Drones to assist in Tiger Conservation in Indian National Parks

No longer it is Tiger vs Technology. It is Tigers with Technology now. Yes, finally technology will be used in Tiger Conservation in India.

When #Munna the legendary #Tiger from #KanhaNationalPark moved out from the #Jungle because of old age, everyone got worried for his safety. Where did Munna go? Was he involved in any conflict? Is Munna safe?

How do we track and conserve our Tigers in our open national parks? Or,

Did you hear about the missing Tiger “Jai” from #UmredKarandlaSanctuary?

Jai has suddenly disappeared from Umred Karandla Sanctuary.  The Forest department, NGO’s and many Volunteers are looking for him.

The social platforms went abuzz on what to do? Could technology be used to save the Tiger? When images of Jupiter from Junocrafts are available, then is it that tough to monitor Tigers? I don’t think so..do you?

If Drones were used earlier, Jai and Munna’s could have been tracked easily. When a Tiger goes missing it is a sad day in Tiger conservation. The Tiger lovers get distressed.

While i was thinking and writing, someone was planning and executing the same. Hence this morning i get to hear the good news of Drones to be used in Tiger Conservation in India. Is that not a heartening news for Tiger conservation?

After a successful trial of Drones in Panna National Park, the NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority) is going ahead to use these devices to monitor Tigers in 5 more Tiger reserves of India.

These reserves are: Panna, Corbett, Sathyamangalam, Kaziranga and Sunderbans. Noteworthy is that these drones will be fitted with GPS devices, and state of the art cameras. They will be deployed within 6 months of getting clearances from Ministry of Defense in India. Clearances from the Home Ministry and the Environment Ministry is already in place. The Wildlife Institute of India is set to impart training to 3 biologists, and 3 engineers per drone. Once successfully implemented similar Drones will be used in other National parks.

Drone for Tiger Tiger conservation
Drone with Camera

Are these regular drones or any improvisations being done?

These are state of the art Drones, with night vision, faster speed, longer duration of flight, and good landing capacities.

So poachers watch out, because now it is no longer going to be a cake walk for you to take our Tigers away from us. We are serious to Save our Tigers.

Best Wishes

Sharad Vats

Lions in the City

Asiatic Lions in and around Gir National Park seem to be happy in visiting the surrounding cities. So far it used to be one visit a week by a couple of Lions, but last week a big pride visited the city of Junagadh in the night. Their peaceful march through the city was recorded in the cctv on a street.

It is said that Gir has reached it’s sustainable capacity of Lion population. The apex court has ordered shifting of some Lions to a new sanctuary in the state of Madhya Pradesh, but the state of Gujrat does not seem to be happy about sharing the pride of their state. While considerable amount of money has been spent in making a home for Lions at Kuno Palpur Sanctuary, but Gujrat government has been averse to the idea on grounds like the state of MP is unable to take care of it’s Tigers so how will they take care of it’s Lions.

In an interesting development it is now noticed that Kuno Palpur which was awaiting Lions for last 5 years has now been taken over by Tigers who have migrated out of Ranthambhore National Park in search of territory. It is said that the population of Tigers in Ranthambhore is also over it’s capacity so it is but natural for the new sub adults to move out of the park in search of their own territory. Karauli sanctuary which is about 60kms from Ranthambhore has also reported sighting of 4 male Tigers which have moved out of Ranthambhore.

So it seems that the big cats are doing well lately in India. Credit surely must go to the Forest department, and i would say a percentage of credit will also go to increased domestic tourism in these parks, and awareness on the social media.




Advance e-surveillance in Tadoba National Park

When Technology can effect human lives – it can be implemented in preservation and tracking of wildlife. Maharashtra will get the advance electronic surveillance system for tigers. State Govt has approved 50 high – resolution tower-mounted cameras that will track animal movement and prevent poaching in Tadoba Tiger Reserve. It also would help avoid Man – animal conflict by forewarning villagers in the area.

The above decision is taken by the state govt after understanding the density of tigers in Vidharbha and Chandrapur area in Maharashtra. This is going to be big help for Jungle authorities to study and understand the animal behavior in much unobtrusive manner.

