Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rajasthan losing its big cats to Madhya Pradesh

Rajasthan losing its big cats to Madhya Pradesh
The Times Of India

BHOPAL: Rajasthan seems to be losing its tigers to Madhya Pradesh. State forest officials and members of world wildlife federation (WWF) have found sub-adult tiger T-71 - fourth in the row - that strayed from Rajasthan's Ranthambore Tiger reserve on Sunday. 

WWF officials confirmed T-71 was captured in cameras on Monday at 3.17 pm in Sheopur territorial division of Madhya Pradesh. 

T-71 (cub of T-30) was first photo-captured in Karanpur range of Keladevi Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS-RTR) on November 20, 2014. It has since travelled a distance of 100 km. 

"Recently, it was captured again during camera trap activities in Virpur range of Sheopur territorial division (STD). This sub-adult tiger cub has now grown up and is probably trying to establish its territory, which requires further confirmation through rigorous monitoring," saidSunny Shah, coordinator, Western India Tiger Landscape WWF-India. 

He said this is third tiger that has used the route through Keladevi WLS and reached MP. "Place where tiger is dispersing is populated area of the corridor. However, ravines, forests of prosophis and acacia is supporting tiger dispersal in this part," Shah added. 

In 2013, a big cat from Ranthambore had taken a bigger stride. The dispersal, identified as one amongst three male cubs of tigress T-26, trekked 220 km between the Rajasthan's reserve and Datia in Madhya Pradesh. Though long dispersal of tigers from Ranthambore were reported earlier, but this is the longest distance in a direction travelled by any dispersed tigers from Ranthambore. 

The range has both reserve and protected forests with Sindh river flowing in middle and Vindhya hill ranges on the western side. There are many villages on both sides. 

Ranthambore's T-38, had crossed Chambal river and entered Shivpuri district of Madhya Pradesh in 2010 and made its territory there. 

MP forest officials were worried in 2014 after they captured T-38 around Kuno-Palpur sanctuary where Gir lions from Gujarat are proposed to be shifted. Presence of Ranthambore tigers, especially T-38 and its dominance in the area had always been a cause of concern for the two states. 

State forest officials are worried over its presence in the area considering a pending petition from a Gujarat-based NGO, Wildlife Conservation Trust-Rajkot, which has joined as a party to the petition filed by Rajasthan government claiming there is a possibility of conflict between the two big cats because a natural movement corridor exists between Kuno and Ranthambore. 

This petition is considered a last hurdle in shifting of lions to MP as Gujarat government has exhausted all legal options to prevent translocation after dismissal of its curative petition by Supreme Court last week. NGO claims court was never informed about contiguity which Ranthambore Tiger Reserve enjoys with Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. 

They also quoted National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) report, 'State of tigers, co-predators and prey in India-2008', which supports stand of Gujarat that Kuno-Palpur is a tiger-occupied area close to other tiger habitats, including Ranthambhore. 

MP government has now recommended to Centre that that T-38 be fitted with a 
radio collar to check any possible conflict with lions. Officials from Ranthambore have also visited Kuno to track T-38 and ascertain its safety there. 

Before T-38, three tigers that went missing from Ranthambore were located in Madhya Pradesh including one in Seoda range of Datia district - a mix of reserve and protected forest area -- and two in Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary. Both MP and Rajasthan have installed separate camera traps in Kuno, said sources. 

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