India

Sansar Chand: India’s Deadliest Poacher

TWO HUNDRED and fifty tigers, 2,000 leopards, 5,000 otters, 20,000 wild cats, 20,000 wild foxes and Sansar Chandstill counting. That’s the number of wild animals that law enforcers have been able to count as falling prey to the deadly trade plied by Sansar Chand, 55, dubbed the Veerappan of the North, in the four decades since he took to a life of crime. He himself says they are “uncountable” and betrays no remorse about this mayhem.

The incorrigible poacher and his partners in crime, at least five of them family members, have been apprehended in as many as 57 cases in a bid to link him to seizure of large caches of animal parts. But thanks to shoddy investigations, apathy of State authorities, possible bribery of witnesses and weak laws, Sansar Chand has so far been acquitted in 10 cases and convicted only in one. Seven cases are still pending. Right now he is lodged in Jaipur central jail, but is looking forward to freedom after serving a five year term.… Read More Sansar Chand: India’s Deadliest Poacher

India

Leopards Battling For Survival

Like tigers, endangered leopards too are battling for survival with as many as 160 already dead so far, since this January in the country, against 290 last year.

The trend is not recent phenomenon. In the last 12 years since 1994, India has lost at least 3,189 leopards, according to an estimate by an NGO, Wildlife Protection of India (WPSI).

A member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four “big cats” in the genus Panthera, the other three being the tiger, lion and jaguar, the leopard count is estimated to be between 7,000 to 10,000 in the country.

In India, the leopard is protected under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

“Also, as it is easy to trap leopards, the wildlife smugglers find them as perfect replacement for tigers to feed the illicit global demand for big cat skins along with the bones for use in traditional medicine in countries like China,” says WPSI head Belinda Wright.… Read More Leopards Battling For Survival

India

Out Of The Green, Into The Dust

The latest tiger census says that there are only 1411 Royal Bengal tigers left in India. One of nature’s most feared yet revered species is on the brink of extinction. And the tiger is not just an ordinary species; the tiger is the symbol of the richness and health of the forest.

But the number 1411 is a stark reminder that we have somewhere failed in protecting the tiger. The number has caused a furor in the so-called ‘tiger lobby’ and the Wildlife Department is making some last moment face-saving attempts to save the big cat. One of these last attempts is to get rid of human presence in tiger habitats on the assumption that the biggest enemy of the tiger is the human greed for the beauty of the tiger’s skin and the so-called medicinal properties of its bones, nails and teeth.… Read More Out Of The Green, Into The Dust

India

In Arunachal Pradesh, a tiger skin is worth 5 kg of rice

Investigations have revealed that the need for a packet of salt and a small bag of rice can fuel the killing of a tiger in the forests of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China.

Locals say the lack of infrastructure in the state leads to scarcity of food, forcing poverty-hit tribals to target wildlife and sell illegal animal products.

“With little food to eat, villagers depend on tree barks to make ‘tussey’, an indigenous porridge,” said Tagru Tame of Pipsorang village in Kurung Kumey district. “Even money cannot buy anything in the region. So, the easiest option is to seek help from the Chinese, who look for animal products to fuel Asian markets.”

“Hundreds of endangered animals are killed in the thick jungles just to eke out a living,” said Noory Noshi of Limeking village located 50 km from the International Line of Control. “Poverty-stricken tribals sell the animal skin to Chinese traders. In exchange, they get about 5 kg of rice and a kilo of salt.”… Read More In Arunachal Pradesh, a tiger skin is worth 5 kg of rice

India

1411

Earlier this year, a leading Indian telecom services company Aircel launched it’s “Save our tigers” campaign which aimed at increasing awareness about the dwindling tiger population and increase youth participation in tiger conservation.

The number 1411 was thrown at us everywhere we went, from television commercials, newspaper adverts to billboards all over the country. What a lot of people failed to notice was the fine print which read, “1411 is the average estimate of India’s wild tigers, as per the monitoring exercise by Wildlife Institute of India in association with NTCA, Govt. of India in 2008.”… Read More 1411

World

Exposed: Dark secret of the farm where tigers’ bodies are plundered to make £185 wine

Behind rusted bars, a skeletal male tiger lies panting on the filthy concrete floor of his cage, covered in sores and untreated wounds. His once-fearsome body is so emaciated it is little more than a pitiful pile of fur and bones.

Death is surely a matter of days away and can only come as a welcome release. Wardens at the wildlife park in southwest China say, indifferently, that they do not expect him to see the start of the Year of the Tiger which began last Sunday.

‘What can we do?’ a female park official asks a small huddle of visitors with a sigh and a casual shrug. ‘He’s dying, of course, but we have to keep feeding him until he does. It’s against the law to kill tigers.’… Read More Exposed: Dark secret of the farm where tigers’ bodies are plundered to make £185 wine

World

The (Last) Year of the Tiger?

On February 14th the Chinese will be celebrating their New Year’s Eve and in the Chinese Zodiac 2010 falls in the Year of the Tiger. Many wildlife species are endangered, but it is now thought that the Wild Tiger is one of the most critically endangered of all. In the 20th century three of the eight sub-species of tiger became extinct; the Balinese in 1937, the Caspian in the 1950’s and most recently the Javan in the 1980’s. The five remaining sub-species are all critically endangered – these are the Siberian, largest of the tigers, the Bengal, the Sumatran, the Indo-Chinese and the South China tiger.

The South China tiger is the smallest of the sub-species and is also the closest to extinction, it is believed there are now only 25 left in the wild. Although tiger derivatives are totally illegal and it has never been proven medically, tiger parts raise significant amounts of money because many Chinese believe they can cure certain ailments. Because of this and their increasing awareness of the need to conserve their wildlife, China has recently made changes to their animal welfare legislation and tightened their laws on the illegal hunting, trapping and farming of wild tigers.… Read More The (Last) Year of the Tiger?

India

Tiger Watch – Curbing the Crisis

Tiger Watch is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) started by Mr. Fateh Singh Rathore (Field Director, Ranthambhore National Park, Retd.) and a few other prominent conservationists. The main objective of the organization is the conservation and protection of wildlife at Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan.

In 2006, Tiger Watch made a 28 minute documentary called Curbing the Crisis which informed about the loss of tigers at Ranthambhore National Park, one of India’s most prominent tiger reserves.

The documentary shows footage from the national park, information on the poaching gangs working in the area and reasons for the crisis to recur have also been highlighted in the film.… Read More Tiger Watch – Curbing the Crisis

India

“Billy”, You Will Be Missed!

On Friday, 1st January 2010, the news of the passing on of Kunwar Arjan Singh, better known as “Billy” Arjan Singh came as a shock to people across the globe. He was 92 and stayed at his farm house turned home, Tiger Haven at Lakhimpur Kheri near the Dudhwa National Park around 250 kms from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. He passed on due to infirmities of old age.

A reformed hunter, he spent most of his life for the conservation of tigers in India. It was only due to his efforts that the 900 sq. km. of forest was converted into Dudhwa National Park.… Read More “Billy”, You Will Be Missed!