Oct 18, 2021

Winter Challenges Ahead

Tigress with 3 Tiny Cubs
Tigress with 3 Tiny Cubs

Your incredible support over the last 19 months enabled us to increase our patrolling to triple standard patrolling during the 2021 monsoon peak poaching season. This was vital as wild tiger poaching is still increasing as the pandemic wanes and the economic impact hits hard. Triple patrolling enables us to protect an extra 1000km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory over and above our June 2020 patrolling levels. We couldn’t do this without your support, so thank you on behalf of the wild tigers we’re keeping safe.

Post-Monsoon Challenges

It has been a strange monsoon season this year, In Bandhavgarh, with the rains arriving in May almost 6 weeks earlier than usual and finishing in late September, a full 3 weeks later than seen in each of the last 5 years. Heavy rains always make foot and vehicle patrolling so much harder, it takes at least twice as long to cover the same distances which can be covered in dry conditions. This makes the additional patrolling vital or we could have faced pockets of wild tiger territory we simply couldn’t reach. Poachers capitalise on these wet conditions to lay their snares, traps and baited meat, safe in the knowledge that their tell-tale footprints will be washed away by rainfall and floodwaters.  Our patrollers must take extra care too as weather conditions may conceal a trap or snare intended for a tiger or other wild animal, such devices are sadly capable of severing a patroller’s foot. The sturdy wooden canes provided for each of our patrollers are essential equipment for checking ahead for snares or traps.

We’ve heard a lot this year about using drones to aid monsoon patrolling, and yes, these can help to get an aerial perspective of short ranges but they can’t disarm a snare or trap set for a tiger, nor can they spot a concealed snare or trap from the air. As technology improves, it will definitely add to the anti-poaching patroller’s arsenal but as yet it can’t replace those dedicated men and women who risk their lives to keep wild tigers safe.

The prolonged monsoon has brought some different challenges for our anti-poaching patrols as we head towards the colder winter season. The poaching risk was and still is at its highest level. A little over a month ago, we had a sharp reminder of how we must always be on high alert in these testing times when a tigress, mother of three cubs, was poached in a wire snare! The wild future of the orphaned cubs hangs in the balance without their mother’s guidance on the life skills essential for them to survive as wild tigers.  Thankfully, within two weeks of the incident the poachers had been identified, caught and charged for the killing. They are now in custody, but other poachers are still at large so we need to be vigilant. In light of the current situation we have decided to maintain our tripled patrolling at least until the end of 2021, which of course will increase our monthly costs to £1507 (US$2140) per month to ensure that the highest level of patrolling is maintained. (https://goto.gg/34704).  

Winter Challenges

We are still fighting hard to improve on our 97.5% reduction in wild tiger deaths due to poaching and poisoning, but incidents like the recent poaching of a tigress remind us that there is still a lot more to be done before we can eliminate these threats completely. In recent years, winter has been bitterly cold in Bandhavgarh, with this in mind we have equipped our patrollers with new sturdy boots, thick socks and warm jackets to aid their patrolling in icy cold conditions. It is strange to think of days at 25°C (77°F) by day plummeting to close to 0°C (32°F) in the jungles of India, but it seems that these temperature extremes are here to stay. The animals have to adapt to these colder temperatures too so it impacts their daily routines making the chance of serendipitous wildlife encounters more likely whilst on patrol. In the winter months 3 hot nutritious meals and hot tea whilst on duty are always welcome for a team of patrollers who have covered around 160 km (100 miles) in a day’s patrolling of wild tiger habitat in freezing conditions. Providing a team of patrollers with hot food and drinks costs as little as £25 (US$36) for a day, but ensures that they are able to keep 160 km (100 miles) of wild tiger territory safe. (https://goto.gg/34704).

Despite the current climate in India, poachers are still active so our patrollers need to be equally active too, if we are to keep the wild tigers and their cubs safe. To ensure that we can undertake our planned increased patrolling until the end of this year, we need to raise a total of £4521 (US$6420) so we can keep this going (https://goto.gg/34704). Despite a slowdown in the new infections from the current wave of COVID19 in India, we know that the economic impact on the wider tiger community is high and so our patrolling will still need to be increased for quite some time too.

As always, our anti-poaching patrols are working flat out to mitigate the risks caused by increased human encroachment levels, in Bandhavgarh, and the increases in poaching activity in both the neighbouring states and Madhya Pradesh. We don’t always get it right as the recent poaching incident has shown, but we always try to learn from our mistakes when the worst happens, and improve where we can. We hope we can rely on your continued loyal support. The only way we can address the increased threat of poaching and retaliatory poisoning is to keep our patrolling at the highest possible levels (triple patrolling) until at least the end of December 2021, when hopefully the current risks will begin to subside.

