Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers

by Tigers4Ever
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Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Protect Bandhavgarh's Tigers From Poachers
Wildlife Waterholes Reduce Human-Wildlife Conflict
Wildlife Waterholes Reduce Human-Wildlife Conflict

Thank you for your incredible support for our Anti-poaching Patrols throughout the last few months. Your generosity has helped us to increase to quadruple-patrolling during the peak poaching monsoon season, and from October we will resume triple-patrolling as the new standard for 2022. Without your help this would be impossible. Your donations help us to ensure that the growing wild tiger and cubs population is getting the best protection we can currently provide.

Stranger Things

It has been the strangest monsoon period since the formation of Tigers4Ever back in June 2010. In fact from a climate perspective 2022 has been a very strange year. The drought season was the longest, lasting well into July this year, which also meant forest fires persisted for longer than usual too. July is usually the wettest month, the paddy fields surrounding Bandhavgarh prepared for the heavy rains and flood waters so vital to produce the rice crops which help to satiate both a domestic and global demand. No rains have meant no rice! The news on NDTV has forecast a global shortage of rice for 2023!

So what has failing rice crops got to do with wild tigers? More than you would imagine, the farming community around Bandhavgarh depends on three major sources of income throughout the year: rice, wheat and milk. When one of these fails, the loss of income has devastating impacts on a rural community, which already loses between 35 -65% of its annual crops to forest dwelling herbivores which raid human food and water resources. When this is coupled with wild elephant raids which can destroy a crop in a night, it becomes clearer to see why human-wildlife conflict poses one of the biggest threats to wild tiger survival.

People can become desperate for replacement income to feed themselves and their families, so they turn to the forest to plunder resources for anything they can eat or sell to survive. Commonly, this is harvesting fruit like mangoes and amla fruit, but there are more sinister elements too. Snare trapping jungle fowl, wild boar, deer, hares and other herbivores to sell or consume the meat, can also lead to predator deaths as unsuspecting tiger cubs and leopards fall foul of these traps. One of the stranger things to happen during this monsoon season has been the cutting down of tendu trees, for wood to sell or burn. Tendu trees are important for the rural community around Bandhavgarh because their leaves are used to make Indian tobacco and are harvested in huge numbers during the first half of the year. Thus cutting down these income providers makes no sense at all.

Another worrying trend this monsoon season has been the encroachment into the core forest to raid bamboo and sand for farming gains. The bamboo has been used to repair or create hedges around the paddy fields to try to prevent wildlife crop raiding, whilst sand has been used to fill the cattle proof trenches surrounding the forest. These cattle proof trenches are there to prevent domestic livestock from grazing in the core forest and to reduce the incidents of livestock (and their owners) being killed by predators including wild tigers. What the culprits don’t seem to understand is when the cattle eat the food in the core forest it increases the likelihood of wild animals raiding the human crops. Thus education plays a huge part of our patrollers’ work.

Something Different

This year we have recruited more volunteers, including some in India, who have helped to distribute education packs to the children in rural villages and to gather new ideas to help educate these children about the importance of wild tigers and their forest home. We will continue to work with our new volunteers to ensure that learning about the forest and the wildlife within it will be fun for the children who will provide the next generation of wild tiger protectors.

We’re also developing a new volunteering partnership which will enable us to create bi-lingual educational resources on forest safety and protection for all age groups, including adults, so that our anti-poaching patrollers can distribute these when patrolling around villages and encountering villagers in the forest. We also hope to develop an audio resource which can be delivered by volunteers in the villages as part of a wider awareness and environmental protection programme.

What Else are we Doing to Help?

Work on our latest project to install two more permanent wildlife waterholes in the Kithauli-Biruhli has been hampered somewhat by the monsoon rains, but we hope to complete this in the next few weeks.  On completion, these waterholes will provide year-round water in forest areas usually parched dry by drought before the end of January each year. Once complete, it will bring the total number of Tigers4Ever waterholes to 14. Importantly, these waterholes will help to reduce the pressure on human water resources and thus reduce human-wildlife conflict. Tigers4Ever waterholes already provide year round water for more than two thirds of Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers and their prey. You can read more about our waterholes project here: Two More Waterholes and Something New July 2022 (tigers4ever.org).

