New Tiger Reserve Established in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu, April 5, 2013: India has created a new protected area for tigers within a wildlife
reserve in Tamil Nadu. The area, part of the Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary, is home to
about 25 tigers, according to a release from the World Wildlife Fund
(WWF), a conservation group. This population of tigers rivals the size
of some of India's better-known reserves, the statement said.
This will be the 42nd tiger reserve in the country, which is home to the
largest population of tigers in the world. The 272-square-mile (705 square kilometers) protected area will help connect
several adjacent parks, making it one of the largest continuous tiger
habitats in the world, according to the WWF. The area is also home to elephants, leopards, hyenas and vultures.
For more than a decade, WWF-India has worked with local authorities in
the state of Tamil Nadu (where the reserve is found) to support projects
to counter poaching, improve communications via cellular phones and wireless networks, train forest rangers and monitor tigers , the
Tiger numbers have declined by about 95 percent in the last century
across their entire historic range, and experts think there are only
about 3,000 left in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
World Sparrow Day was celeberted on March 20
Bengaluru, March 21, 2013: Sparrows have abandoned sites where the Metro and other infrastructure
work is going on. With World Sparrow Day on March 20, bird lovers say it
is important to make the city environment conducive to sparrows. The study ‘House Sparrows and Urban Settlements in Bangalore’ by
researchers H.S. Sudhira and K.V. Gururaj, details both the decline and improvement of the sparrow population in the city. The researchers have
also updated the ‘Sparrow Map of Bangalore’ so one can find the spots where sparrows are usually found.
“The concern for house sparrows has been on the rise mostly in urban
areas, while the cause for their decline in and around human settlements is still undetermined. Some recent initiatives like Citizen Sparrow can
perhaps throw more conclusive light on the distribution of house sparrows in the sub-continent. We speculate that increasing
urbanisation coupled with the hygienic environments in Bengaluru has resulted in loss
of availability of food grains to the house sparrows,” said Sudhira.
The change in housing could be another reason for the decline in the
sparrow population, said Sudhira. “With the increase in RCC-roof types
and a shift away from tiles, there are hardly any crevices or spaces
inside the household for house sparrows to nest.” This and previous studies on urban birds worldwide have shown the
relationship between the changes in the urban environment and the disappearance of sparrows.
“Given that the house sparrow is perhaps the first wild bird to be closely associated with human settlements, their declining population
may have a lot to convey about the quality of the urban environment. It is something that we need to know. Hence, to ascertain the selective presence and absence of house
sparrows in urban environments of Bengaluru, we statistically robust, with better data and interdisciplinary
research,” Sudhira added. Source:deccanchronicle.com
Delhi among five Indian hotspots of illegal trade of tigers: report
New Delhi, March 10, 2013: Delhi, Sunderbans and the Western Ghats are among the hotspots of
illegal trade of tigers, their parts and products, says a new global report.The joint report by the global wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC
and WWF Tigers Alive Initiative, titled “Reduced to Skin and Bones Revisited”, has claimed that tigers were being poached in most of the 13
tiger range countries including China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Based on the information from India, five hotspot locations have been
identified, says the report released in Bangkok last week.
The other four hotspots were close to protected areas in different parts
of the country — Ramnagar in Uttar Pradesh which sits close to the entrance of Corbett National Park, the towns of Balgahat and Jabalpur in
Madhya Pradesh where the Kanha and Pench National Park is located, Kolkata and areas spanning south to the edge of the
Sunderbans in Bengal and Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in the Western Ghats. According to the report, the National Capital Region is an “exception
among the hotspots” as it is not located in or near to any tiger landscapes.
The report has also claimed that an examination on trade of leopard parts and products has revealed that Delhi accounts for more than 26 per
cent of all leopards seized, making it the “most important hub of illegal trade in the country”
“Tiger seizures within this hotspot are predominantly of skins, but
there have been no significant seizures there since 2005,” it says. On Sundarbans hotspot, the report says that seizures on the Bangladeshi
side have been at a much lower rate in comparison to India, the most recent seizure there was in 2011 when a suspect was found in possession
of three tiger heads, four tiger skins, and 24 kg of bones.
“Tiger skins were most commonly seized from this location,” the report
says. The latest analysis of confiscations, which includes new data for 2010-2012, reveals that parts of more than 1,400 tigers have been seized
across Asia in the past 13 years.
Poachers slaughter 13 endangered Indian rhinos
GUWAHATI, March 2, 2013 (AFP): Poachers in northeast India have slaughtered 13 endangered one-horned rhinos in the last two months, officials said Friday as another death added to worries about a recent surge in killings.
The attacks have taken place around the Kaziranga National Park in Assam state, home to more than two-thirds of the world's one-horned rhinos
where heavily-armed poachers shoot dead the giant herbivores. On Thursday, forest rangers deployed to protect the species were engaged
in a gun battle for more than seven hours but failed to prevent the killing of another animal.
"The poachers killed the rhino and took away its horn. In two months they have killed 13 rhinos," Kaziranga park warden N.K. Vasu told
AFP. Wildlife experts say the price of a single rhino horn rivals gold and
its value attracts international organised crime groups. China is the main market where it is used for medicine and jewellery
while in Vietnam many believe that rhino horn can cure cancer and has aphrodisiac qualities.
