Bigcats News - Printable Version

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RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 08-27-2016

Forest dept shoots leopard that killed two
Badri Chatterjee, Hindustan Times |  Updated: Aug 25, 2016 00:27 IST

The body of the leopard after it was shot on Wednesday in Murbad. (HT Photo)

*This image is copyright of its original author

"Forest officials said they shot dead a leopard, suspected to have killed two people, near Murbad, Thane. Forest department staff shot the eight-year-old adult male leopard on Wednesday near Kalambad village at 6.30pm
A 54-year-old woman was found dead with injuries on Friday evening. On Sunday, a 52-year-old man was found dead. As many as 11 cattle and goats were also killed. Suspecting that the same animal killed the two villagers and cattle, forest officials had set up traps to capture the leopard but were unsuccessful.
“After failing to trap the leopard over the past three days, we were forced to shoot it,” said KP Singh, chief conservator of forest, Thane adding that different teams consisting of more than 60 forest officials from across Maharashtra were deployed to trap it. “We needed to secure the lives of civilians. We had no option but to put down the animal. A cow had also been killed by the big cat on Tuesday, after which we were able to trace it.”
He added that an investigation will be done to check whether the leopard had moved in from another area. “We will check whether the leopard had been chipped and check for its movement pattern. As of now it is unclear where the animal came from,” said Singh.
On Sunday, the Thane forest division received permission from the chief wildlife warden to take any means necessary to stop the attacks. Forest officials said on Monday that there have never been any man-animal conflicts from the area prior to this.
Wildlife biologists said the forest department did the right thing to ensure the villagers’ safety, however, they need to keep a close eye when it comes to the translocation of aggressive animals. “The forest department used the correct administrative procedure to put the animal down for the security of residents and their cattle,” said Vidya Athreya, wildlife biologist."

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 08-27-2016

Endangered Amur leopard spotted in N.E. China
Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/8/24 16:51:11

A rare Amur leopard was caught on camera in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, the provincial forestry department said Wednesday. 

One of 15 infrared cameras, installed across Nantianmen forestry farm in Dongning, took six clear photos of the leopard in the early hours of July 29. 

The feline research center under the State Forestry Administration confirmed it was a male adult Amur leopard. 

There are no records on this leopard in either China or Russia's Amur leopard databases, thus, experts concluded that it is a new individual. This is also the first time an Amur leopard has been spotted in the Nantianmen forestry farm, which means Amur leopards have found Heilongjiang to be a favorable habitat. 

As one of the world's most endangered species, the Amur leopard was put under top national protection in 1983. 

There are less than 70 Amur leopards in the world, most live in Russia's Far East, the northeastern Chinese provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang and the northern part of the Korean Peninsular.

Endangered Amur leopard found in NE China
Source:Ecns.cn Published: 2016/8/24 18:34:01

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

The image of an Amur leopard, also known as Far Eastern leopard, taken by an infrared camera. The forestry department in Heilongjiang Province said no previous record of the leopard is available in China or Russia. With only about 70 adult Amur leopards in the wild today, it is classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. (Photo provided to China News Service)

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 08-31-2016

Can a new park save China's big cats?
By Kathleen McLaughlinAug. 17, 2016 , 9:00 AM

Feng Limin follows the lives of China's scarcest wild cats like a soap opera fan. He has never encountered one, but thanks to a network of motion-sensing cameras in the forests along China's borders with Russia and North Korea, the biologist has glimpsed a total of 27 Siberian tigers and 42 Amur leopards as they breed and prey on deer and wild boar. The spying has paid off for the big cats. What Feng and his colleagues at Beijing Normal University (BNU) have learned has helped convince the central government to create a 15,000-squarekilometer national park—60% larger than Yellowstone—that could save the cats from extinction.

Feng's studies have indicated that both the Siberian tiger—the world's largest cat, with males weighing up to 300 kilograms—and the Amur leopard face dire threats from poaching, logging, and development. By easing those threats, the park "is likely to be one of the great tiger success stories" in a decade or two, says Dale Miquelle, a world authority on Siberian tigers and director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Russia Program in Vladivostok.

