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
Tigress & Young Cubs
Tigress & Young Cubs

Your amazing support over the last four months has helped us to resume double patrolling when it is most needed; we asked for your help to keep our patrols doubled until the end of December 2020 and your brilliant support has enabled us to keep this going throughout January - March 2021 too. Thank you on behalf of the wild tigers which your support is helping us to keep safe.

I can’t remember when I last wrote a project newsletter which wasn’t driven by the impacts of COVID19, but we are in unprecedented times on a global scale and wild tigers in India are impacted by the consequences too. Since March 2020, human encroachment and human-animal conflict have been at their highest levels for some six years. I have to say that it is a relief these days when we can go a week without receiving news of someone being mauled or a tiger or leopard having been killed in a territorial battle. Tiger-Tiger and Tiger-Leopard conflict is another consequence of shrinking habitat due in part to historical logging and population growth but worsened in the last 12 months by the increase in human encroachment in the forest.

In the last month we learnt of two big cat deaths in the Panpatha buffer forest of Bandhavgarh, heart-breaking because this happened in successive days. First we learnt that a leopard had been killed by a tiger, then the following day a 3 year old female tiger was discovered dead less than a mile away. The tigress also died from the wounds inflicted in a territorial fight. What people don’t always realise is the frequency of these tiger-tiger territorial fights is increasing because of human disturbance in the forest. Every time people take their livestock to forest, or go to collect wood, tendu leaves, mahua flowers, fruit or honey to sell they disturb the native inhabitants of the forest. Deer and other prey animals move away from the human encroachment leaving predators with less to eat, so tigers and leopards move into neighbouring territories in search of food. Under normal circumstances these big cats would avoid each other but hunger motivates them to take increased risks like taking livestock and facing retaliatory poisonings or taking down prey in the territory of another tiger and risking loss of life if caught.

Our anti-poaching patrols are working hard to eliminate the risks caused by increased human encroachment levels; but without your continued support we won’t be able to sustain our doubled patrols indefinitely. The rumours of increased in poaching activity in the neighbouring states persists and we have seen evidence of this with increased arrests of individuals caught with a bounty of tiger skins, leopard skins and other tiger body parts. As the hotter, drier weather approaches and waterholes run dry, the likelihood of human-animal conflict inevitably increases too. In fact two of our waterholes are currently dry because wild elephants have damaged the solar panels which power the bore-well pumps which bring water to the surface. We have been actively fundraising for the last few weeks to buy 4 replacement solar panels, repair the panel framework and erect elephant proof fencing to reduce the risk of recurrence: https://goto.gg/51049 . At the time of writing, we are just £101 (US$140) short of our target to complete this work, so hopefully we will be able to restore the water for the 16 tigers and countless other animals dependent on these waterholes soon.

It isn’t all bad news though; two tigresses have given birth to 4 cubs each since our last project report, a third tigress has 3 new cubs and a fourth has an unspecified number of cubs as their mother hasn’t brought them out of the birthing den yet. We do know that we have at least eleven more tigers to keep safe now in addition to all the others. The patter of tiny paws always gives us an extra incentive to go the extra mile needed to keep wild tigers safe, what about you? https://goto.gg/34704.

The last four months have been just as testing for the people in the villages around Bandhavgarh due to the economic consequences of COVID19, as they continue to put their own lives at risk by going deeper into the forest in search of something to eat or sell. As a consequence, the death and injury toll continues the unprecedented trend we reported in our last project report:

  • A school building and several farm buildings have been destroyed by marauding elephants;
  • A single village lost 12 cows in a week due to attacks by displaced tigers and another village lost 3 cows in 5 days to attacks by a single tiger.
  • Two elephants from the Bandhavgarh herd had wandered many miles away towards Jabalpur but were killed by tethered snares laid by villagers disgruntled by the damage they had done to their sugar cane crops.
  • A mahout of over 20 years’ service in the forest department took his own life just before Christmas because he couldn’t afford to feed his family.
  • A 15 year old girl was mauled and killed by a tiger in the Panpatha buffer on 20 December and the angry villagers subsequently mounted an attack of Forest Department patrollers in retaliation on both 22 and 23 December, demanding that something must be done to remove the tiger.
  • One of our own anti-poaching patrollers was charged by a tigress (who was protecting her 3 cubs) as he returned home from his patrolling duties on Christmas Eve. Thankfully, he remembered his training and attributed it to saving his life. The tigress and her cubs also returned to the forest unharmed.
  • Nine people from the villages in the buffer zones were mauled by tigers in separate incidents between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. Mostly the victims were wood collectors/cutters but two of them were picking amla fruit. Six different tigers have been implicated in the attacks.
  • 15 cows from 3 villages have been killed already in 2021 so unrest in the villages is still high
  • A leopard and a 3 year old tigress were killed in territorial fights on consecutive days in the Panpatha buffer.
  • The drought season is underway, and the hotter drier weather will bring an increase in the number of people picking tendu leaves and mahua flowers inside the forest.

