News Archive 2002 - 2005
12.01.04 - Nepal Projects: End of Year Reports
04.11.03 - Tiger Haven Society Annual Newsletter
07.12.02 - Special Tiger Tracking Reports
04.11.02 - Camera Trapping Up-date
19.09.02 - Protection Huts built in Tadoba
03.08.02 - Tadoba Andheri Bicycle Project - E-mail Update
28.05.02 - Camera Trapping Up-date
10.05.02 - Tadoba-Andharit Bicycles Given to Forest Guards
06.04.02 - Chitwan Poachers Arrested as Territorial Male Found Dead
2002 - Camera Trapping Up-date
12.01.04 - Nepal Projects: End of Year Reports
27.10.03 - Rhino Poachers Arrested in Chitwan
15.06.03 - Bicycles Donated in Chitwan
13.03.03 - Anti-poaching Equipment Handed over in Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal
12.01.04 - Nepal Projects: End of Year Reports
25.02.03 - Environmental Camp for Conservation Awareness in Meghauli, Chitwan
24.08.02 - Historic Progress in the Conservation of the Tibetan Antelope
18.03.02 - 80 Shahtoosh Shawls Seized in Delhi
10.12.02 - Gharial Tracking Up-Date
08.09.02 - Gharial Conservation Up-date
17.04.02 - Gharial Tracking Up-date
20.03.02 - Gharial Tracking
29.02.04 - Grassland Management Project
14.02.04 - Wetlands International Asian Waterfowl Census - Pokhara Lakes
31.01.04 - Wetlands International Waterfowl Census
12.01.04 - Nepal Projects: End of Year Reports
02.06.03 - Raptor Monitoring in Pokhara
12.01.03 - Wetlands International - Waterfowl Census (South Asia) 2003
25.09.02 - Raptor Monitoring Programme based at Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge
How Can I Help?
13.12.03 - Adventurer's Lecture Rasies Money for ITNC
09.12.04 - Exhibition of Sculpture Fundraising
31.10.03 - Sculpture Course to help Snow Leopards and Rhinos
24.03.03 - Running for ITNC
21.01.03 - Large Donation for Chitwan Projects
25.11.02 - Flying Frenzy Fundraising Evening in Sherbourne
08.11.02 - Save the Tiger Tour
11.10.02 - Acknowledgements
09.10.02 - Young Supporters Zoo Visit and Meal
07.06.02 - Generous Donation
Grassland Management Project
A joint project between the International Trust for Nature Conservation and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife & Conservation, Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal has begun.
The project is overseen for ITNC by Dhan Bahadur Chaudhary, Tiger Tops Naturalist, and aims to preserve and improve nesting and displaying areas for the endangered Bengal Florican (Haubaropsis bengalensis). Floricans have been observed nesting in the short grasses of the Harrabas area of the park for many years; however, the encroachment of tall grasses into their nesting areas over the previous few seasons has been identified as a threat.
Floricans employ an intricate courtship dance which is impeded by the tall grasses, they also nest on the ground relying on short grasses for cover but with visibility and reduced fire risk.
The tall grass species were manually uprooted before the nesting season, hard, labour intensive work, undertaken by National Park and Tiger Tops staff which has already paid dividends in the sighting of several Bengal Floricans in the area.
Wetlands International Asian Waterfowl Census - Pokhara Lakes
ITNC and Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge staff initiated the Asian Waterfowl Census in the Pokhara valley. This, previously uncounted, area was started with a presence/absence survey of five of the valley's major lakes.
The habitat and conservation issues facing these lakes is markedly different from those found in Chitwan. The valley is heavily cultivated with some industry and a little fishing. Though lower than the Kathmandu valley, it is still high in the mountains and fed by Himalayan streams coming from the Annapurna himal.
None of the lakes counted has any formal protection and yet a total of 25 species of waterfowl, kingfisher and wagtails were seen across the five lakes.
This research is to form a bench mark for a full survey which will be performed next year.
Wetlands International Asian Waterfowl Census
On the 10th and 13th of January five teams of Tiger Tops Naturalists and ITNC personnel, headed by Kalu Ram Tamang, Dhan Bahadur Chaudhary and Dhan Bahadur Tamang, took part in the annual Asian Waterfowl Census, co-ordinated by Wetlands International.
Whilst no overwhelming trends can be drawn from a two day survey, the number of species identified was fewer than last year (48 as opposed 53) and there were potentially worrying reductions in several species including Lesser Adjutant Stork (Leptoptilus javanicus), Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica) and Indian Cotton Teal (Nettapus coromanelianus). ITNC personnel will continue to monitor the rivers and habitat of Chitwan and report any permanent fluctuations.
The 'benchmark' count of Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) was 5% higher than in 2003 for the same area. Waders such as the Small Pratincole (Glareola lactea), Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandinus) and Common Greenshank (Tringa nebulara) were seen in significantly greater numbers.