The big cat park—still unnamed and not yet formally announced—also signals a change in China's attitude toward conservation, often slighted as the country rushed to develop economically. With little fanfare, China is creating its first system of national parks, a major step up in management and funding from the current mishmash of national reserves, semiprotected forests, and provincial parks. About two dozen national parks are planned, and the first four mentioned by state media aim to protect charismatic mammals: Asian elephants, giant pandas, Tibetan antelopes, and, here in the northeast, tigers and leopards. "China now has enough money," Feng says. "We can pay attention to environmental conservation."

A motion-sensing camera captured a sight rarely seen: one of the 27 Siberian tigers known to range into northeastern China. (Beijing Normal University)

*This image is copyright of its original author

Creating parks faces much the same obstacles in China as elsewhere. The central government has to convince local authorities that the parks will not undermine their economies, and locals who made their living by logging or poaching will need help to find other livelihoods. But Rose Niu, chief conservation officer at the Paulson Institute, a Chicago, Illinois-based think tank that is helping design the park system, hopes the Chinese public will embrace the idea. The parks, she hopes, will offer "spiritual healing" to Chinese who have had to endure worsening environmental degradation in recent years.

Deep in a maple forest in China's Jilin province, Feng's team is scrambling over rough terrain to reach cameras and download photos from one of the 2000 motion-sensing cameras—one of hundreds of such visits they have to make every year. He crouches to unlock the metal frame bolting one camera to the base of a tree and scrolls rapidly through the images. "Pig, pig, deer. No tigers," he says with a shrug and a grin. He stands up, checks under his shirt for ticks, and moves on to the next camera.

China's wild tigers and leopards have long been on the ropes, suffering from hunting and habitat loss. Scientists believe that 20 years ago, both populations were nearing a genetic bottleneck. Numbers have ticked up recently with expanded habitat protection and antipoaching efforts in Russia and China, as the BNU group, led by ecosystem expert Ge Jianping, reported in June 2015 in the journal Landscape Ecology. Of the 27 tigers the team is tracking, a handful range entirely in China; a decade ago, it was unclear whether a single big cat remained exclusively on Chinese soil. The Amur leopards' plight is even more precarious, with fewer than 100 left in a tiny boundary-straddling patch of China and Russia.

Siberia has been a lifeline for the big cats. Surveys indicate that Russia's wild tiger population has increased from 40 in the 1940s to 540 today. That number is stable, but has just about maxed out the available habitat in Russia, Feng says. "If they're going to save this population, it's really going to be the Chinese, not the Russians. All the potential land for expansion is on the China side," says David Smith, a tiger expert at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, who has worked with Ge's team and visited the proposed park area. "This is really a chance for China to shine in tiger recovery."

*This image is copyright of its original author

China's central government has moved aggressively to help. Since the Communist Party signaled its intention to create a national park system in a 2013 planning document, the government has banned logging in Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces, canceled a highway project that would have bisected big cat habitat, and rerouted a high-speed railway connecting China to Vladivostok, a city on Russia's Pacific coast. In the next few years, the government will consolidate and expand protection across 15,000 square kilometers of prime cat habitat and conservation areas. And local police cleared 80,000 snares set by poachers to catch deer and boar—and incidentally, tigers—during a sweep last year, Feng says.

Assisting locals who lose their livelihoods or homes because of the park is critical to its success, planners say. Big cats are finicky about their habitat, he notes, so even seemingly minor intrusions such as gathering pine nuts and frog farming can alter their behavior. "The devil will be in the details," says Miquelle, who will meet with Chinese scientists and officials in August to discuss the park.

At the big cat park alone, planners hope to turn 30,000 former forest workers—loggers, hunters, and even poachers—into park rangers and conservation workers. In the Huangnihe conservation district, a patchwork of old growth forest and reforested former logging areas adjacent to Jilin's two main tiger habitat reserves, Huangnihe forest reserve director Li Cheng is working with scientists and conservation groups to find alternative jobs for locals, for example by training loggers and poachers as organic honey farmers.

One of Li's success stories is Xu Fu, a 42-year-old former logger. In a lush field surrounded by new growth forest, Xu pulls a rack of bees from a hive and describes how he collects honey. Beekeeping is safer and more lucrative than his former profession, he says. "The work and the income from bees are much better, more steady."

Starting around 2002, tigers vanished here in Huangnihe. Then, 2 years ago, locals saw footprints, scratch marks on trees, and the carcasses of prey. By the end of 2014, the BNU team's cameras had confirmed that for the first time in 14 years, a young male had moved back into the Huangnihe forest corridor, more than 200 kilometers inland of current confirmed Siberian tiger habitat.