The only way we can address these issues is to keep our patrolling doubled until at least the end of May 2021, when hopefully the COVID vaccination rollout will help to alleviate the economic burden of COVID19, and the villagers’ children will be able to return to school for the first time since March 2020.

With increased patrols, we can cover an extra 500km (312 miles) of wild tiger territory over and above what we were able to do in October when tragedy struck for a tigress and her cubs. 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.

The only way we can sustain this increase in our patrolling is to ask for your help, again, knowing that 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 ($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 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/34704. Next week (08 March – 12 March 2021) is the GlobalGiving Little by Little campaign and we’re taking part, which is good news because your gift up to £36 (US$50) will receive 50% bonus matched funds at no extra cost to you. So if you are able to help during Little by Little your impact will be even greater too.

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.

Little by Little Tiger Cubs
Little by Little Tiger Cubs

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Saving Tigers
Saving Tigers

We can hardly believe that a month has passed since the fateful morning when the phone rang with the news we’d been dreading since the COVID19 crisis began. For the first time in five and a half years, a tiger had been killed in Bandhavgarh by a retaliatory poisoning by villagers angered by the constant lifting of cattle. What made matters worse was it wasn’t one tiger which was dead, it was the mother of four cubs. A short distance from the dead tigress’s body lay a female cub which had also died after eating from the poisoned carcass of a dead cow. Three cubs were missing, their fate unknown. What made matters worse was the tigress was a long way from her native territory, for reasons we’ll never really know why. What we do know is that encroachment levels into tiger territory are at an all-time high as villagers desperate to find something to sell move further and further into areas where they shouldn’t go.

How could this happen? Since the lockdown began in March, we had increased our patrolling, even doubling it during the monsoon, but fearful for the long term sustainability of our patrolling due to a lack of funding, we took the difficult decision to reduce our patrolling by 33% from the beginning of October, this would help us to keep patrolling until the end of the year. Barely two weeks into the reduced patrolling, disaster struck. We had scaled back our patrolling to pre-monsoon levels, but the risk to the tigers is still increasing as the economic impacts of COVID19 decimate the wider tiger community. Our decision was costly in terms of tiger deaths as the days passed, only two cubs were found alive, a male cub had also perished as a result of the retaliatory poisonings. What is worse is the fact that this was the tigress’s first litter, not yet fully independent and without their mother, the chances of long term survival in the wild for the surviving cubs is by no means certain. Potentially, a lack of funding may have wiped out two generations of wild tigers. The cost of the additional patrolling was just £500 (US$665) per month… Funds we didn’t have.

We had an emergency appeal and, thanks to our tremendous supporters, have managed to raise sufficient funds to reinstate double patrolling in November and December, but we need to raise a lot more money if we are to sustain double patrolling into 2021. For this we need your help, this year on Giving Tuesday (01 December 2020) GlobalGiving is providing a share of $1million in matched funds for projects which receive donations throughout the day. We need to raise £5000 (US$6650), ideally on Giving Tuesday so that we can secure a share of the $1million in matched funds too and keep our patrolling doubled until April 2021: https://goto.gg/34704.

Without the above funds, we will have to scale back or even suspend our patrolling, the consequences of which are unimaginable. Since the end of March, our patrols have been under overwhelming pressure due to increased miscreant activity, to which there seems no end.

