Goa: Mhadei and Netravali get separate ranges

PANAJI: Eleven years after Mhadei and Netravali wildlife sanctuaries were notified, the state government on Wednesday created separate ranges for the two sanctuaries which according to the additional principle chief conservator of forests Dr Shashi Kumar will help in “intensive management” of the areas.

Announcing the creation of new ranges, the government through a notification signed by under secretary (Forests) Maria J R Pires, said that Netravali wildlife sanctuary range will have its headquarters at Netravali and Mahadei’s headquarters will be located at Valpoi. The jurisdiction of Netravali wildlife sanctuary and range has been transferred from deputy conservator of forest, South Goa, to deputy conservator of forests, wildlife sanctuary & Ecotourism, South Goa.

By another notification, the government has bifurcated the existing wildlife and eco-tourism divisions into two. Accordingly, three wildlife sanctuaries – Mahadei, Bhagwan Mahaveer and Bondla besides Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary (Chorao) and Bhagwan Mahavi national park will come under wildlife and eco-tourism (North) division with headquarters in Panaji. The other division – wildlife and eco-tourism (South) division will consist of two wildlife sanctuaries -Netravali and Cotigao. According to the notification, the bifurcation is done mainly for better administration and management. Earlier this month, TOI had reported plans of additional principle chief conservator of forests to have separate ranges.

Agreeing that it’s been 11 years since then governor J FR Jacob notified Mahadei and Netravali as wildlife sanctuaries, Dr Kumar said that the forest department had been on the job for quite a long time. Hitherto, Mahadei and Netravali were managed by territorial range officers. Sources in the know said that the separate ranges should have been created long ago.

Succcessive governments tried to denotify the wildlife sanctuaries partly or fully. The “grievances” of the villagers there had been highlighted by MLAs for long with even promises made that they would take up the matter with the Centre.Perhaps after the supreme court ruling that, once notified, no wildlife sancturay would be denotified, the political class gave up their demand for denotification. tnn

From TOI

Advertisements

Melagiri Sanctuary

A troop of five people descend down the narrow trail juggling their glances between the sky to look out for birds, the trail to look out for scat and pug marks and everywhere else to soak in the heavenly view of the towering hills all around. The call of the Common Hawk Cuckoo also called the Brain Fever Bird reverberates all around.

Melagiri Sanctuary

We are the members of a Kenneth Anderson Nature Society, named after the erstwhile legendary hunter turned conversationalist Kenneth Anderson who roamed these very forests of Melagiri. The Melagiris are a range of hills on the Eastern Ghats, bound by the river Cauvery on the west. The total reserve forest area is around 1295 sq. kms. Inspired by the stories of Anderson the first KANS members ventured into these forests to feel the wild in first person. Over the years however the forests have been infiltrated by the locals for cattle grazing and to obtain the forest produce. The reserved forests are shrinking at the rapidly encroaching agricultural lands , the fauna disappearing by the unrestrained poaching activities.

KANS decided to take on the task of securing this habitat for the Tiger, to restore the region back to its original state.This is being achieved through a mix of passive and active conservation activities like community interaction programmes (afforestation, educational programmes, alternative agricultural practices), equipping the ground forest staff (uniforms, torches), field work to control Man-Elephant conflict, removal of invasive species etc.

Last weekend saw the the bio-diversity survey conducted at Anchetty, The objective of the surveys have been to take stock of the forests. To bring to public light the beauty and diversity of these forests and also highlight the socio-economic issues facing conservation in this region. The inventory of the species and inputs on the human-forest interaction issues are to add in to help to achieve the goal of securing Sanctuary status to the Melagiris.

Dodahalla river - Melagiri Sanctuary

As we reached the bed of Dodahalla river, that has been a witness to the glorious past, a time when Majestic Tigers roamed this land, a time when Kenneth Anderson set float his hair raising adventures, We grew excited as we IDied the pug marks of leopards. At least one of the bigger carnivore has escaped the same fate as that of the Tigers, although that could be due to the fact that leopards are tinier than its cousin, have an excellent camouflage, very shy but intelligent creature that can live on smaller prey base and very adaptive. We also spotted pug marks and scat samples of Civet, Chital, etc.,However our joy was shadowed by the presence of large amount of Cattle dung scattered everywhere in generous quantity. Cattles are a menace to the forests. Their rampant grazing not only means less grass cover, dwindling the wild herbivore population but also causes seasonal outbreak of diseases to which the wild animals have no resistance. The tigers in this region have been single-handedly wiped out largely by the locals by poisoning the cattle kill (Tigers finish their food in several sittings thus becoming an easy target.) diminished prey numbers and a variety of other reasons due to the never ending interferences by man.  If the forests are to be revived their is no go but to stop cattle grazing withing the boundaries of the forests.

