Good Indian tiger, rhino news


Rhino 17 with her new born calf in Manas National Park, Assam, India © Jamir Ali /WWF-India

From Wildlife Extra:

Translocated rhinos give birth in Manas National Park, Assam, India

Some good news for rhinos

March 2013. Amidst the recent spurt in poaching of rhinos in the north-east Indian state of Assam there is a reason to cheer. Two rhinos in the Manas National Park, translocated form Kaziranga National Park over the last two years, have both given birth.

Rhino 17, translocated to the Park in 2012 and Rhino 8, translocated to the park in 2011, were sighted on 23rd March and 25th March respectively with their new born calves by WWF-India researchers and Assam Forest Department staff involved in post release monitoring of the rhinos.

Hearing the news Diane Walkington, WWF director of international programmes said: “This is fantastic news. The birth of these calves is a great indication that the translocated rhinos are adapting well to the new environment and are beginning to thrive there”.

Rhino 8 was translocated to Manas in January 2011 and it is certain that the mating with one of the translocated males and subsequent pregnancy happened in Manas. These births indicate that the translocated rhinos are breeding successfully and have adapted well to the new environment. In total, three calves have been born to translocated rhinos in Manas National Park to date.

Relocation

The two rhinos were translocated as part of the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 programme (IRV 2020) – a joint initiative of the Department of Environment and Forests, Government of Assam; WWF-India; the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, along with the Bodoland Territorial Council and supported by a number of local organisations. A total of 18 rhinos – ten from the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and eight from the Kaziranga National Park have been translocated so far to Manas National Park. The successes achieved under the programme until now are a result of the commitment and support extended to it by the different partners, stakeholders, local communities and forest staff of the different Protected Areas of Assam.

Under IRV 2020, Manas National Park has been provided with support to upgrade its infrastructure and monitoring capabilities to enable better protection for the translocated rhinos. It is now important to ensure the safety of these new-born calves and their mothers as well as the other rhinos in Manas so that the vision of establishing a viable rhino population is achieved over the long term.

New translocation site identified

WWF and IRF are excited at the prospect of partnering with the Assam Forest Department to return rhinos to the Laokhowa-Burachapori complex in Assam in the coming years, a site from where they were poached out in the 1980s.

The high demand for rhino horn in the illegal wildlife trade continues to be the biggest threat this newly established rhino population is facing with three translocated rhinos having fallen prey to poachers in the past two years. WWF and IRF, as constituents and partners of the IRV 2020 programme, continue to support the Assam Forest Department in its endeavour to provide a safe and secure future for Assam’s rhinos spread across different Protected Areas.

See also here.

Also from Wildlife Extra:

Camera-traps show tigers using wildlife corridor in Kerala

Success of tiger corridor very encouraging

March 2013. Camera-traps have recorded three healthy adult tigers in Kerala, in a wildlife corridor funded by World Land Trust (WLT), IUCN-Netherlands and Elephant Family. The pictures are a positive indication of the success of the Tirunelli-Kudrakote corridor, which runs through the Wayanad district of Kerala in southern India.

Wide range of wildlife

“We are all very pleased to see the increased usage of the corridor by a wide range of animals and capturing these tigers on film is very exciting,” said Sandeep Kr. Tiwari, Deputy Director at Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), WLT’s conservation partner in India.

Sandeep’s team is monitoring the corridor, which provides an important protected pathway for wildlife moving between Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and Wayanad North Division further leading to Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary.

Reducing animal-human conflict

In a landscape dominated by humans, secure wildlife corridors provide a wider area for animals to roam safely. This in turn increases the animals’ prospects of survival and reduces human-wildlife conflict.

“It’s really satisfying to see the unhindered movement of animals (tiger, elephants, gaurs, etc) through the corridor, post securement,” explains Sandeep. He is confident that the success of the Wayanad corridor will encourage and strengthen WTI’s commitments to work towards securing other critical bridges between reserves.

Elephants, sloth bear and a range of deer and cats

The camera-traps were set by Ramith Meledath, a WTI field biologist working on the Wayanad corridor securement project. He describes some of the animals that have been sighted: “Elephant herds and solitary bull elephants are frequently using the corridor. The corridor is also used by animals like Sloth Bear, Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Spotted Deer, Sambar Deer, mongooses, monkeys etc. The camera trapping also shows that secured areas in the corridor are facilitating new territories for individual tigers.”

Conservation partnership success

World Land Trust has been working with WTI for a decade to create protected corridors that connect existing forest reserves in India. WLT’s primary focus is securing land for elephants, because by providing habitat for a ‘flagship’ species like the Asian elephant, wildlife corridors benefit a huge range of other creatures, including the tiger.

The Tirunelli-Kudrakote corridor was the second one secured by funds raised by WLT and our partner IUCN-Netherlands and also Elephant Family. The first corridor was the Siju-Rewak corridor in Meghalaya in the Garo Hills of NE India.

Corbett corridor

Following the success of the corridors to date, WLT is raising funds to create a wildlife corridor in Uttarakhand in northern India, between the Corbett National Park protected area and the neighbouring Ramnagar forest, where there is increasing conflict between tigers and humans.

Help support this initiative

You can support the India Elephant Corridors Appeal by donating to WLT’s Action Fund and specifying Elephant Appeal.

November 2013: India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has approved the tiger conservation plan for the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve, targeting sustainable development of one of the major forest areas of the state of Western Maharashtra for the next ten years: here.

Indian ‘problem’ tiger now safe in national park


The adult male caught on camera in Greater Manas

From Big News Network (IANS), Monday 1st April, 2013:

‘Rescued’ tiger survives 1,000 days in Assam‘s Manas

An adult male tiger, which was rescued from a human-wildlife conflict situation and released in the wild more than three years ago, was recently sighted in the Manas National Park, wildlife activists said Monday.

The development has elated particularly the wildlife lovers and conservationists in Assam at a time when the tiger population is estimated to be less than 2,000 across the country.

Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) executive director Vivek Menon said the adult male tiger was rescued from Geleki area in Assam’s Sivsagar district March 2010 after reports of human-tiger conflicts from the area leading to death of two people

“Analyzing the situation in this case – particularly after the tiger’s capture, the authorities found the attacks on people to be purely accidental, and decided to release it. The Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) administration, under which the Manas National Park falls, granted permission for its release in the park.

“The tiger was radio-collared and released on April 1 the same year,” he said while adding that the tiger was recently photographed in the camera traps set for tiger monitoring in Manas, 1,095 days after it was released.

“The new photograph showed that the tiger’s collar has dropped off. With the amount of time it has spent without reports of conflict involving it, we can now be satisfied that this tiger has established itself here. Its reproductive success in Manas will contribute to tiger conservation in this (Manas-Bhutan) landscape,” said WTI’s northeast region head Bhaskar Choudhury.

“This success has shown that conflict animals can be rehabilitated successfully with meticulous planning and scientific monitoring,” he said.

This is the second indirect sighting of the tiger. It was first photographed in February 2011, when it was with its collar, the WTI officials said.

See also here.