The census provides a valuable snap shot on the life along the Narayani River and Wetlands of Royal Chitwan National Park and, in combination with the continued monitoring of the area, helps global understanding of the lives of these birds in an increasingly human dominated environment.
The census is performed throughout South East Asia and compiled by Wetlands International.
For a full copy of the data, compiled by Santosh Lama (Tiger Tops Operations In-Charge) please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nepal Projects: End of Year Reports
CHITWAN PROJECTS; ITNC NEPAL REPRESENTATIVE; DINESH THAPA
1.Long term Tiger Monitoring Project-Chitwan. (L.T.T.M.)
This project was continued from beginning October 03' after a gap in the monsoon.
Two staff, Baburam and Raju Kumal, have been fully active since that time, camera trapping within the study area.
Dr Charles McDougal was in Chitwan until the end of the November supervising the work.
All the resident tiger and tigresses are still monitored and trapped in the cameras. No resident tigers and tigresses have vanished.
We are getting good results.
Two of the resident tigresses have been found to have 4 cubs each. That is exciting.
The dominant male Eastern Bhale is still holding his territory.
2. Antipoaching Fund-ITNC
We are continuing the monthly payments in Chitwan in order to combat poaching. The fund is issued to the Antipoaching Operation program of the Royal Chitwan National Park under the Chief warden. There are good reports on the arrest of rhino poachers during the monsoon and even after that. The national park and park security guards are co-operating well and have shown good results.
The new chief warden of the park has proved active, dedicated and cooperative.
We also are continuing our support to the reward scheme under the park authority. This encourages the people engaged in the arrest of the poachers.
ITNC operatives had a meeting with the DNPWC in Kathmandu to discuss the issue of our support to the CITES unit to control and monitor the illegal trade of wildlife and their products in Kathmandu valley.
We are impressed with their intelligence network and their efforts and have now decided to continue our support to this project too from this December for a year in the hope of having some successful results. We had initially funded for a year since last December for this.
There was a report of one rhino horn trader arrested in Kathmandu through their effort.
We also have been continuing our support to the Suklaphanta Antipoaching Units in the Royal Suklaphanta wildlife Reserve in the far west Nepal to combat poaching.
Mr Tikaram Adhikary-the chief warden in the reserve is also taking care of the antipoaching program there besides his daily routine.
3.Grassland Management Project-Chitwan
ITNC, Nepal is carrying out a grassland management project in the Sukhibar area of Royal Chitwan National Park in January 04' in order to maintain the grassland habitat of the Bengal Florican, an endangered species of bird and other threatened species.
The habitat at the moment is degraded.
We are cooperating in this with the experts in DNPWC, helping them continue work they start before the monsoon.
Dr McDougal and I have decided after we had the proposal from the Royal Chitwan National Park authority on the grassland management aspect in the prescribed area. Tiger Tops Naturalist Mr DB Chaudhary and the park ranger Mr Bed Khadka are going to carry out this jointly as they both are keen. They will also make a report on their work and results. We discussed it before our agreement to this project.
A budget is earmarked now.
POKHARA PROJECTS; ITNC TRUSTEE; MARCUS COTTON
Shillinge Community Forestry Project
The project has shown little progress over the past year, mainly due to reorganisation and lack of direction amongst our community partners. Steps have been taken by ITNC personnel and Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge to re-invigorate local interest and there are signs that this has been working.
The trustees will be kept informed of any developments.
Raptor Sighting Records
This mini-project is ongoing - lead by Jhalak Chaudhary, Senior Guide. Generally, sightings appear slightly up over last year - but to what extent this is also a factor of increased tourists and staff back on full-time work must be considered. The good news is that we have had periodic sightings of Long Billed Vulture (Gyps indicus) which is the species suffering the greatest decline in recent years.
Records go to Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN) - the national authority - and are available on the web from this website.
I'll be discussing the data with Dr. Hem Baral, President of BCN to see if we need and how we can develop this project to provide ongoing, effective data.
Leopard Predation Monitoring - the guides at TM Pokhara are planning an information network among the local youth of the villages in the area to report all cases of leopard kills of domestic and wild animals. Our guides will visit the site and try to identify the animal - assumed to be a leopard in most cases. The objective of this will be to collect data on predation and aim to extrapolate leopard population, individual identification, socio-economic factors, etc.
I will also be discussing this with Dr. Charles McDougal for his valuable advice.
Wetlands International - Asian Wetland and Waterfowl Census - this January our guides and other will undertake an annual waterfowl count on the lakes in the Pokhara Valley. We will work in coordination with the local branch of BCN.
The data will be sent to Wetlands International, BCN and will be posted on this website.