After six long and hard years of patrolling, some of the equipment and clothing we provided to help anti-poaching patrols to keep wild tigers safe has started to wear-out and fail. More than 1000 anti-poaching patrollers urgently needed waterproof clothing and boots to protect them during the monsoon rains. Thanks to an urgent appeal and a kind donation from our new corporate partners, the Tiger Chi Community, we have been able to provide waterproof clothing boots and powerful hand-held flashlights for 400 patrollers. We still need funds for a further 600 sets of waterproof clothing and boots (£12150/US$14900), however, with the cooler winter months ahead, we now need your help to provide 1000 warm winter jackets so patrolling can continue on the coldest days and nights. To equip every patroller with a warm winter jacket will cost £20000 (US$25000); we only have sufficient funds to provide 55 warm jackets right now so any help will be most welcome: https://goto.gg/56553. Even the smallest donation will be a huge help in these difficult times.

Patrols on High Alert

With the strange monsoon pattern and its impact on the rural community, our anti-poaching patrollers will need to be on high alert once more as the risk of encroachment and poaching increases again.  We know that many poachers who lay the snares and traps are just poor people desperate to feed their families, and they’re not the ring leaders who facilitate the trade in wild tiger body parts nor do they make huge sums from their heinous acts, but their actions still impact the wild tiger population either directly (tigers snared) or indirectly (tigers’ prey snared). Our increased patrolling, which enables us to protect an extra 1000 km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory, is vital to avoid wild tiger deaths. Without your support, this would be impossible, so thank you on behalf of the wild tigers we’re keeping safe. If you wish to support our anti-poaching patrols going forward, please donate at: https://goto.gg/28767 as we are now focussing our anti-poaching fundraising efforts on that project going forward.

Making a Difference

Thanks to your continued support, we can cover an extra 1000 km (624 miles) of wild tiger territory per month with our increased patrols. This is vital to ensure sufficient time to search for snares; traps and signs of poisoners around forest areas where human encroachment is widespread; and around the periphery of villages where crop raiding and livestock killing is rife. Increased patrolling helps us to curb human encroachment into wild tigers’ territories, and allows us to provide safety advice for those trying to protect their crops and livestock from wandering elephants and tigers respectively.

With more than 50 tiger cubs born since the start of the pandemic, we have many more wild tigers to keep safe now. So we still need your help. Your gift today, however large or small can make a huge difference as to whether Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers can survive these unprecedented threats:

  • A gift of £20 ($26) will provide a warm jacket for an anti-poaching patroller
  • A gift of £25 ($35) will help us to pay a patrolling team for a day
  • A gift of £30 ($42) will provide hot nutritious meals for a patrolling team for a day whilst they’re on duty
  • A gift of £45 ($63) 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 monthly gift of £12 (US$16) per month will help us to pay an anti-poaching patroller for 35 days per year.

Making your Gift Count Twice

Your new online monthly gift of £12 (US$16) per month won’t just help us to pay an anti-poaching patroller protecting wild tigers for 35 days per year; it will also qualify for a 100% match bonus on the first donation amount if you keep donating for 4 months or longer. That means when you donate at £12 (US$16) monthly in month 4 we will receive an extra £12 (US$16) from GlobalGiving to help us save wild tigers. Thus there has never been a better time to start a new monthly donation than now. (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/saving-bandhavgarhs-wild-tigers/?show=recurring).

Without our help, we know 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 can 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/28767).

A Young Tigress majestically walks through a River
A Young Tigress majestically walks through a River
Who's there? Tiger Cubs are Always Curious
Who's there? Tiger Cubs are Always Curious

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Tiger Stand-off at a Tigers4Ever Waterhole
Tiger Stand-off at a Tigers4Ever Waterhole

Thank you for your incredible support for our Anti-poaching Patrols throughout the first 5 months of 2022. Your generosity has helped us to continue with increased patrolling as the new standard for 2022. Without your help this would be impossible. We can now ensure that the growing population of wild tigers and cubs is getting the best protection we can currently provide.

