Jun 25, 2021

When The Monsoon Rains Arrived Early

Sleeping Tiger
Sleeping Tiger

Thank you for your amazing support over the last four months; thanks to your help we’ve been able to protect an additional 772 km (483 miles) of wild tiger territory each month. In these testing times, with people desperate for income from any possible source, the additional patrolling is vital. Just a few weeks ago, despite the lockdown measures enforced by the Indian government in response to the latest COVID crisis, our patrollers found an area of forest strewn with evidence of human activities including ropes and wires amongst the hedges. From November 2020 we resumed double patrolling and In April we increased this to 2.5 times normal patrolling to counter the increasing risks to tigers following the forest fires and new lockdown measures. Your donations have helped us to increase our patrolling when it is most needed to keep wild tigers safe.

We are especially grateful to those of you who are making regularly monthly donations as these are helping us to plan our future patrolling as peak poaching season approaches with the monsoon rains: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/protect-bandhavgarhs-tigers-from-poachers/?show=recurring. For those setting up new monthly donations GlobalGiving is adding a 100% bonus in matched funds to your donation on month four, so if you choose to donate £20 ($28) per month not only will your donation help to pay a team of patrollers for one day per month but in month four it will help us to pay them for two days. So if you’re thinking about setting up a regular donation, there has never been a better time to help.

After the Forest Fires

If you’ve not been following our newsletters and blog, you may be unaware of the challenges which the wild tigers and our patrollers faced as forest fires raged the Bandhavgarh’s forests for four days and four nights at the end of the Holi celebrations whilst we looked forward to Easter. We have witnessed some tough times following the fires as poaching and retaliatory poisonings have once again started to increase. During April and May, our patrollers faced some very cold and unseasonably wet weather as the tail ends of cyclones Tautkae and Yaas swept into Bandhavgarh. These cyclones brought unseasonably cold weather and torrential rainfall when baking heat and parched landscapes are the norm for the period known as the nine hottest days. For the animals which were starving due to the lack of vegetation following the forest fires, the rainfall brought some new growth of shoots and grasses to eat. However, these unseasonable rains have brought additional challenges and dangers for our anti-poaching patrollers as visibility is greatly reduced and lightning fells many trees around them. With more than a third of wild tiger habitat decimated by the forest fires and over 35000 animals either killed, maimed or displaces by the flames, the rainfall brings hope of some seed germination and new shoots for the starving prey animals to eat.

Poachers Don’t Stop

Despite the latest COVID19 lockdown measures there has been more bad news coming from India as both pangolin and tiger poachers are stepping up their evil activities. In recent weeks, patrollers have caught multiple gangs of pangolin poachers red-handed with their traps in the Manpur buffer forest of Bandhavgarh; some were promptly arrested and charged on the spot whilst a few absconded so sniffer dogs were deployed to track them and apprehend them later. A carcass of a young tigress was found in the forest by early morning patrols in the same buffer forest. It was unclear whether she had been poisoned but some body parts had been removed leaving the patrollers who discovered her to believe it was the body of a young male. DNA reports from the post mortem, however, indicated that it was an 8 year old female.  Regardless of this mistaken identity, it was still devastating news after 43 months without a tiger poaching incident. It is also a reminder that since the outset of the COVID pandemic that the risk of wild tigers being poached is extremely high. We have already increased our patrolling again to two and a half times the normal levels for this time of year, but with the early onset of the monsoon rains, the risk will increase further and we plan to mitigate the risk with triple patrolling during the monsoon period, subject to raising sufficient funds.

How Triple Patrolling Will Help

By tripling our patrolling (3 times the level of normal patrolling) we can ensure that our patrollers are able to cover and extra 1544 km (966 miles) extra month above normal patrolling levels. This means that we can increase our protection of an additional 772 km (483 miles) of wild tiger territory each month above our current patrolling levels too. With recent news that more than 41 tiger cubs have been born during the lockdown period, increasing our patrolling is now more important than ever as we don’t want to see cubs orphaned or dead because their mother or father fell victim to a poacher’s snare or trap.

As always, our anti-poaching patrols will work around the clock to mitigate the risks caused by increased human encroachment levels and the rising poaching activity in the neighbouring states and Madhya Pradesh. The forest fires increased both tiger-tiger and human-animal conflict so our patrols are doing everything they can to reduce the risk of retaliatory poisonings too, so extra patrols will also help with this. We hope we can rely on your continued loyal support for the wild tigers and their cubs in these challenging times.

