Tiger Tests Life in Captivity, Chooses Freedom

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A tiger walks into a zoo.

That may sound like the beginning of a joke, but in this case, it’s just the start of an fascinating story. Cats are known for their innate curiosity, and an endangered Bengal tiger in India proved to be no exception.

In April, keepers at India’s Nandankanan Zoo discovered that the wild male tiger had left the forest and — somehow — entered the zoo’s enclosed grounds. The zoo staff had no ideahow the tiger had gotten in, but it didn’t take long to figure out why. By all indications, the lovestruck kitty was attracted to the zoo’s female tiger, which, unsurprisingly, lives in an enclosure.

Concerned by the presence of a dangerous animal wandering the grounds, the zoo prepared a twenty-person team to capture the wild cat before he could attack anyone. However, before the plan was implemented, zookeepers tried a wild idea: opening the female’s cage door.

Amazingly, the wild tiger strolled right in, happy to meet his potential new mate. The zoo staff then found themselves with a new problem on their hands: what to do with the second tiger. The cat, however, had no such worry.

For a month, he made himself at home, availing himself to the free food, shade and sedentary lifestyle that comes with being a captive animal.

But then he apparently got bored.

Tired of life in a cage, the tiger opted to leave the zoo as suddenly as he arrived. Using the same ninja skills that got him into the zoo, he broke out — a feat that should have been impossible. The cat escaped by scaling the zoo’s two-story security wall, an exit that was mostly caught on video, until, like any good escape artist, the tiger severed the camera’s wiring.

“The Central Zoo Authority guidelines prescribe a 16-foot height for enclosure wall, but this enclosure wall was higher,” Chief Wildlife Warden, J D Sharma, told the New Indian Express. “The tiger apparently climbed the walls using the angle irons fitted at 8 feet and 16 feet height to support the structure. There is enough evidence of it walking on top of the wall.”

As for the animal’s current whereabouts, locals say the tiger hasn’t been seen since its prison break, although they believe he may still be in the nearby forests.

Smart kitty.

News Link:http://www.ecorazzi.com/2013/06/07/tiger-tests-life-in-captivity-chooses-freedom/

 

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Wildlife, power authorities lock horns over elephant deaths

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BHUBANESWAR/ BERHAMPUR: With five elephants getting killed in Ganjam district within a fortnight, a blamegame has ensued between the wildlife and electricity authorities in Odisha.

Forest and wildlife officers blamed power distribution companies of not adhering to statutory norms, leading to frequent death of pachyderms in the state. “The killing of five elephants, including two calves and a tusker, in Ganjam since September 25 was because of ‘deliberate electrocution’ by poachers,” principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) J D Sharma told TOI on Monday.

“The electricity distribution companies should install circuit breakers, use insulated transmission wires and erect tall poles (at least 2.7 metre above tree height) to prevent elephant deaths. Despite our repeated reminders they are not doing anything,” Sharma added.

Sources said Sharma, in an official communique, has attributed the elephant deaths in Ganjam to “illegal hooking from 11 KV lines” and said the chief engineer-cum-electrical inspector had not inspected the transmission lines.

A tusker died at Karchuli jungle in Buguda forest range on September 25, followed by an elephant and its calf at Karadabani forest area under Gallery forest range in Ghumusar (north) division and another elephant and its two-month-old calf at Kanakhai jungle under Khallikote forest range on September 6 and 7 respectively. Officers said the big mammals died after coming in contact with live electric wires spread by some locals through hooking from transmission lines to hunt animals or to protect their crop.

Energy minister Arun Sahu disputed Sharma’s version. “We have no information that the elephant died because of fault in power distribution. It appears to be a case of poaching and the forest department should take appropriate remedial action.” Energy secretary P K Jena said, “We do not deny there are deficiencies in electrical infrastructure, but in this particular case it seems to be criminal activity by poachers. It might not be always possible to stop hooking activities inside forests.”

Forest secretary R K Sharma agreed the Ganjam killings were due to “poaching”. “We are disturbed. I and the PCCF (wildlife) would be visiting Ganjam on Tuesday to take stock of the situation and work out strategies to prevent recurrence,” he told TOI.

