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The Terai Tiger

Canada Shardul Offline
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#31

This article was published in 2013. Since then, Pilibhit has now gotten the status of tiger reserve. Bolded part for Peter.

http://prernabindra.com/2013/08/07/protecting-pilibhit/

Protecting Pilibhit

07/08/2013 Prerna Singh Bindra

Even the tigers that you don’t see, provide for as thrilling, as magical an experience as an actual physical ‘sighting’. I recall such an ‘encounter’ that took place a few years ago. It was late, night had long fallen, and a half-moon cast its pale silvery hue over the dense Pilibhit forest as I drove past herds of startled cheetal, a madly hopping hare, and a small cat––probably leopard cat––that streaked past in a flash, to reach the Navadia Forest rest house in Haripur range.
After a simple dinner, and exhausted with the long journey, I settled down for the night, huddled under the blanket for warmth, but no sooner did my eyes shut—came that unmistakable rumble, reverberating through the jungle… aauungh, aauungh… Tiger! I shot up, bolt upright—any vestige of sleep, exhaustion vanishing as the excitement, rather the euphoria, took over. It was answered by another, fainter call, as though from further away. Probably two tigers. A tiger and a tigress? Possibly a courting pair…
Almost overriding the thrill of the encounter, though, was a nagging worry… for this land of the tiger is not secure, lacking the legal cover of a ‘Protected Area’.
Welcome to Pilibhit Reserve Forest, Uttar Pradesh. Spread over 750 sq km, Pilibhit is part of the ‘Terai’ (Sanskrit for lowlands), a green strip of tall alluvial grasslands and Sal forests at the base of the Himalayas in northern India and western Nepal. Encompassing the Shivaliks and parts of the Gangetic Plain, the Terai Arc stretches about 800 km from Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary in Haryana to Parsa Wildlife Reserve in Nepal, comprising a network of other protected areas like Rajaji, Corbett, Dudhwa, Suhelwa, Valmiki in India and Shuklaphanta, Bardia, Chitwan in Nepal; connected, by vital but increasingly fragmented wildlife corridors. The Terai is one of the most diverse regions and also amongst the most imperiled, cursed with one of the densest human populations in the world.

Historically, the Terai was sparsely populated, heavily forested, supporting a spectacular diversity of Asia’s wildlife. The region was extremely malaria-prone, and therefore, virtually uninhabitable––so much so that one British officer remarked that “for the plainsmen, sleeping in the Terai in the monsoon meant certain death.” Then came DDT. This deadly pesticide was used heavily in the 1950s in a massive effort to eradicate malaria, making the area habitable. And so was cleared one of the richest, most biodiverse forests… paving the way for settlements, cultivation. The priority was to increase  agriculture production, given that India then was food deficient. Gun licenses were also doled out to exterminate ‘pests’—giving a free license to hunters. The region saw a sudden influx of refugees from what was now Pakistan, post India’s partition, and the new migrants, an enterprising and  resilient  lot brought yet more area under the plough.
 
This large scale conversion to agriculture destroyed prime natural habitats–the PAs and forests of the Terai Arc today are the last remnants of these once vast pristine forests .
Pilibhit is a vital link in the Terai Arc, connecting India’s Dudhwa Tiger Reserve and Nepal’s Suklaphanta National Park through the Lagga Bagga forests. It is also a prime tiger habitat, believed to be supporting about 30 tigers, including breeding tigresses, according to a recent survey by the UP Forest department along with WWF-India. With a density of about four tigers per 100 sq kms, Pilibhit is today better placed than many existing tiger reserves. Recognising its potential as a rich tiger habitat, India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority had given “in-principle” approval for the declaration of a ‘Pilibhit Tiger Reserve’ in 2008, though the reserves awaits notification by the state government.
The importance of Pilibhit forest is well-beyond its not insignificant size.  Protecting Pilibhit will help consolidate a contiguous block of forest of about 5,000 sq kms
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of prime tiger habitat connecting Shuklaphanta in Nepal to Kishanpur and Katarniaghat in Uttar Pradesh, Dudhwa and onwards to Surai––and the recently notified Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttarakhand.