Triple patrolling the new standard outside the monsoon period and quadruple patrolling the new standard during the three months of the monsoon season, for 2022-23. From 01 May 2022, we increased the wages our patrollers receive by 14% to help them cope with rising costs post pandemic.  Our transport costs associated with getting the patrollers to the remotest parts of the forest have also increased due to rising fuel prices. We’re trying our best to keep our costs down, where possible, but some increases are beyond our control. The new costs are now reflected in our main anti-poaching patrols project (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/saving-bandhavgarhs-wild-tigers/) but won’t be reflected in the costs for this project as it is almost fully funded and will close down once we’ve contacted our monthly donors to offer them an alternative if they wish to continue to help.

The drought season is at its peak in Bandhavgarh. Temperatures are scaling new heights with each passing day leading to an increased risk of spontaneous fires and those caused by human carelessness. Our patrols are always alert at this time of year to fire risks, seeking to identify them early and extinguish them before they get out of control. Sadly, it isn’t always possible; you may have seen recently on our Twitter feed that a fire decimated 50 hectares (500,000 square metres) of tiger forest just over a week ago. Despite valiant efforts, the fire raged for 4 days and 3 nights before it was under control.  One year on from the devastating fires at Easter 2021, there are still areas of forest scorched by the fires, devoid of life, needing a breath of new life from seeds dispersed by insects, birds and other animals.  It could take years for the recovery to start, which makes it even more important to protect the remaining forest from new fires. Wildlife waterholes are vital to fighting forest fires where fire vehicles cannot access jungle trails. (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/water-for-bandhavgarhs-tigers/).

What we are Doing to Help

We are working hard to install at least two more permanent wildlife waterholes to restore water in forest areas already parched dry by drought before the end of June. If we can complete these in the next few weeks it will bring the total number of Tigers4Ever waterholes to 13. We had hoped to complete our twelfth waterhole already but we experienced damage to the borewell drill at two preferred waterhole sites and have had to survey other alternatives. You can read more about this in our waterholes project report here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/water-for-bandhavgarhs-tigers/reports/?subid=188601.

Our patrols are also kept busy with aiding the early identification of forest fires to ensure these are controlled/quenched as quickly as possible. Our brave patrollers have years of experience in quenching forest fires and limiting their spread, but every fire where they spend hours fighting flames takes them away from essential patrolling duties. It is essential, therefore, to keep our anti-poaching patrols tripled to ensure wild tigers and their cubs are safe. We were fortunate enough to receive grant funding from the Marjorie Coote Animal Charity Trust which enabled us to undertake tripled patrolling in March. We grateful to receive further Grant funding from the Jean Sainsbury Animal welfare trust, which will enable us to undertake quadruple patrolling during the monsoon which given the increased risk of poaching is absolutely essential.

It is quite difficult for our patrollers right now, with daily temperatures in Madhya Pradesh already reaching 48°C (118°F), which is higher than normal for this time of year. With these temperatures set to persist for a few more weeks coupled with 94% less pre-monsoon rains across the state, our patrols will need to exercise caution to avoid heatstroke especially whilst trying to prevent the spread of forest fires. All our patrollers are equipped with refillable water bottles which are essential kit right now. Our patrols call at forest department patrol camps, where Tigers4Ever has provided safe drinking water tanks, to refill their water bottles whilst in the field.

Tendu and Mahua Collection

The tendu leaf (Indian tobacco) and mahua flower (used to make Indian alcohol) picking season is well underway. Often the Mahua pickers start fires to create demarcation zones, which if left unattended can cause widespread forest fires. Villagers enter the forest in droves in the early morning to collect the tendu leaves and mahua flowers, which is a very dangerous time of day as tigers are more active at dawn and dusk as they hunt whilst the temperatures are lower. Over the last few years, many more villagers have turned to collecting leaves or flowers as a source of income because the pandemic robbed them of their livelihoods. This means more people in the forest and thus a greater risk of human-animal conflict, but it also means that poachers can seize the opportunity to enter the forest under the guise of being tendu or mahua collectors.

