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Vultures thrive in Adilabad district’s Bejjur forest area

Conservation efforts:A long billed vulture in Bejjur forest range in Adilabad district.— File PhotoConservation efforts:A long billed vulture in Bejjur forest range in Adilabad district.— File Photo

Cattle slaughter is said to have played a significant role in increasing the number

The increase in the number of vultures, which are under protection in the Bejjur forest range, can be attributed to a significant practise — cattle slaughter.

The vulture population has tripled in just three years at the Pala Rapu cliff by the Peddavagu stream, which is inhabited by a colony of long billed vultures Gyps indicus . The colony was discovered by forest officials in 2013, after which in-situ conservation efforts were initiated by the department.

The long billed vultures are listed under the ‘critically endangered’ category by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Only 10 vultures were spotted initially at the location, though the cliff had evidence of nesting of 40 pairs which suggested a sizeable colony. The number has increased to 30 now, which is phenomenal considering the 50 per cent survival rate of hatchings, say forest officials.

Providing ready food for the birds at vantage points paid off in a big way. Elaborate arrangements were made towards this by the Forest Department for procurement and slaughter of live cattle.

“We buy cows and bulls from the villagers and keep them under the care of a cowherd. After about 15 days of quarantine, we pick an animal and have it slaughtered before placing it at a strategic location for the vultures to feast on,” informed M. Ram Mohan, the forest range officer of Bejjur, who had first spotted the colony of vultures. Quarantine is required to ensure that all traces of diclofenac are flushed off the body of the cow/bull. Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, the presence of which in cattle carcasses is suspected to be the reason behind the drastic decline in the vulture population in the country.

Local beef-eating communities help in a big way slaughtering the cattle, as the department does not maintain any slaughter house or staff for the same. Slaughtering is absolutely necessary as live animals are not touched by vultures, and dead animals are hard to procure.

“We began providing carcasses, suspecting that food scarcity might be the reason behind the decline in the number of vultures. These days, farmers are selling old and decrepit animals before they die, so no carcasses are found on the outskirts of the villages,” Mr. Mohan said.

Reception to this hospitality by the avian scavenger, however, is very circumspect. Sometimes, the carcasses are untouched and the meat goes to waste.

After food is placed, officials find that the birds have flown to some unknown location, only to return later. Though no proof is available, the assumption is that they could be visiting the feeding spots in Gadchiroli district in bordering Maharashtra, where similar conservation efforts are on.

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Rare frog found in Adilabad’s Bejjur forest

Lucky find:The painted Indian frog that was found on the campus of the Bejjur Forest Office.— Photo: Special Arrangement

Lucky find:The painted Indian frog that was found on the campus of the Bejjur Forest Office.— Photo: Special Arrangement

The discovery of the Indian Painted Frog is important as it falls outside the mapped distribution area of the species

The critically endangered Indian vulture — also known as Gyps Indicus — is not the only rare inhabitant of Bejjur forest in Adilabad. The 253 square kilometre thickly forested area abutting the banks of Pranahita river on the eastern side of this district is a biodiversity haven, a fact which has re-emerged thanks to the recent discovery of a rare frog in the area.

On September 16, Polasa Tirupathi, a bird tracker working with the Forest Department, spotted a painted frog — the Uperodon Taprobanicus — on a tree within the campus of the Bejjur Forest Range office. “We had a hunch that this has to be a rare species when we first saw it,” recalled an excited Bejjur Forest Range Officer, M. Ram Mohan, and Ravikanth Manchiryala, field biologist-researcher of the vulture conservation project, as they discussed the amphibian found for the first time in Telangana.

“Hyderabad based wildlife researchers from the Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University, B. Laxmi Narayana and B. Naresh, soon identified it as the Indian Painted Frog. More research revealed that the find was important as it fell outside the mapped distribution area of the Uperodon Taprobanicus, which extends from Sri Lanka to Bengal,” Mr. Manchiryala said.

The species of frog in question is found in tree holes, burrows, pollution-free wetland, and riverine areas, according to available record of its distribution.

Endemic species

“The find clearly indicates that the area supports various endemic and threatened species, and calls for improved conservation efforts,” opined the in-charge Bejjur Range Officer, A. Venkateshwarlu.

The Uperodon Taprobanicus belongs to microhylidae family and is listed as least concern species by the Switzerland based International Union for Conservation of Nature. The United Kingdom based International Reptile Conservation Foundation will publish it in the ‘Journal of IRCF Reptiles and Amphibians: Conservation and Natural History’.

The pristine Bejjur reserve forest on the Pranahita basin, which also boasts of the Peddavagu stream cutting across, is home to a host of species of flora and fauna. The over 50 types of trees include the tall Narepa Chettu, Hardwickia Binata, the insectivorous Drosera Burmanni, and the flagship Tectona Grandis or the famous teak.

Its wildlife includes the rare striped hyena, leopard, almost all the ungulates except the gaur, and even the tiger. There are around 16 species of raptors in addition to over 50 avian species and about 15 kinds of reptiles, besides about 10 species of amphibians.

Foresters seize Tiger skin, two men arrested

 http://andhrabuzz.com/foresters-seize-tiger-skin-two-men-arrested/

Foresters seize Tiger skin, two men arrested

A seven-year-old male tiger bearing the identity number M7 GBM and an 8 month old cub were poached around three months ago from the Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve. Their skin which was being stored at Dornala, under the Mirzapur forest division in Ongole district, was seized by forest officials on Saturday.

The officials arrested one G. Vijay Kumar and his father G. Chitti Babu for storing the tiger skin. But investigations revealed that they did not poach the animal.

Nagarjunasagar Srisa-ilam Tiger Reserve field director Rahul Pandey explained, “Following a tip-off division forest officer N. Khadhar Valli and his team raided the house of G. Vijay Kumar in Dornala and seized the skin of a 7-year-old male tiger and an 8-month-old cub. When matched with the picture of the male tiger skin, the database identified it as M7 GBM (a unique code given to tigers). However, the forest department does not have a database for cubs.”

“Going by the investigation report, the male tiger and the cub were poached three months ago. The arrested people have revealed the identity of the person who poached the animals. However, the two were just middlemen helping in storing the skin for sale. The cost of the skin would range between Rs. 3-4 lakh. The forest department and the local office is jointly trying to nab the poacher and identify the buyers,” added the officer.

Officials said the poached tiger was earlier mapped by forest units at Pangidi, Abrajkunta. The forest department has created a database of the 41 tigers in the reserve through camera mapping. Every tiger’s strip differs from another like human fingerprint.

As per the Wild Life Protection Act, poaching is non-bailable, and culprits will face seven years in prison. The Andhra Pradesh forest department, Wild Life Crime Control Bureau, and police are on high alert to check poaching.

 

Protecting the constituency of nature

Neha Sinha

MOVING BEYOND UTILITARIANISM: An eco-centric approach emphasises that different ecosystems , and the wildlife that depends on them, have an inherent right to exist at levels of ontology and altruism, untarred by how humans wish to exploit, manage or harness goods from them. Picture shows the Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh.
The HinduMOVING BEYOND UTILITARIANISM: An eco-centric approach emphasises that different ecosystems , and the wildlife that depends on them, have an inherent right to exist at levels of ontology and altruism, untarred by how humans wish to exploit, manage or harness goods from them. Picture shows the Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh.

