DHAVAL KULKARNI | Sat, 29 Oct 2016-11:47am , Mumbai , DNA
State is considering a proposal to upgrade Kolmarka in Gadchiroli to a wildlife sanctuary for higher degree of protection
Underlining the importance of involving local communities in wildlife conservation, a reserve located in a region affected by intense Maoist violence has shown a marked turnaround in numbers of the endangered Asiatic wild buffaloes (Bubalus arnee).
Four years after the Maharashtra government launched a project to monitor and protect wild buffaloes at the Kolamarka Conservation Reserve at Sironcha in Gadchiroli and develop their habitat using locals, the numbers have shown a gradual rise. Now, the state government is considering a proposal to upgrade Kolamarka to a wildlife sanctuary or a tiger reserve for a higher degree of protection.
This was discussed at the meeting of the Maharashtra state wildlife board which met under chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday. Experts said once the numbers were increased to a comfortable level, captive breeding at the proposed Gorewada international zoo could also be considered. These buffaloes could also be used to improve the quality of domestic breeds as buffaloes form a major share of milk production in India.
P.Kalyankumar, chief conservator of forests, Gadchiroli, said that the numbers of these wild buffaloes had risen from around 16 in 2015-16 to 22 now. The 180.72 sq km area was declared as a conservation reserve in 2013.
The global population of wild buffaloes is estimated to be 3,800 of which 3,500 are in India. Of this, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh account for 200 individuals, including Gadchiroli and the Indravati tiger reserve located across the state’s boundary with Chhattisgarh.
"This is one of the core areas affected by Naxal violence. Even then, we managed to turn things around with the involvement of the local community," noted Kalyankumar, adding they had managed to convince people by pointing to how the animal was unique to the area and the tourism and employment generation potential in the future. The people were involved in developing water resources and the habitat and hunting was prevented.
"This is a unique initiative involving community participation," said Kishor Rithe, president, Satpuda Foundation, noting this conservation model involving people as stakeholders differed from the management of tiger habitats where these big cats could not co-exist with humans. He pointed to how the conservation effort in the wild had yielded better results than a captive breeding project in Chhattisgarh.
Rithe, who is a member of the wildlife board, and was involved in the effort, said based on policies for eco-development committees around protected areas and joint forest management committees, they started by involving four villages in water conservation and protection. This was expanded to around 12 settlements on the periphery. The community hunting of these animals was also stopped.
"The major focus was on water conservation as lakes had silted. This benefited both domestic cattle and wild buffaloes," he added, stating that experts would be involved for the cultivation of grass eaten by these bovines.
"We started village development works which brought people closer to the department… Since going to Naxal areas for population monitoring is a challenge for our staff, we involved local youth in an enumeration," said Kalyankumar, adding that volunteers were paid an honorarium for collecting information from deep forests and inaccessible areas.
The locals were involved in plantations and harvesting timber and bamboo. "These are genetically pure breeds… available in very limited pockets," said Kalyankumar, adding that the presence of these animals in Indravati helped maintain genetic diversity.
Shree Bhagwan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF-Wildlife) who is the state's wildlife warden, said they would examine the sanctuary proposal.
Kalyankumar noted that these breeds could come handy for preserving genetic diversity and cattle breeding and improvement programs considering its ability to survive in the high temperatures in the Vidarbha terrain.
Monday, 10 October 2016 | Moushumi Basu
New Delhi:In a shocking violation of the Wildlife Protection Act, four Great Bengal Monitor lizards were recently hunted down and their meat served in a farmhouse party near Amravati in Maharashtra. These endangered reptiles are listed under Schedule I of the Act, thereby enjoying the highest degree of protection similar to tigers and leopards.
What more, the offenders even uploaded on WhatsApp pictures of the animals being chopped into pieces, cooked and eaten. This bravado helped the Forest department officials track them down. One of them has already been arrested.
Confirming the incident, Chief Conservator of Forest, Amravati Circle, Maharashtra, Sanjeev Gaur said the Monitor lizards are found in abundance in the Vidharba Forest region, especially during the monsoon. Of the seven persons who feasted on the lizards, the watchman has been arrested. The remaining six are absconding, said the Chief Conservator of Forest.
