State of the Tiger

Old Feb 13th, 2008, 01:10 PM
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No doubt this is bad news, but not a surprise when you think about stories from Sariska and Ranthambore. Even though I have had amazing sightings in Africa the tiger I saw in Chitwan National Park in Nepal is still my best wildlife encounter ever, so it almost breaks my heart to think that my son (3 years old) maybe never will se a tiger in the wild.(He have been to Africa already and liked it a lot )

But in all the bad news I find it important to get some good news out The India Goverment have increase the amount of money the will use to save the tigre with 400%, so the funding will be around 150 million US$ over the next 5 years.

And even though we propably never will see an siberian tiger in the wild, the latest census showed that their numbers have gone up to around 500 now.
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 02:34 PM
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yes... the government...has...increased the funding...you can read at http://www.wildlifeextra.com/tiger-conservation729.html

predator... the polar bear too faces a huge problem because of the global warming... the polar ice cap has gone down dramatically... check the snow and ice data centre... check this out http://nsidc.org/ also have a great trip to the serengeti and see alot of lions....
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 03:43 PM
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As far as I know CCA aren't a conservation body, they are hotel/lodge/resort operators. Their presence can only provide economic stimulants that will employ impoverished communities.

This model of ecotourism has worked well for them in Africa, it will be interesting to see how their presence improves the livelihoods of the communities surrounding the parks in India. By now they should have assisted to establish a network of industries around their lodges for the supply of services. Services such as vehicle workshops, laundry facilities, fresh food supply etc.

Hari do you know if that is evident? If not then I don't envisage any dramatic changes in the tiger spiral story as there will not have been significant enough financial change for the locals. It can be argues that it is from within these communities that the poachers are sourced.
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 04:39 PM
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Hi Mkhonzo,

When i went to their Baghvan lodge, they had employed some people from the local community, but, many of their waiters, chefs etc etc., were all from one or more of the Taj hotels already trained in service, people skills etc etc., However, you are right! It's unlikely to expect them to save the Tiger - not going to happen!!!


Jesron,

Yes, increased Govt funding - but, the problem isn't the lack of funding or finances here in India or to the Govt ....... the main problem is the corrupt officials themselves. I can't see the light at the end of the tunnell.


My Dog Kyle,
Corbett is one of the parks with good results and Tiger numbers. One of the findings from the current census.

Amol,
I agree to what you have to say - the Chinese consumer with their idiotic mythical beliefs aren't going to change!

Kavey,
That's good news RE Tiger cubs at Ranthambore! I'm still staying away from there.

Rgds
Hari


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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 04:49 PM
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Typos ..... sorry
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 05:13 PM
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Hari,
Thanks for posting. This is atrocious. Less than 1,500 tigers in the wild in India. Just horrible. If the reduction in numbers is a result of this census being more accurate, are there any indications as to what the figures actually were five years ago? I'd really like to think there hasn't been anywhere near a 50% reduction. Am I too optimistic?

I'm going to have to bump my India trip to the top of my wish list. For me the obstacle has been trying to figure out how to fit a safari into a three week trip and still do the rest of the country justice.

I'd love to think CCA will be able to do some good not only for the tigers but for the local communities. Do you know if they have any plans to train locals now that the first two camps are up and running?
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 05:35 PM
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mkhonzo, I agree that it is the basi tribal community around the parks is very poor and help poachers

Hari.. agreed that the funding goes haywire

kavey it's good to hear that tiger cubs are surviving

Amol yes the chinese have stupid beliefs and are not going to change

When I was a bandhavgarh... tried to find out more about the poaching in the area, see the tigresses,tigers and litters in the heart of the park were safe and are being spotted for more than 13 years...it is the cubs which have grown up..that disperse from the mother... and live in the periphery range of the park that are most vurnerable as they have been raised in the core area which has heavy tourist activity.. are used to the sounds of vehicles and are comfortable around humans...ouch...when they leave the core area they are easily poached...bandhavgarh has made it a rule that only once during the day can a vehicle enter the core.. most visited zone... the second time the game drive has to be in the coservation zone... which has less tourist activity.. I hope this rule helps as more tourist activity means more regular sightings and more publicity the moment the cat goes missing