If we have to reduce the patrolling by 33%, as we were forced to do in October, to avoid running out of funds, it will mean a 500km (312 mile) reduction in the area covered by our patrols each month. A reduction which will hit hard alongside the impact of unprecedented encroachment levels in the forest, as people who have lost income due to the enforcement of COVID19 measures struggle to survive. These people are putting their lives at risk by going deeper and deeper into the forest in search of something to sell, the death and injury toll over the last 2 months reads like nothing we’ve known in over 10 years since we established Tigers4Ever:

  • A 40 year old female killed by a startled tiger whilst picking fruit deep into the tiger’s territory;
  • A 3 year old tigress (mother of 3 cubs) killed in a territorial fight with another tigress because she’d moved her cubs due to human encroachment in her territory;
  • Two 4 week old tiger cubs killed by jackals when their mother left them in an unsafe den because human fruit pickers were in her territory;
  • A pregnant leopard killed by a tiger because human encroachment forced it into the tiger’s territory;
  • A 41 year old man mauled whilst fruit pricking by a tigress protecting her cubs from encroaching humans;
  • A 42 year old man killed by wild elephants whilst trying to protect his crops;
  • An 8 year old tigress and two 18 month old cubs killed by villagers who poisoned the carcass of a domestic cow which the tigress had taken;
  • Ten more villagers mauled by another  tigress protecting her cubs from the encroaching fruit pickers;
  • The rice crops of 8 villages totally decimated by marauding elephants;
  • A school building and several farm buildings destroyed by marauding elephants;
  • A single village lost 12 cows in a week due to attacks by displaced tigers and another village lost 3 cows in 5 days to attacks by a single tiger.

Every time human-animal conflict increases, the risk to the lives of wild tigers increases, without our patrolling we cannot mitigate these risks and more tigers could die.

The only way we can address these issues is to keep our patrolling doubled until these risks subside. When increased to double levels, our patrols can cover an extra 500km (312 miles) of wild tiger territory each month, looking for snares, traps and signs of would be poisoners. Increased patrols also help to prevent the dangerous human encroachment into the territories of wild tigers which is increasing daily and to provide safety advice for those trying to protect their crops and livestock from wandering elephants and tigers respectively.

The only way we can do this is by increasing our funding by at least £5000 in December (preferably on Giving Tuesday – 01 December), but to do this we need your help. Your gift today can make a huge difference:

  • A gift of £20 ($26) will help us to pay a patrolling team for a day
  • A gift of £30 ($39) will provide hot nutritious meals whilst they are on duty for a day
  • A gift of £40 ($52) 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 ($130) will ensure that a team of patrollers can cover 125km (78 miles) of wild tiger territory in a day
  • A gift of £1300 ($1730) 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/34704.

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.

Tigress and Cubs at Tigers4Ever Waterhole
Tigress and Cubs at Tigers4Ever Waterhole

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Mother's Love
Mother's Love

For the last 6 months, we have faced an unprecedented increase in the risk of wild tigers being poached, as the world tries to find a new normal whilst COVID19 persists. The wild tiger community has been hit particularly hard due to the high proportion of workers who are daily wagers (literally, they only get paid on the days which they work). Work stopped for around 85% of the tiger community on 25 March 2020 and for most, hasn’t yet returned to a semblance of normal. Thus the increased threat of poaching as a viable source of income persists. Your support throughout this period has been tremendous, without your help we could not have increased our patrolling from April and maintained double patrolling throughout the monsoon period, so thank you for all which you have done.

Your donations have helped us to continue our outstanding record of wild tiger conservation. It’s now been more than 63 months since the last retaliatory poisoning of a wild tiger in Bandhavgarh, and will be 4 years since we last lost a tiger to a poaching incident on 02 October 2020. We could not have achieved this without your help. Without your generosity, the lives of Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers would be at risk.

Like the rest of the world, we don’t know when this COVID19 nightmare will end, and so we need to plan for our increased patrolling to continue for the foreseeable future and beyond. We are already anticipating a 56% increase in patrolling costs for 2020-21 and this could be even higher if the poaching threat increases further. Suddenly, we have had to plough all of our efforts into patrolling and keeping wild tigers out of the deadly wire snare traps which are often set for wild deer and other animals which persistently raid the crops in the villages which surround the tiger jungles of Bandhavgarh. Wild tigers are breeding right now too, we already know about 9 new cubs and we expect more to be born over the next few months as we are aware that other tigers have also mated. Keeping more tigers and their cubs safe over the coming months will be a real challenge, but it is one which we want to meet head on with your help.

