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ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - THE TIGER (Panthera tigris)

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(02-12-2019, 02:29 AM)GuateGojira Wrote:
(02-09-2019, 05:14 AM)peter Wrote: KAILASH SANKHALA ON TIGERS AND DHOLES

a - Introduction

In 1977, 'Tiger! - The Story of the Indian Tiger' was published. I bought it a few years later. A good one, I think.

Sankhala was born in Jodhpur (Rajahstan), on the fringe of the desert. Rajahstan is derived from Registhan, which means 'land of sand'. About half of Rajahstan is part of the Thar desert. His father was a forest ranger. The area he worked in, the Aravali Hills, was famous for sloth bears and leopards. Many years later, he was appointed Director of the Jodhpur zoo.

Living in the forest in primitive conditions for extended periods of time and frequent moves from one area to another have disadvantages, especially for children. According to Sankhala, children of foresters never learn to compete in life. Poverty (forest officers do not earn a lot of money) also has consequences. Sankhala's parents had four children, of which only one could go to college. Sankhala was the lucky one.  

At college, he joined an expedition to cross the Thar Desert in the hottest month (May) as a botanist and photographer. Although the expedition didn't result in a lot of credit at college, it put him in head of the queue for selection to the Forest Service. This was quite something, as appointments in those days were given to the 'chosen few'. This was in the days Maharajahs still had quite a bit of influence.  

After college, Sankhala joined the Indian Forest College at Dehra Dun: 

" ... I have never regretted my time in the Forest Service, with it's fine century-old tradition of conservation. This training, augmented at intervals by short courses on ecology and park administration both in India and the USA, made me a purist. The unlimited opportunities of studying nature ... I only got as a forester. And above all I was able to live with tigers in the wild for days and nights on end, often in full presence of each other's presence but probably even more often in ignorance of it ... " (pp. 15).

His first posting (in April 1953) was in Bundi, a former princely State. Later, he took charge of Khaiwara, a small forest in the south-west of Udaipur. Four months later, he was in charge of a Bharatpur forest division. This posting in particular affected his outlook and career. Between 1965-1970, he was Director of the Delhi Zoo. In 1970, he was awarded the Jawarhalal Nehru Fellowship. This enabled him to increase his knowledge on Indian wildlife.

For a period of two years, Sariska and Ranthambore (in Rajahstan) were his study areas. He also studied tigers in Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh in 1971. This was the park selected by George Schaller in 1964-1965:

" ... I found that the information he had collected was mostly from one family of conditioned tigers, which had been provided with baits for more than one-and-a-half years. The group only included one male and was confined to a small area of 10-15 sq km. Vital aspects such as reproduction and the behaviour of a tigress and her infant cubs had not been studied in depth. Schaller's work was valuable in being the first ever to be fully recorded in the field, but it was insufficient to justify wider application. At that time the real facts about tigers' distribution, numbers and the conditions under which they were surviving in other parts of the country were not known ... " (pp. 18).

The first part of 'Tiger! - The Story of the Indian Tiger' is based on what he saw in Bundi, Khaiwara, Udaipur, Sariska, Ranthambore and Kanha in the period 1953-1972. In the second part, the focus is on the relation between tigers and humans. One chapter in this part is about the famous white tigers of Rewa. If you want to know a bit more about white tigers, I recommend Sankhala's book:


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

b - On tiger 'Jim'

In the fifties and sixties of the previous century, killing tigresses and collecting their cubs was a flourishing business in India. The cubs fetched $ 1.000,00 a piece in the foreign market. Sankhala proposed to introduce a system of providing a certificate of origin for the export of tiger cubs during the fifth session of the Indian Board for Wildlife in 1965. After his proposal had been accepted, the trade in tiger cubs collapsed. 

In spite of that, tigresses with cubs were still shot or poisoned quite often. One day, the Delhi Zoo, headed by Kailash Sankhala in the period 1965-1970, got a cub from Kanha National Park. Although suffering from gastro-enteritis, the cub made it. Jim, as he was named by the local politician who got the cub from villagers, was adopted by the Sankhala family. When he was about two years of age, he was moved to the Delhi Zoo.

Sankhala's first attempt to introduce 'Jim' to a tigress with a similar background from the Dehra Dun forests ('Rosy') failed. A fight erupted. Tigers raised by humans respond different than tigers raised by tigresses. They need more time to adapt to tiger society. 

Sankhala recorded lengths and weights of captive tigers in the Delhi Zoo. These records showed that white tigers often were longer, taller and heavier than others. A white male tiger at the Delhi Zoo ('Raja') was 100 cm. at the shoulder while standing. Male tiger 'Suraj', a normal-coloured tiger, was 90 cm. 

Compared to some of the tigers discussed in this thread, tiger 'Jim' was moderate in size. His standing height was 93 cm. at the shoulder and his total length (most probably measured 'over curves') was 282 cm. His weight was 426 pounds (192 kg.). 

The bond they had never was completely lost: " ... He and I do not meet as we used to do, though when I go to see him he will hold my hand in his mouth to remind me of the old days ... " (pp. 171). Here's a nice photograph of both:


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author          

c - On dholes

When studying tigers in Kanha National Park in 1971-1972, he noticed they were difficult to find when wild dogs were around. Sankhala thought the animosity created by wild dogs reduced the chances for leopards and tigers.

In Kanha, he saw a cheetal doe wounded by a pack of 18 wild dogs entering a compound. In the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats, Sankhala saw a pack of 21 wild dogs chase a sambar fawn into a deep channel, where she was killed.

In Sankhala's opinion, wild dogs do not fear other predators. At times, they will even chase a tiger from its kill or send it up a tree:   


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author   

Some of us consider a lot of old stories about tigers and dholes as exaggerated interpretations of reports close to hearsay. There are no recent reports about tigers harrassed or wounded by dholes, they say. There are, however, reliable reports about dholes chased, killed and eaten by tigers.

True.