Adventurer's Lecture Raises Money for ITNC
A very successful lecture was given at St Anthony Lewiston school in Sherbourne by Sofia Cunningham on her fascinating 5000 mile ride along the silk route. Part of the proceeds of the evening were donated to ITNC for their tiger monitoring projects.
For those who could not attend the lecture, the journey is chronicled in the book 'Last Secrets of the Silk Road' written by Sofia's travelling companion Alexandra Tolstoy.
Exhibition of Sculptures Fundraising
Following on from the very successful sculpting course last summer, Mark Coreth and the Sladmore Gallery staged an exhibition on 2nd December to show the works produced at this course and a further collection on Mark Coreth's work.
Proceeds from the evening were divided between ITNC, specifically for their snow leopard projects and Rhino Rescue. ITNC is very grateful for this support and extends sincere thanks to Mark Coreth, an internationally renowned sculptor and dedicated conservationist, to Lady Cowdray and to the Sladmore Gallery.
Tiger Haven Society Annual Newsletter
Sculpture Course to help Snow Leopards and Rhinos
An exhibition of the work produced by the workshop will be held at the Sladmore Gallery from December the 2nd.
Rhino Poachers Arrested in Chitwan
Three poachers have been arrested in the area of Royal Chitwan National Park, they are charged with killing a rhino in July of this year. Kantipur Online carried the full story.
ITNC has supported and continues to support the Royal Nepal Army and the Department for National Parks and Wildlife Conservation's efforts to combat poaching throughout Nepal.
Bicycles Donated in Chitwan
In response to a request from the Chief Warden of Royal Chitwan National Park and as part of the ongoing Save the Tiger Tour project through Himalayan Kingdoms and Terre et Faune, three bicycles have been bought and donated for use by park staff. They are to be given to guard posts situated in the park. These posts have no other form of communication and it is hoped that this donation will allow messages, reports of poaching incidents and calls for back up to be passed much quicker. The bikes will also make life more convenient for those working to protect the park and it's wildlife.
Raptor Monitoring in Pokhara
TM Pokhara Lodge initiated a logging database of key raptors as part of a programme to monitor vultures that have been the subject of serious decline in recent years in Nepal and the sub-continent (Giri & Baral 2001). This is being conducted by the guides at Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge. The work comes under the aegis of the International Trust for Nature Conservation.
From the TM Pokhara Lodge data the following preliminary information Monitoring started in October 2002 and has continued, with some variation due to the vagaries of staff employment in a weak tourist season, until 31st May 2003. 17 individual species of eagle and vulture are monitored as well as two "catch-all" categories - unidentified eagle and unidentified vulture.
A total of 242 sightings were made of 12 species. The largest single species group was 10 Eurasian Griffon (Gyps fulvus), as part of a larger mixed species group of 19 individuals, on 30th April 2003. The largest mixed group was the group of 19 individuals noted above. There were 9 sightings of mixed groups over 10 identified individuals and 2 sightings of over 10 unidentified vultures. The average number of individuals sighted was 2.33. The most frequent activity recorded was soaring followed by direct flight.
It is hoped that this data which will continue to be collected over the coming years will help provide indications of population trends in the vicinity of Pokhara. The data is made available to Bird Conservation Nepal, the national authority for ornithological research.
The species identified and monitored were, Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis), Booted Eagle (Hieraatus kienerii), Cinerous Vulture (Aegypius monachus), Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela), Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Eurasian Griffon, Himalayan Griffon (Gyps Himalayensis), Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), Long-billed Vulture (Gyps indicus), Red-headed Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis), White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis).
A summary of the data collected can be seen below, click here for a full break down of results.
Camera Trapping Up-date
By the end of March this year the initial sweep of the International Trust for Nature Conservation's Long Term Tiger Monitoring project area had been completed. All the resident tigers have been photographed and a good number of this year's cubs and sub-adults (who may turn out to be next year's residents in another part of the area). New litters, as yet un-photographed, are confirmed by the presence of tracks for Temple Pothi (four - one of which was seen by Angi Schumacher whilst on a routine Tharu transfer) and Champka Pothi (also four) and surmised at, from mating times and a corresponding window of inactivity, for No 4 Pothi. We await the closing of this year's monsoon with baited breath to find how many of these young cats survive and hope they will be large enough by the end of next season to attempt to photograph.
A great bonus came from the island where Majur Tikka Pothi's four cubs all walked through the cameras without leaving any visible or definitive tracks. We had pulled the team off the island, consoling ourselves that Majur Tikka Pothi was a clever tiger and we've never been successful in photographing her litters, developed the film for the photo of Island Male that was supposed to be there and lo and behold, four beautiful sub-adult tigers! It's why we're in this business, you never know.
The cameras are currently up in the Sukhibar area where Sukhibar Pothi and UP9 gave us all the trouble earlier in the season for one final attempt to sort out the picture up there - their respective boundaries seem to be in a state of flux and the most up to date information we can take into the monsoon will help us with camera placements and just viewing after the rains finish and the whole job starts again.
