Big cats have found cultural representation across their natural ranges. These representations are manifested in the form of art, kinship relations, taboos and even worship. This can be seen with regard to the Were-jaguars that are an intrinsic part of various Mesoamerican cultures as well as the cat deities famously worshiped by Egyptians. Closer to home, the Warlis, an indigenous community in Maharashtra, also worship a big cat deity; Waghoba. The Warli have a long history of sharing space … Read More
The Leopard Crisis
India has lost no less than 62 leopards in the first 50 days of 2010—more than a leopard a day, according to records available with the Wildlife Protection Society of India. Given that within the same period we have lost eight tigers, the Panthera pardus may well beat the tiger in the extinction race. The killings are mainly concentrated in Uttarakhand: from the dawn of the new year to February 20, 26 of these big cats met their end, a … Read More
Important convictions in wildlife cases in Uttarakhand
In the last four days there have been two important convictions in wildlife cases in Uttarakhand – both cases were WPSI assisted seizures – and one important arrest.
The first case involved the seizure of a tiger skin and a full tiger skeleton, one otter skin, a turtle carapace and a steel trap on 30 January 2009 in Fatehpur Range of Ramnagar Forest Division, which adjoins Corbett Tiger Reserve in the nothern state of Uttarakhand. The tiger was killed by … Read More
Two tigers caught in poachers’ traps near Chandrapur; one dead
Two tigers were caught in steel traps set by professional tiger poachers in a heart-rending incident that took place yesterday in Palasgaon Range near Chandrapur in Maharashtra. One tiger died and the other has been rescued by the Forest Department with serious injuries.
The scene of the crime was a small pond in scrub forest, only 2.5 km from the nearest village Gondmohadi which also has a forest chowki. The Forest Department had been setting up camera traps there to … Read More
106 Leopards And 19 Tigers Dead In Uttarakhand This Year
As many as 106 leopards and 19 tigers have died in Uttarakhand till Dec 10 of this year. 57 leopards were killed by poachers, 19 died of old age or sickness, 7 were killed in accidents, 6 were killed by the forest department after being declared man-eaters, 6 died in territorial fights, 6 died during rescue operations, 3 were killed by other animals and carcasses of 2 cubs were found. Releasing these figures, the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) … Read More
Over Fifty Tigers Dead This Year: WPSI Report
Statistics collated by the Wildlife Protection Society Of India (WPSI) indicate that 51-tigers have perished so far in 2011. Uttarakhand leads the states with 14-deaths followed by Karnataka with six and Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh with five each. A tiger killed by policemen using AK-47 machine guns outside Kaziranga National Park in Assam on Monday (5th Nov. 2011) is the latest in that list.
The WPSI Wildlife Crime Database has records of over 19,100 wildlife crimes involving more than 400 … Read More
Corbett Records Highest Tiger Deaths on its 75th anniversary
Corbett reserve and surrounding areas in Uttarakhand have recorded the highest tiger mortality rate this year. TRAFFIC India, a wildlife trade monitoring agency, has recorded 19 deaths in Corbett this year. Park management maintains that most of the deaths were natural. Observers are concerned that the high tourist numbers in Corbett are affecting tiger’s migratory habits and bringing them more into conflict with surrounding villages. According to the head of TRAFFIC India, the biggest threat faced by Corbett’s tigers is … Read More
Conservationists Oppose PIL to Ban Tiger Tourism in India
The Supreme Court is hearing a PIL filed by social activist, Ajay Dubey, which proposes banning tourism in the country’s tiger reserves. Dubey’s contention is that excessive tiger tourism is disturbing the natural habits of tigers and also points to an incident earlier this year, where a tourist vehicle struck and killed a tigress and the subsequent death of two cubs she was rearing.
Many activists and tour operators contend that tiger tourism should be better managed, but resist calling … Read More
Uttarakhand Has High Incidence of Leopard Poaching
Uttarakhand is turning into a killing field for Leopards. There were 136 registered cases of leopard poaching so far in 2011, out of which 51 have been reported from Uttarakhand. In two separate incidents in the last 10 days, the Uttarakhand police have seized three leopard skins. A leopard skin was seized and two persons arrested by the Uttarakhand Special Task Force (STF) in Dehradun on Thursday. Two leopard skins and other animal parts were seized by the SOG, Uttarakhand … Read More
261 Leopards Have Died in 2011
Around 261 leopards have died between January and early September of 2011. Rising human-animal conflict accounts for a large number as well as poaching. Many of the deaths occur when leopards enter human habitations and the scared people try to chase the animal away. According to Belinda Wright of WPSI, this is an issue that needs to go beyond the law and needs creation of awareness amongst people on the need to protect these animals. Praveen Bhargav of Wildlife First … Read More
First Conviction in Karnataka for Tiger Poaching
Three poachers have been convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in Bangalore. The three had been arrested in an operation in 2008 for possession of tiger paws, tiger pelts and bones. The conviction is a first of its kind for the State. Though the sentence is light, conservationists are happy that convictions have finally started. For many years, arrests have made news but the culprits would eventually go scot-free. The Upparpet police … Read More
Leopards Poached More Aggressively than Tigers
Six leopards are poached for every tiger that is killed. Leopard skins are in great demand in China. Their bones are also often passed off as tiger cub bones. Leopards are also involved in a lot of man-animal conflicts and are often killed with brutality for straying into human habitations.
In 2010, 180 leopards were killed through poaching whereas the total number killed stands at 328. In the first six months of 2011, there have already been 79 poaching related … Read More
Adult Female Rhino Killed in Valmiki Tiger Reserve
In a first of its kind incident, an adult female Rhino was found lying dead in the Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) with its horn missing and two bullet injury marks. The animal appeared to have been killed 15 days ago. While the reserve is not home to the Rhino, the adjoining Chitwan National Park in Nepal has around 500 Rhinos which sometimes stray into Valmiki Tiger Reserve. Belinda Wright, executive director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) says … Read More
Construction Activity in Ranthambore Despite CEC Ban
A 100 ft wide, 5-7 km long canal is being constructed in Ranthambore, between Khushalidarra and Manasarovar Lake, despite the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) banning all construction activity in Ranthambore earlier this year. The canal threatens the tiger corridor between Ranthambore and Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary. The CEC had banned all activity in March, in response to a letter by conservationist Belinda Wright of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) who had complained about dams and anicuts being constructed in … Read More
Supreme Court Panel directs State Government to stop construction activity in Ranthambore
The Central Empowered Committee constituted by the Supreme Court has ordered that all construction activity that violates the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 and other court directives, be stopped. The directive is the result of a petition by Belinda Wright, executive director of Wildlife Protection Society of India. Massive construction work is being undertaken by the forest department to construct 20 big dams. The forest department is undertaking these activities in response to a severe scarcity of water last summer. … Read More