That, however, doesn't mean that all old stories about tigers and dholes are unreliable. It also doesn't mean that dholes can't be dangerous for cubs, youngsters and incapacitated individuals today:  

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Tiger-cub-killed-by-wild-dogs-in-Chanda/articleshow/14512292.cms

d - Tigers and muggers

Sankhala saw a tiger crossing a river between Rajahstan and Madhya Pradesh. A mugger met the tiger halfway. Here's the rest of the story:  


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

e - Tigers and pythons

In some time, I will discuss a few books that have reliable accounts of severe struggles between tigers and pythons. Here's two stories from Sankahla's book:


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

f - Conclusion

The natural world is quite something. Predators in particular as special to many. Not a few consider big cats as the culmination of evolution. Although an adult lion, tiger, jaguar or leopard is impressive no matter what, many forget that it takes time to get there undamaged. A lot of time. 

In the first months, cubs of solitary big cats often are on their own for many hours, even days. When discovered by other predators, they wouldn't stand a chance. This is without floods, thunder storms, heat waves, angry villagers and too many diseases to even start counting.

When they survive the first year, they learn what it means to be a predator eating meat only. Most of the animals they hunt, can be dangerous. This is why many of them are disabled by mom when they start hunting. When they, after a year or so, survive hunting school and graduate, they are kicked out.

The period between adolescence and adulthood is as dangerous as the first months, if not more so. Homeless and on the move all the time, they need to avoid mistakes of any kind. The reason is any mistake could be their last. Every hunt is concluded by a life and death struggle with an animal not seldom able to hurt or even kill a big cat. And they most definitely will given half a chance. 

Although some say that about half of all tiger cubs reach adulthood, others think that estimate is way too optimistic. Talking severe selection here.

Adult wild big cats, first of all and foremost, are survivors. They didn't get there by attacking animals able to kill them at every opportunity, but by thinking and learning. Trial and error. Male lions need to learn how to interact the hard way from the start, but solitary big cats often are selective and wary. As careful as it gets.  They just don't have another option, as an injury can result in starvation and death. Solitary cats need to be careful all the time all their life. Anyone who says a wild big cat is a 'coward', for this reason, is a total nitwit.

When big cats reach adulthood and a territory, they graduated. With honour and then some. This means that every discussion on intelligence is a result of a total lack of understanding. And respect. Respect they perhaps deserve more than anyone. 

Adult tigers, on account of their size and power, do not fear wild dogs. But wild dogs are great hunters and they are truly wild. They can't be 'tamed' and are known for their determination and courage. Their nickname, mad dog, is a result of their courage and their behavior, which can be unpredictable at times. Every now and then, they do something that surprises all. In times of need, they have been known to chase even tigers. When a big cat runs, he will be attacked in the way they attack a deer. A single dog is unable to seriously injure a tiger, but a pack can hurt any tiger if they decide to go all out. A suicide mission, no?

I've been in the famous zoo in the eastern part of Berlin on a cloudy and gloomy day. After seeing the big cats, we visited the wild dogs. Apart from us, there were no visitors. We were circling the enclosure, but didn't see anything. Then one of the dogs was right behind us. One yard at most. When we turned, they came from all directions. Small, they were, but they were fully alert and it wasn't a game. Did it have an effect? We had seen an Amur tigress with quite large cubs known for her temper. Her demonstration was impressive, but she was behind bars wasn't she. A good show, it was. After the dogs had talked to us, however, my companions said it was time to go. They were intimidated. By animals known to avoid humans anywhere.   

Would these mad dogs consider a suicide attack in some conditions? No question, I concluded. But that's just an opinion.

Kailash Sankhala - a side note:
I also have his book, but I almoust never use it, why? well because his conclutions are incorrect most of the time.

It is really disturbing and even silly how Sankhala discredit the studies of the "westerns" like Schaller and Seidensticker, and is not only the small paragraph that you posted, there are several times when he critizice the methods and findings of the "westerns" (including the FACT that tigers use the olfactory sense for comunication, for God's sake!!!). In fact, I know that he is part of why the mentality on conservation of tigers by the authorities in India is still so slow and even atavic, after all he was the one that stoped the first aproach between the Smithsonian Institute and the Indian Goverment. At the end, we know that the Smithsonian experts went to Nepal and it took several years since 1960 and until 1990 to start a real scientific study of tigers in India using modern technology (Dr Karanth in Nagarahole).

Sankhala's book is confusing and even dangerous to use it, it sale very weird ideas about the tiger behavior and I can even say that those same ideas were the one's presented by the chiefs of the "Project Tiger" when the Sariska tiger dissapeared. In fact, the same stupid ideas that tigers are not territorial and that they "migrate to the mountains", that were used to justify the dissaperance of tigers in Panna and Sariska by the people of the Project Tiger, were first stablished by Shankala. The conclusions about the territoriality of tigers in Ranthambore are completelly different from those of the longer and more accurate observations of the great Valmik Thapar. IF you read Thapar, Schaller, Sunquist and Chundawat, and latter you read Sankhala, is like if they are talking of two completelly different animals!

For this, and other reasons I don't believe that Sankhala's book is a good source on tiger behaviour, altough some information about reproduction and feeding intake from his captive tigers was quoted by Dr Sunquist, but just that. In fact, his recalcitrant and highly burocratic point of view infected the Project Tiger so strongly that even in modern times they continue ignoring the modern results on tiger ecology based in scientific develpment. In fact Dr Karanth state that: "We both continue to strongly belive that the scientific process of per review and publication in high-quality journals should guide the choice of appropiate methods for monitoring tigers and their prey. Therefore, we are somewhat dismayed that, in spite of availability of superior methods, tiger conservation practitioners are sometimes slow to adopt them or even use demostrably flawed or obsolete methodologies. We believe this is largely because of intellectual inertia, rather than resource constraints, given the current levels of investments. Unfortunately, we can offer no methodological cure for this problem." (Karanth & Nichols, 2017 - Preface). If you ask me when this flawed metholodolgies started, I can tell you that part of that started with Sankhala, that is for sure.