Farther west, in Wangqing, near what will be the heart of the national park, foresters hope to convert a near-empty logging town into an ecotourism destination. The workers' former gymnasium and entertainment hall will be converted into a history museum, and the town's focus will be on preserving the forest, rather than razing it.

In a promising sign, the emptied village has already attracted a feline denizen. An Amur leopard these days is often spotted basking on a rock jutting from a hill overlooking the town, presiding over its new domain.

RE: Bigcats News - Pckts - 08-31-2016

Nicholas Mcphee

19 Heads of Jaguars discovered in Brazil, and for sure they are being killed for Asian Middle men who send them to China for False Medicines.
This is also happening in a large scale in Bolivia as well, and sadly i am convinced the Jaguar will become poached to the same levels of the Tigers of India to the edge of extinction.
To the people blaming the Chinese, yes they are horrible for providing the demand ! but end of the day its Bolivians are doing the killing.
I hope proud Bolivians who dont want to see their national treasures become extinct will stand together and start demanding harsher punishments from the Government for both Chinese and Bolivians involved in the trafficking of Jaguars and other Bolivian wildlife.
If we dont make noise we will lose the real things which make Bolivia a paradise.


*This image is copyright of its original author

RE: Bigcats News - GrizzlyClaws - 08-31-2016

Mostly for the skull and teeth collection, since many jaguar teeth in my thread might come from these.

Since the skull and teeth of the jaguar have also recently flourished in the online trade market in China.

Those websites that selling big cat's body parts mostly banned when it got exposed.

RE: Bigcats News - Pckts - 08-31-2016

I think its a mixture of everything.
It just disgusts me beyond words.

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 09-02-2016

Jai, tiger from Umred forest near Nagpur, may have been poached
Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times, Nagpur |  Updated: Aug 17, 2016 20:12 IST

Jai has been missing from the Umred-Karhandla wildlife sanctuary near Nagpur since April 18. (HT File Photo)

*This image is copyright of its original author

The iconic tiger Jai — that has been missing from the Umred-Karhandla wildlife sanctuary near Nagpur since April 18 — may have fallen prey to poachers.
The popular big cat has been credited with boosting tourism and helping increase the population of tigers in the region.
The forest department detained two suspected poachers from Kodurli village near Paoni range of Umred forest on Tuesday.
The village from where they were nabbed is close to the spot where Jai was last sighted.
According to sources, the special investigation team (SIT) of the forest department took two suspects, Kisan Samarth (67) and Madhukar Hatwar (39), into custody on Tuesday evening.
The special investigation team has seized wire snares, which are used to trap and kill wild animals, from them.
As the news of their detention spread, social media was abuzz with claims that Jai’s poachers had been nabbed. Principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), Shree Bhagwan, said the department is yet to ascertain if the duo had been involved in poaching big cats.
Seven-year-old Jai, named after actor Amitabh Bachchan’s character in the hit 1975 Hindi movie, Sholay, entered the Umred-Karhandla sanctuary by migrating nearly 150km from the Nagzira-Navegaon tiger reserve in Gondia-Bhandara district in September 2013, crossing several villages and even the Mumbai-Kolkata national highway in successful pursuit of a mate. Jai is the undisputed king of the Umred sanctuary, having mated with virtually all the tigress there and successfully fathered more than 20 cubs.
The big cat was radio collared by wildlife expert Bilal Habib last year, but the link failed within a few months.

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 09-02-2016

Don't disclose location of tigers, say activists
By Tushar A Majukar Published: 23rd August 2016 04:57 AM Last Updated: 23rd August 2016 04:57 AM

BELAGAVI :Activists have raised serious concern over wildlife  safety in Khanapur jungle after the Forest Department revealed specific location of a tigress along with its two cubs recently. According to them, specifying the location may attract poachers, endangering the animal.

Recently, news about a tigress and its cub in Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary of Belagavi went viral on social media. The article had information about the exact location of the animals along with a camera trap photo.  This irked wildlife activists, who have urged senior forest officials to direct their juniors not to disclose such sensitive information.