Regional chief conservator of forests, Berhampur, Jitendra Kumar said it was the responsibility of power companies to guard against illegal hooking. In some cases, the company should snap power supply at night in forest areas, mainly wildlife habitats, in consultation with forest staff, he suggested. Kumar said forest officers have written several letters to Southco (a power distribution company operating in Ganjam and southern parts of Odisha) to take steps to prevent death of animals due to electrocution. “The matter was discussed in different meetings, but the company did not take steps leading to killing of the elephants,” Kumar added.

Official records show that since 2008 as many as 295 elephants, including 61 due to deliberate or accidental electrocution, have perished in Odisha. The rising number of deaths due to electrocution, forest officers said, was because of spread of electricity in rural areas without any precaution.

Chief executive officer, Southco, S Choudhury debunked the allegations, saying: “It is not practically possible to check hooking in the jungle areas with the available infrastructure.” He said the company has increased the height of transmission lines in forest areas, particularly in elephant habitat zones. “To take further steps to prevent death of wild animals, we have submitted a proposal worth Rs 40.35 crore to the state government for the eight southern Odisha districts,” he added.

DFO, Berhampur, S S Mishra said the government had asked forest officers to prosecute power distribution companies, if any animal died due to electrocution caused by the power distributor’s fault.

Forest officers said they had intensified patrolling in Ganjam after the latest deaths and also arrested a personSantosh Nayak (42) of Lendhei village in Tarsingi area, in connection with the elephant deaths at Gallery forest range on Saturday. Two others allegedly involved in the case are absconding. Earlier, forest staff nabbed a person in connection with the killing and looting of tusk of a pachyderm in Buguda forest range on September 25. “We have also declared rewards to those who provide information on laying of electric wires for poaching,” said DFO, Ghumusar (north), K C Mishra.

News Link:-http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/Wildlife-power-authorities-lock-horns-over-elephant-deaths/articleshow/16732992.cms

Hunting the hunter

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In a remote patch of Uttarakhand, poaching is so rampant that leopard skins and rare animal parts are sold from tea stalls.

Along with a team of wildlife activists, Sunday Times helps track and pin down a notorious poacher. Here’s how it happened…

At a tea stall on a hilly road in Uttarakhand, a little query like “What else do you have apart from tea?” gets a shocking answer. “Leopard skins,” says the stall owner, without batting an eyelid. The man has obviously mistaken us – this reporter and Sharma, an enforcement agent with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), an NGO in Delhi that works with the authorities to nab poachers and illegal traders – for people who buy skins and other body parts of wild animals.

In this area of wooded hills, slippery dirt tracks and villages hidden behind thick green cover, getting a lead on poachers is not easy. Here a cluster of villages – Hanol, Chadra, Tiuni, Parola – have become the epicenter of poaching, especially of leopards, musk deers and bears. Located on the border of Uttarakhand’s Govind Wildlife Sanctuary – a valley through which the Tons River flows, the villages are also close to the state’s boundary with Himachal Pradesh. Their location gives a perfect cover to the poachers who kill at will and vanish.

These criminals have their eyes everywhere. Laying a trap for them by trying to strike a ‘deal’ for animal skin can lead to one getting hunted himself. During two such ‘deals’ in 2011, Sharma had almost got lynched when the poachers realized that it was a trap. For an enforcement agent, entering a village alone is dangerous . “Almost every house here has at least one leopard skin. But going into the villages is risky because the villagers can spot the headlights of an approaching car from a distance and alert the poachers ,” says Sharma.

But the villagers too are victims of their conditions. Dependent on farming and animal husbandry, they have been trapped in poverty for as long as they can remember. In this area, where the poachers call the shots, the villagers or the actual hunters hardly make any money. The real killing is made by the middle-men and traders who deal with their rich buyers at home and abroad.

Chasing a lead, we meet Sharma’s informers who update us on two ‘deals’ they have struck. One involves two villagers who have killed a leopard and want to trade the skin; the other deal involves Shyam Prasad, a notorious poacher who has already been arrested twice.

Read the rest of this informative post:http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora–fauna/Hunting-the-hunter/articleshow/15252252.cms?intenttarget=no

 

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