Despite his good intentions and the fact that tigers are still in decent numbres in India because of the initial efforst when he was included, Sankhala point of view on tigers affected its conservation at future level, as India have many small pockets of not interconnected tiger habitat, that altough is good to save it for the short term, it is very problematic for the survival of the tiger in the future. I think that if some one should have called "The Tiger Man of India", that should be the great Valmik Thapar, which not only made good personal investigations with national naturalists, but also blended succesfully the studies of those "westerns" scientists which methodologies, at the end, are the ones that are also saving tigers in Nepal, Russia and Thailand, despite its smallest territory or lower prey base.

On the Dhole issue:
About the tiger and dhole interactions, it is interesting to see that he don't saw any fight or type of conflict. In fact he concluded that the tigers leave the area because the dogs put all the prey in the area in alert status, which is exactly what the tiger don't want (tigers prey by ambush, and when a serial of unsuccesfull attempts but the prey on alert, the tiger move from the area). Also is interestingly that when he says that tigers can killed and eated by dholes, he relay in the "early-twentieth-century paintings" (are he serious?) and by "recent" observations (which?).

Again, Sankhala do not present direct evidence of dhole predation on tiger, nor even conflict, just a logical avoidance based in the fact tigers been ambush predators can hunt with high alarmed prey.

Valmik Thapar in his great book "Tiger the ultimate guide" also quote four events of tiger and dholes (page 136 - 137), one of them is the report of Kenneth Anderson, the second is one of W. Connell (JBNHS IN 1944) where he said that a tiger (no sex or age) was attacked by a pack of 22 dholes, at the end the tiger was killed and eat but he killed 12 of them (half of the pack for one meal?). The third event is reported by Colonel Kesri Singh which in the book "The Tiger of Rajasthan" (1959) describes an evening when a tiger feed on a sambar for nearly 30 minutes but when he listened the cries of the dholes, the tiger started been anxious and uncomfortable but state in its ground. At the end the dholes arrived and surronded him, the tiger growled and the dogs whimpered, the tiger striked a couple of the dogs but at the end decided to flee, the dogs stay there and eat the sambar, they did not followed the tiger, again no age or sex was described and this sounds more like a young tiger, but is my speculation. The forth event is quoted from the BBC television series "Land of the Tiger" and includes a footage shot in Kanha National Park in 1997 when a tigress chase away a pack of dholes and appopriate the kill. These four events are the only thing that Thapar mention about the tiger-dhole conflict.

I want to make clear that Dr Karanth, nor I, are saying that the report of Kenneth Anderson is fake, he only says that maybe somewhat exagerated and the fact that there is no case of dholes attacking (actually attacking) adult tigers during more than 50 years of scientific study, put some doubts to the reputation that the dhole have in India. It seems that, following Mazák, an adult healty tiger is out of the predation range of any dhole pack, but a young and unexperiance tiger, or a week, injured or very ill one can be killed by a large dhole group, not without heavy losses. But this is a thing of the past now.

Guate wrote : "Sankhala's book is confusing and even dangerous to use it, it sale very weird ideas about the tiger behavior"

Guate, forgive me but I think you have not authority do judge such a remarkable scientist as Dr Kailash Shankala, an icon of "Project Tiger". While you no doubt are good poster, your background has nothing to do with biology, but more to do with business or computer sciences. If businessmen start teaching biologists and dentists start to teach nuclear physisists this is the sure way of collapse of the civillisation.

Nevertheless, I like and respect you because you sincerely love tigers and in general our views in all other topics are 99% similar if not identical.
Ok, nobody rejects the fact that in last 50 years a carcass of killed by dholes was not found. I think a topic "tiger VS dhole" should be temporary frozen by mods until more new and fresh information comes, as pointed Rishi. Otherwise wildfact will slip to civil war and finally collapse. Topic "tiger VS lions" was  frozen as too dangerous, I think same have be done with "Bear VS tiger" and "Tiger VS dholes".
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(02-12-2019, 06:24 AM)Wolverine Wrote:
(02-12-2019, 02:29 AM)GuateGojira Wrote:
(02-09-2019, 05:14 AM)peter Wrote: KAILASH SANKHALA ON TIGERS AND DHOLES

a - Introduction

In 1977, 'Tiger! - The Story of the Indian Tiger' was published. I bought it a few years later. A good one, I think.

Sankhala was born in Jodhpur (Rajahstan), on the fringe of the desert. Rajahstan is derived from Registhan, which means 'land of sand'. About half of Rajahstan is part of the Thar desert. His father was a forest ranger. The area he worked in, the Aravali Hills, was famous for sloth bears and leopards. Many years later, he was appointed Director of the Jodhpur zoo.

Living in the forest in primitive conditions for extended periods of time and frequent moves from one area to another have disadvantages, especially for children. According to Sankhala, children of foresters never learn to compete in life. Poverty (forest officers do not earn a lot of money) also has consequences. Sankhala's parents had four children, of which only one could go to college. Sankhala was the lucky one.  

At college, he joined an expedition to cross the Thar Desert in the hottest month (May) as a botanist and photographer. Although the expedition didn't result in a lot of credit at college, it put him in head of the queue for selection to the Forest Service. This was quite something, as appointments in those days were given to the 'chosen few'. This was in the days Maharajahs still had quite a bit of influence.  

After college, Sankhala joined the Indian Forest College at Dehra Dun: 

" ... I have never regretted my time in the Forest Service, with it's fine century-old tradition of conservation. This training, augmented at intervals by short courses on ecology and park administration both in India and the USA, made me a purist. The unlimited opportunities of studying nature ... I only got as a forester. And above all I was able to live with tigers in the wild for days and nights on end, often in full presence of each other's presence but probably even more often in ignorance of it ... " (pp. 15).

His first posting (in April 1953) was in Bundi, a former princely State. Later, he took charge of Khaiwara, a small forest in the south-west of Udaipur. Four months later, he was in charge of a Bharatpur forest division. This posting in particular affected his outlook and career. Between 1965-1970, he was Director of the Delhi Zoo. In 1970, he was awarded the Jawarhalal Nehru Fellowship. This enabled him to increase his knowledge on Indian wildlife.