Early Monsoon Rains

No sooner had the cyclones of Tautkae and Yaas swept through the forests of Bandhavgarh, then cooler weather came and persisted with the early onset of the monsoon rains. Whilst this is good news for the dried rivers, streams and the ground parched by drought and forest fires, it brings danger and uncertainty elsewhere. It has also held up our work to complete our latest waterhole project as we’re unable to get the drill on site to create the borehole to underground streams as the ground is unstable. We still intend to complete the waterhole at the earliest opportunity when it is safe to do so, as we don’t know yet whether the early monsoon rains will also signal an early monsoon end which could have devastating consequences for wildlife as well as humans.

Making a Difference

With triple patrols, comes greater protection for wild tigers but also increased costs. Our patrols will spend more time looking for snares; traps and signs of would be poisoners around forest areas where human encroachment is rife and poaching gangs are known. Increased patrols also help to curb the dangerous encroachment into the territories of wild tigers, and to provide safety advice for those trying to protect their crops and livestock from wandering elephants and tigers respectively.

Considering the challenges that our patrols and the wild tigers have faced in the last year, it’s brilliant to be able to report how well the majority of tigers are and how many new cubs have been born to swell the wild tiger numbers too. We mustn’t get complacent though, keeping so many wild tigers safe in peak poaching season will be hard, so we need to ask for your help again. Your gift today can make a huge difference as to whether Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers and cubs can survive these increased 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 ($140) 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.

If we don’t act now, we’re certain 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. On 14 July 2021  (09:00:00 EDT to 23:59:59 EDT) (14:00:00 BST – 04:49:59 BST 15 July 2021) GlobalGiving is offering bonus matched funds on all unique online donations over $100 (£76) whilst funds last, so if you are able to make a more generous gift it will have a greater impact, at no extra cost to you, if you act early on that day.

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.

Monsoon Rains Replenish Streams & Rivers
Monsoon Rains Replenish Streams & Rivers

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Jun 10, 2021

When Hope Faded

Rural Village Life In Bandhavgarh
Rural Village Life In Bandhavgarh

In February 2021, we hoped that the schools around Bandhavgarh which had remained closed since March 2020 we reopen in April 2021. Our hope faded as March 2021 progressed and hundreds of thousands of new COVID cases were reported across India each day. Once again Bandhavgarh was in total lockdown and there was no hope of the schools reopening before 01 July 2021.

Long Term Impact and Your Amazing Support

We continue to worry about the long term impacts of no schooling for more than a year for Bandhavgarh’s poorest children. These impacts will be felt by the forest and its wild tigers not only in the short term but also for many years to come. Without education, the prospects for many of these 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 to grow food to live. Whilst the children of the wealthier families have had access to online learning facilities, there are no such opportunities in the poorest families who live simple lives without electricity.

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 decimates India’s people regardless of who they are or where they are from, the hope for a brighter future for some of the poorest children in rural India has faded.

Help was and is Still Needed….

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. That is impossible right now. In September 2020, we were approached by another NGO in Bandhavgarh which wanted to set up classes for these children in a rented room with a few computers and two teachers, so these children could access online learning. The project would cost £17000 (US$24150) including renting the property and its utility bills, equipment and teachers’ wages, but we couldn’t help beyond providing writing materials and books, as we simply didn’t have the funds. Nine months later, the same funds are still needed but we don’t have the means to help.

For Children like Sonali, Hope Faded

In our last report, we told you Sonali’s story, and how COVID19 has impacted her dreams. Sonali turned 13 years old just a few weeks after our last report. Her chances of returning to the state school she attended in a neighbouring village fade each day. Sonali liked school; she had learned to count, to read and to write and had started to dream. With each passing day her hope of completing her education and getting a job as a teacher or nurse or wildlife ranger fade away. Now Sonali faces the very real prospect of being married and never completing her education. When Sonali reaches 14 years old, her parents will try to get a dowry together so that Sonali can get married and have a family of her own. These days Sonali spends most of her days planting seeds in the field for the next vegetable crop, she must wonders if she will ever see her friends from school again, let alone fulfil her dreams. Sonali isn’t alone in this situation; there are thousands of children just like her, desperate for a chance in life but facing the reality that it probably won’t come.