There are also a couple of un-identified males up in the Kasara area looking young and fit, this year's un-disputed king of the area, Eastern Male, may have to keep his eyes open next season if he wants to stay in control of all his massive territory. It's a brave tiger that challenges him at the moment.
Running for ITNC
Long time ITNC, ex-Tiger Tops staff member and tiger devotee David Bellass ran the Reading Half-Marathon and raised £100 in sponsorship. He completed the distance despite privately admitting concerns about his fitness and his, less than ideal, preparation and training techniques, his dedication to the ITNC cause won through!
Anti-poaching Equipment Handed over in Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal.
At the Headquarters of Royal Chitwan National Park in Kasara, Assistant Warden Megh Nath Kafle gratefully received twenty-two high quality torches, complete with one set of batteries each and six sets of binoculars. This equipment is for the use of the Department for National Parks and Wildlife's Anti-poaching Units and is the first instalment of equipment to be bought by funds raised for ITNC by both the Swiss charity Terre et Faune and the British travel agent Himalayan Kingdoms' Save the Tiger Tour.
The donation of essential camping equipment is part of ITNC's commitment to supply the men who perform the anti-poaching work with the basics to make their dangerous job more comfortable.
The binoculars and torches were handed over by Timothy and Sharon Clark, guests at Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge and Tented Camp as part the Save the Tiger Tour. During their time at Kasara they met Pangriya, the young leopard that is being raised by the Park Service. The chance to meet a big cat at close quarters has only been topped by seeing tigers in the wild, a life time dream for Sharon, in the pristine habitat of Chitwan.
Environmental Camp for Conservation Awareness in Meghauli, Chitwan
Between the 8th and 12th of Falgun (20th - 24th February) of this year an environmental education camp, lead by ECCA volunteer Kabita Thapa and five other counsellors, was held for twenty children from the Meghauli area, bordering the Royal Chitwan National Park. The children all attend the Jilly Mully, English High school in Parsadap and the Sri Janaki Secondary school in Tellauli, who generously provided room for the courses to be held.
As well as environmentally based games, the syllabus included sessions on personal hygiene, the importance of the National Park and the environment and animals preserved within, basic re-cycling and use of waste materials and the benefits of keeping the home and village areas free from litter and clean. Tiger Tops Naturalist, and Meghauli resident, Jitendra Chaudhary acted as an expert on the wild environment inside the park, eco-tourism and helped put Chitwan into the wider picture of conservation, species and habitat protection throughout the world.
On one day, the children, lead by Jitendra, walked into the jungle and Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge. They were given a briefing on the Lodge's domestic elephants and were allowed to help bathe them. The children were given a demonstration of a camera trap set and an explanation of the ITNC Long Term Tiger Project as well as the reasons why we try to protect Chitwan's population. They were allowed to 'take' their own photographs with the trap and will be given the photo to keep as soon as the films are developed. The highlight of the day was an elephant safari out of the park for a tourist's eye view of the area, the excitement at seeing a rhino in it's natural habitat, from children who see them as pests outside the park in the paddy fields, was a happy surprise!!
One the final day a talent show was given with dancing both traditional and Hindi movie, singing and joke telling interspersed with essay reading on lessons learnt during the week and a play warning at the dangers of deforestation. This was performed for their parents, the principals of the two schools, Tiger Tops Lodge Manager, Dinesh Thapa, several naturalists and an ITNC representative.
Large Donation for Chitwan Projects
The latest instalment of donations from the Himalayan Kingdoms, Save the Tiger Tour guests have arrived in Nepal. The money will be spent on three projects, the on-going Long Term Tiger Monitoring project will hire enough extra people to run two teams of trackers. The first team will continue to systematically trap for tigers in the project area - we do this every year and it is the main priority of the project. However, additional tracking has indicated that careful female tigers have managed to hide cubs from us and the situation with two new tiger territories seems to be in flux. The Himalayan Kingdoms money will allow us to spend a month gaining the full picture and, hopefully, pick up three cubs from our project area before they disperse.
The money will also be used to fund further Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness, these are run by a professional group of people from Kathmandu and the aim is to give children in the Chitwan area an appreciation of the park and the natural species found within their own villages. ITNC have used them before to great effect but the on-going nature of the Save the Tiger Tour project will mean that the camps can be run on a yearly basis and generations will grow up with this appreciation.
Further, some of the money donated will go to buy much needed new equipment for the Anti-Poaching Unit staff, these teams patrol the park, un-armed and a largely responsible, with the Royal Nepal Army in back-up, for the low poaching levels in the Terai parks. However, they need items such as binoculars, boots and sleeping bags to do their job as efficiently as possible.