For a period of two years, Sariska and Ranthambore (in Rajahstan) were his study areas. He also studied tigers in Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh in 1971. This was the park selected by George Schaller in 1964-1965:

" ... I found that the information he had collected was mostly from one family of conditioned tigers, which had been provided with baits for more than one-and-a-half years. The group only included one male and was confined to a small area of 10-15 sq km. Vital aspects such as reproduction and the behaviour of a tigress and her infant cubs had not been studied in depth. Schaller's work was valuable in being the first ever to be fully recorded in the field, but it was insufficient to justify wider application. At that time the real facts about tigers' distribution, numbers and the conditions under which they were surviving in other parts of the country were not known ... " (pp. 18).

The first part of 'Tiger! - The Story of the Indian Tiger' is based on what he saw in Bundi, Khaiwara, Udaipur, Sariska, Ranthambore and Kanha in the period 1953-1972. In the second part, the focus is on the relation between tigers and humans. One chapter in this part is about the famous white tigers of Rewa. If you want to know a bit more about white tigers, I recommend Sankhala's book:


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

b - On tiger 'Jim'

In the fifties and sixties of the previous century, killing tigresses and collecting their cubs was a flourishing business in India. The cubs fetched $ 1.000,00 a piece in the foreign market. Sankhala proposed to introduce a system of providing a certificate of origin for the export of tiger cubs during the fifth session of the Indian Board for Wildlife in 1965. After his proposal had been accepted, the trade in tiger cubs collapsed. 

In spite of that, tigresses with cubs were still shot or poisoned quite often. One day, the Delhi Zoo, headed by Kailash Sankhala in the period 1965-1970, got a cub from Kanha National Park. Although suffering from gastro-enteritis, the cub made it. Jim, as he was named by the local politician who got the cub from villagers, was adopted by the Sankhala family. When he was about two years of age, he was moved to the Delhi Zoo.

Sankhala's first attempt to introduce 'Jim' to a tigress with a similar background from the Dehra Dun forests ('Rosy') failed. A fight erupted. Tigers raised by humans respond different than tigers raised by tigresses. They need more time to adapt to tiger society. 

Sankhala recorded lengths and weights of captive tigers in the Delhi Zoo. These records showed that white tigers often were longer, taller and heavier than others. A white male tiger at the Delhi Zoo ('Raja') was 100 cm. at the shoulder while standing. Male tiger 'Suraj', a normal-coloured tiger, was 90 cm. 

Compared to some of the tigers discussed in this thread, tiger 'Jim' was moderate in size. His standing height was 93 cm. at the shoulder and his total length (most probably measured 'over curves') was 282 cm. His weight was 426 pounds (192 kg.). 

The bond they had never was completely lost: " ... He and I do not meet as we used to do, though when I go to see him he will hold my hand in his mouth to remind me of the old days ... " (pp. 171). Here's a nice photograph of both:


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author          

c - On dholes

When studying tigers in Kanha National Park in 1971-1972, he noticed they were difficult to find when wild dogs were around. Sankhala thought the animosity created by wild dogs reduced the chances for leopards and tigers.

In Kanha, he saw a cheetal doe wounded by a pack of 18 wild dogs entering a compound. In the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats, Sankhala saw a pack of 21 wild dogs chase a sambar fawn into a deep channel, where she was killed.

In Sankhala's opinion, wild dogs do not fear other predators. At times, they will even chase a tiger from its kill or send it up a tree:   


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author   

Some of us consider a lot of old stories about tigers and dholes as exaggerated interpretations of reports close to hearsay. There are no recent reports about tigers harrassed or wounded by dholes, they say. There are, however, reliable reports about dholes chased, killed and eaten by tigers.

True.

That, however, doesn't mean that all old stories about tigers and dholes are unreliable. It also doesn't mean that dholes can't be dangerous for cubs, youngsters and incapacitated individuals today:  

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Tiger-cub-killed-by-wild-dogs-in-Chanda/articleshow/14512292.cms

d - Tigers and muggers

Sankhala saw a tiger crossing a river between Rajahstan and Madhya Pradesh. A mugger met the tiger halfway. Here's the rest of the story:  


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

e - Tigers and pythons

In some time, I will discuss a few books that have reliable accounts of severe struggles between tigers and pythons. Here's two stories from Sankahla's book:


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

f - Conclusion

The natural world is quite something. Predators in particular as special to many. Not a few consider big cats as the culmination of evolution. Although an adult lion, tiger, jaguar or leopard is impressive no matter what, many forget that it takes time to get there undamaged. A lot of time. 

In the first months, cubs of solitary big cats often are on their own for many hours, even days. When discovered by other predators, they wouldn't stand a chance. This is without floods, thunder storms, heat waves, angry villagers and too many diseases to even start counting.

When they survive the first year, they learn what it means to be a predator eating meat only. Most of the animals they hunt, can be dangerous. This is why many of them are disabled by mom when they start hunting. When they, after a year or so, survive hunting school and graduate, they are kicked out.

The period between adolescence and adulthood is as dangerous as the first months, if not more so. Homeless and on the move all the time, they need to avoid mistakes of any kind. The reason is any mistake could be their last. Every hunt is concluded by a life and death struggle with an animal not seldom able to hurt or even kill a big cat. And they most definitely will given half a chance. 

Although some say that about half of all tiger cubs reach adulthood, others think that estimate is way too optimistic. Talking severe selection here.

Adult wild big cats, first of all and foremost, are survivors. They didn't get there by attacking animals able to kill them at every opportunity, but by thinking and learning. Trial and error. Male lions need to learn how to interact the hard way from the start, but solitary big cats often are selective and wary. As careful as it gets.  They just don't have another option, as an injury can result in starvation and death. Solitary cats need to be careful all the time all their life. Anyone who says a wild big cat is a 'coward', for this reason, is a total nitwit.