The Forest Department got alerted when animal lovers forwarded to its officials a set of pictures posted on WhatsApp. The mobile number posting the pictures, along with the location of mobile tower, was tracked down by the Cyber crime cell department, said Gaur.
However, by the time the forest personnel raided the farmhouse , the offenders had already left. The watchman revealed that the "wild party" was attended by six persons . The remains of bones and other parts of the animals’ bodies were found strewn at the location.
The forest department seized them for DNA testing which confirmed that they belonged to the endangered Great Bengal Monitor Lizards. The Sessions Court as well as the High Court have rejected their applications ,for anticipatory bails. Three of them have moved the Supreme Court.
Kishor Rithe, Member of Maharashtra State Wildlife Board and former member of Standing Committee of National Board For Wildlife, welcomed the directives of the court, saying , "Their orders have sent a message among masses that wild animals are not the substance of delicacy and enjoyment. Conservation of lesser known species is equally important," he said.
Gaur said the offenders have no option but to surrender. "The case is unique of its kind as it takes up the cause of smaller wild animals as Monitor lizards. Being predators as well as animals of prey, they are connected in both ways to the food chain and sustenance of ecology," he said.
Sep 26, 2016
Nagpur:The solar-mini grid project commissioned in June 2016 in buffer village Ghatpendhari of Pench Tiger Reserve got formerly inaugurated on 27th September at the hands of Chief Wildlife Warden of Maharashtra state Mr.Shree Bhagwan.
Satpuda Foundation a leading NGO in central India which is working hard in the Satpuda Landscape to promote solar power in the remotest forested villages since last 15 years, has made this dream possible with the financial assistance of Conservation Action Trust and technical help from bangalore based SELCO Solar Light Private Limited.
Ghatpendhri village in the buffer of Pench Tiger Reserve, 110km from Nagpur, had to go 40-50km to recharge their mobiles when power went off and had to live a scary life in the darkness as surrounded by wild animals. Today, the village is running on a mini solar grid, giving them the "solar light" of hope for living fearlessly in harmony with wild animals.
Ghatpendhri in Ramtek tehsil, surrounded by thick forests, is the first village in the buffer zone of any tiger reserve in the country to get a renewable energy project, known as Kiran Prabha Solar Mini Grid, generating 2.4KV energy. Currently, the village gets power from Madhya Pradesh. All the villagers are tribals below poverty line (BPL). During power cuts, they use kerosene lamps, which is not only unhealthy and risky but the costly too.
Looking at the hardship and remoteness, Ghatpendhri was selected by Satpuda Foundation for implementing the project funded byMumbai based tiger conservation NGO Conservation Action Trust (CAT). The survey was completed by energy engineers volunteering with Satpuda Foundation Sheldon Mendonca and Brendon Mendonca in 2014, following which the project was initiated by SELCO.
"Of the 200 households in the village, in the first phase, 76 are connected to the solar mini grid. These houses have been provided with 3 & 2 watt LED bulbs each and a mobile charging socket," .Mr.Shree Bhagwan inspected some of the houses and spoke to men and women about the solar home lightning system.
The solar service made operational from June 14 and is available from 6.30pm to 12pm and 4 to 6 am in these 76 houses through 70 poles. The system has been tested in last 3 months and villagers found happy.Mr.Shree Bhagwan lauded the efforts of NGO s and also promised to extend support to Ghatpendhari VEDC.
The Bangalore-based solar firm has trained two youths to take care of technical problems. Besides, failures can be monitored through Internet also, as every house has been given unique ID. Mr.Debi Goenka, Executive Trustee of Conservation Action Trust and Kishor Rithe,President of Satpuda Foundation and Sudeepto Ghosh Manager of SELCO were present n this occasion.
