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Sep 24, 2020

6 Months and Counting

Mother's Love
Mother's Love

For the last 6 months, we have faced an unprecedented increase in the risk of wild tigers being poached, as the world tries to find a new normal whilst COVID19 persists. The wild tiger community has been hit particularly hard due to the high proportion of workers who are daily wagers (literally, they only get paid on the days which they work). Work stopped for around 85% of the tiger community on 25 March 2020 and for most, hasn’t yet returned to a semblance of normal. Thus the increased threat of poaching as a viable source of income persists. Your support throughout this period has been tremendous, without your help we could not have increased our patrolling from April and maintained double patrolling throughout the monsoon period, so thank you for all which you have done.

Your donations have helped us to continue our outstanding record of wild tiger conservation. It’s now been more than 63 months since the last retaliatory poisoning of a wild tiger in Bandhavgarh, and will be 4 years since we last lost a tiger to a poaching incident on 02 October 2020. We could not have achieved this without your help. Without your generosity, the lives of Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers would be at risk.

Like the rest of the world, we don’t know when this COVID19 nightmare will end, and so we need to plan for our increased patrolling to continue for the foreseeable future and beyond. We are already anticipating a 56% increase in patrolling costs for 2020-21 and this could be even higher if the poaching threat increases further. Suddenly, we have had to plough all of our efforts into patrolling and keeping wild tigers out of the deadly wire snare traps which are often set for wild deer and other animals which persistently raid the crops in the villages which surround the tiger jungles of Bandhavgarh. Wild tigers are breeding right now too, we already know about 9 new cubs and we expect more to be born over the next few months as we are aware that other tigers have also mated. Keeping more tigers and their cubs safe over the coming months will be a real challenge, but it is one which we want to meet head on with your help.

As you already know, our patrollers are not only shielding Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers from poachers snares and traps; their presence also prevents locals from engaging in illegal activities which put wild tigers at risk. Without our patrols, the wild tiger population would face insurmountable obstacles at every turn. With only 3900 wild tigers remaining globally, every tiger’s life is precious.

Each tiger life lost threatens the longevity of the entire wild tiger population. Without our patrollers, the impact of tiger deaths will reverberate throughout the entire jungle.

Without funds, no patrols

To continue to patrol at the increased levels we’ve done since the onset of the COVID19 crisis, we need to raise at least 56% more each month. If we don’t, we’ll have no choice but to cut back or even stop our patrolling! If we stop the patrols, the wild tigers wouldn’t stand a chance against the threats exacerbated by COVID-19:

1. More human-tiger conflict  

Many people in Bandhavgarh are still without regular paid work, some haven’t had any work since 25 March. Their desperate need for income to survive pushes them into wild tiger territory in search of any resources they can plunder to sell. The jungle is rich with fresh growth following the monsoon rains, grasses and trees which can be chopped down to sell as animal fodder and logs respectively, but these activities continue to put tigers and humans in danger.

Just a few weeks ago, another villager was badly mauled by a tiger whilst collecting wood from the forest, crippling another family with an uncertain future. This brings the number of tiger attacks on humans to 5 in a few short months. Wild elephant attacks on people and villages are also increasing, the threat of retaliatory aggression towards wildlife and their protectors always looms.

2. Desperate people driven to poaching

People turn to poaching because they’re forced to find a means to survive; whether they intend to kill tigers or not, the traps they lay are indiscriminate. In neighbouring, Maharashtra, tiger and leopard poaching persists; there have also been reports of tiger poaching in nearby Panna (Madhya Pradesh), just a few hundred kilometres from Bandhavgarh. Peak Poaching Season is likely to continue beyond the monsoon season, as people continue to struggle with the impact of COVID19. To ensure that our efforts to date to double the number of wild tigers in Bandhavgarh aren’t wasted, we need to keep our increased patrols going.

3. Increased illegal activity

Since the lockdown began illegal fishing activities have also increased, which decreases sources of food for the tigers’ prey, driving them to raid villagers’ crops. Our patrollers educate villagers on the impact of their actions, reminding them that every resource lost has a consequence for the animals they share their homes with. Most villagers never leave the village where they were born, nor have electricity to access to online information, so without our patrollers, many don’t realise the ripple effect of their actions. 


Wild Tigers need you

Human-led patrols are the only way we can tackle human-induced issues. Without funds, we can’t meet the demand for increased patrolling; the situation in Bandhavgarh continues to be extremely dangerous for humans and tigers alike.

Every single donation will help us to save wild tigers’ lives. Did you know that giving just £10/US$13 per month can pay an anti-poaching patroller to keep wild tigers safe for more than 30 days a year? The current crisis means that we need people like you to help wild tigers in Bandhavgarh now: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/protect-bandhavgarhs-tigers-from-poachers/?show=recurring.

