Nov 27, 2020

It Hit us Hard

Saving Tigers
Saving Tigers

We can hardly believe that a month has passed since the fateful morning when the phone rang with the news we’d been dreading since the COVID19 crisis began. For the first time in five and a half years, a tiger had been killed in Bandhavgarh by a retaliatory poisoning by villagers angered by the constant lifting of cattle. What made matters worse was it wasn’t one tiger which was dead, it was the mother of four cubs. A short distance from the dead tigress’s body lay a female cub which had also died after eating from the poisoned carcass of a dead cow. Three cubs were missing, their fate unknown. What made matters worse was the tigress was a long way from her native territory, for reasons we’ll never really know why. What we do know is that encroachment levels into tiger territory are at an all-time high as villagers desperate to find something to sell move further and further into areas where they shouldn’t go.

How could this happen? Since the lockdown began in March, we had increased our patrolling, even doubling it during the monsoon, but fearful for the long term sustainability of our patrolling due to a lack of funding, we took the difficult decision to reduce our patrolling by 33% from the beginning of October, this would help us to keep patrolling until the end of the year. Barely two weeks into the reduced patrolling, disaster struck. We had scaled back our patrolling to pre-monsoon levels, but the risk to the tigers is still increasing as the economic impacts of COVID19 decimate the wider tiger community. Our decision was costly in terms of tiger deaths as the days passed, only two cubs were found alive, a male cub had also perished as a result of the retaliatory poisonings. What is worse is the fact that this was the tigress’s first litter, not yet fully independent and without their mother, the chances of long term survival in the wild for the surviving cubs is by no means certain. Potentially, a lack of funding may have wiped out two generations of wild tigers. The cost of the additional patrolling was just £500 (US$665) per month… Funds we didn’t have.

We had an emergency appeal and, thanks to our tremendous supporters, have managed to raise sufficient funds to reinstate double patrolling in November and December, but we need to raise a lot more money if we are to sustain double patrolling into 2021. For this we need your help, this year on Giving Tuesday (01 December 2020) GlobalGiving is providing a share of $1million in matched funds for projects which receive donations throughout the day. We need to raise £5000 (US$6650), ideally on Giving Tuesday so that we can secure a share of the $1million in matched funds too and keep our patrolling doubled until April 2021: https://goto.gg/34704.

Without the above funds, we will have to scale back or even suspend our patrolling, the consequences of which are unimaginable. Since the end of March, our patrols have been under overwhelming pressure due to increased miscreant activity, to which there seems no end.

If we have to reduce the patrolling by 33%, as we were forced to do in October, to avoid running out of funds, it will mean a 500km (312 mile) reduction in the area covered by our patrols each month. A reduction which will hit hard alongside the impact of unprecedented encroachment levels in the forest, as people who have lost income due to the enforcement of COVID19 measures struggle to survive. These people are putting their lives at risk by going deeper and deeper into the forest in search of something to sell, the death and injury toll over the last 2 months reads like nothing we’ve known in over 10 years since we established Tigers4Ever:

  • A 40 year old female killed by a startled tiger whilst picking fruit deep into the tiger’s territory;
  • A 3 year old tigress (mother of 3 cubs) killed in a territorial fight with another tigress because she’d moved her cubs due to human encroachment in her territory;
  • Two 4 week old tiger cubs killed by jackals when their mother left them in an unsafe den because human fruit pickers were in her territory;
  • A pregnant leopard killed by a tiger because human encroachment forced it into the tiger’s territory;
  • A 41 year old man mauled whilst fruit pricking by a tigress protecting her cubs from encroaching humans;
  • A 42 year old man killed by wild elephants whilst trying to protect his crops;
  • An 8 year old tigress and two 18 month old cubs killed by villagers who poisoned the carcass of a domestic cow which the tigress had taken;
  • Ten more villagers mauled by another  tigress protecting her cubs from the encroaching fruit pickers;
  • The rice crops of 8 villages totally decimated by marauding elephants;
  • A school building and several farm buildings destroyed by marauding elephants;
  • A single village lost 12 cows in a week due to attacks by displaced tigers and another village lost 3 cows in 5 days to attacks by a single tiger.

Every time human-animal conflict increases, the risk to the lives of wild tigers increases, without our patrolling we cannot mitigate these risks and more tigers could die.

The only way we can address these issues is to keep our patrolling doubled until these risks subside. When increased to double levels, our patrols can cover an extra 500km (312 miles) of wild tiger territory each month, looking for snares, traps and signs of would be poisoners. Increased patrols also help to prevent the dangerous human encroachment into the territories of wild tigers which is increasing daily and to provide safety advice for those trying to protect their crops and livestock from wandering elephants and tigers respectively.