Tadoba Tiger reserve is spread over 625 sq km core area and 1100 sq km buffer. As of now 72 tigers roam in Tadoba and another 50 big cats in Chandrapur area. The best part is that this is scalable solution. If required, it can be installed in buffer areas as required. The idea is taken from movies – one control room getting feed from whole city for the surveillance. The network of 52 towers with cameras would monitor wildlife and intruders real-time round the clock. This will keep the landscape secure, prevent poaching and help understand wildlife behavior in an undisturbed manner added by Praveen Srivastava – Additional principal chief conservator of forests ( IT and Policy ) Maharashtra.

These Cameras can be zoomed 30 times remotely controlled and equipped with night vision. The total cost is expected to be around 15 crores. Corbett Tiger Reserve, Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary and Kaziranga Tiger Reserve have already piloted the project.

The Towers would be made highlighting the areas which have maximum tiger density and maximum man – wildlife conflict.

Explaining the features – the energy requirement would be sourced from renewable sources. The alarm can be sounded if tiger is seen moving towards villages. 15 waterholes have already been covered as part of pilot project and got wonderful response. This can also be integrated in new system.

After the encouraging numbers from tiger census in 2014 the state also plans to develop Tadoba – Andhari, Mumbai’s Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Nagpur Gorewada zoo on the lines of International forest tourism destinations – perhaps like Kenya’s Masai Mara.

Unsung Lion Queens of Gir National Park

Talk about #Gir Forest – you would answer #AsiaticLions home as it is most protected areas in the world.

The journey of conversation started in the year 1900 when only 12 of the beasts were left. Today, thanks to some amazing efforts by the Government and forest authorities – there are 523 of them. Much of the credit also goes to Gir forests Guards and its animal rescue team – All women team.

Housed in the state of Gujrat it has dry deciduous trees and was declared #wildlife sanctuary in 1965. Ten years later it was declared sacrosanct – #National Park. The park also has #leopards, #deers, #langurs, #snakes, hyenas, jungle cats and crocodiles.

The base was created for all women team in 2007. Forest department created 33% quota for women. The authorities never thought they would get recruits like Raseela Wadher who shunned the desk job and joined frontlines for wildlife rescues. Every year more and more women undergo intensive training before joining and perhaps only women’s brigade in the world which manages the habitat and big cats.

The brigade is rightly called Lion Queens have rescued – 627 lions over the years. Not sure if this feat has been achieved elsewhere in the world.

None of the women team rescues as many as 600 animals annually – which boils down to 2 rescues per day. Their job description includes – arresting poachers, dealing with irate villagers, retrieving stuck pythons and tranquilizing rogue monkeys playing havoc in nearby villages. Their favorite part still is attending and nursing the vulnerable little cubs and other baby animals till they are old enough to survive on their own.

Every Lion Queen comes from non-privileged background – perhaps not supported by their families to work as forest guards. They had to deal with Male dominancy in this field and inherent dangers of the job.

Raseela has found herself in dangers many times to elaborate the above point. Her Experience was dreadful when she had lead the team to rescue the injured lion. They tried to tranquilize the beast to rescue him. They misfired the shot and Lion attacked them – they kept their cool like cats and boarded the vehicle and Lion retreated in the jungle.

Kiran Pithiya has got special task of studying the movement and changes in lions behavior. Kiran is responsible for saving 19 lions. She has worked through her pregnancy and keeps a watch on lions on her bike in the forest. It was her third trimester when she was to keep the watch on newborn cubs and movement of her mother. She was doing the same readings on one fine day when it got really dark. As she left the area the lioness got provoked and started chasing Kiran. Kiran realized the danger and instead of increasing the speed turned around and started shooing away the lioness. The Lioness perhaps understood the signal of forest protector and turned back. Had she tried speeding her life could have been in danger.

True to their given name – these girls are solely attached to their core aim of preserving the population of Asiatic lions on the planet. Looking after all animals and their young ones which call Gir their home. By employing them for these posts, the forest department has not given empowerment to rural women of Gir but also ensured a more compassionate environment for the animals.