Sep 16, 2016
Nagpur:Satpuda Foundation observed International Day for Preservation of Ozone Layer (2016) in schools of numerous villages of Buffer area of Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra and Priyadarshini Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh. 16 September is celebrated to recognize the collective efforts of the parties to the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol towards restoration of Ozone Layer over the past three decades and global commitment to combat climate change. The Montreal Protocol, an international treaty was signed on 16 September 1987 to phase out Ozone Depleting (OD) substances in order to restore the depleting Ozone Layer. United Nations had set a theme ‘Ozone and Climate: Restored by World United’ for 2016.
Conservation Officer for Satpuda Foundation, Mandar Pingle and Community Officer, Dilip Lanjewar organized a lecture and discussion session for 500 students of Jai Seva Adivasi Residential School of Dahoda village in Paoni Buffer Range of Pench Tiger Reserve (Maharashtra). The event was presided over by Mr P B Kutare, Principal of the school while Range Forest Officer (Buffer) Mr Pandurang Pakhale was the keynote speaker on the occasion. During his speech, Mr Pakhale explained the students about the ozone layer and its importance for the wellbeing of life on Earth. He emphasized that it is the need of the hour to reduce the use of Ozone Depleting substances like Chloroflurocarbons (CFCs), Hydro-chloroflurocarbons (HCFCs) and Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) to bring back the level of ozone back to normal. Pricnipal Mr P B Kutare informed students that these effluents are released from various sources like refrigerants, coolants, body sprays, industries and coal powered thermal plants. He then went on to urge students to try and use eco-friendly replacements for these products and contribute towards the efforts of preservation of Ozone Layer. Similar such event was organized by Community Officer Kamlesh Pawar for 60 students of Government Middle School of Dewari village in buffer area of Priyadarshini Pench Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh). Principal Mr M Z Qureshi, teachers Mr A K Ladake and Mr S R Pawar were present during the event. Bandu Uikey, Community Officer for Satpuda Foundation observed the day along with 14 students of Zilla Parishad Primary School of Ghatpendhari village. Bandu Uikey explained the importance of the day to students effectively by engaging them in interactive games.
Vijay Pinjarkar | Sep 1, 2016, 04.36 AM IST
Nagpur:At a time when crores of rupees are being spent to create inviolate spaces for tigers by relocating villages inside Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR) in Amravati, the district administration is doing something exactly the opposite-- distributing land under Forest Rights Act in the core area of tiger reserve.
It is indeed shocking that district collector is granting claims in the heart of tiger reserve that has spent over Rs200 crore to relocate nine villages in the last four years. Since 2003, 14 villages have been relocated from MTR and 19 more remaining. There are 35-40 tigers in 2,000 sqkm Melghat.
"The villages are being relocated to create inviolate spaces for tigers, but in contrast, administration has granted individual rights on 93.295 hectares tiger bearing land in three ranges under Gugamal wildlife division," highly placed sources told TOI. Of these, 52.298 hectares is in Harisal range, 34.402 hectares in Chaurakund and 5.595 hectares in Jarida. The five claims from Rora and 19 claims from Malur in Gugamal come under critical tiger habitat (CTH). These claims have been granted by district level committee.
Top sources said an IAS officer in state Governor's office is mounting pressure on collectors to grant pattas inside core area of tiger reserve while National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has already made it clear no rights could be granted in tiger reserve as they are finally notified after rights have been already settled.
They said cases that were rejected earlier were also being cleared under pressure. This is despite the fact that on November 9, 2015, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at a seminar on 'Conservation of forests and rural livelihood security' at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (RMP) at Uttan (Thane), ordered action against encroachers underFRA and scrap invalid claims.
CM has made it clear no traditional rights on forest land under FRA would be entertained after the cut-off date of December 13, 2005. In Melghat, there have been many encroachments and forest officials removing these encroachments are being targeted by local MLAs.
Amravati district collector Kiran Gitte told TOI, "I will verify the claims. If rights have been granted in core area we will review them."
TOI is in possession of a letter issued by Melghat MLA Prabudas Bhilavekar on June 29, 2016, asking forest officials not to remove encroachments on forest land without consulting him. Though this letter explains select cases of Mangia villagers, the letter has been sent to all officials working in Melghat. TOI had earlier exposed how forest officials were being attacked by villagers as they have local political backing to grab forest land under FRA.
