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Mauled government seeks CBI probe into cubs’ death, 10-year jail for poachers

Mauled by allies and opposition alike over the death of four tiger cubs in Chandrapur forests in the last couple of days, Maharashtra government has sought CBI inquiry into the incident and has also proposed to the Centre to impose tougher punishment on poachers.The state government has proposed that the punishment for poaching wild animals be enhanced to 10 years’ jail sentence along with a fine of Rs 5 lakh. The existing term under the Wildlife Protection (WP) Act, 1972, is seven years’ jail and Rs25,000 fine.”We have written to the Centre to amend the rules making stringent provisions for tiger poachers,” forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said on Tuesday.Four tiger cubs had died of malnutrition in Saoli forest of Chandrapur district as of Sunday morning. Three cubs were found dead, while the fourth died while undergoing treatment. Chandrapur is Mungantiwar’s home district.Stung by the criticism, Mungantiwar has sought the help of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the death of tiger cubs. Justifying his move, Mungantiwar said, “We suspect that the cubs died as their mother didn’t breastfed them. The tigress, which is missing, may have been poached, or died while searching for food or water. Since CBI has the expertise to understand the complexities, we thought it would be better to seek their help.” Tigers are poached for smuggling its body parts to China where they were used for medicinal purposes, he pointed out.The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has claimed that 41 tigers died in Maharashtra, since January.The minister said the tigress and cubs were not part of Tiger Reserve area but buffer zone, where the surveillance is negligible. “We have hence ordered installation of camera traps and deployment of tiger reserve force in outer areas with significant number of big cats,” he said.According to wildlife officials, a tigress never goes more than half a kilometre for prey when it has one or two-month-old cubs. “Since there is no trace of the big cat or its pugmark in the area, we are worried it might have been killed,” said an official. He said the government had issued a resolution on providing four times compensation to the villagers whose lands were acquired for wildlife sanctuaries.Makes light of Sena remarksReacting to Shiv Sena’s demand in Saamna editorial, that he should take moral responsibility for the incident, Mungantiwar said, “I take it positively, as it will help us improve. As the minister for forests, I have to take moral responsibility.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Good news from Tadoba reserve: Tiger numbers rising

A long-term project of five years has been undertaken at Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve to monitor tigers and leopards by installing radio collars on five tigers and five leopards. The radio collar has enabled the forest officials to monitor movement of one male tiger up to 100 square kilometre area. For the last one year, data is being collected on a daily basis and at present there are at least 15 cubs in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.

Shailendra Paranjpe
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India lost 64 tigers in 2014

India lost 64 tigers due to various reasons in 2014 with Tamil Nadu topping the chart with the maximum number of deaths, according to National Tiger Conservation Authority.Tamil Nadu saw 15 tigers deaths followed by Madhya Pradesh, which witnessed 14 deaths, says the data on tigernet.nic.in.MP’s Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, once densely populated with tigers lost seven majestic beasts while Kanha Tiger Reserve reported four tiger deaths. Pench Tiger Reserve and Panna Tiger Reserve lost one big cat each while as many deaths were reported from Balaghat district’s forested area, it said.The deaths might have come as a blow to MP which is trying hard to regain the tiger state status which it lost to Karnataka in the last big cats count.According to the All India Tiger Estimation Exercise 2010, the tiger population dipped to 257 in MP from 300 in 2006. On the other hand, Karnataka beating MP became the numero uno state in tiger population with 300 counts – 10 up from the census of 2006.This time around also, Karnataka has a reason to smile as it lost only six tigers since January 1 to December 30.Eight tiger deaths were reported from Uttarakhand, six each from Maharashtra and Assam besides Karnataka. Three each died in Bihar and Kerala followed by two in Uttar Pradesh while one death of the striped animal was reported from Andhra Pradesh, the site said.Of the total tiger deaths, four resulted from infighting, two were shot dead by policemen and a sharpshooter, one each died of pneumonia and natural death while the causes of the rest of the deaths are being probed into, the site added.According to the 2010 census, India had approximately 1,706 tigers. The result of the 2014 census is awaited.

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