When you give something you are really making a difference for wild tigers now. As your donation can be the difference between life and death as it supports our increased patrolling when it is most needed. Be confident in the knowledge that by donating to a small charity like Tigers4Ever, your money has a big impact. Our Patrollers can keep wild tigers alive by educating villagers and reducing human-animal conflict.  We’ll also keep you updated on how your gift has been spent.

Every tiger and every tiger cub counts. Thank you for making our fight against poachers, the changing climate and human-animal conflict possible.

Young Male Tiger Cub finding his way
Young Male Tiger Cub finding his way
A watchful Tiger crosses the forest track
A watchful Tiger crosses the forest track

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Sep 24, 2020

Uniforms Provided

Wild Tiger in Dry Riverbed
Wild Tiger in Dry Riverbed

Over the last six months we’ve asked for your help as COVID-19 has gripped the tiger community, the wild tigers which we fight hard to protect and almost every corner of the globe. We have been at crisis point since 25 March 2020, when, like many other small charities globally, we faced increased demand for help when we least expected to. Throughout this period, you support has been amazing, thank you.

One of the most surprising things was the toll taken on our patrollers uniforms’ as the threat of poaching increased to unprecedented levels and our anti-poaching patrols responded by working longer hours and extra shifts. Suddenly, 12 new uniforms were needed urgently at a time when we were already diverting every available penny into increasing the patrolling to keep wild tigers safe. So we asked for your help, and thankfully you responded in the most amazing way by helping us to fully fund the project and get the new uniforms made and delivered to those in desperate need. Thank you.

By funding this micro-project you helped us to create work in a rural community where 85% of employment ended as COVID19 struck. We asked local suppliers to make the cloth for the new uniforms; local dressmakers to cut the cloth and hand-make the uniforms plus embroidered patches for the shirt sleeves. This project also created work for the local courier who collected the cloth to deliver to the dressmakers and collected the finished uniforms to deliver to our patrollers. Your help has truly made a difference to the wider tiger community and helped our efforts to keep wild tigers safe.

Thanks to your amazing support in helping to provide the new uniforms, we were able to continue with double our standard anti-poaching patrols throughout July, August and September, and as a result keep wild tigers out of poachers’ traps and snares. None of us really knows just how long the devastating impact of COVID19 will persist, but what we do know is that without your continued amazing support the lives of wild tigers would be at risk.

We’re now turning our attentions back to keeping our patrols protecting wild tigers during the remainder of the monsoon peak poaching season and beyond, as we will need to keep increased patrolling going for as long as the risk of poaching is high:https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/saving-bandhavgarhs-wild-tigers/.

Tigers4Ever Patrollers in New Uniforms
Tigers4Ever Patrollers in New Uniforms
New Tigers4Ever Patrolling Uniform
New Tigers4Ever Patrolling Uniform

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Sep 10, 2020

More than just Water

Tigress and Cub at Tigers4Ever Waterhole
Tigress and Cub at Tigers4Ever Waterhole

Three months has seemingly flown by, for the team in the UK at least. Like the rest of the world our biggest daily challenge is the ever advancing impact of COVID19. We feel well practiced now in that we’ve had six months to adapt but we know that it’s not the same everywhere and we’re mindful of this as we write. I think it is fair to say that 2020 has presented some of the biggest challenges that most of us will face in our lifetimes and it’s not over yet.

Since our last project newsletter we’ve had the driest July on record in Bandhavgarh, followed by the wettest August for 40 years, who knows what September will bring? Right now we are working in collaboration with some geologists who are monitoring the patterns of surface water from the monsoon rains to see how much flood water is simply lost to run away and whether in future some of this lost water can be recycled to improve underground water sources. We can’t just tap into all the underground water in the National Park to sustain year round water for wildlife without thinking how it can be replenished as monsoonal rains become more erratic year on year. If we want wild tigers to have year-round water in 100 years we need to capture and recycle as much rainwater as possible as it falls. We have already started this process by lining new waterholes with loam soil which improves the water holding and retention capacity of the waterholes in the hottest dry weather of the summers; and by ensuring that soak away systems return any overflow water around the waterholes to the underground water-streams and wells. In future we will look to installing recharge pits alongside future waterholes where it can be demonstrated that excess floodwaters from the monsoon rainfall will be able to recharge underground water sources from which we will pump water to the surface throughout the rest of the year. This is quite an exciting development for sustainable water for the future of Bandhavgarh’s tigers and we hope to be in a position to tell you and show you more about this in our next report.