Anticipating tribals will get rights on forest land, many tribals and non-tribals have encroached upon hundreds of acres of forest in the state. Yet, no action has been taken against them by officials.
Jul 29, 2016
Nagpur:Satpuda Foundation,while observing a Nature Conservation day in Pench and Tadoba,organised several programmes to take community participation in Maguire conservation. SF team in TATR conducted a education program in Adegaon and Bhamdeli villages and explained the kids about importance of trees and forests - to both local people and importance of forests. Kids also planted 65 trees in Adegaon and Bhamdeli villages.Similar programme was also conducted in Sitarampeth village in TATR buffer.SFPench team also arranged many community programmes. Shramdaan was arranged at Ghatpendhari village in Pench Maharashtra. 18 villagers volunteered in the shramdaan programme.Prameek Kannan,conservation officer of SF in TATR, Bandu Kumare community officer in TATR, Mandar Pingle,conservation officer in Pench, CO Dilip Lanjewar,Bandu Uike,Niranjan Hinge arranged these programmes for SF.
Jul 28, 2016
Nagpur: Satpuda Foundation celebrated World Nature Conservation Day in numerous villages of buffer area of Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra and Priyadarshini Pench Tiger Reserve, MP. Conservation officer Mandar Pingle and community officer Dilip Lanjewar organised a shramdaan program to construct a soak pit near a recently constructed hand pump in Pipariya village. 18 villagers volunteered in the shramdaan. Community officer Bandu Uikey organised a shramdaan program in Ghatpendhari village to clean area near a hand pump along with 8 villagers. Kamlesh Pawar organised a tree plantation program in Government Middle School, Thuyepani. 25 students volunteered to plant 50 saplings of local species of trees. One awareness rally was organised in ZP School, Sawara in which 120 students raised awareness to conserve natural resources. Later in the day, Mandar and Dilip also organised a movie show for 350 students of Nav Jeevan School in Pathrai villagers. Students expressed their desire to participate in various programs organised by Satpuda Foundation henceforth.
Vijay Pinjarkar | Jul 22, 2016, 03.01 AM IST
Nagpur: Even as teams of volunteers and forest officials have launched an intensive search for the missing tiger Jai, conservationists are hoping that Shriniwas, which has moved out of Umred-Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary, does not meet the same fate. Both Jai and Shriniwas have been radio-collared.
Shriniwas and Bittu are two male tigers sired by Jai two years ago. As per satellite signals received from the former's collar, forest officials say it moved out of the sanctuary last week and is headed towards the forests under Bhandara division. However, the purpose of radio collaring Jai was defeated as the officials failed to keep track of Jai's movements. It is now missing since April 18 this year.
"Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and Bhandara officials should now immediately start monitoring Shriniwas with VHF so that it doesn't disappear like Jai," said Shahid Khan of Save Ecosystem And Tiger (SEAT).
A debate has stirred up among conservationists the way Jai's monitoring was handled. " A radio collar can help a scientist follow a tiger in order to study it. However, it does not offer protection to the tiger from poachers, retaliatory killing or habitat destruction," says Shekar Dattatri, leading wildlife and conservation filmmaker.
Questioning the lack of monitoring of Jai, State wildlife board member Kishor Rithe said, "The collar is to know about corridors and movement pattern. Foot patrolling is the best way to protect tigers."
"A protocol should be put in place that if a tiger enters any territorial area, officials from that divisions should take charge," added Rithe.
He was amused to read reports of radio collar being damaged by high tension electric wires. "Has any study been conducted on it," asked Rithe. He sought an explanation from WII which was in charge of the radio collaring. "Why should there be a monopoly of any agency while implementing such projects. Competitive people should be given the task," he said.
Brahmapuri deputy conservator of forests Ashish Thakre says the two radio-collared tigers in his jurisdiction are being monitored on foot with VHF. "I'm also monitoring them through satellite signals over computer," he added.
Thakre admits that there are several high tension lines in his area. "But there is no study to prove that such lines damage collars," he adds. Even former APCCF (wildlife) SS Mishra felt there was no need to radio collar Jai twice as "it never posed a problem to humans". Wildlife photographer Sarosh Lodhi felt that if a tiger goes missing despite being collared, "it is a serious issue". "A collar is fitted to know about its movements which came to be recorded through data received from the satellite collar. However, it is not known what kind of problems Jai encountered in his territory."