Something a Little Different

If you follow Tigers4Ever on social media or via our blog you will have seen that we have challenged our supporters worldwide to plant a native tree where they live and share details with us using the hashtags #CallToEarthDay and #10000TreesForTigers. We want this to be a prequel to our challenge to restore the forest of Bandhavgarh which has been ravaged in recent years by a succession of forest fires and the historical problem of illegal logging. We’d like all our supporters to join in if at all possible, the tree doesn’t have to be for tigers per se, unless you happen to live where wild tigers roam, but can be a symbolic tree for someone you have lost during the pandemic, before or since, or to mark a life event. All we ask is that the tree is native to where you live and that you plant it/them before 10 November 2021 and let us know that you have done it. You can find more details here: https://tigers4ever.org/plant-a-native-tree-for-calltoearthday-2021/.

Making a Difference

Right now, thanks to your continued support and with triple patrols, we’re covering an extra 1000km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory over and above the 1.5 times patrolling we were doing in June 2020. This enables us to spend more time looking for snares; traps and signs of would be poisoners around forest areas where human encroachment is rife. Our increased patrols also help to curb the dangerous encroachment into the territories of wild tigers, which is still increasing, and to provide safety advice for those trying to protect their crops and livestock from wandering elephants and tigers respectively.

Remember that there have 42 new tiger cubs born since April 2020, so we have a lot more wild tigers to keep safe now. To sustain our increased patrolling, we need your help. Your gift today, however large or small can make a huge difference as to whether Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers will survive these unprecedented threats:

  • A gift of £20 ($28) will help us to pay a patrolling team for a day
  • A gift of £25 ($36) will provide hot nutritious meals whilst they are on duty for a day
  • A gift of £40 ($56) 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 ($142) will ensure that a team of patrollers can cover 125km (78 miles) of wild tiger territory in a day
  • A gift of £500 ($700) will ensure that we can increase of patrolling levels to the highest level for one month.

Without our help, we’re certain that more wild tigers will die; and more humans will be mauled or killed due to encroachment or human-tiger conflict. Sadly, with every human life lost comes another threat to the wild tiger’s survival in the form of retaliation; thus we must protect both if we are to ensure that wild tigers will have a wild future.

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. (https://goto.gg/34704).

Call to Earth Day Appeal
Call to Earth Day Appeal

Links:

Sep 20, 2021

New Hope New Start

Education packs distributed in a village at night
Education packs distributed in a village at night

In June this year, we didn’t know when the schools around Bandhavgarh National Park would start to reopen. India was still in the grip of the Delta variant of COVID19 and there seemed no possibility of reopening the schools, which had remained closed since March 2020, in the near future. Three months on and there is a small light at the end of this long tunnel. Just last week, we received news that India was beginning to re-open its schools for the year 9 and above students. These students are in the age group where their parents must pay school fees for them to continue their education; and the children are in the age group where India has rolled out its vaccination programme. Success will be monitored and the remaining younger children will have a phased return to school subject to appropriate distancing measures and other COVID safe protocols being in place. We don’t know at this point when the phased returns will complete, but the schools reopening will bring new hope for Bandhavgarh’s children: Those desperate to see their friends, those who haven’t been fortunate enough to have remote schooling, and those desperate to get the qualifications they need to follow the career of their dreams.

Long Term Impact and Your Amazing Support

We still worry about the long term impacts of no schooling for more than 18 months for Bandhavgarh’s poorest children, some of whom will now be too old to return to school for free education so will not return unless their parents can afford their school fees. These children will most likely need scholarships to fund their education, but the funds are simply not there. We will work hard with our Indian based education partners, GTCS, to try to restart the pop-up schools in the most remote villages as soon as COVID restrictions allow. Thankfully, due to your amazing support and donations we will be able to provide education packs to support the learning of at least 125 children with education packs via the pop-up schools, but there will be thousands of other children also needing assistance with basic writing materials and books who we won’t be able to help until we raise more funds. We anticipate that the impact of lost schooling together with the economic effects of COVID19 will be felt by the forest and its wild tigers for many years to come.

Our experience has shown us over the last 11 years, that without education, the prospects for the poorest children will be limited to picking tendu leaves, mahua flowers, amla fruit, etc., from the forest to sell; and to clearing forest habitat to create land for crops. The children from the poorest families had no access to online learning facilities, as they live simple lives without electricity or access to technology.

Help is Still Needed….