When big cats reach adulthood and a territory, they graduated. With honour and then some. This means that every discussion on intelligence is a result of a total lack of understanding. And respect. Respect they perhaps deserve more than anyone. 

Adult tigers, on account of their size and power, do not fear wild dogs. But wild dogs are great hunters and they are truly wild. They can't be 'tamed' and are known for their determination and courage. Their nickname, mad dog, is a result of their courage and their behavior, which can be unpredictable at times. Every now and then, they do something that surprises all. In times of need, they have been known to chase even tigers. When a big cat runs, he will be attacked in the way they attack a deer. A single dog is unable to seriously injure a tiger, but a pack can hurt any tiger if they decide to go all out. A suicide mission, no?

I've been in the famous zoo in the eastern part of Berlin on a cloudy and gloomy day. After seeing the big cats, we visited the wild dogs. Apart from us, there were no visitors. We were circling the enclosure, but didn't see anything. Then one of the dogs was right behind us. One yard at most. When we turned, they came from all directions. Small, they were, but they were fully alert and it wasn't a game. Did it have an effect? We had seen an Amur tigress with quite large cubs known for her temper. Her demonstration was impressive, but she was behind bars wasn't she. A good show, it was. After the dogs had talked to us, however, my companions said it was time to go. They were intimidated. By animals known to avoid humans anywhere.   

Would these mad dogs consider a suicide attack in some conditions? No question, I concluded. But that's just an opinion.

Kailash Sankhala - a side note:
I also have his book, but I almoust never use it, why? well because his conclutions are incorrect most of the time.

It is really disturbing and even silly how Sankhala discredit the studies of the "westerns" like Schaller and Seidensticker, and is not only the small paragraph that you posted, there are several times when he critizice the methods and findings of the "westerns" (including the FACT that tigers use the olfactory sense for comunication, for God's sake!!!). In fact, I know that he is part of why the mentality on conservation of tigers by the authorities in India is still so slow and even atavic, after all he was the one that stoped the first aproach between the Smithsonian Institute and the Indian Goverment. At the end, we know that the Smithsonian experts went to Nepal and it took several years since 1960 and until 1990 to start a real scientific study of tigers in India using modern technology (Dr Karanth in Nagarahole).

Sankhala's book is confusing and even dangerous to use it, it sale very weird ideas about the tiger behavior and I can even say that those same ideas were the one's presented by the chiefs of the "Project Tiger" when the Sariska tiger dissapeared. In fact, the same stupid ideas that tigers are not territorial and that they "migrate to the mountains", that were used to justify the dissaperance of tigers in Panna and Sariska by the people of the Project Tiger, were first stablished by Shankala. The conclusions about the territoriality of tigers in Ranthambore are completelly different from those of the longer and more accurate observations of the great Valmik Thapar. IF you read Thapar, Schaller, Sunquist and Chundawat, and latter you read Sankhala, is like if they are talking of two completelly different animals!

For this, and other reasons I don't believe that Sankhala's book is a good source on tiger behaviour, altough some information about reproduction and feeding intake from his captive tigers was quoted by Dr Sunquist, but just that. In fact, his recalcitrant and highly burocratic point of view infected the Project Tiger so strongly that even in modern times they continue ignoring the modern results on tiger ecology based in scientific develpment. In fact Dr Karanth state that: "We both continue to strongly belive that the scientific process of per review and publication in high-quality journals should guide the choice of appropiate methods for monitoring tigers and their prey. Therefore, we are somewhat dismayed that, in spite of availability of superior methods, tiger conservation practitioners are sometimes slow to adopt them or even use demostrably flawed or obsolete methodologies. We believe this is largely because of intellectual inertia, rather than resource constraints, given the current levels of investments. Unfortunately, we can offer no methodological cure for this problem." (Karanth & Nichols, 2017 - Preface). If you ask me when this flawed metholodolgies started, I can tell you that part of that started with Sankhala, that is for sure.

Despite his good intentions and the fact that tigers are still in decent numbres in India because of the initial efforst when he was included, Sankhala point of view on tigers affected its conservation at future level, as India have many small pockets of not interconnected tiger habitat, that altough is good to save it for the short term, it is very problematic for the survival of the tiger in the future. I think that if some one should have called "The Tiger Man of India", that should be the great Valmik Thapar, which not only made good personal investigations with national naturalists, but also blended succesfully the studies of those "westerns" scientists which methodologies, at the end, are the ones that are also saving tigers in Nepal, Russia and Thailand, despite its smallest territory or lower prey base.

On the Dhole issue:
About the tiger and dhole interactions, it is interesting to see that he don't saw any fight or type of conflict. In fact he concluded that the tigers leave the area because the dogs put all the prey in the area in alert status, which is exactly what the tiger don't want (tigers prey by ambush, and when a serial of unsuccesfull attempts but the prey on alert, the tiger move from the area). Also is interestingly that when he says that tigers can killed and eated by dholes, he relay in the "early-twentieth-century paintings" (are he serious?) and by "recent" observations (which?).

Again, Sankhala do not present direct evidence of dhole predation on tiger, nor even conflict, just a logical avoidance based in the fact tigers been ambush predators can hunt with high alarmed prey.

Valmik Thapar in his great book "Tiger the ultimate guide" also quote four events of tiger and dholes (page 136 - 137), one of them is the report of Kenneth Anderson, the second is one of W. Connell (JBNHS IN 1944) where he said that a tiger (no sex or age) was attacked by a pack of 22 dholes, at the end the tiger was killed and eat but he killed 12 of them (half of the pack for one meal?). The third event is reported by Colonel Kesri Singh which in the book "The Tiger of Rajasthan" (1959) describes an evening when a tiger feed on a sambar for nearly 30 minutes but when he listened the cries of the dholes, the tiger started been anxious and uncomfortable but state in its ground. At the end the dholes arrived and surronded him, the tiger growled and the dogs whimpered, the tiger striked a couple of the dogs but at the end decided to flee, the dogs stay there and eat the sambar, they did not followed the tiger, again no age or sex was described and this sounds more like a young tiger, but is my speculation. The forth event is quoted from the BBC television series "Land of the Tiger" and includes a footage shot in Kanha National Park in 1997 when a tigress chase away a pack of dholes and appopriate the kill. These four events are the only thing that Thapar mention about the tiger-dhole conflict.