It’s not just the collection of produce to sell which drives villagers into the forest in the drought season; it is the need to feed themselves and their livestock too. As the summer months progress and the land becomes parched, herders take their livestock into the forest to graze, something which can cost the lives of both the farmers and their animals. Just over a month ago we received news that a villager had been killed by a tiger as he grazed his cattle in the core forest. The farmer had placed himself and his cattle between a tigress and her young cubs. The tigress did what was natural and attacked the man, striking him to the ground with a single blow from her extended claws. His survival chances were slim and he died from the wounds her claws inflicted.

There are no winners in such situations, the family is left without its main income earner and the angry villagers often call for action against the tigress to prevent future attacks. Education is key to both avoiding future tiger attacks and retaliation against the tiger. Despite the best efforts of our patrollers to give safety advice and the Tigers4Ever safety notices at key entry points in the forest, some villagers choose to ignore the advice and can lose their life.

Patrols on High Alert

Our anti-poaching patrollers are recruited from villages around Bandhavgarh so they know the locals and regular collectors well, having encountered them over the last 7 years. This helps to reduce the risk of strangers (poachers) entering the forest unnoticed and keeps our patrols are on high alert when they encounter an unfamiliar face. This is something which has become increasingly important since the pandemic when so many daily waged Indians lost their jobs in towns and cities before returning to rural communities to eke out a living.

Our patrols have needed to be on high alert throughout the last three years as wild tiger poaching increased across India. Just last week, our patrols received a stark reminder of the dangers they face when three policemen were shot dead by a gang of blackbuck poachers in the nearby district of Guna. The economic impact of the pandemic is still being felt in India and beyond, which continues to increase the likelihood of the poorest most desperate families turning to poaching for an income.

We know that many of the poachers who lay the snares and traps are just poor people desperate to feed their families, they’re not the ring leaders who facilitate the trade in wild tiger body parts nor do they make huge sums from their heinous acts. That’s why our increased patrolling, which enables us to protect an extra 1000km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory, is vital. Without your support, this would be impossible, so thank you on behalf of the wild tigers we’re keeping safe. If you wish to continue to support our anti-poaching patrols please donate to: https://goto.gg/28767 as this project will continue throughout the years to come.

Making a Difference

Thanks to your continued support, we can cover an extra 1000 km (624 miles) of wild tiger territory per month with our increased patrols. This is vital whilst forest fires continue to ensure sufficient time to search for snares; traps and signs of poisoners around forest areas where human encroachment is rife; and around the periphery of villages where crop raiding and livestock killing is rife. Increased patrolling helps us to curb human encroachment into wild tigers’ territories, and allows us to provide safety advice for those trying to protect their crops and livestock from wandering elephants and tigers respectively.

With more than 50 tiger cubs born since the start of the pandemic, we have many more wild tigers to keep safe now. So we still need your help. Your gift today, however large or small can make a huge difference as to whether Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers can survive these unprecedented threats:

  • A gift of £25 ($35) will help us to pay a patrolling team for a day
  • A gift of £30 ($42) will provide hot nutritious meals for a patrolling team for a day whilst they’re on duty
  • A gift of £45 ($63) 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 monthly gift of £12 (US$17) per month will help us to pay an anti-poaching patroller for 35 days per year.

Making your Gift Count Twice

Your new online monthly gift of £12 (US$17) per month won’t just help us to pay an anti-poaching patroller protecting wild tigers for 35 days per year; it will also qualify for a 100% match bonus on the first donation amount if you keep donating for 4 months or longer. That means when you donate at £12 (US$17) monthly in month 4 we will receive an extra £12 (US$17) from GlobalGiving to help us save wild tigers. Thus there has never been a better time to start a new monthly donation than now. (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/saving-bandhavgarhs-wild-tigers/?show=recurring).

Without our help, we know 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 can 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/28767).

Forest Fires can quickly spread
Forest Fires can quickly spread

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Bandhavgarh Tigress with 3 Cubs
Bandhavgarh Tigress with 3 Cubs

We were absolutely blown away by your incredible support from Giving Tuesday (30 November 2021) until the end of 2021. Your generosity will help us to make increased patrolling the new standard in 2022, which we think it is a fitting tribute for the Year of the Tiger. Thank you so very much for making this possible.