The only way we can do this is by increasing our funding by at least £5000 in December (preferably on Giving Tuesday – 01 December), but to do this we need your help. Your gift today can make a huge difference:

  • A gift of £20 ($26) will help us to pay a patrolling team for a day
  • A gift of £30 ($39) will provide hot nutritious meals whilst they are on duty for a day
  • A gift of £40 ($52) will ensure that we can transport a team of anti-poaching patrollers to a remote location for a day’s patrolling
  • A gift of £100 ($130) will ensure that a team of patrollers can cover 125km (78 miles) of wild tiger territory in a day
  • A gift of £1300 ($1730) will ensure that we can increase of patrolling levels to the highest level for one month.

If we don’t act now, we are sure that the lives of more tigers and more humans will be lost, and with every loss of human life comes another threat to the tiger’s survival in the wild, thus we must protect both if we are to ensure that wild tigers will have a wild future.

Every single donation received will help us to save wild tigers’ lives, no matter how large or small. The current crisis means that we need your help like never before: https://goto.gg/34704.

Please don’t hesitate if you can help, your donation can be the difference between life and death for a wild tiger, as it helps to increase our patrolling when it is most needed. Every tiger and every tiger cub counts. Thank you for making our fight against poachers, the changing climate and human-animal conflict possible.

Tigress and Cubs at Tigers4Ever Waterhole
Tigress and Cubs at Tigers4Ever Waterhole

Links:

Oct 28, 2020

What Does the Future Hold?

An education pack can make a huge difference
An education pack can make a huge difference

In the last seven months, families all over the world have faced new challenges due to COVID19, lockdown measures, home-schooling, etc. The list still seems endless as does the ongoing threat of this disease which has blighted every corner of the earth. In rural India these challenges have perhaps been more devastating than elsewhere as the people are already isolated, dependent on daily work being available to subsidise their subsistence existence and help their families to have a better future than they had.

In our last project newsletter we asked you to imagine the challenge of home schooling without a computer, without the internet, without even books or a desk where your children or grandchildren can work – did you have that thought in your mind? How did you cope? We suspect that the prospect was one which you wouldn’t want to face?

In rural India, around Bandhavgarh, families are faced with all of the above challenges and no work, no food, no electricity, no running water and everyone being locked down together in a single room for over seven months. Now that is unimaginable isn’t it? Sadly, it is a reality for the majority of families living around Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, and what is worse is that the schools in rural India have been closed for 7 months and have no plans to reopen yet! So you must be wondering why we are writing another appeal for educational resources when the children can’t even go to school. Let me share a real life experience of someone living in Bandhavgarh right now, with you:

Sandip is a 7th grade student in Manpur, a village several kilometres (miles) from his home in Ranccha village, Bandhavgarh. Sandip's mother Diya owns a sewing machine and makes clothes to sell to the people in her village so she can put food on the table for her family and send her children to school. Sandip’s father, Rajesh, was a farmer like his family had been for hundreds of years, but one day in 2019, whilst he was harvesting his sugar cane crop, Rajesh was bitten by a venomous snake and died in his field. Diya was left with 2 young children, Sandip and Durga. Durga is only 4 so still too young for school. Sandip, devastated by the loss of his father, wants to be a doctor so he needs his mother to sell clothes so he can go to school. Diya said “Since the lockdown, I can earn little or nothing. My usual customers have not been able to earn money and are therefore unable to spend any. I am finding it difficult to make ends meet – we are even falling short of food for Sandip and Durga. We are grateful for the food parcel which Tigers4Ever sent, but that is mostly gone now and I desperately want to sell clothes so that I can send Sandip to school when they reopen. I want him to study well, but we don’t have a computer or electricity so I hope that he will be able to go to the special classes in Tala where he can use a computer to continue his studies and learn to speak English too. I want Durga to go to school next year too; it would make me so happy to see my children learning new things. If Sandip can study well and become a doctor one day, this would fulfil his dream and my dream for him too”. Diya says that she has an empty purse but her heart is filled with ambition for her son and daughter too.

Parents like Diya have great hopes and ambitions for their children, they want them to have a better life than they have had, it is only natural really as most parents want this for their children, the world over, too.

We would like to help families like Diya’s to ensure that their children get a chance to complete their education too. So when this COVID19 nightmare ends we’ll be looking to fund scholarships at a new school in Bandhavgarh too, in the meantime, we’d still like to provide materials for the special classes too. If you’d like to be continually involved in supporting the education of rural children in Bandhavgarh like Sandip and Durga, you can start a monthly recurring donation for a small amount, which will make a huge difference in offering future education for them. The link to start a recurring donation is:  https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/education-saves-tigers/?show=recurring.  

