CM orders inquiry in tiger count decline in Pilibhit

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“Something like this would ring alarm bells to me, what or who is causing such a decrease in the number of tigers? If there was only 23 last year, what is the current number & where have these tigers gone. Is it poachers or hunters, the numbers are declining too fast for it to be of a natural death!! Something has to be done to find out why there is a decline in numbers & get onto it ASAP before these majestic tigers have gone for good!!!”

Keshav Agarwal,TNN | Nov 26, 2014, 10.05 PM IST

PILIBHIT: Taking cognizance of the matter related to rapid decrease in number of tigers in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve in three years, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has decided to set up an enquiry in the matter.

Special secretary to the chief minister, GS Naveen Kumar, has referred the matter to the principal secretary of the forest department for taking further steps, MLA Hemraj Verma told TOI.

The issue was raised by the SP MLA from district Pilibhit, who had written to the chief minister in the third week of November. He had said that the forest department had counted more than 40 tigers in the forest area of Pilibhit district in 2010 and the figure had dwindled to 30 in 2012. The count had further declined to 23 in 2013, he had pointed out.

Tigers are thriving in and around India’s Nagarhole National Park, with a regional population of 250. “If we do everything right, we can have 500,” says big-cat biologist Ullas Karanth.  Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/The-Fight-to-Save-the-Tiger.html#ixzz1qG95oEf7
Retired chief wildlife warden Mohammad Ahsan welcomed the move and said special emphasis should be placed on the counting of tigers also in the adjoining Surai forest range of Uttarakhand and parts of Shahjahanpur district. This would help in determining whether the tigers of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, especially the mother big cats, have not migrated to other forest regions to find safe habitats for their cubs or in search of easy prey.

An environmentalist from Pilibhit, Parvez Hanif, said that the investigation of missing tigers in PTR would not be complete if the process of capturing foot-prints of tigers was not applied simultaneously with picture capturing method through cameras.

He observed that the method of collecting footprints of tigers, which he claimed was applicable till 2007, , can assist the investigation team reach more exact conclusions.

The vice president of Wildlife Biodiversity Conservation Society Amitabh Agnihotri said that the investigation team should find out the effects of human encroachment on the tiger population and devise ways to reduce such interference.

News Link:-http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/articleshow/45288095.cms?intenttarget=no

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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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