With a new government that promises speedy decision-making — including time-bound environmental clearances — we also have a new form of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL). Shorn of the mandated numbers of expert members, this board appears to be committed to a leaner and meaner decision-taking body.

Many see this as an assault on the future of India’s varied and amazing wildlife. The Lion-tailed macaque from the moist forests of the Western Ghats, the secretive Great Indian bustard from the arid scrub of the Thar, and the tiger loping along the Central Indian forests are not just animals but forms of regional identity, whose breeding populations are mainly confined to our protected national parks and sanctuaries.

The NBWL considers proposals that affect these protected areas and their respective eco-sensitive zones. Mining, road development, land diversion, laying pipelines and other similar projects are considered by the board, which has governmental representation from tourism, defence or other ministries, as in current proposals.

Best interest standard

Shearing the NBWL of expert members — only three non-official members have been instituted, as against five non-governmental organisations and 10 expert members mandated by the Wildlife Protection Act — has been seen as an assault on the last “homes” of our charismatic and endangered species. An apex decision-making body that does not have the requisite number of different subject matter experts casts aspersions on our national goals of sustainable development and balanced growth.

Last year, the Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment (Centre for Environmental Law WWF-1 v. Union of India and Others), called for the establishment of “species best interest standard” for endangered species’ conservation. Stating that the protection of species should be free from profit, the judgment called for a fearless application of conservation plans with what it termed an “eco-centric approach” which would emphasise the species’ survival needs.

India has a variety of protected areas: some magnificent tiger reserves span different States; smaller State-level sanctuaries provide small but critical refuge to endemic and endangered species, and some protected reserves transform themselves with the seasonal migration of birds and turtles; from Kanha’s sal forests and Assam’s Kaziranga, to high-altitude wetlands in Tsomoriri, there are stunning catchments of water and soil and active carbon sinks.

An eco-centric approach emphasises that these ecosystems, and their wildlife, have an inherent right to exist at levels of ontology and altruism, untarred by how humans wish to exploit, manage or harness the natural goods from them. Indeed, our existing laws — the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and the Forest Rights Act, 2006 — call for an identification of inviolate reserves and critical wildlife habitats. Primary forests, once cut down, cannot be replenished completely for at least another 50 years; rivers, once polluted or diverted, cannot be replaced in a mechanical manner.

Only 5.2 per cent of India’s terrestrial area is protected for wildlife and nature. Conservationists have always held that if over 90 per cent of India’s land mass cannot provide for our needs, it is unlikely that the last five per cent — meant to be shielded from extractive processes — will. Thus, fears that a smaller NBWL, synergised with the government’s declared goal of speedy processing of environmental clearances, will deal an irreversible blow to our wildlife, are not unfounded. However, there is even more to be considered.

Models of growth

For decades, the conservation of species was seen to be dealing exclusively with the tiger, lion, turtle and other species. Over a period of time, these conservation norms have evolved. The world has also seen the formulation of the concept of sustainable development, which proposes models of growth that consider leaving a cleaner environment for future generations. Currently, a working group under the United Nations framework is creating Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). These 17 working goals, following 2012’s ‘Rio+ 20’ summit, recognise the need for biodiversity and environment protection, arguing that safe, sustainable and healthy environments (or as an extension, states and countries) require strong biodiversity and nature conservation.

Even before these ideas came to light, India had its own National Biodiversity Targets which emphasise that environmental conservation is to be mainstreamed into our planning processes and development goals. While some may view this as idealistic, increasing evidence also shows that this is practical.

At a cost

Environmental degradation comes at a cost to the economy. If big projects march on without risk and sustainability assessments, they will come at a cost which we will start to pay sooner than anticipated.

Rules mandating inviolate areas can be considered charismatic and burdensome in equal measure. But they also protect catchments of our reserves which we will need for the future of our development. Can growth, at any cost, actually pay the costs of environmental risk, resource scarcity and calamity? Most of our rivers originate from, or flow through, our 45 tiger reserves. Forests, protected in large measure by the umbrella of sanctuaries monitored by the NBWL, are agents that stabilise microclimate, bringing rain and flood control. As events preceding last year’s Uttarakhand flash floods showed us, construction on the flood plains of Himalayan rivers — technically deemed ‘eco-sensitive zones’ —is entirely possible. It may not however, be wise.

Development is not just about human creation, but about the development of social and health indices of which a clean environment is an integral part. The question of a smaller NBWL, sans subject experts thus, is one that is related to our fundamental right to life and a clean environment.

The NBWL should be reconstituted in consonance with the Wildlife Protection Act, not just for the sake our animals, but also for our own identification as a proud nation with a proud natural heritage. The constituency of nature exceeds the constituency of people and animals, and protecting it, with the help of technocratic expertise and without haste, suits both democratic processes and our own development as Indian citizens.

(Neha Sinha is with the Bombay Natural History Society. The views expressed are personal.)

 

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Big cats return to the forests of Adilabad

 S. Harpal Singh

Sighting of three more tigers by villagers bears testimony to the efficacy to the slew of measures initiated by the Forest Department

Picture of one of the four tigers, sighted recently in the forests of Adilabad, captured by a camera trap.— PHOTO: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Picture of one of the four tigers, sighted recently in the forests of Adilabad, captured by a camera trap.— PHOTO: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Conservationists in Adilabad have tasted rare success, with camera traps in forests capturing the pictures of four tigers . At one point of time in the past there were none in the forests of Sirpur-Kagaznagar in the district. The tigers, it is being said, have returned to the forests cause of its excellent prey base.

Given the scope, only some thrust is needed, to protect and revive the uniquely pristine forests and environment in Adilabad district which were once famous for supporting a great range of biodiversity.

Though presence of only two tigers in the Sirpur forest range of Kagaznagar Division, and the one in Vemanpalli range, has been confirmed through camera traps, villagers have sighted two more in the jungles of Sirpur-Kagaznagar and one in Mangi forests. If the sightings are found to be correct, it will also prove the efficacy of protection measures initiated by the Forest Department.

“The department is eagerly awaiting the green signal for its proposed plan on tiger protection, including in Kawal Tiger Reserve, from the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

Already, coordination between forest officials of Maharashtra and Telangana has begun to keep a close watch on the movement of the big cats in question,” revealed Adilabad Conservator of Forests, T.P. Thimma Reddy.

“The Sirpur tigers, both females, have come from Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Chandrapur of Maharashtra and have marked their territory in our forest which indicates they are here to stay. There is abundant prey in the form of wild boars and spotted deer for them to survive here comfortably,” observed Kagaznagar Divisional Forest Officer M. Siva Prasad as he confirms the presence of tigers.