Wetlands International - Waterfowl Census (South Asia) 2003
Narayani and Rapti Rivers, Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal
The Narayani and Rapti section of this year’s Waterfowl Census, performed by the Wildlife Department of Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge, was performed on the 9th of January. Organised by ornithologists Kaluram Tamang and Dhan Bahadur Chaudhary and implemented by Kamal Lama under the watchful eye of Dinesh Thapa, ITNC representative for Nepal; four teams of Tiger Tops and International Trust for Nature Conservation staff covered the Rapti river from Gai Ghat to the confluence with the Narayani, both main channels of the Narayani river between Sigrauli and Amaltari Ghat and the full channel from Amaltari Ghat to the Trebini barrage on the Indian border. The teams also managed to survey several of the lakes of Royal Chitwan National Park.
Thanks to the commitment and organisation of the above mentioned staff the teams were able to cover a much larger area than last year and give a much fuller idea of the situation on the river system. The weather was un-seasonably cold and overcast and not at all ideal for birding, visibility was good throughout but the low number of ibis and stork observed may have been a factor of the lack of sunshine. Team A, responsible for the Rapti, did not observe any water-fowl roosting in trees, their route included several trees that, in good weather, usually hold Asian Openbill (Anastomis oscitans) or Black Ibis (Psuedubis papillosa). This team, however, did observe a good number of raptors including a Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus) and an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) being mobbed by a pair of Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus). While there was continuous disturbance along the route in the form of villagers taking grass from the park and occasionally grazing cattle inside it two Gharial crocodiles (Gavialis gangeticus) were seen.
Whilst Team D, travelling the lower reaches of the Narayani, were un-able to personally confirm the recent reports of three Gangetic Dolphins (Platanista gangetica) above the barrage, they did manage to find eye-witnesses who had seen them in the recent past. Unfortunately these people were fishermen and the team reported huge disturbance to the river by people apparently making a living from fishing.
It is difficult to compare these results with those of previous years, as due to operational difficulties in those times, different areas have been covered. However, the average number of Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginia) seen per team was around 410 – compared with 264 and 269 seen per team in the last two years respectively – numbers not seen since the census taken in January 2000 (431). Numbers of those birds covered by the census seem to be reassuringly stable given the levels of human disturbance noted. We will continue to watch the river with a very close eye in all our activities and hope to be able to personally confirm the presence of dolphins above the barrage.
Gharial Tracking Up-date
Since the end of the monsoon, ITNC and Tiger Tops staff have, using radio telemetry, been trying to find the young gharial crocodiles released last spring. Despite travelling most of the Northern Narayani system not one signal had been found.
Staff from the University of Lyon, working under Antoine Cadi, arrived in late November to continue full time tracking work. They also failed to pick up a radio signal; however, acting on a tip off from the ITNC trackers they managed to observe one of their crocodiles (which they also physically marked) basking. There was no sign of the radio transmitter.
Two undergraduate students will be staying at Tiger Mountain Tharu Lodge until June 2003 and must now embark on a more thorough observational study of basking gharial.
During that time they hope to make a trip to India to discover whether any of the crocodiles that had been fitted with transmitters were washed down-stream by the unusually large monsoon floods.
With careful and prolonged observation we may yet find out where all the crocodiles that have been released over the years have gone.
Special Tiger Tracking Reports
To compliment this year's tiger tracking effort using money donated by the Save the Tiger Tour two skilled trackers were hired back by ITNC, in a time when they would have been on leave and covered a large area of Royal Chitwan National Park in a series of gruelling walks from Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge.
The information they picked up will be essential in deciding where to place the cameras and to prioritise the trapping order. It also gives us an early idea of the health of the tiger population in our area, this is the snap-shot count from mid-November.
Females, Cubs and Sub-Adults
North East Side - Lucky Pothi with 3 cubs.
Bhimle Pothi with 2 cubs
Unknown new female
South West Side - Temple Pothi
2 Unknown new females
1 Sub – adult male
North West Side - Majur Tikka Pothi with 4 cubs
Adult Female (Kujauli pothi?) with 3 cubs (2M + 1F)
Eastern Bhale – Now ranging from East of Sukhibar all the way to Amaltari Ghat on the mainland
Island Bhale – Now ranging from the buffer zone forests North of the fork in the Narayani, on the islands all the way to Amaltari ghat and then on the mainland to West of Lehda Ghat.
The tracking continues, as does the camera trapping, the territorial situation as presented above is by no means definitive. The tracking has given a snap-shot based on several exhaustive walks.
We continue to find more tigers, a sub-adult female yesterday in the Bhaulwai Khola area, a sub-adult male apparently cattle lifting near Tharu village a few days ago. The camera traps found a tiger we hadn’t seen for 19 months.