Best solution would be to make the conservation zones as popular as the core areas for tourists... because in kanha and bandhavgarh..it is not all the tigers that are being poached... the ones blissfully living in the centre of the park are grossly unaware of the risks outside the core area... this is atleast true in madhyapradesh

Sonali
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 05:37 PM
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Hi Dana,

I do believe the previous census was very inaccurate and infact inflated to boost numbers to say that the Govt was doing a fantastic job - while there may not be a 50% reduction in actual numbers, the situation is indeed pretty bad ...... it's not just poaching, but, constant encroachment into the wild spaces with the expanding population.

Not too far from Bombay city is a park with leopards etc etc., but as the suburbs keep expanding people go into the wild spaces ...... there was a Nat Geo documentary not long ago - where the leopards were picking off young kids in suburbia because there was a reducing number of prey species for them!

Lack of etiquette/awareness makes me completely MAD!!! You see litter inside the parks etc etc., a hell of a lot and the parks dept has reported death of some animals - Gaur, deer etc etc., when they eat up the plastic shopping bags ........

I think 3 weeks for India is pretty good - Huge and diverse country.

CCA - yes, i do believe they are training local people from the communities as they are likely to stay longer at their job than the city folks.

Hari
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 05:41 PM
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The Bandhavgarh rule has more to do with the HUGE expansion of hotels around the park - they have the rule as to specific game drive routes that vehicles should stick to! This has more to do with the volume of vehicles and very little with any conservation measures ......
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 05:47 PM
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Hari... you have it wrong.... there are routes in the core area... but the other conservation areas are being opened to the public...it is these areas that were closed to the public... till jan 2008... which were vurnerable... I really think it is a good step, Sonali
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Old Feb 13th, 2008, 10:40 PM
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Does anyone know what CCA's status is? Is it a 'for profit' company for a 'not for profit' entity? I recall reading somewhere that the Getty's have contributed immensely to CCA. If indeed CCA is a 'not for profit' organisation, their association with the TATA group in India is a strange relationship.

Personally, the problems with any tiger conservation in India is down to the number of tiny reserves set aside, several as small as 175 sq km. That simply isnt enough. AFAIK, one of the largest reseves in India, Kaziranga is still only 4-5000 sq km which makes it smaller than the Kwando concession. And almost all these reserves have human populations in relatively close vicinity. Its little surprise that human-tiger conflict is rampant and te tiger always comes second best.

The reserve in Bombay (yes its surrounded by the city in all directions) has seen steady encroachment over the years. Poaching in the park is rampant as are illegal shanty towns. There is no political will to take this on seriously. After all people vote, leopards dont!!!
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 01:40 AM
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Amol Hi... I agree with you..CCA will naturally look upon profit.. when i went earlier they were very interested and cared about the well being of the tigers and they told me frankly what CCA/taj plans were and what they have decided in future and as I have mentioned earlier...indian parks are not very expensive,there are numerous hotels 2,3 star out there which cater to mass tourism... your per day cost could vary.. the least being maybe around 50$ for resident indian and 100 for a non-resident foreigner..so the only people who can really save the tiger are the tourists... as it is difficult to poach tigers in national parks as a uproar is created very soon as someone is bound to ring the bell.. the system in indian parks is that you have to take a guide of the park authorities with you when u enter the park and any natural sighting done is reported by the driver guide, guide and the vehicle owner.. so when one particular cat is not found for more than some days... automatically the authorities send elephants in the area etc to locate the tiger... these sightings are like a open book and at most times more than one vehicle spots the cat.... with so many people wishing well for the tiger a poaching in the core area is difficult or will never go unnoticed... like I saw B2 and bokha the two dominant males of the park and b2 is 13 years and bokha is 8 years... there are 10-15 tigresses in the park which are regularly sighted for the last 3 to 4 years....