I want to make clear that Dr Karanth, nor I, are saying that the report of Kenneth Anderson is fake, he only says that maybe somewhat exagerated and the fact that there is no case of dholes attacking (actually attacking) adult tigers during more than 50 years of scientific study, put some doubts to the reputation that the dhole have in India. It seems that, following Mazák, an adult healty tiger is out of the predation range of any dhole pack, but a young and unexperiance tiger, or a week, injured or very ill one can be killed by a large dhole group, not without heavy losses. But this is a thing of the past now.

Guate wrote: " there is no case of dholes attacking (actually attacking) adult tigers during more than 50 years of scientific study"

O, yes we have a scientific report from 1963 from the respectful Scientific Survey of India, Kanha NP, tiger attacked and injured by dholes:


*This image is copyright of its original author

Oh, I had forgotten this. This was a good find really. I even thought, that this should be emailed to Karanth and asked what he thinks, just for curiosity :) 

Also that note in the end from Burton about possible reason to drive dholes "over the edge" is interesting. That if tiger attacks an animal hunted by dholes in the middle of the hunt, that then dholes might be in state of mind to trigger a fight.
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India Rishi Offline
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Yes, this discussion is getting very versus-y... not to mention utterly repeatative & unproductive!

Both points of view have some merit to them, but neither have enough to effectively refute each other, including the conflicting conclusions by experts. And the fact that some of the observations made around a time unofficially dubbed as "Poaching Era" ('80s) when both Tigers & Dholes were being expected to be extinct by the year 2000, doesn't help.
The ones before that have no photographic evidence & can be swatted off as untrue by anybody.

Right now, basically it all boils down to who believes whom.

@Wolverine is right. @GuateGojira @smedz @Shadow @Pckts drop this topic for now, both here & in the Dholes thread.
We have gained more concrete information (& evidence) on wildlife in the last 20 year than probably rest of the Human history combined. With both species bouncing back, i doubt the wait for would be long.
"Everything not saved will be lost."

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India sanjay Offline
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No more Tiger vs Dholes. It is request to all well established members here and warning to the new ones.
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India Sanju Offline
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When Need turns to Greed, our Extinction happens.
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India Sanju Offline
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( This post was last modified: 02-15-2019, 02:36 PM by Sanju )

India and Nepal to enter formal agreement for biodiversity conservation

*This image is copyright of its original author
  • Sharing a long border, India and Nepal, are all set to sign an agreement for increased cooperation on biodiversity conservation.
  • The officials of the two nations are aiming to sign the agreement before India’s parliamentary elections are announced, to avoid delays.
  • Among other things, the MoU will have a significant focus on work related to the protection and conservation of tigers.
India and Nepal are all set to ink an agreement to cooperate on biodiversity conservation, including transboundary landscape management and focus on conservation of species like tigers, elephants and rhinos. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is expected to be signed before India’s upcoming parliamentary elections starts.
India and Nepal allow free movement of their people across borders. The shared India-Nepal border of over 1,850 kilometres touches five Indian States – Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. 

Quote:The joint border includes several transboundary wildlife habitats. For instance, the Valmiki tiger reserve in Bihar connects with Nepal’s Chitwan national park and Parsa wildlife reserve. Similarly, the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve in Uttar Pradesh shares its border with the Shukla Phanta national park in Nepal. Thus, among other things, the MoU is expected to have a significant focus on the management of the transboundary landscape.

S.P. Yadav, who is member secretary of the Uttar Pradesh’s State Biodiversity Board, explained that at present there is no formal MoU between the two nations.

“The MoU will lead to jointly-agreed actions in the transboundary landscape with reciprocal commitments. It will lead to better conservation of tigers, elephants and rhinos. It can also help immensely in tackling illegal trafficking due to improved information sharing,” said Yadav, who worked for several years in India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Global Tiger Forum.

“Close cooperation between the two nations will go a long way in biodiversity conservation in the two nations. MoU will be a formal instrument that will lead to better trans-border cooperation” he said.
Nakul Chettri, who is a senior biodiversity specialist with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), an intergovernmental regional knowledge and enabling centre based in Kathmandu (Nepal), said it would be a welcome step.

“It is better late than never. It is very much needed in terms of facilitating transboundary cooperation for conservation work. India and Nepal are already collaborating on a number of wildlife related issues, but this will cement the bilateral cooperation and strengthen the management of important transboundary wildlife habitat. It will be a win-win for both,” Chettri told Mongabay-India.

*This image is copyright of its original author

The MoU is expected to emphasise cooperation for conservation and protection of tiger. Photo by Stefan van den Akker/Wikimedia Commons.

Man Bahadur Khadka, who is the director general of the department of national parks and wildlife conservation in Nepal government’s Ministry of Forests and Environment, recounted numerous examples of close cooperation between the two nations wherein wild animals that strayed into each other’s territories were safely sent back.

“Nepalese and Indian authorities are already working in close coordination including sending the animals that stray to the other side. The MoU will only improve this work,” Khadka said.

The two neighbouring nations are trying to sign the MoU before India’s parliamentary elections are announced otherwise it will be delayed till elections are over.
“We are looking at signing the MoU soon – this month or early next month. All work regarding that is complete. The effort is to find a suitable time for officials of both countries. The idea is to do it before India’s elections are announced because otherwise it will be delayed by several months,” Khadka told Mongabay-India.

He stressed that the MoU would focus on biodiversity conservation, wildlife habitat management, tiger conservation and protection.
A senior official of India’s environment ministry, who wished to remain anonymous, said the MoU has been in the works for past several months now and is ready for signing from both the sides. “We hope that it is signed soon – before elections. A suitable date is being worked out,” the official noted.