As you already know, our patrollers are not only shielding Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers from poachers snares and traps; their presence also prevents locals from engaging in illegal activities which put wild tigers at risk. Without our patrols, the wild tiger population would face insurmountable obstacles at every turn. With only 3900 wild tigers remaining globally, every tiger’s life is precious.

Each tiger life lost threatens the longevity of the entire wild tiger population. Without our patrollers, the impact of tiger deaths will reverberate throughout the entire jungle.

Without funds, no patrols

To continue to patrol at the increased levels we’ve done since the onset of the COVID19 crisis, we need to raise at least 56% more each month. If we don’t, we’ll have no choice but to cut back or even stop our patrolling! If we stop the patrols, the wild tigers wouldn’t stand a chance against the threats exacerbated by COVID-19:

1. More human-tiger conflict  

Many people in Bandhavgarh are still without regular paid work, some haven’t had any work since 25 March. Their desperate need for income to survive pushes them into wild tiger territory in search of any resources they can plunder to sell. The jungle is rich with fresh growth following the monsoon rains, grasses and trees which can be chopped down to sell as animal fodder and logs respectively, but these activities continue to put tigers and humans in danger.

Just a few weeks ago, another villager was badly mauled by a tiger whilst collecting wood from the forest, crippling another family with an uncertain future. This brings the number of tiger attacks on humans to 5 in a few short months. Wild elephant attacks on people and villages are also increasing, the threat of retaliatory aggression towards wildlife and their protectors always looms.

2. Desperate people driven to poaching

People turn to poaching because they’re forced to find a means to survive; whether they intend to kill tigers or not, the traps they lay are indiscriminate. In neighbouring, Maharashtra, tiger and leopard poaching persists; there have also been reports of tiger poaching in nearby Panna (Madhya Pradesh), just a few hundred kilometres from Bandhavgarh. Peak Poaching Season is likely to continue beyond the monsoon season, as people continue to struggle with the impact of COVID19. To ensure that our efforts to date to double the number of wild tigers in Bandhavgarh aren’t wasted, we need to keep our increased patrols going.

3. Increased illegal activity

Since the lockdown began illegal fishing activities have also increased, which decreases sources of food for the tigers’ prey, driving them to raid villagers’ crops. Our patrollers educate villagers on the impact of their actions, reminding them that every resource lost has a consequence for the animals they share their homes with. Most villagers never leave the village where they were born, nor have electricity to access to online information, so without our patrollers, many don’t realise the ripple effect of their actions. 


Wild Tigers need you

Human-led patrols are the only way we can tackle human-induced issues. Without funds, we can’t meet the demand for increased patrolling; the situation in Bandhavgarh continues to be extremely dangerous for humans and tigers alike.

Every single donation will help us to save wild tigers’ lives. Did you know that giving just £10/US$13 per month can pay an anti-poaching patroller to keep wild tigers safe for more than 30 days a year? The current crisis means that we need people like you to help wild tigers in Bandhavgarh now: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/protect-bandhavgarhs-tigers-from-poachers/?show=recurring.

When you give something you are really making a difference for wild tigers now. As your donation can be the difference between life and death as it supports our increased patrolling when it is most needed. Be confident in the knowledge that by donating to a small charity like Tigers4Ever, your money has a big impact. Our Patrollers can keep wild tigers alive by educating villagers and reducing human-animal conflict.  We’ll also keep you updated on how your gift has been spent.

Every tiger and every tiger cub counts. Thank you for making our fight against poachers, the changing climate and human-animal conflict possible.

Young Male Tiger Cub finding his way
Young Male Tiger Cub finding his way
A watchful Tiger crosses the forest track
A watchful Tiger crosses the forest track

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Tiger Cubs playing whilst unaware of the Dangers
Tiger Cubs playing whilst unaware of the Dangers

Protect India’s wild tigers from the dangers exacerbated by COVID-19
The onset of coronavirus has transformed life as we know it, intensifying pre-existing problems, and triggering a tidal wave of new challenges. Uncertainty has taken root in all of our lives, seeping into jobs, livelihoods and aspirations. It’s difficult to predict what the future holds, but the fate of tigers was uncertain long before the pandemic.
 