"We cannot simply sit tight and watch the rhinos being slaughtered almost every other day," said Apurba Das, a wildlife conservationist in
Assam. At least 21 rhinos were killed last year. A 2012 census in the park put the number of the rhinos at 2,290 out of a
global one-horned rhinoceros population of 3,300. The species fell to near extinction in the early 1990s and is currently
listed as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Authorities say they have intensified security patrols and are planning
to seek help from locals residing in the periphery of the national park to improve surveillance.
"It will be just a matter of time before the rhino population in Kaziranga is wiped out by organised poacher gangs with the government
failing to check incidents of poaching," said Ramen Deka, a lawmaker from Assam.
India, US join hands to tackle illegal wildlife trade
NEW DELHI, January 30, 2013: India and the US have decided to join hands to tackle illegal
wildlife trade, which involves billions of dollars annually.US and Indian government officials, representatives of NGOs, wildlife
lawyers and enforcement officials today discussed some of their challenges and successes in combating wildlife trafficking in the roundtable
organised by the US Embassy and WWF/TRAFFIC India — two global organisations engaged in wildlife related issues here.
"The United States and India have worked together on wildlife conservation for over 25 years. We will continue to work together to
combat poaching, manage our wildlife resources, improve enforcement capacity, and reduce consumer demand for illegal
wildlife products," said a joint statement issued after the meeting.
Co-chairing a panel discussion on Illegal Trade in Wildlife with WWF-India CEO and secretary general Ravi Singh, US under secretary of
state for economic growth, energy, and environment, Robert D Hormats, emphasised the need for high-level political will, public outreach, and
greater international coordination and cooperation to combat wildlife trafficking. He was also of the opinion that regional enforcement networks such as
the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) should be strengthened to deal with the problem.
Singh noted the intimate link between the decline of India's wildlife
species, and alarming trends in illegal wildlife trafficking. "It is imperative that issues of illegal wildlife trade
should be taken up in a strategic manner, linking national agencies and senior
government executives. Here, the US government can be an important partner on global wildlife intelligence, networking and sharing of best
practices in enforcement," he said. According to the WWF-India, illegal wildlife trade is estimated at USD
10-20 billion annually, and is among the largest sources of illegal trade. Source: Times of India
Wildlife group wants Thailand to ban ivory trade
BANGKOK, January 16, 2013: An international conservation group is calling on
Thailand to ban trade in ivory to help stop an unprecedented rise in elephant poaching in Africa.
The World Wildlife Fund says ``massive quantities'' of African ivory are being imported illegally
into Thailand, where they are sold as trinkets.
Although it is against the law to sell African tusks in Thailand, the
local trade in ivory from domesticated elephants is legal. The World Wildlife Fund says criminal networks are flooding Thai shops
with both kinds. It says elephants across Africa are being slaughtered in the tens of
thousands by poachers amid rising demand in Asia, particularly China.On Tuesday, the World Wildlife Fund launched a global petition to urge
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to ban all trade in ivory in Thailand.
Wildlife tourism pins hopes on domestic visitors
Mumbai, January 2, 2013: Wildlife tourism this winter season has been affected.
Foreign tourists haven’t come in the numbers expected. That was partly owing to the
uncertainty created by a Supreme Court order in July banning tourism
activities in the tiger reserve forests. Subsequently, the Court lifted
the ban in October last. But by then bookings by foreign tourists had already been cancelled.
India ended up being highlighted as a “chaotic and a challenging”
destination for tourists. Inbound tourists account for about 10 to 15
per cent of the total arrivals. “Tiger tourism is an intrinsic part of our inbound business – India being known as the land of the Taj
Mahal, tigers and temples and cultural tours too having a wildlife extension. We
estimate the drop (in bookings from inbound) to be a minimum of 40
per cent,” said Surinder Sodhi, Senior Vice President and Head, Leisure Travel - Inbound.
The wildlife tourism industry, now, has pinned hopes on domestic
tourists. Tour operators say that the temporary ban on wildlife tourism
did not have a significant impact on domestic tourism. This is because
domestic tourism has a very short lead time and is predominantly weekend
travel, especially in the case of travelling to national parks, the industry players say.
“The decision to travel is often impulsive. For instance, 60 per cent of
the domestic travellers going to the Corbett National Park from Delhi
decide to travel merely a week prior. This is vast contrast to inbound
travellers, who would have a minimum lead time of 75-90 days to plan their travel,” Sodhi added.
Tour operators, however, do not expect a dramatic surge in wildlife bookings. “We hope the wildlife enthusiasts who had
postponed their trip, will now reconsider,” said an online travel portal. Thomas Cook India is now keen on promoting some of the
lesser known parks such as Pench, Tadoba, Madumalai and Nagarhole, Manas, Sunderban and Kaziranga. Even as the tourism industry hopes
on domestic tourists mount, some wildlife conservationists feel that wildlife tourism in India may become more expensive in the coming
years as a result of the new directives by the Supreme Court banning the construction of new resorts near the forests. “This will lead
to a monopoly of existing resorts, especially in emerging forests such as Tadoba and Pench in Madhya Pradesh,” said Shivang Mehta of
Nature Wanderers, an organisation of wildlife photographers and nature lovers. However, Mehta feels that for the long-term goal of
conservation, this will be a small sacrifice. Source:www.thehindubusinessline.com