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
It is harder to see wild tigers in the mist
It is harder to see wild tigers in the mist

Firstly, can I start by thanking you all for your continued amazing support for the wild tigers and our work since our October 2019 project report. I am delighted to say that because of your help our patrollers have manged to keep Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers safe for another 2 months. This brings us to 53 months without a wild tiger death due to retaliatory poisoning and 38 months since the last wild tiger poaching incident. It is not a time for complacency, because our success has helped Bandhavgarh’s tiger population to double in recent years. Unfortunately, this is music to the ears of poachers too. With more tigers, the incidence of human-tiger and tiger-tiger conflict also increases so over the next few months and years we will have more, not less work to do.  

Those of you who follow us on social media may have seen recently that one of our senior anti-poaching patrollers, Vidya, had an accident recently. Vidya fell causing a complex brake of the bones in her right arm, she required surgery and had to make the 4.5 hour journey to the nearest hospital, in Jabalpur, which could operate. She was in agony all the way as many of the roads are still dusty bumpy tracks en-route. Vidya had two metal plates inserted in her arm to repair the brake and now is sporting a cast which covers three quarters of her arm. She spent a few nights in hospital before returning to Bandhavgarh where she was determined to re-join the patrolling after a few days recovery! Such is the commitment of our patrollers. Vidya returned to Jabalpur today to have her stitches removed, and we will be encouraging her to ensure that she is fully recovered before she resumes her patrolling duties when she returns to Bandhavgarh. I’m sure that like me, you all will wish Vidya a speedy and full recovery from her injuries.

We are now entering the coldest time of year in Bandhavgarh, which brings new challenges to our anti-poaching patrols with night time and early morning temperatures plummeting towards freezing, something which didn’t use to happen but has been apparent on the last 3 winters. Those of us who live in Northern Europe, North America and Canada will be all too familiar with the unpleasantness of freezing temperatures when we are out and about, so imagine how awful it must be to work outside in the cold for up to 12 hours a day every day. Not only are the mornings cold, but there is frequently an early morning mist which can be over 1 metre (3 – 4 feet) high and can result in increased dangers for our foot patrollers who may not get as early a warning call from the langur monkeys to signal an approaching tiger or leopard. The early morning mists make it a little easier for wild tigers to sneak up and ambush their prey but it also means that life is a lot more challenging for the anti-poaching patrollers who risk their lives to keep wild tigers safe.

The right equipment, including sturdy boots and warm coats, is essential at this time of year, and we think that £123 (US$160) is a good investment to fully equip our patrollers which the vital clothing, footwear, etc., which they need at this time of year. We need to be ready to provide suitable warm clothing for our patrollers or replace vital equipment when it is needed, so would ask you to consider making a donation this #GivingTuesday (03 December 2019) to help us to do this when it is most needed:  https://goto.gg/34704 and there is good news in that any donations which we receive on the day to our Anti-Poaching Patrols project will qualify for a share of a matched funding bonus (on donations up to $1000). The matched funds bonus will be proportionally shared between all the projects receiving donations via GlobalGiving on that day which will be dependent upon the total funds raised. However, all donations (up to $1000) received will qualify for a share of the bonus and all bonus funds received will help us to reach our fundraising target quicker. There are also bonus prizes to be won for the projects with the most unique donors and most funds raised, but we need 20+ unique donors to qualify for one of these.

The colder weather also brings more miscreants into the jungle, mostly woodcutters who are desperate for firewood as the temperatures plunge in their homes. In Bandhavgarh, many villagers have simple homes without heating, electricity or running water, they are dependent on wood fires for heating and cooking and also to deter wild animals who may try to enter their homes. To address this need the villagers try to collect as much wood as possible to keep their fires burning. They are allowed to collect broken twigs and branches from fallen trees but not to cut down the branches or whole living trees nor to collect from protected areas of the buffer forest. The villagers are sometimes so desperate for firewood that they risk their own lives and those of their children by entering the forest at dusk, nightfall and dawn when tigers, leopards and other predators are most active. They also enter the restricted areas in the forest at these times.