It’s because of you, our donors, that we’ve been able to stay afloat in this sea of uncertainty. We’re extremely grateful to all of you. Without you, the tigers of Bandhavgarh would have no hope of survival. Only 3900 wild tigers remain globally, and every penny reinforces their protection against poachers, the changing climate, and human-animal conflict.

A conservation record we’re proud of
Through your generosity and the unwavering commitment of our team, we’ve accomplished an outstanding record of conservation. By day and night, our patrollers search the jungle for snares, traps, poison and miscreant activities, eliminating anything that threatens the welfare of wild tigers. It’s now been over 5 years since the last retaliatory poisoning of a tiger, in Bandhavgarh, and more than 44 months since we last lost a tiger to a poaching incident.

But these achievements are no reason to relax our efforts. If we don’t keep our record up, the wild tiger population will plummet and the ripple effect will be devastating. If we don’t succeed, we’ll be teetering on the edge of a world without wild tigers, and that world is far less beautiful and diverse to imagine.

COVID-19 has aggravated pre-existing wild tiger risks
As we move into monsoon peak poaching season from the end of June to the beginning of October, replenishing our vital funds is critical, especially because the pandemic has made a dire situation even worse. COVID-19 has accelerated the risks normally associated with the monsoon season. Now that most of Bandhavgarh’s human population hasn’t had paid work since the 25 March, their desperation for income propels them into tiger territory in search of any resources they can sell to live.

The jungle is rich with mahua flowers and tendu leaves, at this time of year, which can be picked and sold. Picking 5000 tendu leaves can earn someone around 100 rupees, which is roughly a day’s wages for the rural people of Bandhavgarh.The incentive far outweighs the dangers when you’re hungry, jobless and have a family to protect.

The impact can be fatal for humans
But there is a human cost to this. In the period since the lockdown began, there have been three tiger attacks by three separate tigers. As night time camouflaged a resting tiger, a 38 year old patroller, Chinta, accidentally stumbled across a sleeping tiger and the tiger’s reaction cost him his life. (Those of you who follow on Social Media will know that we raised some funds to help his widow and two young children to rebuild their lives with the set-up of a sewing business).Five days after Chinta’s death, an 18-year old girl was picking mahua flowers crouched on the jungle floor during the twilight hours at dawn. A tiger, mistook her for prey, pounced and startled the girl, delivering a fatal blow with a single swipe of its paw. In both cases the victims bled to death before appropriate help could be found. Then, ten days later, another man in his late 20s was badly mauled, again whilst collecting mahua flowers. By some miracle, someone heard his screams and rushed to help. He was taken to the nearest hospital some 60 km (38 miles) away where he is still being treated for his wounds as his recovery will be slow. It’s difficult to imagine the psychological impact of his injuries on his recovery and ability to return to work.

What happens when patrolling stops? 

The reality is that although COVID-19 has stoked the flames of an already blazing threat to the survival of tigers, we don’t have enough money to put the escalating fire out. In the past two months, we’ve only generated enough to fund our patrols for 5 days in total. So, if we don’t start pulling in a steady stream of funds, we’ll have no choice but to stop our patrolling. If we have to stop the patrolling, wild tigers will die. This is what’s on the horizon for our tigers:

1. Irreparable damage to ecosystems
When desperate villagers start plundering forest resources, it sets off a chain of events with devastating consequences. By cutting down trees and branches for wood, they reduce the food source of browsers such as Nilgai, deer and monkeys (tiger prey). These prey animals enter the villages in search of food, and decimate the crops of poor rural people. Tigers, and other predators, follow in search prey and kill domestic animals as prey flee. This increases the human-animal conflict, resulting in retaliatory attacks to protect villager livelihoods. This destructive domino-effect causes irreversible damage to an already precarious ecosystem, which is why our patrols are so critical. Patrollers dissuade humans from attacking trees and in doing so, we remove the first link in this chain.

2. Forest fires
The number of people caught illegally felling trees and collecting wood in the jungle is increasing month by month. Recently, some villagers started a forest fire whilst trying to make a fire break line by burning dry leaves. Strong winds wafted the fires as far as 2 kilometres from the source, destroying precious resources for jungle dwellers along the way. When this happens, our patrollers have to abandon their search for snares to help put the fire out. Time spent away from patrols is time enough for a tiger to wander into a death trap.