Terming collaring a waste of taxpayers' money, Wildlife Trust of India's central India in-charge Prafulla Bhamburkar said, "It must have been painful for Jai to be collared twice. It must be avoiding vehicles now with the fear that he might be caught again. Don't collar a tiger if you don't want to monitor physically."
Well-known conservation zoologist Ullas Karanth said if the collar had VHF and GPS, "at least should work". "GPS collars do have high failure rates," he added.
He said if the people handling the radio collar are not well-trained, it defeats the purpose. "The person fitting the collar, removing the magnetic switch or programming the software et al have to be experts, else he may fail to track the animal".
Jai's missing episode has put a question mark over the 1.70 crore 'long-term comprehensive monitoring of tigers, co-predators, and prey animals project', being jointly implemented by the forest department and WII.
"The state government had launched the project with an objective to monitor dispersal through corridors. Now that the department has learnt about Jai's movement and dispersal pattern, it seems it has no interest in locating the big cat," said wildlife lover Vinit Arora. When Jai's collar malfunctioned in November 2015, a WII official told TOI that even if satellite link failed, VHF (very high frequency) antenna allowed 24/7 monitoring. "So why was monitoring not done?" asked Bhamburkar.
Anoop Kumar Awasthi (21st July 1977 to 09 July 2016)
Anoop, thousands of tribal youths, young men and women, would remember you as a source of inspiration who provided livelihood to through tiger conservation.
I have to inform our colleagues, friends, supporters and nature lovers with the tearful eyes that Anoop Kumar Awasthi who was working as Assistant Director of Satpuda Foundation is no more now. We learnt from his family that he was driving a bike this morning when a truck knocked him near Gopalganj (Seoni) at around 8.30 am. He was immediately admitted to General hospital at Seoni where he is declared dead at around 12 noon.
His ten years green journey with Satpuda Foundation has come to an end, in such a tragic way.....I have no words and I know it is hard to believe for you too. May God give you all courage to face this shock. It's a big loss for the conservation movement in central India. Big loss for the Satpuda Foundation and personally to me as a very good friend. Anoop, a great supporter of tribals and Tigers of this landscape. He was available 24X7 for any conservation action.
His dedicated efforts through Mobile Health Unit of Satpuda Foundation will be remembered by the tribal villagers of buffer of two Pench Tiger Reserves.And, yes the tigers have lost their supporter friend who use to construct hundreds of water conservation structures for them every year.
Anoop had done his graduation B.SC in Mathematics. He also did his post graduation MA (Sociology)as well as MA in Hindi. He joined Satpuda Foundation in 2006 as a conservation officer in Pench Tiger Reserve Maharashtra as well as MadhyaPradesh. He was promoted as Assistant Director in 2014 and was guiding all the Conservation officers of SF across the Satpuda Landscape. He was a member of Local Advisory Committee (LAC) of Pench Tiger Reserve and did lot of things in Pench MP through LAC. He has activated many self help groups in MP Pench and also provided jobs to around 700 youths from both the Tiger Reserves.
Looking at his long 10 years experience and vast knowledge, Satpuda Foundation had given him a responsibility to guide all the conservation officers and staff working in six tiger reserves in central India viz, Tadoba-Andhari, Navegaon-Nagzira, Pench Maharashtra, Pench Madhya Pradesh and Satpuda Tiger Reserve.
Before joining Satpuda Foundation he was a teacher for two years at Government High Scool in Seoni and Katani districts of Madhya Pradesh. He had also worked in Dindori district with Green Brigade .He has also worked at Employment Exchange education society at Katani for two years.
Mayuri Phadnis, Pune Mirror | Jun 16, 2016, 02.30 AM IST
State exercises un-boar-able blanket culling.
Farmers can kill wild boars by applying to the forest department even when it has been said that culling is supposed to be the last option.