NSTR may see 3-fold rise in tiger population
The Nagarjuna Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR), India’s largest Tiger reserve, could see a three-fold increase in the number of tigers, according to experts.If one were to go by the Hayward equation (a predictive system used by National Tiger Conservation Authority to compute the carrying capacity of tiger reserves based on total core forest and prey density), NSTR has a carrying capacity of five to six Tigers for every 100 sq km, which translates to about 175 to 210 Tigers for the entire 3500 sq km of core forest, provided they are properly looked after. “Tiger density in NSTR’s core comprising Telangana and AP roughly stands at 1.9 for every 100 sq km. Technically, if we go by Hayward equation, their numbers could reach up to 170, if the dense cover remains intact without any change in their habitat and prey animals,“ said Rahul Pandey , AP field director of NSTR.The NSTR has over 5,937 sq km of forest area, including 3,500 sq km of core forest area, and is home to chital, sambar, wild boar, nilgai and mouse deer in sufficient numbers as preys for tigers. Also, authorities in the NSTR region, covering Nalgonda, Mahbubnagar, Kurnool, Prakasam and Guntur districts had, by and large, managed to keep the core forest ar ea intact against odds.According to biennial reports released by the Forest Survey of India in 2011 and 2013, the forest cover in Nalgonda and Mahbubnagar remained unchanged at 154 sq km and 1,942 sq km respectively .
Similarly , while the forest cover in both Guntur and Kurnool remained constant at 864 sq km and 2,109 sq km respectively , Prakasam with 3,307 sq km of forest cover, reported a loss of only 6 sq km of forest area, which is reportedly outside NSTR.Asmall but loyal army of about 350 Sugalis and Chenchu tribals, manning 70 camps with five in each camp, keep a watch on poachers inside NSTR roundthe-clock.

Forest Dept. ignores stray tigress’ protection in Andhra Pradesh

S. Harpal Singh

The stray tiger in Nilwai forest range.
Special Arrangement The stray tiger in Nilwai forest range.
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Tigers have no safety in Andhra Pradesh. So it seems given the cavalier attitude of the AP Forest Department towards protection of the big cat.

It is two months since a tiger has strayed into the Nilwai forest range in Adilabad, but the Department has not initiated proper steps to protect it from poaching which, unfortunately is rampant in these parts. The Forest Department has also drawn severe criticism for the manner in which the Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) in the district is being managed.

“The Department is in a state of decay,” remarks Mancherial MLA G. Arvind Reddy, who is the member of the AP Legislative Assembly Committee on Wildlife and Environment Protection Committee as he talks of tiger conservation in the State with particular reference to that in the district. “Unlike the other 40 tiger reserves in the country, the DFOs at KTR and the Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve also manage part of territorial divisions which is a diversion from the basic task of wildlife protection,” he adds reasoning out for being critical of the Department.

Though Mancherial DFO B. Prabhakar has initiated some steps towards protection of the stray tiger which has since been identified as a three-year-old healthy female, he is definitely handicapped in terms of staff. The Nilwai range has five posts of beat officers and the post of Forest Range Officer (FRO) vacant. “Yes, we need all the hands to provide more protection to the wild animal. It being a tigress, there is all likelihood of the animal staying back in these parts and attracting males from other places,” says Mr. Prabhakar.

The Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society (HyTICOS), which is actively involved in keeping the stray tigress in ‘sight’, wants the government to post a FRO each for manning the tiger corridor areas and for coordinating anti-poaching efforts of the Department in the district. “While the former can sanitise the corridor for tigers to migrate into KTR and other conducive places, the latter would effectively check poaching to make life easier for the wild animals especially the prey base of tigers,” opines Imran Siddiqui of the HyTICOS.

 

Adivasis protest film shooting at Kuntala

 

A group of Adivasis discussing the impact of the film shooting and proposal to set up a mini hydel power plants at Kuntala waterfall in Adilabad on Tuesday. Photo: S. Harpal Singh
The Hindu A group of Adivasis discussing the impact of the film shooting and proposal to set up a mini hydel power plants at Kuntala waterfall in Adilabad on Tuesday. Photo: S. Harpal Singh

It will violate the sanctity of the temple located at the waterfall, they say

The Adivasi Students Union (ASU) and the Tudum Debba besides a host of other tribal organisations on Tuesday staged a protest demanding stopping of shooting of a film at the scenic Kuntala waterfall in Neredigonda mandal of Adilabad district. They also protested against the proposal to set up mini-hydel power plants one each on the Kuntala waterfall and a fall near Kupti village.

To launch agitation

A group of Adivasis belonging to these organisations held a meeting at the top of the waterfall in this connection and raised the demand for suspending of the film shooting with the representatives of the film company.

They also resolved to launch an agitation along with the Kuntala Parirakshana Samiti to oppose the setting up of the two power plants.

ASU district president Vedma Bojju and Tudum Debba district president Mesram Sudershan and Kanaka Ambaji Rao and others told newsmen at the picnic spot that the shooting of film could cause sacrilege of their sacred temple located at the waterfall.

They said the power plants would pose several problems to the Adivasis in Neredigonda and Kadem mandals.

The tribal leaders said 5,000 tribal families in 200 villages would be affected by the power plants as 20,000 hectares would be deprived of water.

The plants had no economic value for tribal people as it would neither create employment nor supply electricity to the villages here.

“The power plants will have an impact on the wildlife besides degrading environment.

They will also result in pollution,” Mr. Bojju said.

 

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Stray tiger caught on wildlife camera in Adilabad

S. Harpal Singh

The blurred image of thestray tiger caught on wildlife camera.
The blurred image of thestray tiger caught on wildlife camera.
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The tiger which recently strayed into Nilwai forest in Adilabad district was finally caught on the wildlife camera, which has given wildlife conservationists good enough reason to feel jubilant. The latter say this development is important as it will help chalk out plans for the protection of the great cat culminating in the development of the adjacent Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) as a prime tiger habitat.

About a dozen wildlife cameras were set up in the Nilwai forest from where reports of cattle being killed kept emerging since the last couple of months. Finally, the image of this lone tiger was caught on one of the cameras between Baddampally and Nakkalapally villages, according to Jannaram Wildlife Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), G. Rama Krishna Rao, who is involved in monitoring the movement of the tiger.

“In addition to physical protection, we are in the process of creating food and water resources for the animal in Nilwai forest keeping in view the summer season. We have deployed additional manpower and created awareness through wall posters in the villages in the area about the need for protecting the tiger and punishment for poaching,” reveals B. Prabhakar, Mancherial DFO of some of the measures initiated so far to save the tiger.

As many as 15 persons including research assistants Yellam from KTR and Bharat from the Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society (HyTICOS), an NGO involved in conservation in (KTR), are involved in the protection of the great cat. Their efforts are concentrated on curbing poaching which has led to the removal of electrified fencing around agriculture fields and curbing of poisoning of cattle carcasses in the area.

“The best method to protect the tiger, however, will be to radio collar it, which will enable regular monitoring of its movements,” says Imran Siddqui of the HyTICOS. An easy option would be to extend permission given to radio collar straying tigers from the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Chandrapur in Maharashtra to this animal,” he adds.

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Encroachments, fragmentation impact tiger migration

S. Harpal Singh

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/encroachments-fragmentation-impact-tiger-migration/article5271406.ece

Kawal Tiger Reserve
Special Arrangement Kawal Tiger Reserve
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India

According to conservationists tracking its progress, a two-year-old has strayed into Nilwai Forest Range via Bejjur forests from Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve or the Kannergaon Proper Sanctuary in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra because of hurdles in the corridor leading to Kawal Tiger Reserve

Encroachments in forests and fragmentation of wild habitats caused due to construction of dams, canals and roads is showing a severe impact on conservation efforts in Adilabad, especially in cutting off corridors of tiger migration.

The restlessness being exhibited by the Nilwai tiger, a two-year old juvenile which was recently been spotted in Nilwai Forest Range in this district, has exposed these aspects.