3. Poaching

With extremely limited income options during the pandemic, people are forced to look for alternative means. Driven by necessity, they lay snare traps to catch deer and wild boar, but these indiscriminate traps take the life of any animal that walks into them. While some don’t deliberately kill tigers, others do lay traps with the intention of killing them. Intentional or not, the body of a tiger is a valuable export on the black market. Every part can be sold for an enticing price: their skin, teeth, claws, bones, meat and blood can be traded for enough money to feed a family for up to 12 months. Without patrollers to eliminate these traps, tigers will endure excruciatingly painful deaths. 

How you can help
As you can see, the impact of our patrols goes far beyond the prevention of poaching. Tigers face complex, multi-dimensional threats, but human-led patrols are the only way we can tackle human-induced problems. We always expect peak poaching season to expose tigers to increased danger, but COVID-19 means that these perilous conditions are already here and could persist long after the monsoon rains end. Without funds, we can’t meet the critical demand for increased patrolling, to address these threats. The best way you can help us to keep protecting wild tigers is to donate. Here’s how your donations might help:

  • £20 ($26) will pay a team of patrollers to keep wild tigers safe for a day
  • £38 ($50) will provide fuel and transport for a patrolling team for one day
  • £123 ($160) will provide full anti-poaching equipment and a uniform for one patroller.
  • £802 ($1045) will keep a team of anti-poaching patrollers protecting wild tigers for a month

Our online store is full of merchandise which you can wear to champion our cause, and all of the sale profits go towards protecting wild tigers.

With each donation you make, you protect wild tigers, provide jobs and promote healthier human-tiger relations. Our campaigns safeguard tigers and their human protectors, but the impact of this reverberates throughout the entire jungle. On behalf the Bandhavgarh community, thank you for your support.

Tigers need trees for somewhere cool to rest
Tigers need trees for somewhere cool to rest

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A Young Male Tiger in Bandhavgarh
A Young Male Tiger in Bandhavgarh

Firstly, can I start by thanking you all for your continued amazing support for the wild tigers and our work since our December 2019 project report. I am delighted to say that because of your help our patrollers have managed to keep Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers safe for another 2.5 months. This brings us to 55 months without a wild tiger death due to retaliatory poisoning and 40 months since the last wild tiger poaching incident. We know that despite this achievement there is no time for complacency, just because our success has helped Bandhavgarh’s tiger population to double in recent years it doesn’t mean that the threats have gone away. More tigers mean more protection is needed and sadly it also means that the risk of poachers striking increases too. Poachers think that an abundance of tigers means that those which go missing are less likely to be noticed. THEY ARE WRONG! We know that every wild tiger is precious, every loss has multiple consequences, AND that the future of wild tigers depends on us being able to keep the current tigers safe from harm. As more and more cubs are born and survive to adulthood, it is a testimony to our methods working, but there are other consequences which put wild tigers’ lives at risk. More tigers mean a greater likelihood of human-tiger conflict; and when coupled with a loss of habitat - tiger-tiger conflict is inevitable. Not a month goes by without a report of human encroachment in the tigers’ forest or illegal grass harvesting/wood-cutting activities. This is without the farmers who continue to illegally graze their livestock in protected areas of the forest. Sometimes, it seems like our patrollers have a full time job policing miscreant activities even without searching for poachers’ snares and traps. Fear not though, because our patrollers always combine these “policing” type duties with their searches for signs of poachers, poisoners, snares and traps.

Just this week we have received news of two more tigresses with young cubs, some of which are less than one month old. We know this means that our patrollers’ work will increase again over the next few months, even before we deal with the onset of the monsoon and peak poaching season. As the cubs born over the last three years approach adulthood, they all need territories of their own, which is testing to see the least in a forest already surrounded by more than three quarters of a million people. Where will these young tigers go? Those which choose to leave Bandhavgarh in search of pastures new will face the survival challenges presented by human development: villages, roads, railway lines, mines, traffic, a lack of native prey, to name but a few things they will face. This is even before we consider the risk of poachers’ snares and traps beyond the confines of our patrolling area. In recent months, we have taken account of this and expanded our perimeter where our resources will allow us to do so, but to cover a greater area needs more hours and even more days patrolling and our current resources are already stretched. If you think that you can help, please donate now at: https://goto.gg/34704.