In India, which is home to two thirds of the world’s last remaining wild tigers, statistics from the NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority – formerly Project Tiger) showed that wild tiger deaths in India alone had risen to the highest level for ten years. Poaching gangs across India have maximised the chance during the COVID lockdowns to increase their illicit activities. Even with our patrols tripled, poachers struck in Bandhavgarh killing the Banvai female and dumping her carcass in an open well at the end of the monsoon. It was soul destroying to know that despite our significant efforts to comb the forest for snares and traps so wild tigers can walk freely, one such snare had gone under the radar and claimed the life of a precious wild tiger. That is why we decided at our last Board of Trustees meeting just a few days ago that increased patrolling will have to be the new standard if we are to prevent this happening again. A decision we couldn’t have taken without your generosity, so thank you again.

Tiger Census

Over the last few months of 2021, the all India Tiger census was being carried out across the 51 protected areas for wild tigers. Known corridors for tiger movement, other sanctuaries and forests where wild tigers are known to roam were also combed by foot patrollers looking for wild tigers and evidence of their territories. Camera traps were set along geographical transect lines to monitor not just how many different tigers but to capture their images for future identification too. Scat and hair samples, from trees used as tiger scratch posts, are also collected as part of the identification process too. It is important to ensure that the same tiger isn’t counted multiple times as wild tigers have very large territories with male wild tigers known to patrol and scent mark around 7300 km (4536 miles) around their territory in a year! Dependent on the availability of prey and water, wild tiger territories can vary from 20 sq. km (7.7 sq. miles) in size to 400 sq. km (154.5 sq. miles), which covers a lot of camera traps and trees!

The hard work continues as the collected data seeks to eliminate duplicates and confirm the current numbers of wild tigers inside and outside the protected areas. We are hopeful, that despite an increase in Tiger-Tiger conflict and human-tiger conflict during the pandemic, that the tiger census will confirm at least the same number of wild tigers in Bandhavgarh as in the 2018 Tiger census. You may wonder why we don’t think that the number will increase massively again as it did last time. With 42 cubs born during the pandemic and improved cub mortality rates since the introduction of our Anti-Poaching patrols in July 2015, it’s not an unreasonable assumption, but Bandhavgarh is wild tiger territory not a sanctuary or zoo, so the tigers are free to come and go as they choose. Young adult male tigers are usually kicked out of their mother and father’s territories as they reach 3 years old, whilst some hang around on the fringes of their former home with siblings or even alone, others make the bold decision to find a new territory to call home. For some young males, this nomadic behaviour may continue for 2 or more years dependent on many factors including how many females are around, are there other stronger males to resist their challenge and is there enough prey to eat.

The Tiger Census also counts the numbers of prey animals in each transect to help determine the carrying capacity of the area. At the last Tiger Census in 2018, the number of wild tigers in Bandhavgarh was significantly higher than the predicted carrying capacity of the 2014 census. We have worked really hard since 2018 to increase the number of permanent wildlife waterholes in Bandhavgarh so that prey numbers will increase, wild tigers will need smaller territories and conflict situations can be avoided. As I write this project report, work is underway to provide year-round permanent water resources at two more locations bringing the total number of Tigers4Ever waterholes to eleven and supporting more than 48 wild tigers. We also hope to create at least one more waterhole for wild tigers, before the drought season takes hold, subject to raising another £1000 (US$1400) to fund the work. https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/water-for-bandhavgarhs-tigers/

Year of the Tiger

You have probably seen a lot in the news recently about 2022 being the Lunar Year of the Tiger. You may also recall in the last Year of the Tiger in 2010, the thirteen tiger nations pledged to double their wild tiger numbers by 2022. Back in 2010, the global wild tiger population was estimated at 3200 and by 2018 this had increased to 3900, quite some way short of the proposed 6400 which had been pledged in 2010. In 2010, India had more than 1411 wild tigers (2008 census results) so when it reported that this had increased to 2967 wild tigers in 2018 there was a sense of achievement against the 2022 target. What it is important to know is that the 2014 census reported 1785 wild tigers in India and that prior to 2010 cubs and sub-adult tigers were not counted in the census data.