ANIMAL POPULATION CONTROL REGULATIONS
Hundreds of wild boars killed in Chandrapur based on a government resolution, animal declared as vermin in some parts of Maharashtra
While protests against culling of Nilgai in Bihar are gathering steam, Maharashtra has its own agenda regarding culling of boars that are not considered important animals in several parts. In Chandrapur alone, around 200 boars have been selectively slaughtered to control their population. In Beed, Latur, Osmanabad and Jalgaon, the animal has been declared as "vermin". The culling move has stirred trouble for the state as these killings were carried out despite a special committee being set up in 2013 to control the issue. A proper scientific report was furnished that suggested culling as a last resort for those animals that have constantly caused problems.
KILLINGS NOT ORDERED BY THE CENTRE
These animals have been culled since last year, even before the Centre had cleared the proposal of the state. In fact, Maharashtra's proposal is still pending with the central government. Such cullings have taken place in accordance with a government resolution (GR) passed by the state in 2013-2014.
"The GR allows culling of animals where they prove to be a problem. In Chandrapur, they are slaughtered by acquiring permission from the forest department. In Latur, Jalgaon, Beed and Osmanabad where the animal, which has been declared vermin, can be killed without permission as they are not considered wild animals due to lack of forests," Sudhir Mungantiwar, the state minister for forests told Mirror.
The Centre has denied granting permission to Maharashtra, where these killings are taking place openly.
"The application is still being considered. There is no green light from our end," informed Prakash Javadekar, minister of state (independent charge) for environment and forests.
Earlier, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had asked for proposals from the state for culling of animals that destroy farms. Accordingly, Nilgai in Bihar, wild boar in Maharashtra, monkeys in Uttarakhand and peacocks in Goa were said to be declared as vermin. While the MoEF is convinced this will keep the population in check, environmentalists say it will harm the ecosystem balance.
KILLING EVEN WHEN THERE IS NO CROP
The culling order was introduced in a bid to save crop losses faced by the farmers. While more than 69 wild boars have been killed by the forest department in Chandrapur since 2015, 50 more were killed only last month. These 50 additional killings remain unjustified as there are no standing crops in May (since the sowing season is yet to begin).
Gajendra Hire, deputy conservator of forests, central Chandrapur, said, "The GR states that wild boar or Nilgai can be killed with an application to the forest department. The farmer has to apply for permission and the range forest officer has to decide if at all it is worth consideration. In case there is no reply, the condition is considered granted. We have been getting numerous complaints from the people about the problem of wild boars and handling them was getting difficult."
SOLUTIONS BEYOND BLANKET KILLING
In the special report furn ished in 2013, places like Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Nagpur were more affected than Chandrapur (where 138 villages have been affected by the problem).
The committee has divided the state into various zones, from 1-4, with one and two being areas with sanctuaries, national parks, reserves, ecosensitive areas and wildlife corridors where the animals are not to be killed. The zones three and four are human habitations where affected people are to be compensated on priority and animals are to be relocated. Only in extreme cases, where a particular animal is a constant nuisance, culling may be permitted.
"While it is true that the culling is not allowed in forests, we cannot think of wild habitat in isolation. The corridors are as required for genetic exchange. We cannot finish off the population in that area and therefore we had given this scientific report for management. Had it been so easy to handle the problem, it would have been done before itself," said Kishor Rithe, who was a member of this committee and formerly a member of National Board for Wildlife.