Significant focus on tiger conservation
The MoU is expected to put an emphasis on cooperation for conservation and protection of the tiger, India’s national animal. As per the 2014 tiger population estimation, there are 2,226 tigers in India while the number of tigers in Nepal is estimated to be around 235. India’s latest tiger estimation is expected to be released later this year.

The cooperation of the two nations on the issue of tiger conservation is important as both have seen a steady rise in the tiger population in the last 10-12 years. For instance, as per the estimates, the number of tigers in India in 2006 was 1,411 and in Nepal in 2009 were 120.

But the tiger (Panthera tigris), which is an endangered animal, continues to be under threat from poaching and human-wildlife conflict. Khadka stressed that the MoU would have a significant focus on tiger conservation. “As per the 2018 estimate, which was done using scientific methods, our tiger population is 235. But we are planning to cross check with the Indian authorities about the population of tigers moving across the border to get a clear estimate,” said Khadka.

Quote:Read how tiger range countries like India and Nepal are committing to international cooperation for conservation.

S.P. Yadav explained that tiger corridors are vital for the survival of species.“For the survival of tigers, corridor connectivity is very important and for many of the tiger reserves in northern and eastern India, that can only happen via Nepal through the Terai landscape.
So from both India’s and Nepal’s point of view, this agreement will be critical in maintaining the tiger corridor,” said Yadav.

India and its neighbours including Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh are already looking at the possibility of a sub-continent level tiger estimation report. Meanwhile, Khadka also stated that they are also looking at the possibility of developing transboundary tourism circuits.

A recent report regarding sustainable tourism in the Indian Himalayan region by India’s federal think tank, NITI Aayog, had also batted for transboundary tourism circuits.

Quote:“In other parts of the world, such transboundary tourism circuits have become a symbol of inter-country cooperation for cross-border socioeconomic development as well as for long term peace and stability,” the report had said.


Banner image: One-horned rhino in Beeshazaar lake in Chitwan, Nepal. Photo by Nischal Tiwari/Wikimedia Commons.

https://india.mongabay.com/2019/02/14/in...servation/
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United States Roflcopters Offline
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Carcass of Royal Bengal Tiger found in Kaziranga National Park (infighting)

KAZIRANGA: Forest guards in Kaziranga National Park on Tuesday found the carcass of a Royal Bengal Tiger in the Bagori range. “The carcass of a Royal Bengal Tiger was found on Wednesday near Roumari forest camp under Bagori range of KNP. It was an adult male tiger. As per preliminary assessment by the State Veterinary Officer, the cause of death of the tiger was infighting,” said Rohini Ballav Saikia, DFO.


*This image is copyright of its original author





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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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( This post was last modified: 02-26-2019, 01:12 AM by GuateGojira )

(02-12-2019, 06:24 AM)Wolverine Wrote: Guate wrote: " there is no case of dholes attacking (actually attacking) adult tigers during more than 50 years of scientific study"

O, yes we have a scientific report from 1963 from the respectful Scientific Survey of India, Kanha NP, tiger attacked and injured by dholes:


*This image is copyright of its original author

Mr Khajuria did not even saw the event, so how this could be "evidence" of a real attack? This is crazy, we have testimonies of real scientists that had work (and are still wroking) in the field and you stay with old hearsays????

Also this is not an study or a report that we can actually describe as "scientific". In fact, just like any moder tiger investigator/expert, there is an agreements that the scientific studies started with Dr Schaller and since the publication of his book in 1967 until today 2019 (about 52 years), there is not a case described like those in the old litterature. Or the tiger before Schaller was a completelly diferent animal (like @peter suggested), or those stories were just "single and very rare events" or just "fisher tales"?
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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( This post was last modified: 02-26-2019, 01:14 AM by GuateGojira )

(02-12-2019, 06:31 AM)Wolverine Wrote: Guate wrote : "Sankhala's book is confusing and even dangerous to use it, it sale very weird ideas about the tiger behavior"

Guate, forgive me but I think you have not authority do judge such a remarkable scientist as Dr Kailash Shankala, an icon of "Project Tiger". While you no doubt are good poster, your background has nothing to do with biology, but more to do with business or computer sciences. If businessmen start teaching biologists and dentists start to teach nuclear physisists this is the sure way of collapse of the civillisation.

Sorry but this is very unfair from your part. You said that Dr Karanth (a real tiger scientist/expert which base his knowledge in Science) was not good, remember?

*This image is copyright of its original author


So how can you came here to tell me that I can't critizece Sankhala when he is not a good tiger investigator? I mean, I have read the books of the scientists Schaller, McDougal, Sunquist, Mountforth, Karanth, Thapar and now of Dr Chundawat and NONE of them describe the loony things that Sankhala said about tigers. I have READ all these books, so I CAN speak about them. Have you read the Sankala's book? I can tell you, none of them quote a single thing of Sankhala's crazy book regarding the behaviour of the tigers in the wild.

He may be an "icon" of tiger project but his ideas are the main reason why the project failed! I am reading all this case of the tiger numbers presented by the Indian goverment and it seems that are somewhat wrong, even REAL experts like Dr Karanth and Dr Chundawat, togheter with the real "tiger man" Valmik Thapar", have rised a warning about these estimations made by the Indian goverment. In the final chapters of the new book of Dr Chundawat of 2018 he described how the authorities inflate the numbes of the tigers so the people can see that they are working "correctly" to preserve the tigers. I can tell you that all the crazy ideas of Sankhala, that tigers are not territorial, that they migrate and that paw prints is a good tool, are still used by officers and this is one of the main complains of Dr Karanth.

So no, I am not agree with Sankhala, just like all the experts that I have mentioned, and IF you are going to defent someone's work, I can advise you to read the work first.