The more recent census information has counted wild tigers over 12 months old in the census data, thus the results for 2022 (from the 2021 count) will be the ones to provide the best measure.  One thing which we can be certain of is that in 2010 the tiger census in Bandhavgarh recorded just 37 wild tigers, and since we launched our Anti-Poaching Patrols in July 2015, wild tiger deaths due poaching and retaliatory poisoning have reduced by 98%. The combination of our efforts and improvement cub mortality saw wild tiger numbers reach an estimated 126 in Bandhavgarh in 2018, which is three times the number back in 2010, but also reflects different counting methods. So we honestly believe that our work has ensured that the number of wild tigers in Bandhavgarh has doubled (and a bit more) since the last Year of the Tiger in 2010, the challenge for us now is making sure these increases can be sustained and that future generations have suitable safe habitat and enough prey. For this reason we will be focussing our efforts on providing as many new permanent wildlife waterholes as we can throughout 2022 (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/water-for-bandhavgarhs-tigers/) and looking to start our forest restoration initiative with a new project for tree planting too. This doesn’t mean that we won’t be prioritising keeping wild tigers safe, quite the opposite in fact as our waterhole and tree planting projects seek to reduce the number of wild tigers killed in territorial conflicts.

The Next Tiger Challenge

Your fantastic support at the end of 2021 means that our concerns of the last two years that we wouldn’t have enough funds to keep the increased patrolling going for as long as is necessary, have reduced. We are not taking the situation for granted though, keeping the increased patrolling going has tripled our monthly patrolling costs, such that we now need to raise more than £1800 (US$2520) each month to maintain the status quo. For this reason we have decided to centralise our fundraising efforts on our original Anti-Poaching Patrols project https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/saving-bandhavgarhs-wild-tigers/ and we’re asking those of you who are kind enough to donate to this project each month to consider setting up a new monthly donation to our main project at: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/saving-bandhavgarhs-wild-tigers/?show=recurring where you will be able to continue your fantastic support. As an added bonus, when you set up a new monthly donation GlobalGiving will add a 100% bonus in matched funds if you keep your regular support in place for at least four months. This is great because your donation of £20 (US$28) per month will be worth £100 (US$140) to our conservation efforts for wild tigers at the end of month 4.

We think that our current: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/protect-bandhavgarhs-tigers-from-poachers/ is likely to be fully funded by Easter this year, which is great because we’ll be able to plan our monsoon patrolling early. On a sad note, it means that the next project update report you receive for this project may well be the last. On a positive note, it means that we will be keeping wild tigers safe from poachers’ snares and would be poisoners with the highest level of protection possible over the next two months and beyond.

Should you wish to help us achieve our goal sooner that would be wonderful of course.  As you already know, our patrollers cover vast amounts of tiger territory on their daily patrols (on average around 125 km (78 miles) per day) in an area which is roughly the size of Wales (UK) or two thirds the size of the State of New Jersey (USA), so we can always make good use of any donations we receive to benefit the wild tigers (https://goto.gg/34704).

You are Making the Difference

Right now, thanks to your tremendous support we’re able to protect wild tigers in an extra 1000 km (624 miles) every month compared to our previous standard patrolling (back in June 2020). This additional patrolling allows us more time to search for snares; traps and signs of would be poisoners around forest areas where human encroachment is rife; and around the periphery of villages where crop raiding and livestock killing is rife. Increased patrolling also helps us to curb the dangerous encroachment into wild tigers’ territories, which continues to be a big problem, and allows us to provide safety advice for those trying to protect their crops and livestock from wandering elephants and tigers respectively.

With 42 new tiger cubs born since the start of the pandemic, we have many more wild tigers to keep safe now. So we still need your help. Your gift today, however large or small will always make a huge difference to the survival prospects of Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers:

  • 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 for a patrolling team whilst they are on duty for a day
  • A gift of £38 ($54) 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 monthly gift of £10 (US$14) per month will help us to pay an anti-poaching patroller for 35 days per year.

Without our help, we know 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 can 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 and where 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).

2022 Year of the Tiger
2022 Year of the Tiger

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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

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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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Tigers4Ever

Location: Warrington - United Kingdom
Website:
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Twitter: @Tigers4Ever2010
Project Leader:
Corinne Taylor-Smith
Dr
Warrington, Cheshire United Kingdom
$30,597 raised of $31,000 goal
 
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