We trekked a stretch of 8km approx along the Dodhalla river that is being fed by several small streams originating in the forests. This river finally joins the Cauvery, that forms western boundary of the Melagiri forests. While the forests on the other side of the Cauvery within the Karnataka state borders are Sanctuary the Melagiris are only Reserved forests. While the protection provided by the Sanctuary tag has helped sustain the Tigers in the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary they have vanished from the Melagiris.

The Tiger census that yielded the numbers 1411 has created a huge wave of alarm and people across the country have risen up in arms to protect them by raising funds through running marathons and what not. While money is continuously pouring into already protected Tiger Sanctuaries securing them and tightening the protection, we have sadly not hit the mark. The numbers 1411 are of the number of tigers that can be accommodated in the Tiger Reserves. You cannot stuff in more, in fact the recent Tiger Cub deaths we have been reading are by the Adult Tigers is to reduce the competition for territory. Internal fighting have become common, the excess tigers have began to search for new territories and are frequently seen on the fringes of the Sanctuary boundaries inadvertently going for the cattle kill and what happens? A Ranathambore episode is inevitable. Man-Animal conflict is on rise. And here its just not Tigers, Elephants are seasonal migrants. They do not recognize the boundaries set by man.

Bannerghatta National Park (BNP), Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS), Nagarhole (Rajiv Gandhi NP), Bandipur Tiger reserve, BRT and the Hosur forest Division ( Melagiris) forms a continuous region making it a major bio-diversity belt and Elephant corridor. With Melagiris assuming the Sanctuary status, the excess Tigers from The CWS, BNP and  BRT can be soaked by this region. This indeed is an viable option since securing the Melagiris is cheaper than trying to extend the already existing tiger reserves that have swarms of villages littered on its fringes. Not only the Elephant Corridor is secured minimizing Elephant-Human conflict but also sustains the life-source of Karnataka-Tamil Nadu, Cauvery.

With the Anchetty Survey, ends the last of the bio-diversity survey by KANS. KANS with ANCF has found both direct/indirect evidences of the rare Grizzled Giant Squirrel, Four horned Antelope and Leopards. The Flora contains almost 20 Red listed species, these were discovered during the survey, considering the Melagiris are almost 1200sq km (An area covered by putting Nagarhole and Bandipur together) there could be many more surprises waiting to be discovered. Unless this region is declared immediately with effect – Sanctuary, the poaching/ extraction of non-timber forest produce and infringement of the Forests by the local farmers and cattle grazers will only deteriorate them further snatching away the last chance for the Tigers in this zone to grow back to respectable numbers, increasing the Man-Elephant conflict , depleting the Cauvery – a death-blow to the farmers in Tamil Nadu and increasing tension between the two states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

From High On Wilderness

Coimbatore: Wildlife census in forest ranges

Coimbatore: The Forest Department, Coimbatore Circle, in association with the Wildlife Trust of India and Osai conducted a two day census in Coimbatore Division spread over 693 sq km in six forest ranges.

District Forest Officer I. Anwardeen said the objective of the census was to assess the wildlife population, habitat usage and sighting pattern. The data compiled would help in comparison of the wildlife population with the previous data base. The data generated would be of immense help in evolving future forest, wildlife and habitat management policies, Mr. Anwardeen said.

On Saturday, the census carried out by 130 volunteers in various trek routes was guided by Ramesh, Kalidas and Ganesh and Wildlife Biologist Kannan.

The volunteers were deployed in 44 blocks whereas on Sunday the census was based on sighting wildlife in water holes. For the carnivore population, the volunteers resorted to indirect evidences such as wildlife excreta, pug marks and various other indirect evidences. The water hole count outside the forest areas was also done in water bodies around the city in a bid to take stock of the birds visiting these water bodies.

From THE HINDU

Theni: Elephant sanctuary not a threat to livelihood of tribals, says Collector

Forest Minister N. Selvaraj met people on Tuesday assuring protection to their dwelling place, activities

THENI: Establishment of Periyar Elephant sanctuary on Megamalai will not affect tribal people at 50 villages including Thummagundu, Arasarai, Valiparai in Kadamalaigundu union on Varushanadu hill.

These villages do not come under the sanctuary area, said the District Collector, P. Muthuveeran.

Talking to press persons here on Wednesday, he said that 2,484 families had been living in these villages for the past 40 years.

Their living place and livelihood activities would be fully protected, he added.