TNN | June 13, 2016
Nagpur:Suresh Prabhu , minister for railways, and Prakash Javadekar , minister of state for environment and forests, have been urged to drop the plan to upgrade Akola-Khandwa railway line passing through Melghat Tiger Reserve ( MTR ). The Indian Railways had finalized upgradation of 174km Khandwa-Akola railway meter gauge section on South Central Railway (SCR). Of this, Amalakhurd-Akot (77.5km) passes through hilly parts of MTR and its estimated cost is Rs1,454cr. Former National Board of Wildlife member Kishore Rithe has pointed out that if the railways follow the same alignment and gradient, trains will not run beyond 60 kmph, and also won't connect villages from Akola, Amravati and Buldhana districts. "Considering both the aspects, people in this region and MTR administration had demanded diversion of this line outside forest area to maximize benefits," Rithe says. As per present meter gauge alignment, 25km of the line between Amalakhurd and Akot passes through Wan sanctuary. As additional forest land was also required to take up gauge conversion on this stretch, railways team in 2014 had explored an alternate route outside the sanctuary area. This route bypassing the sanctuary had been planned with the help of Regional Remote Sensing Centre, Nagpur. It would entail abandoning 51km of railway line in the existing alignment and construction of new line over about 80km. Even as clearance from Railway Board was awaited on the proposed diverted alignment between Amalakhurd to Akot, pressure from local MP Sanjay Dhotre led the railways to decide on using the existing alignment and gradient to upgrade this line. "We feel that this is neither in the interest of the people from three districts nor forest and wildlife. Existing movement of trains has killed many wild animals and reptiles, specially during monsoon and winter season," he pointed out. As this is a remote area, there are several incidents this train route being used to transport forest produce and wildlife derivatives illegally from the forests of MTR. This includes illegal trade of medicinal plants and wildlife derivatives like tiger, leopard skins, bones etc. Besides, regular forest fires happen in summer due to the railway traffic through 17.3km of core area.
Vijay Pinjarkar | June 11, 2016
Nagpur: The government has finally appointed full quota of NGO representatives and experts on the state board for wildlife (SBWL) headed by chief minister, a year after it was reorganized. A notification appointing five experts was issued on June 7 by the forest ministry. Now the strength of individual experts and NGOs on the SBWL has gone up to mandatory 10. Till now there were only five NGOs and experts. Those appointed to SBWL include Kishor Rithe, president of Satpuda Foundation, Amravati, Hemendra Kothari, president of Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT), Mumbai, Bandu Dhotre, president of Eco-Pro, Chandrapur, Poonam Dhanwatay, secretary of Tiger Research and Conservation Trust (TRACT), Nagpur, and Shrikant Tekade, Nagpur. Tenure of the restructured SBWL will be three years. Earlier, when the SBWL appointments were announced on June 3, 2015, the region was represented by only one member in the form of resort owner Dhananjay Bapat. TOI on June 4, had reported how wildlife experts did not find place in the 20-member SBWL. Chief minister's office (CMO) had promised that quorum will be completed soon but it took a year to appoint the expert members. In the earlier SBWL there were only two expert members — environmentalist Bittu Sahgal and social worker Prakash Amte, besides three NGOs namely Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and Botanical Survey of India (BSI). SBWL is the state's highest decision-making body on projects falling within 10-km of sanctuaries and national parks. The appointment of new members has raised questions about intentions of the government. Has the government appointed green warriors like Rithe and Dhotre to quell voice of dissent on burning issues, sources asked. Rithe said, "I will not compromise on principles and continue to raise my voice if I find something wrong. This was also the case when I was Standing Committee member of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL)." Dhotre said, "I'm happy that forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has given me an opportunity to work for issues related to wildlife at state level. I will work for the cause of wildlife."
Apr 22, 2016
Nagpur: Satpuda Foundation teams at Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, Nawegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve,Pench Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra and Satpuda Tiger Reserve and Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh has observed a Global Earth Day(22nd April) yesterday by arranging several conservation actions and awareness programmes. Villagers appreciated this unique way of Satpuda Foundation to observe the Global Earth Day!
Mr. Bandu Kumare, Community officer of Satpuda Foundation at Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve created a water hole at Udiya Tola (Adegaon) village near the hand pump.Villagers volunteered in the work to gather the waste water from the hand pump.Around 8 youths and 10 students participated in this task. It will help the village cattles and birds to meet their thirst.
"Only such village level conservation actions would help now rather than simple leap service", said Kishor Rithe, President of Satpuda Foundation. In Satpuda Tiger Reserve in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh, Mr.Hamid Khan, Community officer of Satpuda Foundation arranged a programme at Matkuli Grampanchayat hall to observe the Earth Day. Serpanch of a village, Forester and other guests were present to address the community gathering. Later on, he along with 25 villagers and students gathered the earthen pots and installed them for birds.