If We Could Make a Difference We Would

We want to help families like Sonali’s to ensure that the poorest 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 education packs for when the schools reopen too. If you’d like to be continually involved in supporting the education of rural children in Bandhavgarh like Sonali and those who are younger than her, you can start a monthly recurring donation from just £5 per month, 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. If we can find funds for some computers to help the NGO set up a learning centre for the poorest children, we would like to make a difference for those children too.

Imagine the Difference

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 were able to give at least 100 children, like Sonali, 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 make that happen too with a donation of £25 (US$36) 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 in these challenging times.

Young villagers with Tigers4Ever Education Packs
Young villagers with Tigers4Ever Education Packs

Links:

May 24, 2021

After the Forest Fires

A young cub keeps careful watch
A young cub keeps careful watch

Can I start this project update newsletter by thanking every single one of you for your amazing support over the last year; we’ve all been impacted in one way or another by COVID19 but you have helped us to undertake double patrolling when it was most needed, despite your own personal pressures. In this time, we have seen India enter total lockdown, resume some sense of normality for its domestic population then spiral into another full lockdown as the third wave of COVID19 claims at least 2000 lives per day.

The wild tigers and our patrollers have experienced some tough times too as poaching and retaliatory poisonings once again started to increase; forest fires raged for 4 days and four nights at the end of the Holi celebrations and as we looked forward to Easter; last week the tail end of cyclone Tautkae whilst this week our patrols are bracing themselves for the impact of cyclone Yaas. These cyclones have brought unseasonably cold weather and torrential rainfall at a time when baking heat and parched landscapes are the norm. The rainfall and cooler temperatures are welcomed by some but bring additional challenges and dangers for our anti-poaching patrollers as visibility is greatly reduced and lightning fells the trees around them. With more than a third of wild tiger habitat decimated by the recent forest fires and over 35000 animals either killed, maimed or displaces by the flames, the rainfall brings hope of some seed germination and new shoots for the starving prey animals to eat.

Poachers Strike Again

The latest COVID19 lockdown has also brought some bad news as both pangolin and tiger poachers stepping up their evil activities. Just a few weeks ago patrollers caught a gang of pangolin poachers red-handed in the Manpur buffer forest; they were promptly arrested and charged. Then last week, a young male wild tiger was poached in the same buffer forest just a few kilometres from the first incident, sadly the poachers absconded with some body parts from the dead tiger leaving his carcass to be discovered by the morning patrols. This was devastating news after 43 months without a tiger poaching incident and a reminder that since the outset of the COVID pandemic that the risk of wild tigers being poached is extremely high. We have already increased our patrolling again and are currently patrolling at two and a half times the normal levels for this time of year, but we realise with the monsoon season just around the corner that the risk will increase again and we’re already considering triple patrolling throughout the monsoon period, subject to raising sufficient funds.

Despite the current lockdown situation 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 triple patrolling throughout the monsoon peak poaching season we will need to raise a total of £3930 (US$5465) or £700 (US$971) over and above what we raise for two and a half times patrolling. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the current wave of COVID19 in India so we anticipate that our patrolling will still need to be increased post monsoon too.

Making a Difference

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 forest fires brought increased incidence of both tiger-tiger and human-animal conflict so our patrols are doing everything they can to reduce the risk of retaliatory poisonings too, meanwhile we are planning to start drilling at our next waterhole project as soon as we can get permission for the team of workers to enter the jungle (as COVID lockdown measures are currently preventing this). This will also help to alleviate some of the conflict issues caused by the displacement of wildlife following the fires.

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 October 2021, when hopefully the 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 15 months.

With triple patrols, we can cover an extra 1000km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory over and above the 1.5 times patrolling we were doing at this time last year. The increase also means more time will be spent 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.

Wild Tigers are Amazing

It isn’t all bad news though, one tigress known as Tara has 4 young cubs and despite the forest fires raging throughout and destroying almost her whole territory, she rescued and kept all four cubs safe. Proof in itself that wild tigers are truly remarkable animals and capable of beating the odds if given half a chance. We reported in our last project report that at least eight more tiger cubs had been born and we’re delighted to say that these are all safe and doing well for now.

Your Support is Amazing Too

To implement and sustain another increase in our patrolling, we need to ask for your help again. 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.

Forest Fires Rage on
Forest Fires Rage on
Smoke Fills Bandhavgarh Skies
Smoke Fills Bandhavgarh Skies

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