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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 Though the  court stay continues, the south Indian state has not yet withdrawn the project.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

More Good News From Emarald Forests of Panna

forests of Panna, Panna national park, newly born tiger, tiger population, Kanha, Bandhavgarh,  Pench national parks, successful tiger reintroduction model in the world,

Beautiful images with good news have come out from the emerald forests of Panna, perhaps the most talked about national park of the country.  After the news of the birth of four more tiger cubs, Panna has come alive again. Though   it is a common sight in national parks, sightings of a newly born tiger always assumes greater significance to the park that had seen it's entire tiger population decimated by poaching barely 12 years ago. This was followed by the translocation of three tigers from Kanha,Bandhavgarh and Pench national parks.  Since then, there has been no looking back and  Panna has been  seen as the only successful tiger reintroduction model in the world.

Also Read: From Unknown Tigress of Kanha to Mother of Panna:The Untold Story of T2

So the park authorities were jubilant  after beginning of the new year when a camera trap captured the images of  a tigress -coded as P213(31)   -clutching  delicately in her jaws one of the four cubs  while moving in the woods  to shift   it to a safer place. Born about 2 to 3  months ago, there are four cubs in the litter. This is the second litter of the tigress. Now the tiger population in the park has gone up to 65-70 which includes about 20 cubs, the park authorities said. Just like human infants, tiger cubs need their mother to take care of them. In fact, the cub’s mom needs to be even more careful and protective in the jungle. Tiger cubs can't see anything when they come into the world because their eyes are closed .It takes about two weeks before they open their eyes and see their mother. And as small as they are, tiger cubs are born with all their stripes. Though they spread out as they grow, they don't change. Just like no one else has your fingerprints and no two giraffes have the same spot pattern, no two tigers have the same pattern of stripes, either.

GPS Collaring  Programme Continues 

forests of Panna, Panna national park, newly born tiger, tiger population, Kanha, Bandhavgarh,  Pench national parks, successful tiger reintroduction model in the world,

As the number of tigers goes up, the core area ,spread over 576 sq kms ,looks smaller for the increasing number of the big cats. There are about 30 tigers in the core alone. Besides, the remaining tigers are roaming around the buffer and outside the park in the Panna landscape.  So successful was the tiger reintroduction plan of Panna that Cambodia   has decided to emulate the Panna plan to reintroduce tigers in it's jungles. The South-Asian nation lost all it's tiger population and the last tiger was sighted in 2007. A camera trap image of the tiger was captured in the Eastern plains dry forest landscape in Mondulkiri protected forest. Cambodia currently has no population of breeding tigers and plans to reintroduce tigers in Mondulkiri protected forest area.  In November 2017 a Cambodian delegation comprising top politicians, forest and tourism officials visited Panna to understand the plan. This was the second visit of Cambodian delegation to Panna after 2015.

Also Read: Panna landscape Needs 2 More National Parks, NotSatellite Tiger Collaring

When Panna was basking in the glory of it's successful tiger reintroduction programme, a new threat in the form of Ken Betwa Link (KBL)  project started staring at it.  As the sword of KBL continues to hang over it,  the authorities  began a new project of satellite GPS collaring of 14 tigers as a part of the landscape management plan  before the drowning of the jungle .The Wildlife Institute of India  (WII) is executing the project with the help of the park authorities. So far two tigers have been collared . The last one was P234 (31) in the first week of January.

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