On the "tiger vs dhole" issue, I see that there is an agreement to stop the discussion, which is sad. I found a new interaction case in Panna described by Dr Chundawat and  also by Dr Seidensticker.
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United States paul cooper Offline
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I read a case with sankhala where siedesticker or whatever his name is, a american scientist, who tranquilized a tiger and relocated him, and the tiger was killed by another tiger. It is said this marked the beginning in the scientific community as evidence the tiger is a territorial animal. Oh, but of course, sankhala denied to. Calling the scientist incompetent for overdosing and killing the tiger, then the story changes into the tiger being killed by a wild boar. Complete denial of the obvious. He even wanted to get the scientist, he had to run to the american embassy. Sankhala is a corrupt politicion it seems, a lot of power in india too where eveybody listens to him. He isnt even a biologist at all. Ill find the full story, this is just what i recall.

Im not sure why he is saying such things against the tiger like this. Why is he so desperate to prove the tiger is not territorial? Is it to make conservation easier?
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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( This post was last modified: 02-26-2019, 08:10 AM by GuateGojira )

Dr Seidensticker captured that tiger in Sundarbarns, and after the dead of the specimen, Sankhala started a black campain againt him and the "western" scientists. At the end, he was the cause that the Smithsonian Institute did not made the tiger study in India. Gladly the goverment of Nepal was more friendly and the Nepal Tiger Project started with the first radiocollared tigers. 

After that, Sankhala started with his policy of protected parks, the strategy worked in that moment, but sady ignored the fact that those parks needed to be interconnected, something that the new science support. Latter, when the first tiger died in Nepal, he returned with his bad publicity against the work of the Smithsonian team in Nepal, but again the Nepalese goverment allowed the continuation of the study.

That same idea agains the methods of study tigers with scientific tools and the black campain, was used against Dr Karanth blaiming him for the dead of several tigers in Nagarahole when in fact he only radiocollared 4 specimens! Just to refresh, the first old male T-01 died from injures of a fight with other tiger, despite been treated by the vets, the other male T-03 died after a fight with a gaur. The same happen with Dr Chundawat in Panna, and I have his entire testimony and the evidence of this.

It seems that the case of Sankhala is less about science and conservation and more about nationalism and politics. In fact, Dr Chundawat mentions a case that one scientist of his personal from Indian origin was rejected by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) from the project in Panna just because he had British ID and they said that "tiger conservation in India was a controversial issue and one could not ensure in this case that there will not be dissemination of sensitive information"! Dr Chundawat says: "I still cannot understand why tiger conservation is considered such a controversial issue and why ecological information on tigers is so sensitive that it cannot be shared with the rest of the world". So, now we know why much of data on size/weight and specific behaviour lacks from some of the scientific papers from Indian scientists.
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United States paul cooper Offline
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( This post was last modified: 02-26-2019, 02:20 PM by paul cooper )

Tikhon (the old male amur tiger that came to humans for help).

His skull under xray:


*This image is copyright of its original author




He wasnt a large tiger, only 140 kg. But he was an old tiger and also sick and unable to eat.


https://siberiantimes.com/other/others/n...treatment/
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( This post was last modified: 02-27-2019, 03:56 AM by Shadow )

It is one thing to point out some conclusions, which have been seen in different ways later, what comes to Sankhala. But now here seems to be also some criticism, which goes beyond that and reason maybe more emotionally based, because of some debate, which has been a little bit heated up.

Sankhala has big legacy what comes to fight for keeping tigers extant species instead being one more in long list of animals in extinction. He spent a lot of time in wildlife observing tigers. I haven´t seen nothing odd in those observations even though some conclusions have been controversial. Some comments here now about him are quite.... interesting. I don´t think, that he have had bad intentions in his actions, his passion after all were tigers quite obviously and his legacy is strong even today.
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Finland Shadow Offline
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(02-27-2019, 03:01 AM)smedz Wrote:
(02-26-2019, 08:01 AM)GuateGojira Wrote: Dr Seidensticker captured that tiger in Sundarbarns, and after the dead of the specimen, Sankhala started a black campain againt him and the "western" scientists. At the end, he was the cause that the Smithsonian Institute did not made the tiger study in India. Gladly the goverment of Nepal was more friendly and the Nepal Tiger Project started with the first radiocollared tigers. 

After that, Sankhala started with his policy of protected parks, the strategy worked in that moment, but sady ignored the fact that those parks needed to be interconnected, something that the new science support. Latter, when the first tiger died in Nepal, he returned with his bad publicity against the work of the Smithsonian team in Nepal, but again the Nepalese goverment allowed the continuation of the study.

That same idea agains the methods of study tigers with scientific tools and the black campain, was used against Dr Karanth blaiming him for the dead of several tigers in Nagarahole when in fact he only radiocollared 4 specimens! Just to refresh, the first old male T-01 died from injures of a fight with other tiger, despite been treated by the vets, the other male T-03 died after a fight with a gaur. The same happen with Dr Chundawat in Panna, and I have his entire testimony and the evidence of this.

It seems that the case of Sankhala is less about science and conservation and more about nationalism and politics. In fact, Dr Chundawat mentions a case that one scientist of his personal from Indian origin was rejected by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) from the project in Panna just because he had British ID and they said that "tiger conservation in India was a controversial issue and one could not ensure in this case that there will not be dissemination of sensitive information"! Dr Chundawat says: "I still cannot understand why tiger conservation is considered such a controversial issue and why ecological information on tigers is so sensitive that it cannot be shared with the rest of the world". So, now we know why much of data on size/weight and specific behaviour lacks from some of the scientific papers from Indian scientists.
Seriously? He blamed Karanth of all people for doing that? From the sounds of it, Sankhala sounds to be even worse than Jack Horner. Horner at least has admitted he was wrong about a certain debate.

http://www.tigertrustindia.org/Founder.aspx

Here something for you to see, because it looks like, that you haven´t studied the subject so much. Just that you get some idea about whom we are talking about when mentioning Sankhala.
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Switzerland Spalea Offline
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@Shadow :

About #2129: I have the Sankhala's book about tigers and frankly, I didn't know all that it is reproached him... His book is well documented. It's true that it relates a tiger could have been killed by a big pride of dholes, but no certainty. And apart from that, nothing extraordinary.
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