People residing in these villages could use the lands that were under their control for a long time.

Status quo should be maintained.

They had the right to use this forest land only for their livelihood activities.

No fresh encroachment would be permitted.

Even sinking of bore wells and cutting of trees in the lands under their use would not be allowed.

The government had already identified 26,910 hectares of land on Suruli hills as part of Western Ghats covering Erasakkanaickanur, Mela Goodalur, Vannathiparai, Suruli areas only.

Agitation

The fear-gripped people in 50 villages came to the Collectorate recently and staged an agitation demanding protection to their livelihood activities.

Forest Minister N. Selvaraj met people at these villages on Tuesday assuring protection to their dwelling place and livelihood activities.

From THE HINDU

Coimbatore: Elephant Pongal enthrals tourists at Top Slip

In view of celebration, elephant safari was suspended for a day

Pollachi: Feeding of trained 16 kumki elephants at the Elephant Pongal celebrations proved to be a thrilling experience for hundreds of tourists who thronged Top Slip in Anaimalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) on Saturday.

JUMBO LINE UP: Pachyderms at the Top Slip reception in Anaimalai Tiger Reserve, near Pollachi, on Saturday for the Elephant Pongal celebration. — Photo: Special Arrangement

Coinciding with the Pongal celebrations and week-end holiday, the forest officials organised the celebrations wherein of the 21 camp elephants, 16 including three calves of the Forest Department took part. The elephants were given a bath at the Kozhikamudhi and Varagliyar elephant camps and the pachyderms that had sandal and kumkum on their forehead were brought to the reception area in Top Slip.

The pachyderms accompanied by the mahouts and cavadis (handlers), enthralled hundreds of tourists. A conservationist and keen wildlife enthusiast Saravanan had sponsored the Elephant Pongal.

Besides pongal, sugarcane and other items for the celebration, he had sponsored new uniform for the mahouts and tribal watchers. Field Director of ATR H. Basuvaraju, Range Officer S. Thangaraj Paneerselvam and Forest Veterinarian N.S. Manoharan took part.

In view of the celebration, the elephant safari in the sanctuary was suspended for a day to give rest to the pachyderms.

Officials along with tourists offered pongal, jaggery, coconut, sugarcane and banana to the elephants.

From THE HINDU

WWF: Financial assistance to tiger attack victims increased

BAHRAICH: An immediate financial assistance of Rs 5,000 will be given to those injured and Rs 10,000 who lost their lives in attacks by tigers and leopards in the forest area. Compensation for those killed in the attack will be given later. Earlier, the compensation was paid by WWF. Now, this this responsibility has been entrusted to UP Tiger Preservation Authority (UPTPA). The new scheme has been enforced in Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary with immediate effect.

Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary was declared as a `reserved forest area’ in 1976. The `Tiger Project’ began in 1996. WWF started to provide security and preservation of wildlife.

So far WWF was paying Rs 2000 to the injured persons and Rs 5,000 to the family members of those killed by tigers and leopards.

During a meeting of Central Forest and Environment Directorate last week, the responsibility of payment of assistance and compensation has been given to National Tiger Security Authority (NTCA).

Divisional forest officer RK Singh said that under the new scheme, the responsibility of payment of compensation in reserved forest area of the state has been given to UP Tiger Security Authority (UPTSA). Now UPTSA will pay Rs 5,000 to the injured person and Rs 10,000 to the family members of those killed as immediate financial assistance. Compensation of Rs 50,000 for adults and Rs 25,000 for minors killed in the attacks will also be paid to the family members later.

The Central Environment and Forest Directorate (CEFD) had entered into a five-year agreement with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). The officers of WTI will visit the reserved forest area from time to time to take stock of the situation. They will also impart training to the forest employees. About four dozens attacks have taken place since January this year in which several persons received serious injuries. Six persons were killed by tigers or leopards. Most of the attacks took place in March, May, July and September.

From TOI

Jammu: Infrastructure to be developed in Ramnagar sanctuary

Jammu, Dec 12 (PTI) Ramnagar Wildlife Sanctuary in Jammu district will emerge as an attractive tourist destination with planned development of infrastructure, state Environment and Wildlife Minister Mian Altaf Ahmad has said.

Altaf, who visited the sanctuary to take stock of construction of eco-tourism huts for the benefit of tourists, said the park would help generate employment avenues for the local youth.

Measures would be taken to safeguard the protected place with focus on nurturing its flora and fauna, he said.

He said similar eco-tourism huts would also be established at Dera Gali in Rajouri and Mahamaya in Jammu as these locations are also thronged by tourists.

From PTI