Imagine the Difference

Cast your mind back to the beginning of this report, the sense of despair and uncertainty brought about by COVID19, sensations which sadly are all too familiar right now. So wouldn’t it be truly amazing if out of this despair we were able to give at least 30 children the chance to speak English, a skill which they will need if they are to become tiger protectors or doctors in the future? You could make that happen too.

Remember: when we provide education packs and scholarships for children living with wild tigers we are reducing the risk of future tiger habitat destruction AND ensuring that these children have the opportunity to become future tiger protectors.

I would like to thank you for your generosity and support on behalf of the wild tigers, which we are keeping safe; on behalf of the children who we have helped to get an education (and their families who will have food because of this help); and on behalf of the wider tiger community in Bandhavgarh, which benefits from providing books and writing equipment for inclusion in the education packs which we distribute. Stay Safe in these challenging times.

Village Life in Bandhavgarh
Village Life in Bandhavgarh

Links:

Oct 26, 2020

Then Disaster Struck

Wild Tigress with 2 cubs
Wild Tigress with 2 cubs

Barely a week has passed since our last project report, and not even a month has lapsed since we took the difficult decision to scale back our patrolling to pre-monsoon levels, a costly decision it seems as for the first time in 66 months we have lost two wild tigers to retaliatory poisonings, what is worse the death toll could rise further as the dead tigress had four cubs and only one was found at the scene of the poisoning. Despite extensive searches over the last few days, only two cubs have been sighted, as the days move forward the chances of finding the third alive diminish further.

How could this happen? Well, the simple answer is that our patrols have been overwhelmed. Reducing the patrolling by 33%, as we were forced to do to avoid running out of funds, has meant a 500km (312 mile) reduction in the area covered by our patrols during October. It isn’t just the impact of the reduction in patrolling which is hitting hard; it is also the impact of unprecedented encroachment levels in the forest, as people who have lost income due to the enforcement of COVID19 measures struggle to survive. These people are putting their lives at risk by going deeper and deeper into the forest in search of something to sell, the death and injury toll over the last month reads like nothing we’ve known in over 10 years since we established Tigers4Ever:

  • A 40 year old female killed by a startled tiger whilst picking fruit deep into the tiger’s territory;
  • A 3 year old tigress (mother of 3 cubs) killed in a territorial fight with another tigress because she’d moved her cubs due to human encroachment in her territory;
  • Two 4 week old tiger cubs killed by jackals when their mother left them in an unsafe den because human fruit pickers were in her territory;
  • A pregnant leopard killed by a tiger because human encroachment forced it into the tiger’s territory;
  • A 41 year old man mauled whilst fruit pricking by a tigress protecting her cubs from encroaching humans;
  • A 42 year old man killed by wild elephants whilst trying to protect his crops;
  • An 8 year old tigress and 18 month old cub killed by villagers who poisoned the carcass of a domestic cow which the tigress had taken, a further 18 month old cub missing presumed dead;
  • Four more villagers mauled by the same tigress protecting her cubs from the encroaching fruit pickers;
  • The rice crops of 8 villages totally decimated by marauding elephants.

The only way we can address these issues is to increase our patrolling back up to the monsoon levels (double patrolling) until at least the end of this year. If we can increase our patrols, we can cover an extra 500km (312 miles) of wild tiger territory, looking for snares, traps and signs of would be poisoners. Increased patrols would also help to prevent the dangerous encroachment into the territories of wild tigers which is increasing daily and to provide safety advice for those trying to protect their crops and livestock from wandering elephants and tigers respectively.

The only way we can do this is by increasing our funding by a further £1500 as soon as possible, to do this we need your help. Your gift today can make a huge difference:

  • A gift of £20 ($26) will help us to pay a patrolling team for a day
  • A gift of £30 ($39) will provide hot nutritious meals whilst they are on duty for a day
  • A gift of £40 ($52) will ensure that we can transport a team of anti-poaching patrollers to a remote location for a day’s patrolling
  • A gift of £100 ($130) will ensure that a team of patrollers can cover 125km (78 miles) of wild tiger territory in a day
  • A gift of £500 ($650) will ensure that we can increase of patrolling levels to the highest level for one month.

If we don’t act now, we are sure that the lives of more tigers and more humans will be lost, and with every loss of human life comes another threat to the tiger’s survival in the wild, thus we must protect both if we are to ensure that wild tigers will have a wild future.

Every single donation received will help us to save wild tigers’ lives, no matter how large or small. The current crisis means that we need your help like never before: https://goto.gg/28767.

Please don’t hesitate if you can help, your donation can be the difference between life and death for a wild tiger, as it helps to increase our patrolling when it is most needed. Every tiger and every tiger cub counts. Thank you for making our fight against poachers, the changing climate and human-animal conflict possible.

Funeral for Poisoned Tigers
Funeral for Poisoned Tigers

Links:

 
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