Bird Migration affected due to development around Coastal India

Climate change and developmental activities lead the change in arrival pattern and habitat alteration of the migratory birds in the coastal wetlands of India.

Four prominent wetlands on the east coast of the country – from south moving upwards – Gulf of Mannar, Point Calimere, Pulicat and Chilika in Odisha.

The above were traditional hibernating sights for winters till decade back. But now their numbers are dwindling. All thanks to extensive degradation of wetland habitats.

Climate change is second reason affecting the flight. The winters in Odisha’s Chilika were really chilly which were ideal for the Arctic birds. It used to be their nesting ground and they were accustomed to the temperature before taking their flight back to Arctic. Today the numbers have declined for the birds such as greater flamingos, plovers and spoonbill sandpipers. Not only numbers but their arrival patterns have changed. Some arrive too early and some are coming later.

These wetlands in the past have successfully provided refuge to birds from different parts of the world. We got visitors from as far as North Central and West Asia, Europe and Mediterranean regions. It should be noted that not only these wetlands but the health of stopover cities is equally important. These stopover cities are used by the birds on the way to build the energy reserves before a long migratory journey. Some birds fly as far as 18000 kms in one year to undertake their migration successfully. If these sites are degraded the birds are devoid of food to refuel and they perish.

No doubt that these migratory water birds connect continents and countries. But for us they are excellent environment indicators at both global and local scales.


Tigers to be shifted from Tadoba to other national parks

Project Tiger seems to be dealing with welcome problems of plenty. For the first time in India, overpopulation of the species is forcing authorities to relocate Tigers to other forest reserves.

Chandrapur is facing the above problem and forcing foresters to think of alternative destination for Tadoba Tigers. The idea was active for some time and two tigers have been radio-collared to study their relocation. As per Mr Sanjay Thakre – the chief forest conservator all the big cats are reaching outside the tiger sanctuary. This was very obvious as the population of tigers have exploded in the areas of Chandrapur.

People close to the project have admitted that such move is happening for the first time in the country. Relocation is being looked into due to overpopulation of tigers.Tigers seem to be moving everywhere through corridors. From Yevatmal district to Pench in MP and few even farther to Andhra Pradesh – proving the case.

Tadoba Andhari reserve alone houses 100 tigers in Chandrapur. This place is surrounded by territorial forest which is pre requisite for healthy tiger population. There are almost 34 tigers in Brahmapuri which falls just outside the limit of tiger reserve.

In 2008, Rajasthan’s Ranthambhore had relocated few of its tigers to Sariska to keep up the dwindling number in Sariska. In 2009, Kanha and Bandhavgarh tiger reserves sent its tigers to Panna National Park. But both the cases were to keep up the tiger numbers to avoid extinction.Anuj Khare – wildlife warden of Pune backs up the move of relocation. He admits the Sariska was not a great story but tigers really thrived well in Panna. There is no other way to protect the species. Relocation only seems to be valid alternative.

Every effort is made to increase the numbers of Tigers. Tigers are territorial hence space is required to house them. If the density in particular area increases, it may lead to other problems. Anuj Khare also cites another reason for success of Panna story. He gives the credit to strong monitoring system, set management practices and round the clock surveillance of the relocated animal. There are around 23 tigers and 11 cubs / sub adults in the area.

With increased development activities especially in Forest areas the natural tiger corridors are getting destroyed at alarming pace. Hence more need of Human intervention for relocation. One of the reasons why Tigers in the country are now confined to few pockets. Once relocated to new land – the animals go in search of territories themselves and balance the population of the area.

Permission for the above relocation is pending and where would be their new home is yet to be decided. But strong indication is towards Sahyadri Tiger reserve. However, prey base needed to be studies there as non suitability of prey base would lead to starving. Moreover, Tadoba tiger reserve is drier than Sahyadri and pose extreme challenge of hilly area. Would history repeat itself like Sariska or Panna remains to be seen.

courtesy:  punemirror.in


Snow Leopard project in Himachal

Good news coming for lovers of Snow Leopard. The Kufri zoo (in state of Himachal Pradesh) authorities are awaiting the arrival of highly endangered #snowleopard from Darjeeling zoo. The Padmaja Naidu Park is offering a pair of snow leopard.