If you have been following our project reports over the last three years you will be familiar with the news that Tigers4Ever stepped in to help save three orphaned cubs when their mother was killed by poachers (the last tiger to be poached in Bandhavgarh – 40 months ago!). All three cubs survived and are now young adults needing territory of their own, so in a move to increase their long term survival chances, two have the grown up cubs were recently relocated to Satpura National Park, high in the hills of the Eastern Ghats of Madhya Pradesh. One young male and his sister have recently been released into vacant independent territories in Satpura; it is uncommon for siblings to mate so they are most likely to stay away from each other going forward. All was going well until the end of last week when the young male tiger killed a woman villager in the forest and the villagers retaliated to demand action against the tiger by the forest department officials. The signs suggested that the incident was an accidental killing not an act of predation so forest officials drove the young tiger away from the village and back into the forest where they continue to monitor his behaviour around the clock. In a stand against this action the angry villagers burnt down the Eco Centre at Satpura, in retaliation for the loss of the woman’s life whist the tiger has been given a second chance. Although this incident hasn’t happened in Bandhavgarh, it has involved one of the tigers relocated from Bandhavgarh, which could mean that the young male may be returned if he were to attack another human. Tigers which lose their fear of humans are dangerous because they will habitually visit the villages in search of easy prey and will put themselves at risk of a retaliatory poisoning or poaching incident. In such cases, all patrollers will have much more work to do to ensure the safety of the tigers. Sadly, young male tigers and aging deposed alpha male tigers are frequently the cause of most human-tiger conflict, because they both need new territory and food, and they don’t distinguish human settlements from the forest so they sleep in the fields where crops are being tended and kill the livestock when hungry. It is for these reasons that our patrollers always look for signs of tiger movement in addition to checking for snares and traps around the periphery of the villages which surround the wild tiger territories.

If you read our December report, you may recall that one of our senior anti-poaching patrollers, Vidya, had an accident which resulted in a complex break of the bones in her right arm, for which she needed surgery. Despite the fact that Vidya had two metal plates inserted in her arm to repair the break; no doubt, like ourselves, you will be pleased to hear that she has fully recovered now and is back on patrol helping Tigers4Ever to keep wild tigers safe. We are delighted to have her back fit and well as she is one of our best patrollers. Having our patrolling team at full strength is vitally important as the warmer weather starts to bring about the drought season; and with it an increased risk of human-animal conflict. As herbivores raid crops, and predators follow in search of food but instead take livestock which doesn’t run away; villagers become disgruntled and sometimes take measures to protect what is theirs but at the same time risking the lives of not just tigers and leopards but also their prey. Experienced patrollers know that they need to keep an eye out for signs of water-sources and animal carcasses being poisoned at this time of year; AND also for snares and traps set for the crop raiding herbivores which will indiscriminately kill tigers and leopards too. Just this week, two poachers were caught on camera in Ranthambhore carrying the deer carcasses which they had ensnared. The culprits hadn’t spotted the camera traps used to monitor wild animal movements as they were too busy revelling in their catch. This evidence was not only used to catch the culprits, it will be used to secure their convictions.

As poachers get cleverer, patrollers must get cleverer too. It is for this reason that we recruit our patrollers from the villages around Bandhavgarh. These people don’t just know the animals which they might encounter, they know the people too. It makes it harder for poachers to go under the radar by infiltrating the local communities to blend in like locals. Our patrollers are always on the alert for fresh human tracks as well as those of tigers, leopards and other wildlife. Our patrollers know the normal routes taken by local people when moving around or to/from their villages, so footprints elsewhere will always raise the alarm. Often these are the footprints of people who are logging illegally, collecting firewood, or harvesting grasses to feed their livestock, nonetheless every set of suspicious footprints is fully investigated, as we have already mentioned above our patrollers spend a lot of their time policing miscreant activities too.