Thanks to your amazing support over the last three months our micro-project for the drinking water tanks was fully funded and we managed to provide four water tanks so that patrollers in remote locations have safe access to clean drinking water. We have also managed to raise another US$173 towards our next permanent wildlife waterhole project, which, given the challenges everyone is facing right now, is amazing too. Whilst our focus has been on keeping wild tigers out of poachers’ snares and traps during the peak poaching season, which isn’t over yet, we haven’t forgotten our promise to build the next permanent wildlife waterhole, nor the tigers which it will benefit. As the monsoon rains will draw to a close in just a few weeks’ time, we are now thinking about getting our waterhole plans back on track, we’ve almost covered the cost of drilling a new bore-well for the pump, lining pipes for the well and labour costs, and if we can raise another £1000 (US$1330) in the next month we hope to be able to work with a potential corporate partner to build the next permanent wildlife waterhole in late October/early November, subject of course to any COVID19 restrictions which may impact our timetable. Nonetheless we’d like to be in a position to commence work in late October if it is logistically possible.   

We don’t want COVID19 to destroy the progress we have made in wild tiger conservation over the last 10 years and we want to ensure that our efforts to give wild tigers a wild future can keep gaining momentum. In spite of the challenges we have all faced over the last six months, your collective spirit and generosity has been truly inspiring. Your donations and continued support over this time has strengthened our hope that when we pull through this pandemic, wild tigers will still thrive in the jungles of Bandhavgarh, and we will be able to carry on giving them a wild future. So on behalf of those tigers, we’d like to thank you for not forgetting that without your help we wouldn’t be able to keep them safe.

It is already September and since our last report so many things have happened but not all good.

The Risks to wild Tigers escalated as the COVID19 Lockdown began

  • Human-Tiger conflict has increased with another tiger attack on a man in the last week, thankfully he survived and is out of hospital now;
  • Wild elephants have decimated several paddy fields ruining the rice crops of multiple villagers which will leave them with both food and income shortages in the coming months;
  • Human encroachment continues to increase as precious forest resources are plundered to keep food on the table for families who haven’t had paid employment since 25 March 2020; and
  • Wild tigers are susceptible to COVID19 infection transmitted by humans.

But it’s not all bad news for wild tigers

On a positive note, there have been some successes too:

  • We managed to raise £130 (US$173) towards our next waterhole construction, due to fantastic support from you all during, which means that we’ve raised £4122 (US$5482) of our £10560 (US$13250) target to date;
  • We haven’t lost any wild tigers to poachers (for 47 months) or retaliatory poisonings (for 5 years and 3 months);
  • The tiger cubs we told you about last time are doing well so we still need to protect nine more tigers now;
  • We’ve also provided safe drinking water tanks at four remote patrolling camps so that patrollers don’t have to fill their drinking water bottles at the same waterholes used by tigers and other wild animals, thanks to your help. (See also: https://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/water-for-bandhavgarhs-tiger-protectors/ for more details);
  • We still plan to put the next permanent waterhole for wild tigers in a critical dry location as soon as we have sufficient funds and the lockdown restrictions are lifted in India;
  • Our patrols are essential workers and continue to protect wild tigers.

How you can help                   

We don’t know for certain how long this crisis will last, but what we do know is that we need to quadruple our efforts to keep wild tigers safe. It is normal to double our efforts throughout the peak poaching season, but we could be facing another six months of the same difficult conditions we’ve set out in this project report. So the best way to help us keep wild tigers safe is to fund our projects today, because tomorrow might be too late.

Next week (14 – 18 September, 2020), you can also support our GlobalGiving Little by Little matched funding campaign. All week, any donations up to $50 (£38) will be matched by 50% bonus funds, at no extra cost to you. Participate in our GlobalGiving campaign here https://goto.gg/34315, and remember that all new monthly donations will receive a 100% bonus match on month four too.

Here are some of the ways your money helps us to save wild tigers:

- £20 ($26) will help to drill 2 metres (6.5 feet) of bore-well to access underground water;

- £75 ($95) can pay a team of workers to prepare a site for a new waterhole for wild tigers;

- £380 ($475) will fund 6% of a solar system to bring underground water to the surface.

Every donation, no matter how large or small, helps us increase and protect the tiger population. Thank you on behalf of the wild tigers, which you are helping us to keep safe; and on behalf of the wider tiger community in Bandhavgarh, which benefits from providing equipment and labour for our waterhole projects; we couldn’t do this without you. Thanks to you, the tigers can live peacefully and those who live beside them can protect their livelihoods.

Any and all donations are welcome https://goto.gg/34315.

If you can’t afford to donate perhaps you could become a become a Tigers4Ever fundraiser, here: https://www.globalgiving.org/dy/v2/fundraisers/start/?fundraiser.projids=34315 and ask your friends, colleagues and family to donate to your fundraiser to help us keep wild tigers safe.

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