The season may tell us a lot better what has happened in the wake of Munda Bhale’s death and the fall out from Reu Pothi’s death two seasons ago. It seems that Temple Pothi has moved East, the gap filled by Champka Pothi and another small female, No4 Pothi appears to be establishing a very odd territory in the areas left un-claimed by Temple Pothi and taking pieces from both Bhimle and Lucky.
We await the cameras to confirm or deny these conclusions and continue to watch with interest!
Flying Frenzy Fundraising Evening in Sherbourne
The evening was a lecture and film on paragliding in the Himalayas given by Eddie Colfax with the proceeds being divided between ITNC and the Jana Jyoti School at Aglung Pani. Eddie and John Sylvester have recently spent time paragliding through the Himalayas and showed stunning film footage and photographs of the breathtaking views over the mountains and in the villages they stayed in with welcoming and surprised villagers.
For more information on this event and paragliding contact Eddie through his Flying Frenzy website.
In all, £1800 was raised, meaning a donation of £900 for ITNC.
Save the Tiger Tour
The second group of the Himalayan Kingdoms/Tigermountain Save the Tiger 2002 tours leaves Nepal tomorrow after another successful trip encompassing Tigermountain Operations in both Royal Bardia and Royal Chitwan National Parks. The guests enjoyed their entire stay but the highlight for both groups has been the sighting of tiger. The latest group managed to track down one of Lucky Pothi's cubs (as mentioned below) whilst on foot from Tented Camp.
They also saw Leopard, Gaur from the viewing platform at night, four types of deer and all the monkeys. For more information on the Save the Tiger Tour please follow the link to How Can I Help?. For every guest that travels, Himalayan Kingdoms donate £200 to help the ITNC in its tiger monitoring and anti-poaching effort in Nepal.
Camera Trapping Up-date
The camera trapping effort for this season began with an attempt to photograph Lucky Pothi and her fifteen month old cubs in the area of Tiger Tops Tented Camp, despite masses of fresh tracks and some very good sightings from the elephants, Lucky proved to be a difficult customer. In a month or so of tracking we eventually managed to photograph Lucky herself on both sides, one side of two of her cubs and both of another.
From the tracks, it appears that she still has at least two, maybe three cubs living close to her and one, male, who is still in the area but living independently. It is the male we photographed both sides of, just after he had been seen by a jeep safari - he was obviously annoyed about being spotted and then to have his photo taken was the last straw and he attacked and marginally damaged both camera traps, we await the development of the photo's with interest. Maybe something to watch for the future - we can't afford to lose traps!
At the beginning of this month, the main thrust of the camera trappers moved from the Tented Camp area, leaving just two cameras to eventually pick the third cub and the other sides of the others. The cameras were moved West to Munda Tal, Lame Tal and Sanu Bandh Khola, Temple Pothi proved more co-operative than Lucky and we picked up three pictures in the first two nights, just what was required to boost the trackers' morale.
Further good news from the trackers, Bir Bahadur has been down to Majur Tikka Island and confirmed, via tracks, reports from the Boatmen that Majurtikka Pothi now has four very young cubs in tow.
The challenges continue in the jungle, but, even if the Camera Trap effort proceeds slowly it is good to know from the tracks that the Chitwan population is healthy and growing steadily.
Several businesses, organisations and individuals have recently made small but very useful donations of goods and services to help with ITNC's projects in Nepal. Though none have asked for recognition we acknowledge these donations and thank those responsible for their help in donating or subsidising items that are directly required by ITNC personnel.
Taunton Leisure Outdoor Pursuits shop in Exeter gave as much help as possible in the purchase of a GPS unit for use by the Camera Trappers, they also donated a good number of children's hats to be distributed amongst the pupils of the Tiger Mountain/Swiss Air School.
East Devon College of Further Education kindly donated 150 pens for use by the same school and to help ITNC field personnel in their recording of results and notes.
Mr Tony Roberts donated ten pen knives/LED torches for use by the Camera Trapping teams, the trackers and Tiger Mountain support staff.
Young Supporters Zoo Visit and Meal
The first ITNC Young Supporters event took place on Saturday the fifth of October, around twenty people met at London Zoo to be taken behind the scenes of the tiger enclosure. We looked on, amazed, as Matt, the keeper, called to the tigress across the enclosure - she bounded to the door but on seeing the crowd became un-sure of herself and came into the cages looking like nothing so much as a very large domestic cat.
Fearing us to be vets she paced up and down in front of us, so close you could hear her breathing until she was eventually calmed by Matt and some raw meat - the relish with which she ate this calmed my temptation to try and touch her through the bars.
Matt talked us through the zoo's attempts to get her to conceive and add to the European stud book, held at London Zoo. He then took us outside and put on a public display of feeding to give us an idea of the difference in size between the tigress and her mate.