As we head into March and the forest leaf litter becomes increasingly parched, our patrollers will need to keep a sharp eye out for forest fires which often start spontaneously due to the heat. Small cubs, ground birds, reptiles and insects are particularly at risk when these fires get out of control. Our patrollers have been helping to quell such fires for the last 4 years and have helped to save the lives of countless wild animals which their quick response to quash the flames and by assisting with the creation of firebreaks to ensure the spread of the fires are contained. It is a difficult and exhausting part of our patrollers’ daily routines from March until the onset of the early monsoon rains at the beginning of July, which is in addition to their usual patrolling activities. For this reason, we would like to be able to increase our patrolling numbers but we can’t do it without help. It would cost us just £10/US$13 monthly to pay 2 anti-poaching patrollers to protect wild #tigers for 1 day every month? Could you help us to do this and keep wild #tigers safe today by setting up a new recurring donation? https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/protect-bandhavgarhs-tigers-from-poachers-2019/?show=recurring.

The warmer weather also brings the onset of the wedding season, which brings more revellers into the jungle, mostly young people who have had too much to drink, but nonetheless they present a danger to wildlife, the forest and themselves with their irresponsible actions. Some light campfires and sit around chatting, drinking and smoking, if these campfires get out of control or a cigarette is carelessly discarded wildlife including tiny tiger cubs can perish. Our patrollers are always on the alert for such activities, but sadly not all revellers will move on quietly. At is at these times that our patrollers must rely on safety in numbers and the back-up of the forest department rangers who accompany our patrols, as they have radio communications and can call for back up or other forms of help.

March will also bring the start of the season for picking Mahua flowers (for Indian alcohol) and Tendu leaves (for Indian tobacco). Impoverished villagers will risk their lives during this season to earn just 100 rupees ( about £1.10/US$1.50) for picking 5000 Tendu leaves, drying them in the sunlight, rolling them and carrying them in large bundles to the buyers who make the tobacco from them. Our patrollers play a very important educational role in ensuring these villagers minimise the risks to themselves by working in pairs or small groups and knowing how to react if they encounter a tiger. Preventing the deaths of the humans who risk their lives collecting Tendu leaves and Mahua flowers is just as important as for those collecting firewood, because there are no winners when a villager loses their life in a tiger attack; as villagers will not tolerate the presence of a tiger in the forest which has been branded a “man-eater”.

As our patrollers once again face the challenges brought about by the onset of drought conditions and further increases in human-tiger conflict, it must seem like a never ending circle. In some respects, that is exactly what it is like. There is never really a time of year when anti-poaching patrols aren’t facing a challenge to keep wild tigers safe, so we are always grateful for their dedication and bravery. We sleep a little better at night because we know that the men and women who make up the Tigers4Ever anti-poaching patrols are doing their utmost to keep wild tigers safe. It is not just removing traps and snares; it is about education, policing and safety for both the human and wildlife inhabitants of the forest.

It is, as we have said on many occasions, the people who live with wild tigers who will have the greatest influence on whether wild tigers will have a wild future. We maintain our community focus with all our wild tiger conservation projects for this reason. By recruiting our anti-poaching patrollers (and other workers) from local villages, using local suppliers to make uniforms, equipment and the food which our patrollers eat whilst on duty, etc., we are giving the villagers a dependency on wild tiger survival.

Some of you may be looking for a T-Shirt, hoody or sweatshirt for that someone special who loves wild tigers or for your own summer holiday plans; if you are, please take a look at our online shop where we have a range of clothing in adult and children’s sizes: https://stores.clothes2order.com/tigers4ever-saving-tigers/. None of our products are made in China/sourced from materials made in China; and all sales help our anti-poaching patrols to keep wild tigers safe.

Finally we would like to thank you all for sparing the time to read this newsletter and for your continued amazing support and donations. It is always difficult to ask, especially at this time of year, however, wild tigers’ lives are at risk 24 hours a day 365 days a year so it is essential that our patrollers are there to keep them safe.  If you can afford to help, please donate now at: https://goto.gg/34704 and help us to continue to give wild tigers a wild future, every little really does make a big difference. Remember that new monthly donations will have an extra impact too due to bonus matched funds from GlobalGiving.

Villager carrying his bundle of Tendu leaves
Villager carrying his bundle of Tendu leaves

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Tigers4Ever

Location: Warrington - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Tigers4Ever2010
Project Leader:
Corinne Taylor-Smith
Dr
Warrington, Cheshire United Kingdom
$10,277 raised of $20,300 goal
 
262 donations
$10,023 to go
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