1 of the orphaned cubs in a Tigers4Ever Waterhole
Firstly we would like to wish all our supporters a happy and peaceful new year. It is hard to believe that 2018 is already over and we’re already into the third week of 2019, so much has happened with the wild tigers and with Tigers4Ever over the last twelve months.
From January to March 2018 we had to deal with increased incidence of human-animal and tiger-tiger conflict due to the early onset of severe drought in Bandhavgarh; whilst operating with a 17% reduction in our Anti-Poaching patrols due to a lack of funding. In the same period we managed to install a solar-powered bore-well to provide permanent year-round water for the 3 orphaned cubs. We also started work on a second waterhole which is used by up to 9 different tigers, some of which appeared in the BBC wildlife documentary “Tiger Dynasties” which aired in December in the UK and just last weekend on BBC-America. This work was completed by the beginning of April and harmony was restored as wild tigers and other wildlife stayed out of the villages as their natural waterhole has been replenished by water from underground sources.
Funds were still tight in the second quarter of 2018, so patrolling continued with a 17% reduction, we had to do this so that we could increase patrolling during the monsoon period which is peak tiger poaching season throughout India, due to the washing away of human tracks which makes tracking poaching activity so much harder. It was quite remarkable, therefore, that there were no tigers killed by poachers or poisoners during the first 6 months of 2018. Our patrols, manage to maintain this because of the way they deal with miscreants when they find them in the forest and by the communication they have with the villagers so that they are left with no doubt that miscreant activity will not go unchecked.
The biggest impact of our lack of funds came in May and June when we had to reduce the number of education packs we could distribute to the poorest children in the villages most impacted by human-animal conflict by over 56%. The consequence of this was we could only distribute education packs to the children in 2 villages instead of 3; and we needed to reduce the number of education packs provided for the pop up schools in the remotest poorest villages by 70%. June also saw a visit from GlobalGiving to each of our project sites to verify the work we are doing and assess the impact on the tiger community. Thankfully, by the start of the monsoon in July, we were able to increase our patrolling by 240% and maintain this increase throughout July, August and September. This was only possible thanks to the amazing help we have received from supporters like you.
October saw the anniversary of the last tiger poaching case in Bandhavgarh, which had left 3 orphaned cubs, which survived with our help including the provision of a permanent year-round water source for them. November saw Tigers4Ever start work on another major waterhole in Bandhavgarh, providing a solar-powered borehole pump and dry-lined core waterhole at the site of the Rajbehra dam featured in the BBC Tiger Dynasties programme. This waterhole helps to sustain the lives of up to fifteen tigers, including seven tigers which were featured in the programme, and appear in our 2019 Calendars. Work on this waterhole was critical as natural water sources had run completely dry in each of the last 3 years leading to repeated incidents of human-animal conflict in the villages which surround Bandhavgarh. We were delighted, therefore, to see the work on the solar-powered borehole pump completed before the end of December, the final stages will be completed in the coming weeks, and we are delighted to hear that there is currently plenty of water in the waterhole for tigers and other wildlife. We are also delighted to report that in the final quarter of 2018 we were able to complete our patrolling at normal levels in each of the three months; and that it is now 1 year and 111 days (476 days) since the last tiger poaching incident in Bandhavgarh. It is 3 years and 7 months since the last case of retaliatory tiger poisoning in Bandhavgarh, too, which is quite an achievement for our patrollers.
On a sour note, Ravi (name changed for anonymity), a senior Tigers4Ever Anti-Poaching Patroller, was brutally attacked and hospitalised, by a gang of poachers, at the beginning of December. Ravi sustained a fractured skull and nose together with broken ribs and multiple bruises during the attack. He spent most of December in hospital and had to be moved to the nearest large city some 400 miles away for treatment at a specialist hospital. Whilst Ravi was in hospital, times were quite hard for his family due to the increased burden of his medical bills. We are delighted to say that Ravi is feeling much better now, and although he still has some pain in his wounds, he returned to his duties as a Tigers4Ever Anti-poaching Patroller last week. Ravi is a true hero for the wild tigers.
For January 2019, we have kept the patrolling at optimum levels, but this is currently under review as we may need to reduce our patrolling again over the next few months to ensure that we will be able to patrol during the monsoon peak-poaching season this year. Much will depend on the funds we manage to raise over the next few weeks. We know that this is an expensive time for everyone and appreciate that you may not have much to spare right now, but if we can get 80 of our supporters to donate just £20 (US$26) each over the next few weeks, we will be able to keep our patrols protecting wild tigers at optimum levels for the next three months. Throughout 2018, our Anti-Poaching Patrols helped to keep Bandhavgarh free of poachers’ traps; and we hope to continue this success throughout the whole of 2019, but we cannot do this without funds to keep our patrols in the field.
If you can help us to give these precious wild tigers a safer wild future, even the smallest donation can help: £10/US$13 can 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. 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 for our patrollers who help to protect 1598 square kilometres (993 square miles) of precious tiger habitat. 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 have also reduced the price of our 2019 Calendar which is available from our website at: http://www.tigers4ever.org/onlineshop.html at £5.00 plus post & packing each. This beautiful A3 full colour calendar contains 14 original images of the tigers your donations are helping to protect plus details of how our work helps to make a real difference for wild tigers. We think this would also make a perfect gift for a special someone in your life who loves wild tigers.
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, Vidya, Prahlad and our Anti-Poaching patrolling team.
Bandhavgarh Tigress & 4 Tiny Cubs