According to conservationists tracking its progress, the tiger has strayed into Nilwai Forest Range via Bejjur forests either from Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) or the Kannergaon Proper Sanctuary in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra because of hurdles in the corridor leading to Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR). It now finds itself locked within a territory, the hostility of which has been accentuated by lack of prey and fragmentation of habitat by irrigation bodies and mining activity towards Bellampally.

“Had there been contiguity in vegetation, the tiger would have crossed into Bellampally forests and continued to Tiryani and thence to KTR,” opines Imran Siddiqui of the Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society (HYTICOS), who is associated with conservation in the nascent Tiger Reserve here. He says for tigers to migrate to KTR, it is essential that the corridor from TATR be developed into a ‘least cost path’ for the great cats by removing the hurdles be it encroachments or clearings in the forests.

“The surplus lands (after allocation of rights on forest lands under the Forest Rights Act) still under the control of tribal people should be subjected to reforestation by taking the aboriginals into confidence and conducting gram sabhas for the purpose. Reforestation should comprise plantation of trees which give supplemental income through non-timber forest produce,” the conservationist suggests.

The most important of the areas which need to be developed as least cost paths fall between Sirpur (T) and Asifabad mandals.

The encroachments in the Dhanora Reserve Forest towards KTR core area in Jannaram mandal also need to be cleared.

“KTR has bright prospects of attracting tigers from elsewhere owing to the recent increase in prey population. The great cats sighted earlier in Satnala forests near Adilabad (2011) and elsewhere can feel safe once the environment favours their migration to this facility,” Mr. Siddiqui hopes.

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Relocate villages from tiger reserve: study

S. Harpal Singh

A herd of gaur or Indian Bison forms part of the tiger prey in Kawal Tiger Reserve in Adilabad.
Special Arrangement A herd of gaur or Indian Bison forms part of the tiger prey in Kawal Tiger Reserve in Adilabad.
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Relocation of a few tribal villages from the Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) in Adilabad district as an important measure towards improvement of the habitat has once again come to the fore following the recent submission of a technical report on monitoring of tiger prey in its core area. Stressing upon voluntary shifting of villages, the report is based on a study conducted Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society (HYTICOS), with the support of Panthera, a globally leading tiger conservation outfit which, among other things assessed the effectiveness of management interventions at the newest of such Reserves in the country.

“There is a remarkable improvement in prey density in KTR since the management intervention of the last two or three years. There is an overall biomass availability of over 1,700 kg per square kilometre now which is sufficient to support 20 to 30 tigers in the core area of KTR,” says Imran Siddiqui, of the HYTICOS, as he reveals the findings of the study.

The density of ungulates in these parts is abysmally low at 0.64 sambars and 3.2 chitals per sq km when compared to the 10.7 and 38.4 at the famous Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan. The study nonetheless, records a great leap in the density of wild pigs or wild boars at 22.8 per sq km to just 3.6 at RTR.

“In order to realise the full potential of the facility to support tigers and its prey, conservation efforts need to be strengthened further. Relocation of those villages which have already adopted a resolution to that effect, reduction in pressure on forests by controlling cattle grazing and poaching can do wonders,” he adds of some of the suggestions made in the scientific study.

The villages of Alinagar, Dongapalli, Malial and Maisampet located in the core area of KTR have long since resolved to accept the government’s offer of a relocation package. There is a delay in shifting however, as tribals in other habitations on the fringes or located close to the Reserve also apprehend being uprooted.

“There is also a dire need to realign the present Nirmal-Luxettipet road which cuts through the Tiger Reserve causing a lot of disturbance in the prime habitat. The traffic can be diverted after stengthening the old road connecting all 40 villages located along the banks of river Godavari,” Mr. Siddiqui suggests.

Ban on heavy vehicles in KTR soon

Flow of heavy traffic through the Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) in Adilabad<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> is a cause for concern. Photo: S. Harpal Singh
Flow of heavy traffic through the Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) in Adilabad is a cause for concern. Photo: S. Harpal Singh

The Andhra Pradesh government will soon ban heavy vehicular traffic in the Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) of Adilabad district in order to ensure protection of wildlife and development of the entity as an environmental haven.

This decision of great significance in the area of Tiger reserve management was taken at the January 29 meeting of the State Board for Wildlife chaired by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and was subsequently communicated to the Forest department here for implementation.

A date for curbing the movement of heavy vehicles is likely to be decided when top Forest officials meet Collector A. Ashok here on Tuesday.

The district administration needs at least a few days to gear up for the situation as a ban could result in large scale dislocation in the flow of goods transportation between North and the South.

By implementing a blanket ban on heavy vehicular traffic through this youngest of the Tiger Reserves in the country, the State government will be setting a benchmark in the field of wildlife conservation, opine environment enthusiasts.

South bound heavy vehicles, including 40 tonner behemoths, began using the Gudihatnoor-Utnoor-Jannaram-Luxettipet road cutting through the KTR as an alternate route towards Vijayawada, Rajahmundry and Visakhapatnam since the advent of the four lane national highway-7 with toll plazas about four years ago.

Passing through Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam districts, the truckers save about 250 km in distance travelled and about Rs. 3,000 as toll fee at the 8 plazas on NH-7, NH-9 and NH-5.

“Our survey shows that about 1,000 lorries of two and multiple axles take this diversion from the NH-7 every day in addition to the 700 four and seven tonners plying between destinations within the district,” reveals D. Srinath Reddy, area manager of Roll Mamda and Gamjal toll agency Eagle Infra India Ltd, to show the seriousness of the problem.

Kawal tigers to get new lease of life

Forest Officials Plan To Increase No. Of Big Cats In The Sanctuary To 30 In 10 Years

Mir Ayoob Ali Khan TNN

Hyderabad: After declaring Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary as an exclusive tiger territory last year, the forest department has prepared a detailed conservation plan to help increase the population of the big cat from a mere four to 30 within 10 years. The plan, which is being examined by the state government, will be sent to Delhi soon for endorsement and its formal implementation would begin by April end.
“We have the full backing of the state and central governments. In fact, preliminary work on the implementation of the plan has already begun. With the formal clearance, the process would gain momentum. We believe that in the next 10 years, the tiger population in Kawal could grow to a viable number of 25 or 30,” chief wildlife warden A V Joseph told TOI.
Echoing the belief of his chief, Project Tiger director A K Naik said that the tiger conservation plan which has been readied for Nagarjuna Srisailam Tiger Reserve and Kawal Tiger Reserve aims, as a first step, to secure the area for the tiger ‘source population’, which, in the case of Kawal, is only between four and six.
The plan focuses on three components – core, buffer and corridor. In Kawal, the core area spreads over 892 sq km while the buffer area consists of 1,123 sq km. There is also a corridor that connects the Kawal sanctuary in Adilabad district with the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. The latter reserve reportedly has 70 tigers and several cubs, many of who wander into Kawal between September and December every year.
For the core area, the plan envisages enhancing security cover, improving forest cover, helping the prey base to grow and ensuring availability of water during all seasons, especially in the scorching summer. The buffer area serves as the ‘no conflict zone’ between man and wildlife, where the two can cohabit peacefully. Therefore, it does not require as rigorous management as in the case of the core area. The only important measure here is to regulate the activities of forest users. The plan for the corridor is to ensure necessary security so that animals continue their seasonal migration without fear of poachers and hunters.
“We intend to focus on the growth of the resident population of tigers in Kawal and also make the area attractive for those who come from across the state border to settle down permanently,” Naik said.