In Pench Tiger Reserve of Maharashtra, the SF team assisted PTR staff to fight the forest fire near Khapa village till mid night.In East Pench, around 130 seeds were properly sowed by Kids from Sillari, Ghoti and Pipariya villages. A film show was also arranged on plantation drive and sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle.In Pench MP, the programmes were arranged at Amzari and Thuyepani village where villagers dig up plantation pits and soak pit.Mr.Anoop Awasthi, Assistant Director of SF conducted these programmes in Madhya Pradesh Pench whereas Mandar pingle, Conservation Officer, Dilip Lanjekar, Community officer of SF had arranged the same in Pench TR Maharashtra.In East Pench, Bandu Uike arranged a nature walk, shramadaan and lecture for school kids along with the forest staff.
In Nawegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve,the SF team under the leadership of our Conservation Officer Mr.Mukund Dhurve arranged a big programme at Jindatola (Ghoti) village. SF team explained the different issues which can be addressed by our well designed programme called "Gaon ke Mann ki baat". Villagers planned and discussed the crop protection strategies for coming monsoon, cleanliness campaign(Gram Swacchata), installation of improved smokeless chulla(Sudharit Chul), water conservation works (Akhari Pani) and locations to create Soak Pits to improve the human health in a village.The demonstration of making of smokeless chulla was also given to women. SHG members and EDC members from Jindatola (Ghoti), Mangezari, Govindtola, Kodebarra, Bodalkasa also participated in this programme. Round Officer of forest dept. Shri. Duarrani, Guard Shri Sonawane, Wildlife guard Shri Mehar and Wan sevak were also present on this occasion.
Vijay Pinjarkar | Apr 12, 2016, 03.15 AM IST
Nagpur: As delegates prepare for the 3rd Asia ministerial conference on tiger conservation in Delhi, over 23 NGOs and bodies in the country want a commitment to zero demand for tiger parts in order to achieve zero poaching.
The Asia ministerial conference will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. More than 700 tiger experts, scientists, managers, donors and other stakeholders are gathering to discuss issues related to tiger conservation. Ministers and government officials from all tiger range countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, India, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russian Federation, Thailand, Vietnam, besides Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan are also participating in the meet.
This conference is being co-organized by ministry of environment, forest and climate change, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Global Tiger Forum (GTF), Global Tiger Initiative Council (GTIC), Wildlife Institute of India (WII), WWF and Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT).
"Conservation successes are visible in tiger range countries with enactment of strong laws and where wild tigers are valued for the role they play in the ecosystem, compared to those tiger range countries where 'tiger farming' exists and where they are valued as a commodity," the NGOs said. "It is time for tiger range countries to unite in a commitment to end tiger farming and to end all domestic and international trade in parts and derivatives of tigers from captive facilities," they said.
The signatories include Satpuda Foundation, Tiger Conservation And Action Trust (TRACT), Born Free, Conservation Action Trust (CAT), Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), Wildlife SOS India, Sanctuary Asia, The Corbett Foundation, BNHS India, Big Cat Rescue among others.
The NGOs have reminded the conference that many facilities that keep tigers are engaged in legal and illegal trade, both domestic and international, in parts and derivatives of tigers. There are estimated 7,000 tigers in captivity in tiger farms in South East Asia and China — and there are no signs that these facilities are being phased out.
Chinese government allows domestic trade in the skin of captive-bred tigers for use as luxury home decor and for taxidermy. This stimulates the demand and increases pressure on the world's remaining 3,200 wild tigers.
"How can we expect demand-reduction campaigns to work in China if the government itself permits people to buy tiger skins,"" the NGOs asked, adding tigers in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and the Russian Far East are still being targeted for markets in China and for Chinese consumers in Myanmar and Lao PDR.
There is also a thriving market in Vietnam and Indonesia. Tigers are not just killed for skin, but their bones are used to brew 'tiger bone wine', meat is sold as a delicacy and teeth and claws are sold as charms. "We collectively call on the conference to urge the countries with facilities which keep or breed tigers for trade to demonstrate genuine commitment to tiger conservation," the NGOs demanded.