Throughout the pandemic, your support for our work has been amazing. We definitely couldn’t have kept wild tigers safe without your help. Now, as the latest wave of infection seems to be under control, India’s people will try to rebuild their former lives, and we hope that we can help to provide a brighter future for some of the poorest children around Bandhavgarh. If you’d like to be involved in supporting the education of the poorest rural children in Bandhavgarh, you can make a huge difference by starting a new monthly recurring donation from just £5 (US$8) per month, which will ensure that we can offer educational resources for at least 15 children: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/education-saves-tigers/?show=recurring.

In Bandhavgarh, many people have faced the biggest challenges of their lives with no work and the schools having been closed since 25 March 2020. For the thousands of young children with no access to schooling at all, there is the question as to whether they will ever return to education. These children without computers or mobile phones, without electricity in their homes, are the children which Tigers4Ever has always tried to help. By giving these children books and basic writing materials we give them hope, we give them a chance to go to school which otherwise they may not have.

If We Could Make a Difference We Would

We want to ensure that the poorest children get a chance to complete their education too. We’re still hoping to fund scholarships at a new school in Bandhavgarh, when this reopens. In the meantime, we need your help so we can provide education packs to enable children to return to the state schools when their chances arrive.

The sense of despair and uncertainty which has been brought about by COVID19 has to end sometime, hopefully soon. So it would be truly amazing if out of this despair we are able to give at least 200 more children a chance to return to school and learn the skills which they will need if they are to become tiger protectors, teachers, nurses or doctors in the future. You can help to make that happen with every donation of £25 (US$40) we can send 5 children to schoolhttps://goto.gg/32565.

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 previously 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.

Tiger Cub in Forest
Tiger Cub in Forest

Links:

Sep 8, 2021

Monsoon Challenges and Tigers

Tigress with Three Tiny Cubs
Tigress with Three Tiny Cubs

Your amazing support over the last 18 months has meant that we’ve been able to increase our patrolling to three times normal levels during the monsoon peak poaching season this year. Your support throughout these challenging times has ensured that we can protect an extra 1000km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory over and above what was possible in June 2020, so thank you on behalf of the wild tigers we’re keeping safe.

Monsoon Challenges

Each year, the monsoon season brings a set of very different challenges for our anti-poaching patrollers, not just from the increased threat of wildlife poaching but from the weather itself. It is not uncommon for a sudden thunderstorm to knock out the power supplies for days, or lightning to strike down trees which have stood tall, up to 35 metres, (115 feet) and intact for hundreds of years; or rain to turn dry river beds into torrential currents in a matter of moments. Suddenly, the monsoon rains can wash away all matter of sins as human trails are washed from sight. Foot patrolling is hazardous too as snakes and lizards become more aggressive during the monsoon too. Each year, more than a hundred people are bitten by snakes with around 12-15% of these bites proving fatal. Suddenly, it’s not just wire snares and jaw traps which our patrollers need to be extra careful where they put their feet to avoid, it’s cobras, kraits, vipers and monitor lizards too. It is at times like this when we really admire the bravery and skill of our anti-poaching patrols.

The Roads and Tracks are Tricky Too

In a matter of moments, a dry track, trail or road can be overwhelmed by flash flooding, during the monsoon. Patrollers can go from following tracks to wading knee deep in water in a matter of minutes. It is why we always keep an all-wheel drive patrol vehicle at an agreed meet-point should ground conditions render foot patrolling impossible. Even with the most skilled drivers, the flash flooding can cause the patrol vehicles to fishtail too. Our patrollers carry on, determined to keep wild tigers safe, despite the challenging conditions which make their work so much more difficult. One of the biggest challenges of the weather is it slows everything down, foot patrolling is harder, it takes longer than in the dry. Driving is harder, slower and takes a greater toll on both the vehicle and its fuel efficiency too. That’s why we need to do more patrolling cycles to cover the same distances plus extra patrolling to cover those high risk areas where miscreant tracks get washed away.

The Monsoon was Early

This year the monsoon rains arrived 6 weeks earlier than normal, which was quite a surprise, what we don’t know for sure is whether this will also signal and early end to the rains too. The unseasonal rains played havoc with the crop growing in the villages around Bandhavgarh too; so time will tell whether this will also affect crop yields and ultimately increase human-wildlife conflict. Right now our patrollers are dealing with the challenges of rains which come, cause flash flooding and go, with thunderstorms which wreak havoc even without heavy rainfall because of lightning strikes on trees, etc.  Thankfully, our patrollers are well prepared for the challenges the monsoon brings and were equally adaptable to the extra shifts needed to take our patrolling to triple normal levels to minimise the increased risk. The early monsoon may be a sign of seasonal changes due to climate change, or may be an isolated event given that it followed two cyclones in Tauktae and Yaas, again only time will tell. In the meantime we will try to adapt our patrolling around these weather changes and the different challenges and risks each brings.

