued by forest department in Madhya Pradesh's Bandhavgarh reserve. But the tiger died some time after the capture, WPSI sources say.
The tiger census figures released officially in Jan 2008, showed a mere 1,411 tigers alive as compared to 3,508 in 1997, a drastic drop of 60%. According to fresh government estimates in March 2011, the number now is anywhere between 1,571 and 1,875; the average working out to 1,706.
WPSI figures show 58 tiger deaths in 2010: poaching and seizure (30). Other reasons make up for the remaining 28.
Samir Sinha, head of TRAFFIC-India that monitors illegal wildlife trade, said the loss of every tiger should be cause for worry. "We must also be prepared to accept that any population will have a certain level of mortality. More than the numbers, it's the nature and cause of death that's the concern," he says.
Conservationists say while the death of every tiger counts, there's a positive side to the story. There are reports of 20 new cubs from Tadoba-Andhari, Pench (MP) and Bandhavgarh tiger reserves in Central India. Extrapolate these figures to other tiger habitats, and the rise in numbers could be significant. However, only when the cubs survive the first two years do they get into the official census figures.
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A farmer in Hadmatiya village of Rajula taluka in Amreli was arrested on charges of poaching on Wednesday after a leopard died in his field after being trapped in the fencing surrounding the field.
Ramesh Koli was booked under Section 9 of Wildlife Protection of Act (1972) and sent to judicial custody.
According to forest officials, a male leopard was trapped in a device placed on the boundary of the farms' fencing erected to keep wild animals away from the crops. Officials said that a person who has taken the land on lease for cultivation from the farm owner had laid the fencing around the farms and also placed trap devices with clutch wires to trap the animals that destroy crops. The leopard tried to jump from that place and was clutched to death. Forest officials registered a complaint of poaching against the accused and on Wednesday sent to jail for the crime.
"The device which was used by accused is one kind of trap in which the animal once stuck can't escape and dies," a senior forest officer said.
Wildlife activists have expressed concern over the accidental death of wild animals as well electric fencing and other type of devices used by farmers to protect their crops. Recently, Right to Information (RTI) Act application filed by a Porbandar-based RTI activist Bhanu Odedara revealed that during the last five years, 171 wild animals died due to various kinds of accidents in Junagadh wildlife division area.
Odedra obtained the details about natural deaths, accidental deaths and poaching of Asiatic lions, leopards, hyena, blackbucks and blue bulls. The RTI revealed that 14 wild animals were poached and 449 died natural deaths. Of the total 171 accidental deaths, 53 are leopards and 33 lions. Rest of the animals are blue bulls, black bucks and hyena.
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SURAT: 'Kya Chhe Gir No Sinh' (Where is the lion of Gir), ask visitors at the Sarthana zoo, run by the Surat Municipal Corporation ( SMC). Despite their arrival at the zoo two-and-a-half-months ago, the lions have not been put on display. Now, it seems the wild life lovers will have to wait till next year for a glimpse of the Asiatic lion brought under the animal exchange programme from Rajkot's Sakkarbaug zoo.
The zoo authorities are delaying the display of Asiatic lion as they are still awaiting certain other species, such as the Manipur deer, from the Sakkarbaug zoo, so that they can organize an official function by inviting the city mayor and other dignitaries. For the first time, the Sarthana zoo has got a pair of Asiatic lions. Until now, the zoo had a single 25-year-old hybrid lion and that too was not keeping well as he is ageing. Last year, the only lioness at the zoo died at the age of 21.
A pair of Asiatic lion was brought to the Sarthana zoo from the Sakkarbaug zoo in the third week of October 2011. Since then the big cats have been kept in captivity, away from the eyes of the visitors who are eagerly waiting to see the king of the jungle.
"After newspapers reported the arrival of the Asiatic lion, I visited the zoo with my kids, only to return disappointed. In the last one month, I have been there for over half a dozen time inquiring about the Asiatic lion, but I am not getting proper reply," said Siddharth Rana, a jari manufacturer from Chowk Bazaar.
Zoo authorities said the pair of Asiatic lions have undergone successful quarantine for over one-and-a-half-month and now they are ready to be introduced to visitors in the Sarthana zoo. Every day before the visiting hour starts, the Asiatic lions are taken out of the cages to be in the open display area.
"Since the quarantine period for the Asiatic lion is already over, we had planned the official display last week. But, due to the Sadbhavana fast in the city, we were sure that the Mayor would not have the time to inaugurate the official display. Now, we plan to hold a function in the first week of January after getting other species such as the Manipur deer from the Sakkarbaug zoo by the end of December," said Praful Mehta, in-charge superintendent of Sarthana zoo.
Asked why can't the zoo authorities get the official programme done for the public display of the Asiatic lions, Mehta said, "It is not possible to get dignitaries such as the mayor to come and inaugurate the official display of each and every species of animal arriving from Sakkarbaug zoo. We are waiting for all the species under the animal exchange programme to arrive at the zoo, so that we can keep a small function."
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