Taking Tiger Protection Seriously

Taking Tiger Protection Seriously

by Michael

Is India taking tiger protection seriously? I don’t honestly see it judging by the protection afforded the tigers in the Valmiki Tiger Reserve in the north of the country (Bihar state). The Valmiki Tiger Reserve is the only park in the state of Bihar where tiger is found.

This video show how grotesquely underfunded the protection is:

The video also shows how totally lacking in awareness the poachers are as to the seriousness of the plight of the tiger. And we can’t blame them. The poachers are just getting by. Understanding the situation and finding an equally profitable means of making a living that does not destroy the tiger would be useful.

The upsetting thing is that the Bengal tiger has been in massive decline for decades. Well over a century actually. In the case of this particular reserve the already low (unsustainable?) population of tigers in 2005 of 33 has fallen to about 10 in 2009. If people say “about” followed by a number it is going to be a lower number than the one stated if we are talking about tigers. It is a kind of denial. And even today at the 11th hour neither funding nor commitment is not there.

But maybe something will happen at the 11th hour. We are told that Bihar is likely to have “Tiger Protection Force” soon (sounds very efficient doesn’t it). As mentioned the park in question is in the state of Bihar. Funding is being applied for as I understand it from central funds (the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)?). There will be 20 people making up a new Tiger Protection Force.

The funding to set up the force, as I understand, amounts to 2 million rupees (Rs 20 lakh = 20 x 100,000 rupees). 2 million rupees is £26,022. Is this for the first year? What happens later on? This amount is the cost of a Volkswagen Beetle in India by the way.

Why do I feel less than enthusiastic about this? Because I just don’t feel even after hearing this news that the people charged with the task of conservation are taking tiger protection seriously enough.

Here is a map showing where the park is – you can click on the flag:

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Taking Tiger Protection Seriously

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Dec 22, 2009 To Samir
by: Michael (PoC Admin)

Hi Samir, I have made the donation. I made a comment about it under your article: Tale of Two Tigers

I was unable to nominate a specific project it seems. I paid by PayPal.

Thanks once again.

Dec 20, 2009 Donate to Wildlife Trust of India
by: Samir K Sinha

Dear Michael,
Thanks for the donation. You please give it to Wildlife Trust of India for using it for Valmiki tiger conservation project. For further details you can send me e-mail on

Dec 19, 2009 Thanks
by: Michael (PoC Admin)

Note to Samir: Thank you very much for your very important article. It is extremely useful and interesting to hear from you.

Please come back and write some more. Next time please use the form on the Wild Cat Species page. Thanks in advance.

I have made this into a full article. It qualifies for a $100 (USD) donation. Please tell me where the $100 is to be sent.

Please see your article here:

Tale of Two Tigers


Dec 19, 2009 Tale of two tigers
by: Samir K Sinha

I recall, it was first week of January this year (2009), when myself with two of my colleagues from Wildlife Trust of India ? Anil, a biologist and Anjan, a veterinarian were sent to Uttar Pradesh state of India to capture a strayed out tiger.

The tiger travelled more than 250 km from its origin in Pilibhit forest and took refuge in a small thorny Prosopis forest spread across about 10 sq. km. in Faizabad district of the state. The strayed out tiger had crossed a vast stretch of human dominated agricultural landscape, always chased away by crowd ? never got any chance to return to its home ground. We were trying to restrain the tiger using trap cages with live goats as bait and remote chemical immobilization technique from elephant back as well. However, the tiger did not give any fair chance. The tiger killed several cattle and unfortunately, three human beings too and officially declared a ?man-eater?.

Now professional shooters were also behind the tiger. We continued our effort to catch the tiger live, but ultimately the tiger was fired upon to death. Shockingly, the carcass riddled with the bullets of the shooter, was of a tigress in her prime!!!

I returned to my place, but my other two colleagues rushed to another part of the state, close to Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary, where one male tiger was creating havoc- after claiming few human lives in the adjoining sugarcane fields. The tiger was also legally declared a man-eater by the authorities. My colleagues got a short chance to restrain the tiger chemically. Anjan, the guy, I admire, did not miss the chance and fired the dart loaded with chemicals, which hit the tiger perfectly and the tiger could move hardly 200 m before being fully sedated.

