Oct 8, 2018

Poor Monsoon Rainfall - Water for Wild Tigers

Tiger cubs at man-made waterhole
Tiger cubs at man-made waterhole

We launched our campaign to provide permanent water resources for tigers and other wildlife just three months ago. It may seem strange that we start to fundraise just at the point when 99.5% of the annual rainfall in Bandhavgarh is actually falling, however, in our experience, large capital projects take time to fund so we wanted to give ourselves the best possible chance of achieving our goals. This has become even more important in the last few weeks as we learnt that for the fourth successive year inadequate rainfall has fallen during the monsoon season. This year, thankfully, the deficit wasn’t as bad as in the previous two years, none the less all deficits have consequences for wildlife. More worryingly, was the absence of rainfall throughout September which resulted in the driest September for over 10 years. For now, streams, rivers, lakes and ponds, the natural water resources are filled with up to 90% of full capacity, but these resources won’t last forever and with the next meaningful rainfall not due for 9 months, it will be another testing time for the wild tigers and other wildlife in their forest home.

Thanks to your amazing support we have raised £220 ($287) during the first three months of fundraising, which could help us to fund drilling the first 24 metres (79ft) of a borehole for our next waterhole. The monsoon rains have now ended and we must now step up our efforts to raise the remaining funds needed to build a permanent wildlife waterhole for wild tigers before the natural water resources start to dry up in January 2019. We haven’t lost any tigers to poachers or poisoners this year, but when water is in short supply human-animal conflict increases as herbivores wander into villages in search of water and eat the crops whilst there; then tigers follow in search of food and kill livestock which doesn’t run away. We have already identified two possible sites for waterholes, where there are limited natural water sources but an abundance of tigers exists, as 3 tigresses with young cubs have neighbouring territories. Providing a permanent wildlife waterhole in an area like this can save the lives of up to 15 wild tigers plus countless other wild animals which share their forest home.

On 04 October 2018, it was be exactly one year since the last tiger was killed by poachers in Bandhavgarh, whilst this was a great achievement by our patrollers it is important to remember that when the last tiger was poached she left 3 orphaned 6 month old cubs, which have survived due to interventions including a Tigers4Ever funded solar powered borehole pump to provide year round water in 2 manmade waterholes for the young tigers.

Just before the onset of the monsoon, two tigresses gave birth to three cubs each which will again increase the tiger numbers in Bandhavgarh. Tiger census results are due towards the end of this year and Madhya Pradesh is once again expected to regain its status as the tiger state, because so many tigers are surviving in Bandhavgarh. This, however, causes different issues as territorial space is at a premium and tiger-tiger conflict becomes a more frequent occurrence. We are looking at other new projects which will help to restore depleted tiger habitat, including tree planting schemes which will complement our waterhole project: https://goto.gg/34315, and help to stabilise prey numbers meaning that young tigers will need smaller territories.

We hope we can build upon the success of the two waterholes funded in 2018 by funding at least one more waterhole before the end of this year, but we cannot do this without the funds to complete the work. We need to raise £10540 (US$13800) so that we can start work before the natural water resources run dry. We will be looking at offline fundraising activities to boost funds too but hope that some of you will sign up to donate monthly and help us to benefit from matched funding bonuses at: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/water-for-bandhavgarhs-tigers/?show=recurring.

If you feel that you would like to make a difference for these precious wild tigers: £10/US$13 could help us to drill 1 metre (39.5 inches) of borehole, whilst £75/US$98 can help to pay wages to clear a site in preparation for a new waterhole to be constructed. All donations, however large or small, will help to reduce human-animal conflict and the risk of wild tigers perishing at the hands of humans.

I would like to thank you on behalf of the wild tigers, which we are keeping 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.

Links:

Oct 1, 2018

Monsoon Peak Poaching Season & Giving Wild Tigers

Cubs Orphaned by poachers learning to play fight
Cubs Orphaned by poachers learning to play fight

Thanks to the amazing support we have received from you all during the first three quarters of 2018, we are coming to the end of the monsoon period which is peak tiger poaching season in India, with the relief that thanks to our doubling of Anti-Poaching Patrols we haven’t lost any tigers to poachers or poisoners this year. We were only able to double our Anti-Poaching Patrols during the monsoon period thanks to the donations we received in the first half of 2018. The risk of snares and traps is a constant threat which is even more difficult to detect during the periods of torrential rainfall, if patrolling is reduced there is a greater chance of traps and snares being missed.

