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Are Lion Tailed Macaque More Fortunate than Panna Tigers: A Tale of Two Projects

Almost a  year after the Karnataka high court stayed the project that had further threatened the already endangered lion tailed macaque (LTM) ((Macaca silenus), endemic to the Sharavathi river valley nestled in the Western Ghats; the sword of Damocles continues to hang over the primates. The Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) had launched a geothermal survey  with heavy machines to ascertain if the 2000 MW underground pump storage hydro-electric project was feasible. Besides LTM, the Sharavathi river valley is also home to a diverse array of species and sustains very rich biodiversity. Though the  court stay continues, the south Indian state has not yet withdrawn the project. For the time being, the power project may not have been in the priority list of the government after the change in the political guard, it continues to stare at LTM menacingly. Sharavathi Valley, a Jewel in the Western Ghats The project was proposed within the core area of 902 sq km in the Sharavathi Valle

Fresh Tiger Crisis in MP Midst Favourable Poaching Conditions

Fresh Tiger Crisis in MP Midst Favourable Poaching ConditionsMadhya Pradesh , the tiger state of India, is facing  fresh tiger threat. Four cases of suspected poaching around Bandhavgarh national park in the last one month and tragic tiger killing in a road accident near Panna national park rattled the state forest department. Experts believe that this is an ominous sign and should serve as a wake -up call for the government to continue the tiger success story in the state.

Already facing the issues of multiple threats to the tiger corridors and habitat, the recent happenings revolve around the revenge killing and poaching. There is also an urgent need to initiate retrofitting measures in the parks like Panna , recently included in the list of UNESCO biosphere reserves.

Disturbing Trends Around the National Park

Fresh Tiger Crisis in MP Midst Favourable Poaching ConditionsAs the special task force (STF) of wildlife rush to investigate the tiger killings around Bandhavgarh national park- 4 in about 25 days of time- it is suspected that “organised poachers” are behind the killings. Quite a sensation was created on November 15 when a tiger carcass was found buried in Panpatha sanctuary, outside the Bandhavgarh national park. The spot where the decomposed body was found buried is located in the tiger corridor that connects Bandhavgarh with Sanjay Dubri national park in Sidhi. It is a beautiful track where almost 30 tigers jostle for space with a large human population.

Also read: Protect This Wildlife Corridor To Save The Ganges

About 11 days before this, a joint operation of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and MP forest department in Jabalpur recovered 5 kgs of tiger bones,10 tiger claws,4 tiger canines and 22 whiskers of the big cat from a man. Investigations reportedly revealed that the tiger was killed in the same corridor in Shahdol. Further probe was on in both the cases- the one reported on November 15 and the one investigated by the WCCB. Meanwhile, the forensic reports of T42 or Solo, the famous tigress of Bandhavgarh and her cub, are still awaited. Both the animals were found dead outside the park in the last week of October. Bodies of the tigress and her cub, also a female, were found lying in village Mahaman. “ The tigers were believed to be poisoned by the villagers and the reason behind was man -animal conflict,” the park sources maintained. Wildlife experts also wonder over the delay in forensic reports by the lab in Sagar. “ We believe that the samples should be sent to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Hyderabad instead of the forensic science lab of Sagar to avoid delays in receiving the reports ”, they said. The outcome of the reports decide the direction in which the investigations proceed.

Poachers Paradise and the Three Deadly Months for Tigers

Fresh Tiger Crisis in MP Midst Favourable Poaching Conditions
Those involved in the investigations of wildlife crime and poaching believe winter is the favourite season for the poachers to strike in the jungle. “ History of poaching cases suggest November 15 to the last week of January is the period when the poachers are very active and they take advantage of the bone chilling cold weather conditions inside the jungles”, they said .There are many pockets in Umaria, Annuppur , Shahdol and Katni which are considered as safe haven for the poachers. An old network of Shabbir Hasan Qureshi, a notorious poacher and smuggler of tiger body parts and an old associate of Sansarchand, still operates in the region and has international connections, officials claimed. About 18 months ago, the WCCB officials had recovered Pangolin scales from the region. There are a number of poachers who have managed to obtain fake death certificates from the corrupt system and declared themselves dead and continue to operate in villages of Umaria , sources said. “ They keep changing their trade. But as and when they get an opportunity they are back in the business of poaching and wildlife trade because of the high returns involved in this illicit trade.

Also read : Bandhavgarh Needs to Step-up efforts to handleMan-Animal Conflict

As many as 750 tigers have died in the country in the last eight years due to poaching and other causes, with Madhya Pradesh reporting the highest number of casualties at 173, according to an information issued by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in a reply to a Right to Information (RTI) application earlier this year. Of these total tiger mortalities, 369 were attributed to “natural causes”, 168 due to “poaching”, 70 deaths are “under scrutiny” and 42 due to “unnatural reasons, including accident or conflicts events”, it said. There was also seizure of 101 big cats during the eight-year period between 2012 and 2019 by different authorities across the country, the NTCA said in it's reply to the RTI query. The NTCA was asked to share the details of tiger deaths between 2010 and May 2020. However, it provided data only for the eight years beginning 2012. Of the highest of 173 deaths reported by Madhya Pradesh during this period, 38 were due to poaching, 94 natural deaths, 19 under scrutiny, six due to the unnatural causes and 16 seizures, the data said. With the highest population of 526 tigers in the country, the state has regained it's tiger state status in the last count of the big cats. However, the state government seems to be taking more interest in promoting tiger tourism and the conservation efforts are looked undermined. One of the ministers in Madhya Pradesh even demanded “review” of the forest laws- Wildlife Protection Act 1972, Forest Conservation Act 1980 and Environment (Protection) Act 1986. The mineral resources and labour minister Brijendra Pratap Singh called for a review after the tragic killing of a tiger by a heavy vehicle near Panna national park .

Panna Needs Retrofitting Measures

Fresh Tiger Crisis in MP Midst Favourable Poaching Conditions
A full-grown tiger was hit by a fast moving heavy vehicle on a state highway that runs between the core and buffer zones of Panna tiger reserve on November 14 . The vehicle that killed the big cat could not be identified. The minister said that he had raised the issue of the widening of the road patch many times but it could not be done because of the tiger reserve. The park hampers development works in Panna, the minister who also represents Panna assembly seat said. Even the projects like Ken Betwa link are pending because of this park, he said. Besides the state highway, a national highway - NH39- also passes through its core. Project to widen the road is underway. Except for the road patch-about 25 kms- in the jungle, a major stretch of the highway has been widened. Now the park authorities plan to start a barrier to regulate the vehicular movement inside the park. “But this could have been done earlier also”, park sources said. “ Why did we wait for a tiger’s death to take mitigation measures”, they argue.


  1. ❤ breaking... three key aspects needed
    1. Employment
    2. Awareness (not just some wildlife camp for paper work)
    3. Bio-monitoring, involving younger generation, providing them training and sense of responsibilities. (Engaging them in some regular courses)
    4 involvement of female in resource mapping (they r less greedy (my experience))
    5. Rest is up to technology

  2. The news exposed the lack of administrative will to try new n innovative methods to stop tiger killings in the state. The poachers are always a step ahead of forest admin. What is the missing link ... the most important one is the network ..the trust and ofcourse money.. the poachers have a watertight network which the admin clearly lacks as they fail to involve locals n win their trust. Biomonetring came up as a key essence in conserving the biodiversity resources in recent times. The admin should undertake case studies carried out in various countries regarding the same and workout some plan involving locals to tackle the problem. Or else MP will for sure lose her tiger status in near future


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