File photo of a tiger at the Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary
Today’s Paper » NATIONAL » ANDHRA PRADESH

UDUMPUR (ADILABAD DT.), March 28, 2013

Crop shield spells doom for birds

S. Harpal Singh

Skewed protection:A bird trapped in a fishing net put up to protect agricultural field from monkeys, in Udumpur village of Kadem mandal in Adilabad.-PHOTO: S. HARPAL SIngh

Skewed protection:A bird trapped in a fishing net put up to protect agricultural field from monkeys, in Udumpur village of Kadem mandal in Adilabad.-PHOTO: S. HARPAL SIngh

The fishing nets used by farmers in the hilly and forested areas of Adilabad to protect crops from monkeys have brought doom for birds in the wild. Though the tall plastic nets erected along the perimeter of agriculture fields have deterred simians from raiding standing crops, these are acting as snares for unsuspecting birds.

Tens of birds like the shikra, owl, partridge, quail and pigeon can be found entangled in the mesh in fields in Udumpur and Alampalli in Kadem mandal. The loss may seem to be negligible in terms of harm to the eco system, but conservationists are worried that the phenomenon could take the shape of poaching of birds in the garb of protecting crops.

“We hardly have a role to play when it comes to protecting crops from monkeys,” reveals Jannaram Wildlife Division Forest Officer G. Rama Krishna Rao, who also looks after the Kawal Tiger Reserve, as he explains the gamut to The Hindu . “Respective gram panchayats or other local bodies concerned, need to take care of the problem by sterilising the simians in the area to control their population by obtaining necessary permission from the State Chief Wildlife Warden,” he adds. Donthula Shravan Kumar, a farmer from Udumpur says the menace has surfaced two years back when hundreds of monkeys from elsewhere were released into the forests. “After losing much crop initially we experimented with fencing the fields with nets and found it an effective means of controlling monkey invasions”, the farmer recalls.

Meanwhile, the Wildlife Forest Division at Jannaram will implement a new plan to erect fencing around fields to control crop damage by wild boars which is the most troublesome of the problem. The initial fencing will be done at a cost of Rs. 40 lakh in the next financial year, according to Mr. Rama Krishna Rao.

“The low chain link fence goes about 20 cm deep inside the soil too to prevent wild boars from digging the earth and entering fields,” the DFO reveals. “We will enlist farmers who need such protection for their crops soon,” he adds.

Plastic nets erected along the perimeter of agriculture fields by farmers to protect their crops from monkeys are turning as snares for birds

JANNARAM (ADILABAD DIST.), February 15, 2013

Traffic check in Kawal Tiger Reserve

S. Harpal Singh

Safety measure:Workers burning dry leaves as part of fire line operations in the Kawal Tiger Reserve in Adilabad.—PHOTO: S. HARPAL SINGH

Safety measure:Workers burning dry leaves as part of fire line operations in the Kawal Tiger Reserve in Adilabad.—PHOTO: S. HARPAL SINGH

Concerned over the ever increasing vehicular traffic on roads passing through the Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) in Adilabad district, the government has issued orders restricting the speed limit to 30 km per hour. The first of its kind order, issued by Andhra Pradesh Chief Wildlife Warden A.V. Joseph, will be implemented soon on those stretches of Utnoor-Indhanpalli and Nirmal-Luxettipet roads which fall within the KTR. “This is necessary to make life more secure for the precious wild fauna here. The disturbance due to vehicular traffic needs to be drastically decreased for the convenience of the wild animals,” says Jannaram Divisional Forest Officer G. Rama Krishna Rao, about the latest development.

Speed-breakers

Among the steps already taken for reducing disturbance to animals is the Forest department getting the R&B lay six speed-breakers on these roads. “Four more will come up at other locations as per the decision of the State Wildlife Advisory Board headed by Speaker Nadendla Manohar,” the DFO points out.

“The Board has selected the spots for speed-breakers based on our survey of animal crossing points on the roads. Removal of the speed breakers needs the consent of the Board itself,” he adds, as he answers questions on complaints being received about the speed-breakers.

Fire line operations

The KTR management has also started fire line operations for the season which incorporate controlled burning away of dry leaves along the roads in question. The fire line runs about 10 metres deep in the forest along the edge of the road which will prevent break out of accidental fire and prevent damage to precious flora and fauna.

Drinking water

Preparations have also been made to provide drinking water to wild animals through cement saucers at about 40 places where the natural source cannot be improved. “Water will be filled in the saucers at regular intervals for making life a bit easier for wild animals here,” Mr. Rama Krishna Rao says.

To make life more secure and reduce disturbance for wild animals, speed limit on roads passing through the forest restricted to 30 km per hour

Kawal tiger reserve a green oasis

ADILABAD, October 1, 2012

S. Harpal Singh

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Safe haven:A pack of wild dogs in the Kawal Tiger Reserve in Adilabad district.— PHOTO: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Safe haven:A pack of wild dogs in the Kawal Tiger Reserve in Adilabad district.— PHOTO: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

If a habitat should ever be likened to an oasis the nascent Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) in Adilabad, the 42nd of its kind in the country, will fit the bill. While habitats in general are dwindling rapidly in this environmental haven of a district, the KTR has brought much hope of survival for some of the rare and not so rare species of flora and fauna within.

Though this newest Tiger Reserve in India was notified in April this year, conservation work had started over one year back in the Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary, as it was known earlier, spread over an area of 893 sq km encompassing pristine dry deciduous forests. “It was a judicious mix of enforcement and awareness that caused the welcome turnaround in terms of environmental protection here,” says Jannaram Wildlife Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) G. Rama Krishna Rao. “As a result of initiation of a plethora of conservation measures at KTR the prey population necessary for survival of keystone species like wild dogs and leopards has gone up. While wild dog packs are more visible now, the increase in population of leopards is evident from the ever increasing goat kills near habitations inside the Reserve,” the DFO, who shot the picture of wild dogs, says while talking of the indicators which denote improvement of the habitat.

The Reserve boasts of nurturing rare combinations of wild animal species like the wild dogs and wolves. Also unique is the presence of four types of antelopes in the same habitat besides that of the Indian gaur, the 4th largest land animal in the world.

“Nowhere in the country do the black buck, four horned antelope, Indian gazelle and nilgai exist in the same habitat. In Andhra Pradesh, the Indian gaur can be found in the Polavaram area besides KTR,” the DFO explains.

There are over 673 species of plants and trees comprising of the floral diversity at the KTR. “These species are safe now as we have curbed entry of over 50,000 migratory cattle besides imposing justifiable restriction on movement of local domestic animals,” Mr. Rama Krishna Rao says about the control on disturbance inside the forests.

Among other developments in terms of habitat development at the Tiger Reserve is release of 150 cheetals as prey population recently and setting up of a check post at Muthampet to check poaching and timber smuggling. While the traditional sources of water were improved, some new ones also have been established in the jungles.