I saw the video, Anjan carrying the sedated tiger on elephant back through the thickets of high grasses, and Anil organizing transportation cages to transport the tiger to a safer place for further actions. Anjan, explained me the entire episode when I meet him in my office in October. It was quite satisfying ? a prime male could be saved. The tiger was shifted to a zoo at Lucknow (state capital of Uttar Pradesh), since the authorities did not find him suitable to rehabilitate back to the wild.

Last month, during my visit to Delhi, on a traffic signal, I saw a photograph of a tiger peeping through the bars of a cage on the cover page of a newspaper a hawker was weaving near my car. I opened the window glass, purchased the newspaper, went through the story – it stated that the two and a half month tiger, christened as Kishan, who was declared man-eater and captured and brought to Lucknow zoo from Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary is diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, a cancer of blood vessels. Chemotherapy is going on, I wish Kishan gets a healthy life, but experts feel that early death of Kishan suffering from the disease is probably inevitable. Perhaps, the disease had turned Kishan man-eater.

[PoC Fair Deal]

Nov 27, 2009 Make some mony
by: Michael

Hi Samir. Here is a Pictures of Cats fair deal (PoC Fair Deal).

If you write a 20 line article for this website on tiger conservation (anything you like on the subject – it might just be describing your work) I will donate $100 USD to any tiger charity/foundation/program that you select.

That’s $5 per line. PoC fair deal

Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment written by visitors. It is a way visitors can contribute to animal welfare without much effort and no financial cost. Please comment. It helps this website too which at heart is about cat welfare.

Just put the following (all of it including the square brackets) at the base of the post:

[PoC Fair Deal]

Nov 26, 2009 Hi Samir
by: Michael

Fantastic to hear from you Samir. I love it when people at the sharp end (where things actually happen) take the time to provide some input. It is very valuable and very much appreciated. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge.

Nov 26, 2009 A correction
by: Samir K Sinha

Dear Rudolph and Michael,
Rudolph, Bihar is not having dense forest cover. Geographically, only 6.4% area of Bihar is under forest cover. Valmiki’s forest is a chunk of 880 sq. km. moist deciduous forest.

Michael, I have been working in Valmiki Tiger Reserve since 2003. I concentrate on tiger monitoring and work with local communities to reduce their dependency so that tiger’s habitat is disturbance free. I have recorded improvement in tiger and prey population. I have camera trapped breeding tigress. So, situation is not so grim. Do not belief the media whole heartedly. Tiger figure of 2005 (35 tigers) should not be compared with the current figure (10 tigers). Both figures were outcome of two different methods of tiger count. Pugmark census technique has already been rejected on scientific grounds. The count of 35 tiger was result of this technique.

I would like to add that, do not consider Valmiki Tiger Reserve in isolation. It is a part of Valmiki-Chitwan-Parsa Tiger Conservation Unit which is about 3500 sq. km. So, there is great possibility of survival of tigers in this landscape. I share your concern of poor focus on protection in the reserve.

Nov 22, 2009 Thanks Rudolph
by: Michael

Hi Rudolph, thank you very much for correcting me. It is great to have you in India watching over my Indian geography! Much appreciated. I’ll change it now.

I may not have told you that I visited India in the early 1970s. I got down as far as Hyderabad. It was the monsoon season and everything was flooded.

I love India by the way. Although for a Brit it is bl**dy hot! I used to dive into the air conditioned ice cream shops to cool off.

Nov 21, 2009 Tiger Protection.
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

Hi Michael,
Just an “errata correction” in the name of the state you have mentioned, since i am Indian and reasonably knowledgeable about my own Country, especially “wild-Life conservation”.
You have mentioned the tiger reserve as being in “Bahir” which should actually be “BIHAR”. Bihar is one of the most densely forested state in India.Rest of your article is an excellent commentary on the sad state of affairs of tiger conservation in India.

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