Now with the new rule implemented, with more tourists going into the conservation area... more sightings... more publicity the cats in the area will be well protected, hotels will develop around the conservation area... but that will not make much diff as for the tourist,one day one game drive will be 40 minutes away... so the tourist industry around is not to happy with the rule... hope it stays


Actually the rule of going only once in the core area have the tourism people upset as the tiger density is low in the conservation area and it is a 40 minute drive (open jeep... chill factor plus leaving early arriving late)from the hotels to get into the conservation area... as such there are not many hotels outside the conservation area, in order to develop it have made this rule, it was not implemented when i was around... but was going to be implemented from jan or feb,

I will try to post the map again if you are interested... actually tried to do that but they are in windows media player and i am not great with computers

Yes I agree our parks are much smaller... but like in bandhavgarh around 900 sq km (conservation area) is being added to the 100 sq km main park and people are being relocated from the conservation areas... this is also happening at other parks so it is a good beginning.. hope it works out for the tiger and our census numbers are never to be relied upon... the best census of the tiger population is a particular tiger... tigress spotted many times by tourist / guides / nature lovers in parks... that is the true count

Sonali
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 02:19 AM
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I agree... the issue with wildlife conservation in India is not the level of funding (though a major increase is a positive step) but the sheer level of corruption that means that the majority of the funding never gets to actually fund conservation measures not to mention additional payments made to corrupt officials by poachers who pay the officials to turn a blind eye or, worse still, to actively assist them. So the corrupt officials are getting rich not only from the government funds but also from backhanders from poachers too.

I agree too that even with the birth of these new cubs in Ranthambore, I would not choose to visit that park again without some MAJOR changes to the way it is run.

And I query whether the increased lodges etc near Kanha and Bandhavgarh will lead to similar additional restrictions that make those parks also a pain to visit.

I think another problem is that there are too few Indians who really support conservation of wildlife. In my own family a few individuals have a vague inkling that it might be nice to see these animals in wild but none really seem to understand that this requires concerted conservation otherwise one of India's national symbols is gone!
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 03:12 AM
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Kavey, I agree... that parks with restrictions would be a pain to visit... but looking at our infrastructure it's the best solution atleast in bandhavgarh i donnot agree with the route system,but diverting traffic to other conservation areas in the park is sensible, ... there is too much politics... like for example there would be a big uproar if conservation areas would be privatised and given as blocks for tourism, as they could keep it upmarket...have thier own elephants and provide a wonderful experience...

I am still not sure whether this rule has been implemented, but they were planning too... the only way to circumvent it is u go into the core area of the park in another vehicle... which most upmarket tourists can afford... but there is a huge population of indian visitors entering the park everyday.. they make the national parks of india survive... they have kept atleast some of the tigers in the core area alive.. if they start visiting the conservation areas then i am positive it would make a difference

Sonali
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 04:27 AM
  #35  
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Amolkarnik
I agree that the fault lies with the Indian Government, but there would be no problem if silly people did not believe that Tiger parts had magical powers, I am sure you know who these silly people are.

I answered a similar question regarding CC Africa before but now cannot find it anywhere it may have been edited as it was a direct quote from their website. In theory CCA are a non-profit organisation which supposedly feeds it's profits back into wildlife conservation, hence the name. If you Google it you will find many interesting articles regarding its investments and sources of funding other than income derived from the running of lodges.
When the idea of getting involved in India was first mooted it was known that it would be difficult to establish lodges on the same basis as those it runs in Africa, nevertheless they are giving it a try, unlike other major safari operators. They are to be applauded for their efforts, whether thet suceed is in my opinion open to grave doubts.
 
Old Feb 14th, 2008, 04:35 AM
  #36  
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Here is the link for a few more details on CC Africa

www.sustainabletravel.org/docs/pdf_cca.pdf
 
Old Feb 14th, 2008, 05:45 AM
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Amol, in addition to what you say - the Indian Govt needs to seriously consider employing a trained and dedicated anti-poaching unit.