We re-convened in the luxurious map room of The Bedford in Balham, very kindly leant to us by the management and appropriately hung with various natural history paintings depicting Asian wildlife and flora. A briefing was given, ably assisted by Mr David Bellass, on ITNC operations in Nepal the achievements and problems of last season and on the high hopes for this year. This was also used as an excuse to show some of the wildlife videos taken in Chitwan over the past few years - some of these can be downloaded direct from the Video Clips page of the Tiger Mountain web-page.
We then proceeded to Nanglo Nepali Restaurant, also in Balham, for a very good meal, the odd drink and to talk about tigers and compare experiences in Chitwan and to persuade those that haven't already been to join us in the jungle at some point!
The chapati basket was passed around and £135 was raised, more than enough to cover a new GPS unit for use by the Camera Trappers in the jungle as well as the Gharial monitoring staff. Also added was £100 raised by David Bellass who recently ran the Windsor half marathon.
Raptor Monitoring Programme based at Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge
In response to both local and Asia wide concerns over the decline in numbers of vultures and scavenging raptors. Naturalists and staff at Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge, with ITNC support, have begun a monitoring project to count and record the behaviour of vultures and other raptors in the Pokhara valley.
The data, collected by Jhanak Chaudhary, assisted by Hari Bhakta Adhikari and Hari Pariyar will be entered onto a database, published and compared on a monthly basis.
The decimation of vulture species on the Indian Sub-continent has been well documented in recent years with numbers of Long Billed Vulture (Gyps indicus) falling by around 90% in some areas causing carcasses to go uneaten leading to problems with human health and an increase feral dog populations. The gap in the ecology has been partially filled by the Eurasian and Himalayan Griffon (Gyps fulvus and himalayensis), however, ornithologists are now worried that the virus thought to be killing the other vulture species may be attacking the griffons.
The ITNC project aims to secure baseline data on the population trends of raptors in the Pokhara Valley as a precursor to ascertaining whether or not the disease has reached Nepal, if it has as devastating an effect as elsewhere. The data will be made available to ITNC, Bird Conservation Nepal and the rare bird data-base already kept at Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge. It is also hoped to open another monitoring station based on Tharu Lodge - in the Terai lowlands of Nawalparasi district of Nepal.
For a more detailed account of the decline in numbers of the Sub-Continent's vulture species see the BBC web-site.
Protection Huts built in Tadoba
Tiger protection in Tadoba Andheri continues apace. The protection teams' ability to patrol and effectively defend tiger territories has been strengthened by the building of several, purpose built, Protection Huts. These allow the Patrolling Camps greater safety and well deserved comfort as well as giving them a base to work from. It is hoped that the huts will soon be linked by radio to give even greater efficiency.
ITNC donated 100 bicycles to the protection staff of Tadoba reserve and continues to look at ways in which they can help.
Gharial Conservation Up-date
Antoine Cadi of the University of Lyon has produced a preliminary report on the first season of the project to track Gharials released into the wild from the Government Gharial Breeding Centre, Chitwan, Nepal. This project is supported financially by La Ferme Aux Crocodiles and logistically by ITNC and Tiger Mountain personnel.
The details of ITNC involvement have been covered in previous new items, a full copy of the report is available through the following link.
Gharial conservation in Nepal: Chitwan population reinforcement monitoring program. (Cadi, Martin, Barlow, Fougeirol &Maskey)
Historic Progress in the Conservation of the Tibetan Antelope
Forwarded from the Wildlife Trust of India
WILDLIFE ACT, SHAHTOOSH WEAVING BANNED
NEW DELHI, AUGUST 24 : The manufacture of shahtoosh shawls has finally been banned in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the only place in the world where they have been woven for centuries. The historic law making this possible was notified earlier this week, giving a new lease of life to the Tibetan antelope, which was being slaughtered to extinction in China to extract the costliest of wools in the world.
For further information on the ITNC campaign, Say No to Shahtoosh, follow the link on the navigation bar.
Tadoba Andheri Bicycle Project - E-mail Update
The following e-mail was received from Poonam Dhanwatey secretary to the Tiger Research and Conservation Trust.
The Trustees of ITNC would like to thank the Golden Bottle Trust for all their generous and continued support, including their recent donation.
Camera Trapping Up-date
Whilst the camera trapping effort in Chitwan is mainly directed towards the study of the tigers in the park the very nature of the infra-red traps used means that any creature walking along the path will be photographed. Recently this has lead ITNC and Tiger Tops staff to widen their study to include leopards. Leopards are less easy to tell apart than tigers, their feet are smaller so, when tracking, the distinctive variations in pug mark are more difficult to pick up.
Just like the tiger the hide pattern is unique to each cat, spots are more difficult to differentiate than stripes but the effort is worth it to learn more about the leopards that share the tiger's territory.