This forest is a haven for other, equally endangered wildlife. The ‘madly hopping hare’ who escorted our vehicle was the hispid hare. Short ears, stout legs, bristly hair, shy, secretive, and very rare––we were extremely lucky that it decided to act as our sentinel. Its range is largely restricted to southern Nepal, North Bengal, Assam, Bangladesh, and this part of India, primarily Pilibhit. Another prized inhabitant of this forest is the Bengal florican, a critically endangered bird,  with a global population under a thousand. Once widely distributed in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, about 300 remain today in the grasslands of Uttar Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal. Vultures, whose populations have crashed alarmingly across the country, are reported to be recovering here—a recent census by the state forest department showed that there are  approximately 75 vultures in the region, a jump from about 50 counted two years back. Pilibhit also supports a small population of the majestic ‘twelve-tined’ — barasingha or the swamp deer. It sees the occasional transient  elephant and rhino.  There have been  some ‘new’ , or rather newly recorded residents as well. The camera trapping exercise in 2010 revealed the presence of the rusty-spotted cat, the smallest member of the cat family and endemic to the Indian sub-continent. Another first was the four-horned antelope, or the chousinga, hitherto unrecorded in these forests, or anywhere this north of the country.

Pilibhit is a miracle. Even though a non-protected Area, it is evidently, one of the richest in Terai—a testimony to its history of protection coupled with the strong connectivity it enjoys..
Yet, its future is very precarious. Wildlife protection is not a priority in ‘territorial’ commercially harvested forests such as Pilibhit. Commercial exploitation of forests harms the fragile ecology, besides being a major disturbance to wildlife.  Commercial plantations, which form the core of reserve forests, could well be a death knell for grassland dependent species such as the florican and the hispid hare. Reserve forests are also very vulnerable to non-forest uses, and exploitation for development and other purposes.
There are other issues—the gravest being that of severe human-wildlife conflict. The Pilibhit forest is abutted by sugarcane fields, into which tigers frequently stray. To the tiger seeking cover, or the tigress looking for a safe spot to give birth to cubs,  sugarcane fields are like a natural extension of the grasslands and forests. The tall grasses offer perfect camouflage, excellent cover, prey in the form of wild pig, nilgai and cattle. The crop is hardly disturbed for at least six months––until harvest time in winter. Farmers frequently surprise tigers within the cane, and that is when human-tiger conflict peaks, many a time with fatal consequences.
Giving Pilibhit the status of a tiger reserve is essential, not just to protect this vital tigerland for posterity, but also to mitigate and address the severe human-wildlife conflict.

This article first appeared in The Pioneer.

Pix: The photograph is from Shuklaphanta which is contiguous to Pilibhit. Courtesy: WWF
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India parvez Offline
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#32

Corbett tigers,

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United States Pckts Offline
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#33

Posted in Big Cat news thread as well...
Uttar Pradesh set to get its fourth tiger reserve
  • Pawan Dixit, Hindustan Times, Lucknow
  • Updated: Apr 27, 2016 15:35 IST


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If all goes well, the famous Suhelwa Wildlife Sanctuary will soon add to Uttar Pradesh’s three existing tiger reserves -- Dudhwa, Amangarh and Pilibhit. (HT file photo) 

The central and Uttar Pradesh governments have initiated steps to give the state its fourth tiger reserve.
If all goes well, the famous Suhelwa Wildlife Sanctuary will soon add to Uttar Pradesh’s three existing tiger reserves -- Dudhwa, Amangarh and Pilibhit.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), a statutory body under the union ministry of environment and forests, had some time back proposed the new tiger reserve and sought a status report from the Uttar Pradesh government about the Suhelwa sanctuary.
Now, the UP government is planning to take forward the NTCA’s proposal to convert the Suhelwa sanctuary into a tiger reserve.
“Considering the centre’s advisory to convert Suhelwa Wildlife Sanctuary into a tiger reserve, the Uttar Pradesh government has now decided to take the proposal forward,” a senior official of the UP forest department said.
“After Suhelwa, Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary in Banda will be the next one to be converted into a tiger reserve,” added the official. The Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 230 sq km and has rich flora and fauna.
The centre’s move to convert the Suhelwa sanctuary into a tiger reserve is part of its larger plan to convert all tiger habitats in the country into tiger reserves to conserve big cats. Spread over an area of 452 sq km, the Suhelwa sanctuary covers Balrampur, Shravasti and Gonda districts and also touches Mahadevpuri forest in Nepal.
Out of about 2,226 tigers in India, about 118 are found in Uttar Pradesh. Around 70% of the tiger population of the world is found in India.
It was after concerted efforts of the UP government that Pilibhit Wildlife Sanctuary was notified as a tiger reserve on June 9, 2014. After Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, which was notified in 1987, Pilibhit has the largest number of big cats in Uttar Pradesh. The Amangarh Tiger Reserve in Bijnor, which touches Uttarakhand, was notified as a tiger reserve in 2012.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/lucknow/ut...iDNkI.html



Dudhwa Cubs

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Dudhwa

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Elephants in Zone 1

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India parvez Offline
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#34

Terai east tiger,

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United States Pckts Offline
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#35

White river bed, tall dead trees and the orange furred terai tiger.

