Translocation Tragedies: Are We Really “Rescuing” Snakes?

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As effective conservation actions lead to increasing wildlife populations, they often come into conflict with burgeoning human populations with which they share space. Resolving human-wildlife conflict has thus become an important aspect of conservation science especially in biologically rich and densely populated countries like India. However, most research in this sphere concerns large, charismatic organisms, which are restricted to small regions in a vast country. Human-snake conflict on the other hand is not restricted to pockets of natural habitats and … Read More

Camera Trapping Reveals Exciting Secrets of Tiger Dispersal

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On 1-5-2011, Forest officials of the Shimoga Wildlife Division, had safely captured a male tiger that strayed into Gama village near Shikaripur. A decision was made by the Forest Department, based on consultation with WCS senior scientist and NTCA member Dr. Ullas Karanth, to release the tiger in Bhadra Tiger Reserve, rather than hold it in perpetual captivity. This decision was based on the fact that the tiger was estimated to be of dispersal age (about 3 years), healthy and … Read More

Why Captive or Man-Eating Big Cats Should not be Released into the Wild

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Preamble

They say the path to hell is paved with good intentions. That’s certainly true of releasing captive or man-eating big cats into the wild, ostensibly to ‘conserve’ them. In 2015, a wild tiger from Chikmagalur that killed a local woman, and showed no fear of humans, was captured by the Forest Department.  Unfortunately, while initial press reports indicated that it would be transferred to the Bannerghatta zoo, this dangerous animal was instead released into the Bhimgad forest against the Read More

Q: I wanted to bring to your notice the news that a leopard family (mother & 3 cubs) spotted in Karnataka near Kolar (70km east of Bangalore) at Danmatnahalli on 28th Oct 2013 (being tracked for the past 2 days by the forest department). I also want to bring to your notice that the leopards in Kolar district had a peaceful existence before independence and we can read many instances that they existed peacefully with humans in Kenneth Andersson’s writings . So I guess this is a natural occurrence and an opportunity for the forest department to conserve this gene pool of leopards in Kolar. We should try to find a reserve (if translocation is tried) that has deer (natural food for leopards) somewhere in Kolar district, we may consider the forests near Kolar Gold Fields surrounding the Kolar – Bethamangala road and behind BEML Nagar in KGF, where the deer population has increased greatly and has already started to bother the surrounding farmers by raiding their crops, so this is a good solution and this also can be a great thing for the district ecology. I would request CI to help me bring this to the notice of forest officials in Karnataka.

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Answer from Vidya Athreya, carnivore biologist and leopard-human conflict mitigation expert.

As you point out, it is well known by now that a lot of wildlife exists outside protected areas and in human-use landscapes, with leopards being one such adaptable species.

If, as you say, the leopards are already living in human-use landscapes without a problem, why do they need translocation? Also, considerable experience has shown that translocation does not work. When translocated, animals that are territory holders move … Read More

Tiger – Gaur Face-off, Bandhavgarh

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I was on a evening drive in the Magdhi zone of Bandhavgarh national park when I came across this big male tiger. He was walking along the fence that was erected to contain gaur when they were reintroduced to Bandhavgarh from Kanha. Suddenly the tiger froze. I couldn’t figure out why. He had certainly detected something,  but I couldn’t see it. After about ten minutes he walked back on the road and suddenly I saw him face to face with … Read More

Q: We live in a small village, Thekambattu, near Salem in Tamil Nadu. Recently we had elephants near us for the first time in living memory of the oldest inhabitants here. We are glad to see your site because it is perhaps what would have helped us at that time. Anyway, the elephants seem to be wandering; so perhaps this is not the last we see of them. We need to know what can be done here as and when they show up without any resources, trained manpower etc. There has to be something like an Elephant Rescue team on call in the country at different places, I guess…

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Answer from Shekar Dattatri, Conservation India:

The problem you describe in your question – and in more much more detail in your blog – is an extremely difficult one to tackle. Although you yourself seem to have analyzed the various dimensions to this dilemma, and may not find this answer very useful, we are posting it here for the benefit of other readers, but with this rider. No one from CI has been to the area or studied the … Read More

Human – Leopard Conflict, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

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A leopard was captured in a village from Bauli Tehsil of Sawai Madhopur District and released in Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary, 40 km away from the leopard’s territory. The leopard was just spotted by villagers and summoned the forest department to remove it. After 3 days, the leopard found its way back to its homerange as typically happens. On the way back, it encountered villagers and accidentally injured a child. A chaos ensued, and during the (second) forest department rescue operation, … Read More

To Dart Or Not To Dart — Demystifying Wild Animal Immobilization

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The first wild leopard immobilization I undertook was in 2003. A female leopard had been trapped in a foothold snare outside Otur near Junnar in Pune district and she had to be rescued. By the time I reached from Pune, she had been trapped for more than 12 hours, was exhausted, dehydrated, and in a critical condition.

The immobilization was uneventful: within a few minutes the animal was rescued from the trap and shifted to the nearby Forest Department (FD) … Read More

Hand-reared and Reintroduced Panna Tigress T4 Gives Birth to Cubs

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A tigress raised in captivity (T4) and transolcated and released in Panna, has given birth to cubs. She had been rescued at the age of three from the Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh. The reintroduction was carried out by the Madhya Pradesh forest department with scientific inputs and monitoring by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). WII scientist Dr K Ramesh, who leads the post-release monitoring programme for tiger reintroduction, has called it a landmark development but also cautioned … Read More

Rhinos Adapting Well to Dudhwa National Park

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A greater one-horned Rhinoceros cub was born about 10 days ago in Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh. The birth of the cub is seen as continuing success of a relocation program that began in 1984. The 27 sq km area within the park now has 31 rhinos, where there were only 7 to start with. The seed population came from Pobitora in Assam and Shulka Panta Reserve in Nepal. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List … Read More

Translocation of Swamp Deer Planned in Manas National Park

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In accordance with suggestions given by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC), the forest department is planning to increase the population of swamp deer in Manas National Park. Translocation of swamp deer from Kaziranga into Manas is planned as a three year project. Kaziranga has around 1200 swamp deer, whereas Manas has only 20. Eleven rhinos have been translocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary into Manas since 2008 and the translocation has been deemed successful.

The recovery plan has been prepared on … Read More

Tiger Wanders 280 kms Through Karnataka Forests in Search of Territory

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On May 1, a young male tiger which had strayed into a betelnut plantation in gama and was stoned by a mob, attacked and killed a man before it was tranquilized by the forest officials. On May 7th, the tiger was released into the Bhadra tiger reserve. Analysis of the photographs of the tiger’s release by the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS), a wildlife NGO which had been camera trapping in Karnataka for around two decades, showed that the tiger … Read More

Hand reared Tigress released into Panna Wildlife Reserve as part of experiment Mar 29, 2011

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A six year old hand-reared tigress has been released into the Panna Wildlife Reserve in Madhya Pradesh by HS Pabla, the head of the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department. Experts however contend that this amounts of suicide for the tigers as they cannot match wild tigers in terms of survival skills. However, HS Pabla contends that the tigress has been trained for the last six years and been bereft of human company. The tigress (along with another) were in an enclosure … Read More