On 01 July 2018, our patrollers received our commendation for successively eliminating all instances of retaliatory poisoning of wild tigers for the third year in a row, in Bandhavgarh. This is really an achievement to be celebrated as prior to the establishment of the Tigers4Ever Anti-Poaching Patrols on 01 July 2015, retaliatory poisoning was the biggest threat which wild tigers faced in the Buffer Forests around Bandhavgarh. By completely eliminating the incidence of retaliatory poisoning incidents against tigers for the last 3 years and 3 months, we can rightly say that we are giving wild tigers a wild future. On 04 October 2018, it will be exactly one year since the last tiger was killed by poachers in Bandhavgarh, whilst this will be a great achievement on the part of our patrollers it is important to realise that when the last tigress was poached she left three orphaned cubs of just 6 months old, without the measures which were put in place to save these cubs, including a Tigers4Ever funded solar powered borehole pump to provide year round water in 2 manmade waterholes the poachers’ actions would have claimed the lives of FOUR tigers not one! So whilst we may rejoice that a year has elapsed since the last poaching incident it is tainted with sadness that these young cubs have grown up without their mother to teach them how to hunt, how to defend themselves, and how to find a territory which would be safe to call their own. The cubs have survived, but their future is by no means certain. Now our focus must be on building upon these successes to ensure that no more tigers perish at the hands of humans.

As we outlined in our last report, our patrolling has contributed to an overall 94% decline in poaching incidents since 2015, which when compared to the rest of India, where tiger poaching has been on the increase (120 reported cases of tiger poaching since 2015), it is an even more remarkable achievement. Just before the onset of the monsoon, two tigresses gave birth to three cubs each which will again increase the tiger numbers in Bandhavgarh. Tiger census results are due towards the end of this year and Madhya Pradesh is once again expected to regain its status as the tiger state, because so many tigers are surviving in Bandhavgarh. This, however, causes different issues as territorial space is at a premium and tiger-tiger conflict becomes a more frequent occurrence. We are currently looking at new projects which will help to restore depleted tiger habitat, including tree planting schemes and our waterhole project: https://goto.gg/34315, which we hope will stabilise prey numbers meaning thatsmaller territories may be adequate for young tigers searching for new territories to establish themselves in.

In the last report, we mentioned that two young tigers had been transferred to a tiger reserve in Odisha where tiger numbers were critically low; we are pleased to say that the tigers have now settled into their new territories and are hunting normally. They will continue to be monitored closely for up to year with the radio collars which were fitted on completion of the transfer, to ensure that they do not become persistent cattle hunters in the villages around the periphery of the Odisha forest.

In 2018, our Anti-Poaching Patrols have helped to keep Bandhavgarh free of poachers’ traps; and we hope we can continue this success throughout the remainder of the year, but we cannot do this without the funds to keep our patrols in the field. We need to raise £2527 (US$3350) to ensure that we don’t have to reduce our patrolling in the coming months, with every £20 (US$26) we raise ensuring that we can pay the wages of one patrolling team for a day. Please help if you can at: https://goto.gg/28767. We would like to increase our Quarter 4, 2018 by 20% compared to 2017 but this will only be possible if we can raisesufficient funds to cover the increased costs and keep the patrollers in the field for the remainder of 2018.

If you feel that you would like to make a difference for these precious wild tigers: £10/US$13 will provide 3 hot meals each for 2 patrollers whilst they are on duty, whilst £38/US$50 will help to provide transport and fuel to get a team of 6 Anti-Poaching Patrollers to their patrolling area for the day/night. All donations, however large or small, will help to keep these brave men and women protecting wild tigers from perishing at the hands of humans.

We still need £2527 (US$3350) to fund our Anti-Poaching Patrols for the rest of 2018. Each month of the year we need to raise £720/$980 (or £8640/$11400 total) to make keeping wild tigers safe possible. Please visit: https://goto.gg/28767 to help. Your donations help us to feed & pay the patrollers, they also help to provide a safe haven for our patrollers, transport, fuel, and any vital equipment which needs replacing. Transport and fuel are vital tools for our patrollers who need to cover 1598 square kilometres (993 square miles) of precious tiger habitat.