Tourists getting to see every Tiger in every park - ridiculous!!! Which would mean a very very dense network of roads and tracks - converting it to a fully fledged free-range zoo!

Kavey, those exact reasons - the Mickey Mouse rules and regulations (most of which have very little logic) is why i hardly go on safari to the north - the Elephant Show as they call in the Northern parks is a HUGE NO NO!!! in my book ...... very poorly organized and is the equivalent to the Zoo ......

One of the reasons that i have heard that poaching is not as rampant in the Southern Indian parks, is the availability of plenty of Elephants that make it difficult for the poachers. Most of them are novices and are fearful (i don't know how far this theory stands true) ...... and the elephant population is supposedly thriving, but here's the catch - their migratory paths have been cut off due to all the developement around - now, the Tamil Nadu Govt has drawn up the migratory corridor path - where no furthur development of these lands can take place .... unfortunately, i fear the rules are a fraction late ........ lots of friction between Man and Pachyderm.

We must bear in mind, that CCA probably picked out the best possible partner in the TATA group, as they are going to lead the way in trying to navigate through all the red-tape and stuff associated ..... without which it would be near impossible to set shop over here!

Cheers
Hari
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 07:51 AM
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Hey what i meant is that many many tourists enter indian parks in madhyapradesh everyday... with the guide..driver and tourists all seeing a particular tiger in it's area.. happens like once or twice a week not daily... but as many vechiles in different parts of the parks get to see different tigers and all natural sightings are reported to the authorities... it is the best way to know they are living and well, these accounts regularly posted by guides, driver guides and tourists are the best way of knowing the actual population of the tigers in the park

Also no dense network of roads is required if the overall area of the park is expanded... which they are trying to do in bandhavgarh...like it is done in kanha... kanha is a real jungle...wonderful.. no zoo like feeling

The tiger show is also not a zoo experience... you see a live wild tiger which is tracked by expert mahouts...right in the middle of dense jungle... sometimes on a kill at times mating in the wild, sometimes aggresive (it's scary...no zoo definately) etc etc...it could be better managed for sure... in as close as the year 1994 there were no major roads in parks and most tourists were tracking tigers on elephants, many of my friends have done it and it is wonderful to traverse the jungle on elephant back...

and there is lots of poaching going on in southern parks like nagarhole which are full of elephants...it's only in tamilnadu that maybe due to good govt intervention and measures that tiger nos. have increased

Sonali
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 12:48 PM
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sniktawk/Hari - While its well known that China is a big market for tiger parts, another big market is Mongolia. The tribal chief's dress up in tiger skins for their annual ceremonies. Moreover, any new coronations have to be in new skins and this is rigourously followed even today. Guess where the skins come from!!

sniktawk - My point protesting the targetting of Chinese as consumers of tiger parts and subsequent boycotting was simply this - with a billion plus of them getting richer every day, education or boycotting is very unlikely to work. Making supply extremely difficult and risky is perhaps a more effective strategy.

While at SLNP in July last year, I heard first hand from Phil Berry that the biggest market for Rhino horn during the mass poaching of the 70's and 80's was India. Yes, it took me by shock and a sense of embarassment (I am of Indian origin). Given a chance, the people buying horn then will probably buy it now. The efforts made by various African countries to protect the Rhino has been fairly successful.

Anyways - this Chinese angle has been done to death.

I havent seen tigers in the wild and I am going to make a special effort to make a trip and see them while they are still around. I dont see much hope in 20 years.
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Old Feb 14th, 2008, 01:20 PM
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I'm afraid I hated the elephant back tiger show as well - after doing one on our first day in Bandhavgarh we instructed our guide that we absolutely did NOT want to do it again, even if it reduced our chances to see tigers at all let alone up close. Luckily our vehicle mates were in full agreement.
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