A file photo of a tiger in Khanapur jungle

*This image is copyright of its original author

Though the tiger population is up in the country, unnatural deaths of these felines due to poaching and poisoning have been a serious concern. According to the database of National Tiger Conservation Authority, 68 tigers have died in India this year.
“When it comes to tiger mortality, 11 tigers have died in Karnataka alone, out of which two are reportedly due to poaching,” a source said.

RE: Bigcats News - Apollo - 09-03-2016

New tiger and Chandi’s missing cubs debunk WII's 'Jai’s absence' theory

Jai's disappearance, and whether he is alive or dead, is being debated again for two reasons. First, a new male tiger has made Umred-Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary (UKWS) his home, and second, three cubs of popular tigress Chandi too have been missing for the past three months.

Now, wildlife buffs are pointing out that, if alive, the 7-year-old Jai would never have allowed another male to enter his territory, and protected his cubs.

"This raises questions on the arguments by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) that Jai is avoiding UKWS because of seven grown-up males. The new tiger appears to have filled Jai's vacuum," says Roheet Karoo of Wildlife Conservation & Development Centre (WLCDC), Umred. Karoo says this is the tiger captured on camera traps near Jhamkoli forest in South Umred on July 29, where a series of cattle kills were reported. 

"These are after effects of Jai going missing since April 18 from his home range," claimed wildlife lover Mohamad Junaid. 

UKWS officials confirmed the new male was first captured in camera traps on August 2. Pench forest officials suspect the new male tiger came from adjoining South Umred range in Nagpur division, which connects to Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). Tourists say it is very shy and avoids vehicles, and seems to be from a no-tourism zone. 

Wildlife photographer Vinit Arora says, "By WII logic, the seven tigers in UKWS should oust the new tiger. But they are avoiding it and moving out in search of territories."

Recently, one of the 2.5-year-old male cubs of Chandi went 15km from the sanctuary in Kuhi range, and attacked a villager. The tiger retreated due to fragmented habitat and disturbances. "So, WII's logic that Jai is avoiding UKWS to avoid conflict with these tigers doesn't hold ground. These were Jai's offspring and are not so powerful as to oust Jai," Arora adds. 

WII scientist Bilal Habib said, "We are trying to establish where the new tiger came from. It is not from Pench, Bor, Brahmapuri or Tadoba. Tiger pictures from Kalmeshwar are also being sought." He added, "New tiger's entry cannot be dubbed as filling Jai's vacuum. This is the time when lot of tigers move, even in Tadoba, which has many big tigers."

However, Jai's absence is also being felt due to his three cubs going missing. Tourists claim that in Jai's absence, wild dogs have become dominant, and may have attacked the young cubs.

"Currently, only one six-month-old cub is being sighted with Chandi. The cubs are not independent and expected to be with the mother. But the cubs may be hiding in dense vegetation," said forest officials seeking anonymity.

However, Junaid says camera traps are installed in the sanctuary and officials cannot give such vague replies. "What happened to the cubs should be investigated. Small cubs cannot live away from the mother for three months," he said.


RE: Bigcats News - Pckts - 09-03-2016

I don't see how that "debunks jais absence?"

RE: Bigcats News - Shardul - 09-04-2016


I normally take articles from TOI with a pinch of salt, but here they are directly quoting the doctor that weighed the animal. I think this area is also the same from where the famous Smithsonian tiger was shot.

Captured after killing 5, man-eater finds a new home in Lucknow zoo
Kanwardeep Singh | TNN | Sep 2, 2016, 07.44 AM IST

*This image is copyright of its original author
The tiger’s large size slowed its movements and made it unfit to hunt. He has cataract in one eye and a decaye... Read More

LUCKNOW: The terror of Khareta forests will now have just an enclosure to himself. The tiger from UP's Lakhimpur Kheri which recently killed five people near Mailani range and was tranquillised and caught after a prolonged hunt on Wednesday has been shifted to the Lucknow zoo.

Experts, who were surprised at the size of the animal, told TOI that the tiger would be kept in an isolated ward to check for any infection.

Dr Brijendra Yadav, a veterinary surgeon at Lucknow zoo who was part of the team that eventually tranquillised the big cat, said, "We were surprised at the size of the tiger. Nine feet long, the animal weighed more than 300 kg and it took a dozen people to lift it up. The body weight of the tiger was more than normal, which had slowed its movements, rendering it unfit to hunt." But then, it was not just weight and size that slo wed the tiger down. The big cat has disabilities that didn't let him hunt his normal prey -like cataract in one eye and a decayed right-upper canine.