The Reserve boasts of nurturing rare combinations of wild animal species like wild dogs and wolves

Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Saturday, Jan 01, 2011

 Disturbing trend in Kawwal sanctuary S. Harpal Singh


The reluctance of officials in registering cases against poachers is evident from the disparity in number of traps seized and cases booked



Alarming:Jannaram forest officials displaying animal and bird traps that were seized during recent anti-poaching activity.

JANNARAM (ADILABAD DT.): If the healthy growth of wildlife population in forests of Adilabad is a happy augury, the sharp rise in instance of animal poaching has become a disturbing factor. A marked reluctance in forest authorities to book cases for violations even in the environmentally sensitive Kawwal Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) is alleged to be the major reason for their failure to deter poaching in the pristine habitat.

The reluctance of officials in registering cases against poachers is evident from the disparity in number of traps seized and the number of cases booked. While over 50 snares and traps were seized from tribals recently only one case of poaching was booked during 2009-2010.

The Department has booked only a dozen cases, including the electrocution of a panther in Laxmipur of Kadem range early in 2009, during the last five years in KWS. These and many other cases under relevant Forest Acts from earlier years continue to be ‘under trial’ indicating the Department is ill-equipped to prosecute offenders.

Exhibiting the different kinds of traps, spring mechanism snares, electricity conducting wires and drag nets, Jannaram Forest Range Officer R. Uttam Rao says tribals hunt the nilgai, wild boar, spotted deer, rabbits, peacocks and other fowl. “These animals are killed either to keep them away from destroying standing crops or for their meat,” he says.

Animal trackers however, point out instances when poachers belonging to neighbouring districts were caught hunting animals. “They were let off even after being caught red handed,” says a tracker on conditions of anonymity.

“Poaching is mostly restricted to the villages of Malyal, Maisampet, Islampur, Dongapalli and Alinagar and their surroundings. Neither officials nor animal trackers dare to set foot in some of the areas under these villages,” adds the tracker as he talks of the difficulties that face anti poaching drives.

 

Boo-Paratam: The illegal felling saga of Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary

Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary

Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary - Sanctuary Photo LibraryDecember 2007: In September 2007, members of the Left parties, including the Communist Party of India (Marxist), along with hundreds of locals, entered the Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh, armed with axes, to vandalise and clear the forest to make way for cultivation.   With inputs from Asif Siddiqui, HYTICOS.

Since the beginning of the agitation in Adilabad last July (in what was termed ‘bhooporatam’ or ‘struggle for land’, they indiscriminately felled thousands of trees and ploughed some of the land), around 631 acres of thick forest at 10 different locations within the sanctuary have been destroyed and encroached upon. The Nirmal and Jannaram forest divisions have been particularly affected. A Times of India report, published on September 30, 2007, suggests that around 8,684 trees, including 2,884 mature teak trees, also have been illegally cut in Adilabad district. Forested land on the banks of the Pedda Vagu rivulet, near Dostnagar machaan, a regular tiger haunt in summer, has been particularly badly affected.

The forest department, expressing its inability to face such a large-scale assault, requested the Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy to provide armed police. The anticipation of the Forest Rights Act was the rationale behind this devastation. This was a repeat of the wanton attack by tribals about 30 years ago when nearly 6,000 ha. of forest were destroyed and 32 villages were established. In a recent development, the Chief Minister has been quoted as saying that he will regularise up to 10 acres of forest land occupied by tribals in the state within two to three months.

The Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary, located about 250 km. from Hyderabad in the Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh, covers 893.23 sq. km. of tropical dry deciduous teak forest with abundant bamboo, Terminalia and Bombax. Managed as a game reserve until 1965, it was declared a sanctuary in 1972 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act. The final notification was issued in August 1999, dividing the sanctuary into six ranges: Kadam, Pembi, Jannaram, Indanpally, Tadlapet and Birsaipet.

The sanctuary serves as a corridor connecting the southern forests of Andhra Pradesh to reserve forests of Maharashtra, which are connected to the forests of the Vidharbha region. It is a major source of water to the Kadam reservoir, which fills to prevent floods and then supplies water through the year to the Godavari river, the lifeline of the region. After it passes through the forest, the Godavari swells perceptibly after being renewed by the many streams that flow from the park. The sanctuary was once an important hunting ground for tigers for the Nizam of Hyderabad.

Tigers have also been recorded in the annual ‘tiger census’ of the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department. Apart from tigers, the sanctuary is home to leopard, gaur, chital, blackbuck, chinkara, wild pig, chowsingha, sloth bear, wolf, dhole and hyena. Most of these animals are listed in Schedule 1 and 2 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red Data list. More than 250 bird species have been recorded and the sanctuary is a stronghold for the Grey Gallus sonneratii and Red Gallus gallus Junglefowl, a rare domain overlap for both species. The felling is in direct violation of Supreme Court orders, but timber smugglers have been quick to take advantage of the free-for-all situation created by local politicians.

Locals, mainly Gond, Nayakpod and Kolam tribals, and Lambada, the Banjara gypsies, who depend on marginal farming for survival and are listed as scheduled castes and tribes, occupy around 70 villages within the sanctuary boundary. Each year, larger and larger tracts of forest continue to be cleared for agriculture by such communities that are relentlessly radiating outwards from their once tiny dwellings that comprised a few huts at best. Added to the impact on the forest is the effect of their cattle and sheep that range far into the sanctuary, exposing wild animals to diseases such as foot and mouth, and reducing the fodder available to wild herbivores.

If proponents of the Forest Rights Act were to visit Kawal, they would also see illegally-cut roads in the sanctuary that are used to evacuate timber and dredged sand from rivulets in hundreds of trucks. Of course, there has been a drastic decline in the tiger population, thanks to habitat loss, encroachments, revenge poisoning against cattle kills and the press of poaching gangs who operate with impunity under the protective umbrella of locals.
In 2007, 12 leopard skins and tiger nails were seized in the area and the involvement of local tribals was confirmed. According to the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), since 1997, about 20 tigers have been poached in the district. Unless urgent measures are taken, even the few tigers that survive could be lost forever; something that the Prime Minister’s Tiger Task Force would be well advised to examine, though it seems to have largely forgotten about tigers soon after preparing its report.
While a few NGOs such as HYTICOS, a small outfit working in the forests of northern Andhra Pradesh, have been working to tackle some of the issues, little else is being done by either social activists or political parties. If these people were truly keen to address the needs of locals, some kind of solution could surely be found.

Kawal represents the ugly side of the impact of the Forest Rights Act that is going to be faced by scores of Protected Areas across India. Restoring and protecting this sanctuary is vital not just for its wildlife, but for the value of the carbon it sequesters and stores and the ecosystem services it offers the nation and its people. Monitoring the faunal diversity of Kawal is merely a way of tracking whether we are going the right way in terms of protecting the forest itself. If we fail to do this, irrespective of the outcome of the battle between politicians and conservationists on the issue of the Forest Rights Act, India will be wounded, our water security left in tatters and our ability to counter climate change seriously compromised.