The leopard pictured is romantically named C012, he is the resident male for the a large area around Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge. His range and habits have been followed and ascertained by trackers such as Suk Ram Kumal, the camera trapping effort has helped confirm the tracker's findings. With the recording and identification of these cats alongside the tigers it is hoped to build up a picture of the life of this wary and seldom seen animal that survives as competitive and secondary predator to the largest of the cats.
Tadoba-Andharit Bicycle's Given to Forest Guards
The first 95, ITNC provided, bicycles were handed over to their recipients as part of the Tadoba Project for Tiger Conservation. In a ceremony watched by local benefactors of the project Divisional Commissioner Mr J S Sahariya handed over the keys of the bikes to each of the forest guards and workers. It is hoped that the bicycles will not only make it easier for the guards to perform their duties but also improve the quality of life of these men who form the first line of defence in the forest conservation battle.
They receive only a very small wage and often work far from their families, the bicycles will enable them to move between the forest and their village homes more easily during times of leave or family emergencies.
Each bicycle comes with a basic maintenance kit, is numbered and printed with the ITNC name.
ITNC and Tiger Tops staff Sop Bahadur Kumal, Kamal Lama and Indra Kumal are now fully trained in the use of the radio tracking equipment donated by La Ferme Aux Crocodiles. On a recent tracking exercise Sop Bahadur located three, of the ten crocodiles released in early March, on the banks of one channel of the Narayani river.
The poaching figures for Royal Chitwan National Park for Nepali year 2058 have been released. In the past year 30 Asian One-horned Rhinos were poached - 18 being taken in the last three months - and at least one tiger poisoned. In answer, however, within the last month the Nepali anti-poaching authorities have arrested 18 poachers and hopefully broken the organisation. The park holds around 550 rhinos and around 110 tigers these losses are worrying but not devastating to the Park's population of endangered species, all poaching is taken very seriously by the authorities.
Further bad news, the residential male tiger known to the ITNC Long Term Tiger Monitoring project as Munda Bhale was found dead on the 15th of March towards the Western boundary of his territory. He was found and reported dead by a member of the public, photographed for identification and a post mortem was carried out by park authorities. The contents of his stomach were sent to Kathmandu for scientific analysis and poisoning has not been ruled out - we await the results. He also showed a broken claw and tooth.
Munda had been identified as resident tiger for between three and four years in an area ranging from Dhakre Tal, near Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge, to points West between the Narayani river and the Churia hills. He successfully bred with the females within his territory and produced many cubs. The tiger lives in an un-sentimental world; already other male tigers have noted his absence and are looking to fill the territory vacuum he leaves.
Within the last week, the latest batch of 10 fish eating Gharial Crocodiles have been released from the Breeding Centre in Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal into the river Narayani in the Amaltari area. Breeding centre staff were assisted in the transfer by ITNC and Tiger Mountain Naturalists and guests from a SAGA Holidays In Search of the Royal Bengal Tiger group.
The crocodiles had been taken as eggs from the same river bank and had been hatched and raised at a special breeding centre close to the Park's Headquarters in Kasara. Those released were seven years old or about two metres long and should be well able to deal with the dangers provided by natural predators. Two males and eight females were released.
The crocodiles were fitted with radio transmitters to their tails. While initial tracking was carried out by Breeding Centre personnel the bulk of the work will now be done by ITNC and Tiger Mountain staff in a joint effort with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife. Their progress will be monitored and the project hopes to ascertain how far these reptiles range and the effect of the swollen, monsoon rivers on their survival.
The work is being carried out as part of the PhD project of Antoine Cadi from the Universite de Lyon, France. It is sponsored by La Ferme Aux Crocodiles in Pierlattes, France who have provided the transmitters and receivers as well as croc handling expertise.
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During a search to catch Kashmiri militants, Indian special branch have struck a blow for the Tibetan antelope by capturing two active traders in illegal shahtoosh shawls.
For more details or the seizure visit Wildlife Protection Society of India's website. For more information on ITNC's "Say No to Shahtoosh" campaign follow the Shahtoosh link on the contents bar.
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Camera Trapping Up-date
The camera trapping project in Royal Chitwan National Park is ongoing. Occasionally the trackers will e-mail our officers in the UK with an up-date, whenever they come through we'll put them here. The photographs have yet to be developed and compared, the identifications given here are from pug-mark analysis taken when the cameras are inspected, the photographs are taken from previous seasons.
Kujauli Area Camera Trapping
Date 20.1.02 to 28.01.02
20.01.02 Jungle cat, rhino
23.01.02 Sub Adult female tiger
24.01.02 tiger ?
26.01.02 Jungle cat and tiger
27.01.02 Tiger female
28.01.02 Female Tiger
Narayani Majurtika Area
31.01.02 Island Male tiger
01.02.01 Island Male Tiger
06.02.02 Majurtika female with cubs
09.02.02 Sub adult female
Cameras still out in the Majurtikka area plus two cameras set in Surung area to try and trap Amph Pothi.
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