Poachers Strike Again

With very heavy hearts, we have to report that, despite our increased patrolling efforts, just last weekend the poachers struck again killing one of Bandhavgarh’s most famous tigers the Banvai female. In a brutal case, this beautiful tigress was strangled by a cable around her neck and her body was thrown into an open well. It’s not certain at this stage as the poachers are still at large, whether they threw the tiger into the well to hide their ill deed as they were disturbed before they could harvest what they needed, or whether they killed the tigress as a revenge attack or unintentional target. What we do know is that a precious wild tiger has been lost, the fate of her latest litter is uncertain and the criminals responsible are yet to be caught. We are still fighting hard to improve on our 97.5% reduction in wild tiger deaths due to poaching and poisoning, but incidents like this one remind us that there is still a lot more to be done before we can eliminate these threats completely.

Poachers Still at Large

Extra vigilance is now needed to ensure that further tigers aren’t targeted before these poachers are caught. We will keep our patrols tripled until the end of this month and will assess the risk levels as we enter October, when we currently plan to revert to 2.5 times standard patrolling , however, if the poachers of the Banvai tigress remain at large we may need to keep patrolling at the monsoon triple patrolling levels. If this is the case, we’ll need to raise an extra £260 (US$365) for each month we need to sustain this unseasonal increase. Next week (13-17 September 2021), it is the GlobalGiving Little By Little matched funding campaign when your donations up to £38 (US$50) will receive bonus matched funds at 50% of your donation, making this a great time to help us protect these wild tigers (https://goto.gg/28767).

Little by Little

Tigers4Ever is taking part in the GlobalGiving Little By Little campaign to ensure that we can sustain our increased patrolling as long as these increased threats remain. So if you can help with a small donation up to £38 (US$50) during next week, then your impact will be 1.5 times greater for the wild tigers. If you can afford to donate more, of course this will be most welcome too; and the good news is that your donation will get the matched bonus funds on the first £38 (US$50) too (https://goto.gg/28767).

Despite the current climate in India, poachers are still active so our patrollers need to be equally active too, if we are to keep the wild tigers and their cubs safe. To ensure that we can undertake our planned increased patrolling until the end of this year, we need to raise a total of £3960 (US$5620) so we can keep this going (https://goto.gg/28767). Despite a slowdown in the new infections from the current wave of COVID19 in India, we know that the economic impact on the wider tiger community is high and so our patrolling will still need to be increased for quite some time too.

As always, our anti-poaching patrols are working flat out to mitigate the risks caused by increased human encroachment levels and the in poaching activity in the neighbouring states and Madhya Pradesh. We don’t always get it right as the recent poaching incident has shown, but we always try to do more and better when the worst happens, so we hope we can rely on your continued loyal support. The only way we can address the increased threat of poaching and retaliatory poisoning is to keep our patrolling at the highest possible levels (2.5 times or triple patrolling) until at least the end of December 2021, when hopefully the continued COVID vaccination rollout will help to alleviate the economic burden of COVID19, and hopefully the children of the villages will be able to return to school for the first time in over 18 months.

Making a Difference

Right now, thanks to your continued support and with triple patrols, we’re covering an extra 1000km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory over and above the 1.5 times patrolling we were doing in June 2020. The increase also we can spend more time looking for snares; traps and signs of would be poisoners around forest areas where human encroachment is rife. Increased patrols also help to curb the dangerous encroachment into the territories of wild tigers which is still increasing, and to provide safety advice for those trying to protect their crops and livestock from wandering elephants and tigers respectively.

It isn’t all bad news though, with 42 new tiger cubs born since April 2020, we have a lot of wild tigers to keep safe. To sustain the increase in our patrolling, we need to ask for your help. Your gift today can make a huge difference as to whether Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers can survive these unprecedented threats:

  • A gift of £20 ($28) will help us to pay a patrolling team for a day
  • A gift of £30 ($42) will provide hot nutritious meals whilst they are on duty for a day
  • A gift of £40 ($56) 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 ($139) will ensure that a team of patrollers can cover 125km (78 miles) of wild tiger territory in a day
  • A gift of £500 ($695) 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.

Snare Cable as used to kill the Banvai Tigress
Snare Cable as used to kill the Banvai Tigress

Links:

 
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