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Teasing Tiger

Paarwali Tigress, Dhikala Range, Corbett

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#CORBETTDAIRY
Bengal Tiger (Female) - Parwali
Panthera tigris tigris
Corbett Tiger Reserve
Uttarkhand / India

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NEWS: Uttarakhand, the State in India with the second highest tiger population after Karnataka, now has a second tiger reserve, besides the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
The Rajaji National Park has now been notified as the Rajaji Tiger Reserve by the Centre.
The tiger reserve (1075.17 sq-km) includes the 255.63 sq-km area of Rajaji National Park’s buffer zone.
The new tiger reserve is expected to bring in more tourists and boost the economy of the State.


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(unknown image)

The Fearless...............as we know here (i.e. in Jim Corbett) Tiger Rules... — at Dhikala , Jim Corbett National Park.

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United States Pckts Offline
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#36


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Italy Ngala Offline
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#37

The last two shots..fantastic! See the muscles in this massive boy, it's amazing, really impressive. Thanks for sharing this nice photos Pckts.
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India parvez Offline
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#38

Corbett rajaji tiger,

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United States Pckts Offline
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#39

Corbett Tigers
Anuj Sharma

Corbett 2016 - "Pandit - The Calm One"


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India parvez Offline
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#40
( This post was last modified: 05-11-2016, 09:13 PM by parvez )

Philibit tigers,

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United States Pckts Offline
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#41

A Memorable Safari at Jim Corbett
May 24, 2016 By Carmen Pang With no comments yet Tagged with: Corbett Tigers, Elephant chase, high voltage drama, Jim Corbett, Sightings at Corbett
How often do you get to see elephants chase off a tiger? Our recent safari with Tigerwalah at Corbett National Park put us right in the middle of the action!
We traveled in late April when it was very hot and dry, which, we were told, would increase our chance of seeing tigers as they’d be frequenting the water holes. Stoked to see the iconic image of a tiger sitting in water, we endured daily 40-degree heat and cough-inducing dust driving through the dense Indian jungle.And the jungle did not disappoint! In recent weeks, it was reported that Paarwali, a beautiful tigress, was regularly spotted in the late afternoon taking a dip in what had become her private pool. Armed with this bit of intelligence, we headed straight for the pool on our first safari drive upon our arrival at the park.

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  Paarwali at her private pool-©Biplab Banerjee
After about an hour’s wait in our Gypsy and being amused by the troops of photographers setting up their camera lens the size of small canons, the afternoon lull was punctured by a sudden flurry of excitement. Paarwali was spotted trotting down a trail and heading straight for the water! When she emerged from the trail, her stunning orange and black coat was in full view glittering in the afternoon sun. We watched her approach the water’s edge, take a few satisfying sips, and gently slide into the cool water after feeling it out with her paw. It was one of the most memorable wildlife sightings we have ever seen!After spending some time soaking in the water, Paarwali got up and walked to the other side of the road. We could hear her mating calls and we knew romance was in the air. Wishing Paarwali luck in finding her Romeo, it was time for us to leave the jungle and head back to camp. Little did we know our day’s adventure wasn’t over yet. As our column of Gypsies filed through the narrow road, we came upon a herd of elephants. Disturbed, they charged at us forcing all the vehicles to reverse hastily. Unbeknownst to us then, the elephants had just given us a first taste of who truly is boss in the jungle.
 Eager to catch up on the Paarwali romance, we set out in the afternoon on our second day for the riverbank where the magnificent tigress was sighted earlier. We staked out a good vantage point among a small caravan of Gypsies and watched the many residents of Corbett going about their business. There were sambar deer grazing by the water, small herds of elephants and their newborn calves enjoying a cooling dust bath, and beautiful woodland kingfishers dive-bombing for dinner. Finally, a graceful feline silhouette appeared. It was Paarwali! And she was still grunting for love! Attracted by the series of mating calls by Paarwali, a big male appeared. Romeo had answered the call and was making a bee-line toward Paarwali. When they met, they acknowledged each other briefly and then quickly slipped out of our view behind the bush line. Not two minutes later, they reappeared and went their separate ways without so much as a kiss goodbye. What happened behind the bushes will forever stay behind the bushes!