Only Uttrakhand, Sikkim and West Bengal boasts of this priceless treasure till now. Kufri was in news in 2004 when snow leopard Subhash and Sapna were brought there from Darjelling. But their breeding could not be initiated as they belonged to same bloodline.Sapna was from Spiti valley discovered by the locals way back then. Unfortunately, she died of disease in 2007.

This year Central govt has funded INR 5.15 crores for snow leopard conservation project. This program would take care of restoring the snow leopard’s habitat. The department is also monitoring the habitat, range and behavior of snow leopards in Spiti valley. As of now there are 28 of snow leopard in the Spiti valley.

Good time to see these Leopards in the Spiti Valley is in the month of February, as it is then that they come down to lower altitudes in search of food as higher altitudes lack prey in the winter months. Not a regular safari tour this one is for those willing to face the inclement weather, camp at high altitudes in the inclement weather, restricted food, no comforts and minus temperatures. Mental and physical preparations a must for this tour. And yes, though chances of Snow Leopard sightings are good, but no guarantees. It is the experience of tracking this Himalayan ghost which will remain with you for life. Our expert guides and trackers however will lead no stone unturned to make your mission successful.

We all await the arrival of the cubs in Himachal. Wanting to do a Snow Leopard Safari, write to us or see our Snow Leopard Tour on http://www.naturesafariindia.com





Spacey and Andy Murray to save Tigers

Tiger Safari Bandhavgarh
A Wild Tigress in Bandhavgarh National Park

#Kevin Spacey – The Negotiator fame actor is leaving no stone unturned for doubling the numbers of #tigers in wild by 2022.He is getting all support from #Andy Murray who was seen appealing in a video on centre court

The pair highlighted that number of tigers remaining are even less than 1/3rd of seats in centre court. Murray wants the year 2016 to be the turning year for tigers. He would said that he would like to see current figures doubling to more than 7000 wild tigers by year 2022. Ambitious, but realistic provided the people, Governments, and forces on ground show the will power towards it. Andy Murray, a former Wimbledon Champion is the global ambassador for WWF, and Kevin, 56, delivered a message on behalf of WWF to help double the number of wild tigers by 2022. It may be the best chance we have to protect these amazing animals,” Andy expressed. “It’s definitely a challenge worth taking on and I believe we must do all we can to help double wild tiger numbers.”

Spacey added that there is still hope if we can help the tigers to recover their numbers. This is most ambitious #tiger #conservation goal ever set.


Film on Kanha Zoya wins Award

Bheema Tiger in Kanha
Tiger Safari in Kanha



Film Zoya filmed in the forests of #Kanha National Park has won the student Emmy award. Best part was the Kanha forest itself which the crew experienced.

Group heard the alarm calls indicating the predator on the either side of crew – and #Indian Gaur pounding through the forest. There was silence for the next 10 minutes as the crew froze. With great difficulty the crew took the shot and fleed.

Zoya won third place in drama for 2016 college television award. Setthi beautifully dealt with the subject of wildlife and its conservation through the eyes of wildlife conservationist. it is an emotional trip to search for missing #tiger while trying to reconnect with his daughter.The wildlife background has been provided by biological anthropologist Jessica Lynch Alfaro. she acted as Sethhi’s mentor as he wrote the film’s script.

No doubt that idea of conservation is big concern globally which has stuck the right chord with the audiences and judges at the film festival.

“It’s extremely validating and encouraging to have one’s creative efforts recognized by the television academy foundation,” Sethhi said. “it’s a fairytale start to life after film school.”




Good News for ‎Tiger Lovers

Good news for #‎Tiger lovers. 32 more Tigers camera trapped in the Terai areas of Uttrakhand. These Tigers were not a part of the Tiger census in 2015 as these areas were not included in the census. Though this state has only two national parks with Tigers, but the Tiger numbers in this state are second only to Karnataka. Good news isn’t it?