In fact, a few days after the joint team of forest officials and cops were pressed into service to catch the tiger, they realised that the animal wouldn't fit into the cage they had built for it. A bigger cage was brought, but this too was just about enough, hardly leaving any extra room for the animal.

"Though the tiger is 6-8 years old, which is considered young for the species, this one is unfortunate to have such disabilities which forced it to come out of the forest and pounce upon easy prey, " Yadav said. Experts suspect that the tiger may also be deaf.

RE: Bigcats News - Sully - 09-04-2016

Any 300 kg cat we have to take with a pinch of salt. Yes it was quoted but I need more proof than that to believe it. Nonetheless a tiger estimated anywhere near that size is higely exciting news!

RE: Bigcats News - GrizzlyClaws - 09-04-2016

This is indeed a monster for the modern big cats.

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 09-04-2016

Rare Jaguars Caught in Camera Traps—for Science
By Aaron Sidder, PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2, 2016

As the iconic jaguar continues to face threats in Mexico, a small nature reserve is using motion-sensor technology to census the big cats.

The Maya revere jaguars, and the animals are still the stuff of legend among people who research them today—it is exceedingly rare to see a jaguar in the wild. Of course, this elusiveness also makes them difficult to study, so scientists and conservationists in Mexico came up with a solution: They track the population with motion-activated cameras, turning lightly tread forest paths into literal catwalks.

El Edén Ecological Reserve hosts one of these camera networks. The reserve, established in 1991, protects over 7,400 acres (3,000 hectares) of pristine forest in Quintana Roo, a Mexican state hugging the northeastern shoreline of Yucatán Peninsula. Only about 22 miles (35 kilometers) west of Cancún, El Edén encompasses numerous sensitive ecosystems. In addition to the jaguar (Panthera onca), it houses other vulnerable species like ocellated turkeys, American crocodiles, and king vultures.

El Edén installed its first camera trap in 2005. Since then, they have expanded the network to include 36 cameras at 27 stations (nine of the stations have double camera traps with cameras mounted opposite each other). Combined, the camera traps surveil approximately 31 square miles (80 square kilometers) of prime jaguar territory.

The cameras provide a snapshot of life in the forest, says Marco Lazcano, the general director of El Edén.

“It is a moment in time. You take this sample and can identify how many jaguars you have,” he explains. “And over time we have identified a large number of jaguars.”

Jaguars at El Edén
Lazcano believes El Edén has five permanent jaguar residents, three males and two females. However, the area also serves as a throughway for jaguar passersby, animals moving through the reserve en route to other parts of Yucatán.

Because it is difficult to accurately catalog and track the cats, the researchers at El Edén began naming them based on their distinctive markings. Canibal (cannibal) is a male with a bone-shaped mark on his right side, and Mariposo’s (butterfly) name derives from the butterfly pattern near his front right shoulder. X’tabay, Eva, and Smiley are some of the others joining them at the reserve.

“Instead of calling them jaguar one and jaguar two, it was easier to remember [with the names],” says Lazcano. The names also help Lazcano and his colleagues to associate the individual cats with certain movement patterns and behavior.

For example, another male, Phantom, was first photographed in 2010. After shooting him for years, the cameras recently revealed a new love interest. Photos show Phantom engaging in mating behaviors with an unnamed female. This is not simply wildlife voyeurism though—the photos provide valuable insight into the animal’s behavior.

Conservation and Threats
Historically, jaguars ranged from northern Mexico through much of South America. Because of viable populations in South America, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature identifies the big cat as a low risk across its range, but it is considered an endangered species in Mexico.

Like every large mammal in the world, fragmentation and human conflict threaten the jaguar, says Evelyn Piña, a biologist studying jaguars and pumas in Mexico. As human development further encroaches on jaguar habitat, jaguars and humans are forced to live in close proximity to each other.

As a result, they hunt the same prey in many places, and when the prey is limited, the cats often kill domestic animals and stoke resentment among locals. In Mexico, social inequalities continue to drive land-use changes, and in some regions, illegal hunting is a major problem. All things considered, it is a complex relationship, says Piña.

Yet jaguar conservationists are optimistic. Lazcano and El Edén are part of a national jaguar census that is allying universities, nongovernmental organizations, corporations, and the federal government. The undertaking is billed as the largest national census of jaguars and their ecological status in the world.

