I have just finished uploading a small selection of tiger photos from my recent visits to Bandhavgarh and Kanha.
NOW TOO MANY TIGERS !
by Julian Matthews
Too many tigers. Sorry did I hear that correctly? Once more ‘Toomany tigers in many tiger reserves now.’ says tiger expert, Dr Qamar Qureshi. This is the conclusion of the esteemed research scientists at the Wildlife Institute of India in late August.
Fantastic. Massive result; a beacon of light burns in the ashes of India’s dwindling jungles. Well done to all those involved and a massive pat on the back.
It was exactly two years ago that tourism was being accused of killing tigers and banned from operating by the high court for three months. Yet here we are with burgeoning tiger numbers, and booming visitor number going to more and more parks than ever before, and it would seem that tigers are not suffering at all from the hordes of visitors to tiger reserves. Strange? Surely there is a correlation between the two?!
Let’s now look at why it has happened and what I believe are the underlying reasons for this. More government money is being thrown at the problem yes, and figures suggest its costing between US$900 and US$2000 per year, per square km, to support it. There is some excellent park management undoubtedly, better tracking and relocation; and the increasing numbers of villagers being removed from core areas, along with their livestock, which is allowing greater areas of the parks to become tiger friendly territory.
But it’s not only this, for I believe one major and hugely unappreciated, and a still institutionally unloved industry – nature tourism – is also responsible and can take a lot of credit too and this is why.
Nature tourism creates the economic value that today’s forests need to survive the ravages of agriculture, the depletion of overgrazing, the exploiting of extractive industries and the chicanery of political machinations.
Nature tourism raises the voices of a few protagonists to a great crescendo of concerned stakeholders, turns the media spotlight and a visitors’ eyeballs onto once unloved forests, gets their guardians out of bed every morning, and makes civil servants accountable like no other force can. Importantly it is a massive behavioural change mechanism, turning many rural communities from wildlife antagonists to conservation advocates, creates jobs and enterprises where few were available and where no other prospect exists for these marginal farming communities, buffeted by wildlife conflict, to join the brave new modern India.
India’s nature tourism industry is already providing the very ‘glue’ that makes all the other critical parts of wilderness conservation sustainable in a modern world. It’s by no means perfect and it still needs minimum standard guarantees of sustainability from owners and operators, better land use planning, and a better understanding and partnership with many Forest officers, but it is providing the much needed bonding – the very sticky glue that makes long term forest conservation possible and viable, against a crescendo of calls for its destruction and development.
Yes, tigers cannot survive without their guardians, good management and large enough natural landscapes, but they will not thrive and expand without nature tourism’s invaluable economics, its visitors ‘hearts on their sleeve’ conscience, and its many stakeholders interest and activities.
Credits: Tiger Nation
Editor’s Note: In recognition of International Tiger Day, we present the following article from our archives as a way of illustrating how attitudes toward tigers have changed in the past century. In November 1924, Brigadier General William Mitchell, who is regarded by many historians as the father of the U.S. Air Force, published this account of a three-day tiger hunt in eastern India with the maharaja of Surguja, a legendary tiger hunter.
Machali and Cee4life In India – Due to our upcoming visit in a couple of weeks to India, we thought it would be good to share we everyone the work that we have done in India and for the last of the Bengal Tigers. We provide education to the public, private and government sectors on many conservation issues and aid with the rescue and rehabilitation of both wild and captive animals, specifically Tigers. Cee4life works in most of the SE Asian countries, and have aided in conservation situations in USA, Kenya and European areas. Machali is based in India, in Ranthambore, so I thought it would be good to recap some of the work with have done to help in India.
In 2011 when we conducted the educational event Freedom Walk for the Tigers at Corbett National Park which was aided by Indian media, specifically NDTV. – http://cee4life.org/project&details.php?article_id=10
In 2012 we happened to be in a remote area where a Tigress had one of her four cubs hit and killed by a car. The mother Tigress attacked any random vehicle that passed by for the next week. No one went to aid her. So we did. Here is the film of that.- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG5dOxM2cis
And we support anti poaching teams in India and provide them with their needs. http://cee4life.org/humanitarian.php
In early 2014 we released the very controversial Bengal Tiger Death Count report of all Bengal deaths of 2013, in hope the severe impact of poachers of the glorious Bengal Tigers could hopefully be clearly seen and inspire more anti poaching teams to be implemented and trained in a highly tactical manner –
The director of Cee4life, Sybelle Foxcroft, has been requested by a number of Indian tiger lovers and conservationists to come to Ranthambore and visit Machali as there is great concern about her well being due to the conflict in the decision to feed or not feed Machali.
After seeing the difficult but successful recent rescue and rehabilitation of a Tiger Cee4life assisted in saving, we have been contacted regarding the great concern for Machali – For your information here is the documentary which ABC Foreign Correspondent did with us on this http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2013/s3894606.htm
I hope you enjoy reading through the work that we have been doing over the years to try and aid the Indian Bengal Tigers, and we thank the Indian Media and Authorities for their support in all of this. ~ Cee4life
Tracking the Tigress, INDIA – Cee4life doesnt just help captive aniamls, we also try to help the wild one when we can. On this occasion we were in India, where a female tigress had one of her cubs killed by a car. She stayed in the area for the next week attacking every vehicle or bike that went by. The authorities were alerted, but no one came to help. We were in the area, so we did what we could. The mum was separated from her 3 remaining babies by monsoon waters. They could have been killled by jackals, bears and other predators. We went to find the mum and try and get her back.
Turn it up, sit back, and watch how frightening this is. We had no defences and we knew, the tiger saw us, but we did not see her.
Happy ending, she got back to her cubs.
A female Tiger with her 4 cubs crossed an isolated road outside of a protected area. One of her cubs was hit by a random car and killed. For the next week, the Tigress attacked every vehicle or bike that went past. She finally wandered into the bush. It was monsoon season. News came that she had been seperated from her young 2 month old cubs. Other predators were in the area. We went to check on her to see that she made it back to her cubs safely. However, we did not need to see her, we just needed to find evidence she was reunited with her cubs again. Every tiger counts. This footage is a bit bouncy, sorry about that, hard to film in this situation.