I would like to thank you on behalf of the wild tigers, which we are keeping safe; on behalf of the patrollers we are keeping in work (and their families who have food on the table). I would also like to thank you on behalf of the wider tiger community in Bandhavgarh, which benefits from providing food/uniforms/equipment for our patrols and from the safety/education advice given by Deepak, Prahlad and our patrolling team.

Links:

Sep 14, 2018

Helping Children in Villages without Schools

Children at one of the "Pop-up Schools" with their
Children at one of the "Pop-up Schools" with their

In our last report, we told you about the impact we had in the villages of Ranchha and Dobha, where the young children living with wild tigers were afforded the opportunity to go to school thanks to the education packs donated by Tigers4Ever. We also mentioned how, thanks to our collaboration with GTCS (Global Tiger Conservation Society), a local charity based in Bandhavgarh, we are able to reach out and assist children living with wild tigers who do not have access to a school in their villages. These children are faced with either walking to another village (often 10 km or more away from their home) to go to school or not going to school at all. The walk isn’t an easy one because it is through the forests where wild tigers, leopards and other wildlife roam, so in many cases these children don’t go to school, instead they work in the fields tending the crops grown by their families or looking after the livestock which provide income from milk sales when the crops are exhausted or fail. Worse still, some of these small children are sent into the forest to collect wood to build fires for cooking or heating their homes in the colder months. Reaching out to these children, to deliver education is therefore a real challenge.

Our friends, at GTCS, help to make this possible by visiting these remote villages and running “pop-up schools” where nature education and basic literacy skills are taught to all who can attend. In these “pop-up schools”, the children often sit on the floor in a communal building or if unavailable, a sheltered part of the village close to the edge of the forest will provide an alternative learning area. The children gather around eager to see what they will be given, in order to help the maximum number of children GTCS sometimes split the education parks giving a few pencils or pens and other writing materials to each child. Books, like our ecology books, Hindi-English dictionaries and the books which aid the learning of basic literacy and numeracy skills are often shared between two or more students so that more can have an opportunity to learn. This Summer the pop-up schools were in the villages of Rakhi, Jamunra and Mala and thanks to some of our supporters in the USA we have also been able to distribute some socks and shoes to the children in these villages (socks and shoes were collected by supporters in the USA and sent directly to India for distribution amongst the children).

We continue to include education in our programmes because the humans who live with wild tigers will have the greatest influence on the future survival of them in the wild; and because we know that educated families have fewer children. We were delighted to be able to provide 55 education packs and ecology books for distribution at the “Pop-up Schools” run in association with GTCS, a lack of donations has meant that it has been impossible to do more this year. We have collaborated with GTCS for 2 years; and are delighted to see the impact of our work in some of the poorest rural locations which do not have a village school or easy access to a neighbouring one. Tigers4Ever would have liked to provide education packs for more children in the villages around Bandhavgarh, but even with pooled funds from our offline fundraising activities we were only able to provide 220 education packs so far this year.  

Just £10/$13 would help us to provide education packs for 3 of the youngest group of children living with wild tigers. Yet this amount eludes most of the families we meet in most of the villages because their income has been severely impacted by a lack of rainfall reducing their income from crop and milk sales together with the need to buy food to keep their families alive. It must be almost unbearable to live in temperatures of 50°C (122°F) for 4 months with no air conditioning, no electricity and no running water, let alone manage to feed a family of 6 or more from an income of just £5.50 (US$7.30) per week.  For those children we help to get an education there is the prospect of paid employment as a protector of wild tigers, where they could earn £23 (US$31) per week. For the unfortunate ones, the struggle to survive on the meagre offerings they can gain from crop farming and milk sales is probably what awaits them.

We are still £2412 ($3184) short of our target for education packs to send for children living with wild tigers (https://goto.gg/32565). We hope that we can raise sufficient funds to cover these costs and keep the progress we have made to date going. If we can reach our target then we can help another 280 children to have an opportunity to become a future protector of wild tigers rather than putting increased pressure on the already fragile habitat.

I would like to thank you on behalf of the wild tigers, which we are keeping safe; on behalf of the children which we have helped to get an education (and their families who will also have food on the table); and on behalf of the wider tiger community in Bandhavgarh, which benefits from providing books and writing equipment for the education packs we distribute.

Links:

 
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