“Without a doubt we have a very good political climate [in Mexico],” says Heliot Zarza, one of the co-coordinators of the current jaguar census and its supporting alliance.

“This formation of groups is proposing a more plural vision of how to do conservation in Mexico,” he continues. “Obviously there is a lot to do, but we’ve generated a national strategy for jaguar conservation with this alliance.”

The project replicates a similar census from 2008 to 2010, called CENJAGUAR (Censo Nacional del Jaguar), which documented jaguars at 16 sites across 12 Mexican states, including at El Edén. And like the previous census, camera traps like those used at El Edén are central to the effort. Without them, it would be impossible to estimate the number of jaguars, explains Zarza.

Critical Refuge
Though small, El Edén plays a critical role in jaguar conservation, says Lazcano. It is an important link to other habitat areas on Yucatán Peninsula. Lazcano hopes to add an additional 2,400 acres (1,000 hectares) by year’s end, and the reserve’s growth will only further enable conservation in the region.

“El Edén is a good example of what conservation is looking like these days,” says Piña. “The reality is that countries like Mexico don’t have [big, pristine protected areas]; the landscape is fragmented, not protected, and mixed with people.

“The whole thing about classical conservation is gone, and that is the importance of El Edén.”

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 09-04-2016

Forest department wants private mines in Kolhapur shut to facilitate tiger movement
DHAVAL KULKARNI | Mon, 22 Aug 2016-07:15am , Mumbai , dna

Around seven bauxite mines sit on the corridor linking Chandoli National Park to Radhanagari.

To help migration of tigers in the Western Ghats landscape, state forest department officials are seeking that private mines in Kolhapur, which affect the movement of big cats between the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve and Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary, be closed. The department will also demarcate a corridor from the Radhanagari sanctuary to Tillari in Sindhudurg to aid movement of these big cats.

A senior forest official said the presence of around seven bauxite mines in Shahuwadi taluka, through which the corridor linking the Chandoli National Park to Radhanagari passes, was impeding tiger movement. The Sahyadri reserve is spread over two protected areas of Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary and the Chandoli National Park, and spans Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and parts of Ratnagiri.

The official added that the mines were "the real bottleneck" for the movement of tigers from down south to repopulate the tiger reserve, which lacks a strong resident tiger population.

"We will write to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) with a copy to the district collector to do the needful as per the provisions of the law," he said, adding that the NTCA would then write to the state government, which would issue instructions to the district collector to do the needful.

"These mines must be shut down if tigers are to populate the Sahyadri reserve," said another forest official, adding that these extraction sites were bang on the corridor.

The department has proposed that the Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary in Kolhapur be linked to the Sahyadri reserve as its "satellite core". It will enhance the protection status of the area and develop the habitat for tigers.

The number of tigers in the Sahyadri reserve is low as the big cats do not breed there due to problems like poor prey base in the Koyna sanctuary and weak links in the corridor connecting the reserve with the source population down south.

"A five-member committee has been formed under divisional forest officer (DFO) SL Zure to demarcate a corridor from Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary to Tillari," said an official, adding that it would have a month to complete its work.

The state is planning to declare a 26sqkm patch of evergreen forests at Tillari in the Konkan as a wildlife sanctuary to develop it as a tiger habitat and corridor. The area in Sindhudurg, which is nestled in the Western Ghats on the cusp of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka, can be used to develop the source tiger population for the Sahyadri reserve, which has just around seven tigers.

The tiger population in the Sahyadri reserve is connected with the source population down south in Goa and Karnataka through the Radhanagari sanctuary and Western Ghat ridges, and a developed corridor will ensure tiger movement to the sanctuary. Tillari falls in the corridor connecting the reserve to the source population and its development as a tiger habitat will help the larger programme to repopulate the Sahyadri.

It will help in the long-term conservation of the Western Ghats region and allow tigers to move around in the buffer of the Sahyadri reserve and the corridor, apart from Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary (North Goa) and Bhimgad (Karnataka).

The authorities are planning to tentatively translocate six animals (four females and two males) to the Sahyadri reserve from Chandrapur in Vidarbha.

Maharashtra has six tiger reserves. The tiger census, results for which were released in 2014, says that India has 2226 tigers, up from 1706 in 2010. Maharashtra has around 190 big cats, 21 more than their number in 2010.