Sanctuary readers are encouraged to write expressing their concern for the fate of the Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary. Make the following points:

1. The sanctuary is home to India’s national animal and is the catchment area of the Godavari river. Its biodiversity has been rated as equal to the Nagarjuna-Sagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve. Protecting this forest is vital to the future food and water security of the people of Andhra Pradesh, already a drought-prone area.
2. The felling of trees in the Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary directly violates Supreme Court orders. Immediate steps must be taken to prevent illegal entry, encroachment, felling, logging, sand dredging and poaching in the forest.
3. The Andhra Pradesh Forest Department has displayed its helplessness to handle the situation in light of the political support enjoyed by the encroachers. A Central Team appointed by the Prime Minister must conduct a fact-finding visit and report to him in his capacity as Chairman of the National Board for Wildlife.
4. The State Government must be provided with resources to fortify its protection capability to prevent further destruction of the forest. The DFO should be given police assistance 24 hours x 365 days to overcome such outward incidents, and forest staff needs to be equipped with arms in the very near future.
5. Local leaders who, with the support of smugglers are misleading poor landless tribals to illegally cut and occupy forest land must be taken to task legally and arrests should be made immediately after an enquiry is held.
6. Tribal communities willing to move out of the Kawal Sanctuary should be offered land for land and a generous resettlement package that should be monitored by the Tribal Welfare Ministry at the rehabilitation sites, in consultation with social activists who are sensitive to their needs.

The Member Secretary,Central Empowered Committee,

Gate No. 31, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium,
Lodi Road,
New Delhi – 110 003.

Secretary to the Government of India,   Ministry of Environment and Forests,
Paryavaran Bhawan,
New Delhi.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests,
Aranya Bhavan,
Hyderabad,
Andhra Pradesh.

Minister for Forest, Environment, Science and Technology & Minor Irrigation,
AP Secretariat,
Block-D, 2nd Floor, Room – 326,
Hyderabad – 500 004.

Kawal To Become Tiger Reserve

An “in-principle” approval was accorded for the creation of the Kawal Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh, besides 5 other new tiger reserves.

9th Aug, 2011: The Centre on Tuesday revealed that an “in-principle” approval has been accorded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority for the creation of the Kawal Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh, besides 5 other new tiger reserves.

In a written reply to a question by Rajya Sabha Member Kanwar Deep Singh, Jayanthi Natarajan, who is the Minister Of State For Environment And Forests, said that besides the Kawal Sanctuary in AP, Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh, Ratapani in Madhya Pradesh, Sunabeda in Orissa, the Mukandara Hills (including Darrah, Jawahar Sagar and Chambal Wildlife Sanctuaries) in Rajasthan, and Kudremukh in Karnataka also received ‘in-principle’ approvals.

Bor in Maharashtra, Suhelwa in Uttar Pradesh, Nagzira-Navegaon in Maharashtra, Satyamangalam in Tamil Nadu, Guru Ghasidas National Park in Chhattisgarh, and Mhadei Sanctuary in Goa have, meanwhile, been advised to send in proposals for getting declared as Tiger Reserves.

Under Section 38 V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, state governments are authorised to notify an area as a tiger reserve on recommendation of the National Tiger Conservation Authority. (INN)

Rampant encroachment of forest land

S. HARPAL SINGH

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Villagers clear trees even as officials delay notification and development of KWS

Illegal action:Villagers felling trees to encroach the land in reserve forest near Kothurpalli in Jannaram mandal.— PHOTO: S. HARPAL SINGH

Illegal action:Villagers felling trees to encroach the land in reserve forest near Kothurpalli in Jannaram mandal.— PHOTO: S. HARPAL SINGH

If thick forests are essential for the survival of tigers, development of Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) as a tiger reserve is also imperative for protecting the fast vanishing jungles in this district. Any further delay in notifying KWS as the 41st tiger reserve in the country spells doom for whatever is left of the pristine forests here, opine experts.

The fresh encroachment by villagers from Kothurpalli, Kothurpalli Naikpod hamlet, Laxmipur Thanda, Manneguda, Alinagar and Dongapalli in an over 60-acre piece of reserve forest in Jannaram mandal is a case in point. Around 400 villagers cleared trees in compartment numbers 306, 307 and 308, located in the core area of the KWS, on February 11 apparently on the assumption that they will not be allowed to do so once KWS is declared as a tiger reserve.

Reluctance

The Union government, through the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), had issued a notification (on September 14, 2011) to transform the KWS as a tiger reserve because of its inherent potential in this regard. The State government, however, seems to be reluctant to issue the notification on its part.

Conservationists see two reasons for the delay in the State government delaying the relevant notification. “Opposition to establishment of the tiger reserve by local tribes is one and the seeming antipathy of higher officials in Hyderabad towards the project is the second but more important reason,” says an official summing up the perception of locals.

Cases registered

After the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, came into force, Forest officials are finding it increasingly difficult to keep under check illegal felling of trees by local tribal people. As many as 17 cases have been registered under Forest Laws against encroachers in the area since 2008 yet, there is no stopping the illegal activity.

“Our only hope lies in the tiger reserve becoming a reality. Besides better management of forests becoming a possibility, the mental makeup of villagers suggests that they will desist from forest degradation only after the notification,” points out the official.

Meanwhile, Forest officials have urged the Revenue authority at Jannaram to impose prohibitory orders in Kothurpalli and surrounding areas.

The encroachers are staying put despite appeals for vacating the place.

http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1188%3Akawal-wildlfife-sanctuary-early-warning-signs-of-the-impact-of-the-forest-rights-act&catid=119%3Acampaigns-archive&Itemid=54

 

State may recruit 1,700 forest beat officers

THE HINDU 10 August 2009

HYDERABAD: Proposals to recruit about 1,700 forest beat officers and 500 forest section officers are under the State government’s consideration. There are 2,916 beats each manned by an officer. In 1,458 assistant beat officers are working. Each beat covers an average area of about 24.4 square km.

The Forest Department is reorganising the beats to reduce their average area to 15 sq km in plains and 10 sq km in hilly areas, a press release said in response to a report published in these columns on August 4. According to the release, the department has been taking several measures to increase the forest protection, like formation of ‘Vana Samrakshana Samithis’ in a big way, in the last 15 years. In view of the increased threat to forest wealth from organised smugglers the department will increase the frontline field staff.

State to recruit forest guards V.N.Harinath

THE HINDU 4 August 2009

HYDERABAD: After sleeping since 2006 over the recommendations of the National Forest Commission—which reviewed the working of the forest and wildlife sectors—the State is taking steps to recruit forest guards as a move to protect its green cover, which is fast depleting on account of occupation and smuggling.

The steps come in the wake of initiatives by department officials who took up the implementation of the recommendations with new Forest Minister P. Ramachandra Reddy.

They urged him to take action to save the dwindling forest area.

Mr. Reddy told The Hindu that a process to recruit the forest guards after a gap of 50 years has been initiated. The number of posts, methodology of recruitment, guards’ areas of operation would be finalised shortly after he holds discussions with Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. The issue was being discussed at the Secretary-level.

The State Forest Administration has become top heavy, with a ten-fold increase in the strength of higher cadre officers during the last four decades.

Oddly, the staff meant to protect forests–like beat officers and assistant beat officers–has remained 2,916 and 1,456 respectively in 2009 as against 2,881 and 1,456 in 1965. Informed sources point out that the needs of guard and range officers, like quarters and vehicles, have been ‘neglected’.

In sharp contrast, the status of forest protection/development in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala is quite good, the sources assert. These States, with forest area of 22,628, 38,724 and 11,221 sq km respectively, have taken up intensive management with suitable unit areas of beat, ranges and divisions.