While Paarwali walked out of sight from us, Romeo drifted out and settled quietly into the grasses not far from a small herd of elephants that had gathered by the river. It appeared that neither Romeo nor the elephants were aware of each other’s close proximity. We waited in silence and wondered what would unfold.

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         Clash of titans: ©Biplab Banerjee
Soon enough, when Romeo let loose a grunt to answer Paarwali’s call from afar, he unwittingly disturbed the peace at the waterfront. Realizing that there was a tiger nearby, the elephants went into a frenzy because there were calves in the herd. Not knowing exactly where Romeo was, a young bull started stomping through the tall grass and trounced toward Romeo, who somehow managed to lay low. The young bull calmed down and peace returned. But not 10 minutes had passed when the elephants caught wind of Romeo’s scent and chaos resumed. And this time, it wasn’t just the young bull but the whole posse!From our vehicle, we watched six adult and juvenile elephants spread out in a line and moved forward through the brush as one unstoppable force! This movement flushed out Romeo, who must have felt like the lone quarterback facing off the full defensive line. With the elephants charging behind him, Romeo broke out of the brush and made for the river in full throttle. It was a scene to behold — elephants trumpeting their trunks and flapping their ears and giving chase to the king of the jungle in the midst of clouds of dust! As abruptly as it started, the drama was over with us still holding our breath. Romeo had escaped unscathed except for maybe his slightly wounded pride.

Over the next two days, we had a couple more encounters with Paarwali. On our third morning, deciding to forgo a crowded sighting of a young tigress on the motasaal grassland, we ventured down Sambhar Road only to come face to face with Paarwali resting by the side of the road. Upon seeing us, she decided to get up and stretch her legs. It was exhilarating to have her stroll toward us while our driver expertly reverse our Gypsy to maintain the five-meter distance between us and the tigress. We moved in sync this way for some distance before she turned and disappeared into the thick bush, ending our rare, private, and up-close sighting of a beautiful animal.

Corbett had given us the show of a lifetime. In addition to Paarwali and Romeo, we were lucky enough to spot a third tiger on two separate occasions. Even during the down time waiting for tigers, the abundance of deer and birds kept us mesmerized. We cannot wait to return next season and hopefully we’ll see Paarwali again, perhaps with cubs in tow?
http://www.tigerwalah.com/a-memorable-sa...ialnetwork
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United States Pckts Offline
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#42

Larger image of the "clash of titans"
Clash of The titans. An unusual encounter in the land of roar, song & trumpet witnessed during recent trip to Corbett. A herd of elephants chased courting pair on Sambhar road . Elephants combed the entire patch of grass which forced the tigers to run from cover. Witnessed this drama not only once but four times that evening. Once in a lifetime experience for sure. — with Anurag Sharma.

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India sanjay Offline
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#43

Eye to eye.
May 09, 2016, Corbett national park

Sharmili, the tigress was trying to catch the langur on the tree, as the prey with its offspring was cornered. For a few moments, neither moved from their precarious positions, knowing that every move would be tricky.

The tiger tried to inch ahead and suddenly, the langur took a risky leap and swung across below the tiger. This was too quick for Sharmili, who lost her balance and half managed a controlled fall from the tree. She seemed exhausted and in a shock after the humbling fall.

At dusk later that evening, we saw her stalk spotted deer, but she gave up after a mock charge.

Back at the forest rest house later that evening, we were discussing the events of the day with the forest guard and a filmmaking team who were stationed at Crobett. We learnt that Sharmili has lost a lower canine and has grown leaner over a couple of months.

The loss of the canine quite might be the reason why she chased such a small prey up the tree, where clearly risks overweighed returns. And could as well be the reason for her giving up the deer chase. Next day, she was seen with a langur kill, walking to a waterhole. What was the reason behind her climbing up the tree, we can only hypothesise.

Maybe, man is naive to understand all this. Nature is what it is. It's how the world was made. These creatures are not driven by reason, but only by their instinct to survive.

Video is already posted by @Pckts at http://wildfact.com/forum/topic-tiger-pr...1#pid21691

Tigress Sharmili catching langur from corbett national park
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All content and image is own by Rahul Matmari
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United States Pckts Offline
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#44

Shekhhar Soni
Tigerscape
Bijrani,may'16
Nikon 5300
Sigma lens [email protected]
Iso-1250,1/1000


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SHARMILI WITH THE CATCH,JIM CORBETT,MAY'16

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India parvez Offline
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#45

The terai also covers corresponding areas of west bengal. These tigers are probably from west bengal terai region. If found not or they are from sunderbans, i will remove this post. 

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