Although the State has 63,814 sq km of forest its ranges number 196, as against 459 in Tamil Nadu, 227 in Karnataka and 96 in Kerala. The neighbouring States have been able to achieve impressive results–in boosting forests after implementation the commission’s recommendations–whereas Andhra Pradesh has lagged behind on this score.

Four lakh hectares of forest is encroached in the State. Precious quality teak along the Godavari belt and sandalwood in Seshachalam area, in Chittoor district, have been lost due to lack of protection by guards and smuggling, according to the sources.

 

Encroachment on Forest Land in Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh

04 December 2009 10:30 IST
Local tribals have been engaged as protection watchers for the protection of the forests in the Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh. Awareness campaigns have been organized for sensitizing the villagers about the need for the protecting forest and wildlife. This was initiated after felling of 13246 trees during July 2007 to October 2007 by the encroachers. As per the information received from the State Government felling of trees have been made over an area of 399 ha in Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary. The state government has taken various steps against the guilty persons and to check and prevent further destruction of the forest area in the region to combat the encroachment. Fifty-three offence cases have been booked and 420 persons arrested and remanded to judicial custody. District Administration and Police Force have been involved to prevent the destruction of forests.

KP

Onus on State to prevent viral diseases in North Telangana

S. Harpal Singh

Data of field studies conducted in previous years are available now

Chandipura virus has a mortality rate of 50 to 90 p.c.

Children more susceptible to the disease

PHOTO: G. SANJEEV REDDY

Crime against nature: Deforestation of forests in Adilabad district by illegal felling of trees has been identified as major cause of epidemics. —

ADILABAD: The onset of summer has also signalled the not so distant arrival of the epidemic season that takes a heavy toll of lives in the North Telangana districts, especially in the agency areas of Adilabad district. With ample time still left, the government needs to take steps to pre-empt any outbreak of epidemical viral fevers as important findings from field studies conducted in previous years are available now.

The ‘Chandipura’ virus has been identified as the bugbear in instances of viral epidemics in the North Telangana districts of Warangal, Karimnagar and Adilabad.
Deforestation

More importantly, it has been established that heavy deforestation and major construction activity in the forest areas and the Godavari river belt to be the cause for this animal virus replicating in humans, chiefly the primitive tribes that inhabit these places.

Dr. Muttineni Radhakrishna, who did his Ph.D. in Virology from Kakatiya University and has worked in the three districts studying the causes of epidemics in the given specific areas, says the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, has identified the Chandipura virus as the culprit that has a deadly mortality rate of 50 to 90 per cent. The sandfly (phlebotomus mus) is its vector that is in abundance in the forests.
Disease dynamics

Explaining the disease dynamics, Dr. Radhakrishna says due to unchecked encroachment of the habitat of sandfly carrying wild animals, they move closer to human habitations, which is also a cause for decrease in their number.

The existence of this vector close to human habitations in forest areas is the cause of spread of the viral fevers though the Chandipura virus.

“Children are more susceptible to the fever that manifests within 48 hours. Whatever medicine is given to tribals during the problem period is akin to shooting in the dark,” he points out.
Plea for preparedness

The researcher suggests the government make pre pandemic preparedness to avoid looking askance once the epidemic breaks out. He is strongly in favour of collaboration between field studies and lab research.

“There is a dire need for establishment of at least a virology field laboratory in tribal areas. Use of computer software related to geographical information systems and satellite images from remote sensing will reveal in detail the mosquito breeding sites and the disease dynamics to prepare ‘route maps’ to inhibit the transfer of the pathogenic virus,” he opines.

Among the other suggestion given by Dr. Radhakrishna are advance supply of rapid detection kits to technical staff of the medical units, advance supply of mosquito nets and gearing up sanitation machinery.

Deforestation and spread of Virus.
Deforestation and spread of Virus.
‘Court nod must for forest land allotment’ Hyderabad: A division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice Vilas Afzulpurkar on Tuesday made it clear that no title deeds shall be given to forest dwellers under provisions of The Schedule Tribes and Other Traditi-onal Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 without obtaining prior permission from the court. The bench was passing these orders in a writ petition filed by J.V. Sharma, retired IFS officer and two others. — Legal Correspondent 

Leopard skins seized; two held

Staff Reporter, 5july 2008

HYDERABAD: A farmer who killed two leopards after trapping them using snares and his associate through whom he tried to sell the two hides were arrested by the police on Friday.

Two hides of leopards were seized from B. Rami Reddy, 38, hailing from Siddapuram of Kurnool district and his accomplice N. Shiva Prasad, 24. The Commissioner’s Task Force (Central) Inspector M. Srinivas told reporters that Reddy trapped the two leopards at his agricultural fields abutting Nallamala forest.

Later, he sought Prasad’s help to find buyers for the hides and both of them came to the city.

On a tip-off, police picked them up near lower Tank Bund.

Illegal felling is Rampant, A important area to work on.

Illegal Felling is Ramapant in forest of Andhra Pradesh, A major concern.

Kids for Tigers is a Major Programme for awareness

“Kids for Tigers”, is a major programme undertaken by Hyticos.

Hyticos Volunteers at work.

The encroached plateaus

Illegal Cultivations on Plateaus is not uncommon. A important area to address.

The dark Bamboo forest of Adilabad that needs to be conserverd

Forest Staff After training.

Hyticoz is doing it for tomorrow, for our planet, for ourself and for our future. Its a good initiative started and it should now give the message to the other parts of the world to protect the wild life.

Rajeshwar

A great job has been done by the Hyticos . From the beginning they have led the support all the way for preserving the nature , but the recent Tiger census conducted on March 2012 in Andhra Pradesh by APFD , Hyticos and other societies has not been made clear to the public , many wild life enthusiasts have been waiting for the number of Tigers in Andhra Pradesh . We have seen that only Andhra Pradesh along with Madhya Pradesh has seen a drastic fall in the numbers of Tigers by the census which was conducted in 2011 . Please! make sure to notify the tiger population .

I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your site.
It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often.
Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Outstanding work!

Hyticos doing best job….
But by baning heavy vehciles on adilabad to mancherial road… this area will not be able to devlop nd many more members are living in this area by hotels, selling vegitables, tyre puncture, panshopes,etc business depending on lorries. ANd now they are lossing their business by baning lorries on this road. Many more hotels nd restuarents are closed. And also major mandals business also in losse by this dicision. If business is in lose then this area will not devlope in future any case. and this road is very shortcut road to vijayawada warangal karimnagar to haryana maharastra rajastan gujarath like north state vehicles. They are also in loss by baning vehicles in kawwal tiger zone. I request hyticos to survey about baning vehciles. And suggest forest officers to take this decision back(reallow vehciles in KTR) and support for devloping this area.

    Thanks Syed. We have to set our priorities. Speak to people in Jannaram. It is growing like ever the local vehicles of district are notstopped. People passing through Jannaram were avoiding Toll Tax on NH 7. It was the major concern for government. There is no ban on vehicles but other state vehicles using Kawal as Bypass is stopped. I think that is fair enough. Having said that atleast 5% of Telangana should be kept intact for our own water security. Kawal is catchment to Kadam, Vattivagu, Godavari. There would be flooding in Godavari without Kawals forests and Yellampali would be soon silted. Kawal is key for Telangana and Karimnagar. Please lets make Telangana prosperous.


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