Our anti-poaching patrollers are always on the lookout for woodcutters in the forest at this time of year especially. The villagers carry axes to cut down branches and trees but also to defend themselves in the event of an attack by a wild animal. When a villager is killed in the forest whilst woodcutting, etc., invariably fingers are pointed at the tiger and human unrest demands the incarceration of whichever tiger or tigers roam in the area or they threaten to take matters into their own hands, thus threatening the survival of one or more wild tigers. Although wild tigers are sometimes responsible for the killing of humans who stray into their forest home there are more villagers killed each year by wild boar, snake bites, sloth bears and leopards than tigers, and tigers rarely consume the flesh of the humans they have killed, unlike some of the other animal killers. Preventing the deaths of the humans who risk their lives collecting firewood is therefore just as important to keeping wild tigers safe as ensuring that any snares or traps are disabled and any poisoned carcasses are removed or burnt before tigers fall foul of these ill devices. Winter, is thus the second busiest period for tiger poaching or poisoning after the monsoon so our patrollers need to be extra vigilant despite the cold and challenging conditions.

As winter ebbs away towards the middle of February, our patrollers will once again face the challenges brought about by the onset of drought conditions and another increase in human-tiger conflict. There is never really a time of year when anti-poaching patrols are facing a challenge to keep wild tigers safe, so we are always grateful for their dedication and bravery. We can 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 isn’t just about removing traps and snares, it is equally important to inform the villagers about the consequences of their actions for both the wildlife and themselves. Many are unaware of these consequences, so our patrollers talk to them about other ways to protect themselves and their families, without inflicting harm on the forest or its inhabitants. It is, after all, these people who live with wild tigers who will have the greatest influence on the prospect of wild tigers having a wild future. We continue to maintain our community focus with all our wild tiger conservation efforts: 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. This gives the villagers a dependency on wild tiger survival. Providing a uniform and full equipment for one patroller costs just £123 ($160) but provides employment for up to 20 people plus the patroller, which means that at least 21 people and their families need wild tigers to survive to ensure their future livelihoods. So, when we say that all donations, no matter how large or small, really can make a big difference to saving wild tigers you’ll appreciate why. We hope that with matched funding available on #GivingTuesday some of you will be able to help us give wild tigers a wild future: https://goto.gg/34704.

Some of you may be looking for a Christmas gift for that someone special who loves wild tigers, 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 wish all our supporters in the USA a happy Thanksgiving for this Thursday; and to thank you for sparing the time to read this newsletter and for your continued amazing support and donations. We would like to wish all those who celebrate it a very Merry Christmas and happy New Year. 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 on #GivingTuesday your donations will have an extra impact due to bonus matched funds from GlobalGiving too.

Tiger at the waterhole
Tiger at the waterhole

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A young male tiger at the water's edge
A young male tiger at the water's edge

The monsoon season is drawing to a close with thunderstorms and showers now a rare occurrence. Over the next few months tigers and the other wildlife which share their forest home will face much cooler drier conditions with early morning mists blanketing the lush greenery of the post monsoon forest. The early morning mists make it a little easier for wild tigers to sneak up and ambush their prey but it also means that life is a lot more for the anti-poaching patrollers who risk their lives to keep wild tigers safe.

Thanks to the donations we received from online and offline fundraising during the monsoon we were able to patrol at 83% of planned patrolling levels. A shortfall in fundraising meant that we had to reluctantly reduce our patrolling by 17% during peak poaching season. As always happens, during the heavy monsoon rains, there are casualties in the wild tiger, human and other wildlife populations. These deaths arise from a variety reasons including snake bites, old age, and drowning of weaker or infirm animals in the localised floods which result from the sudden surge and overflow of replenished rivers.

Sadly, we have to report the deaths of eight tigers during the 2019 monsoon period. The oldest tigress in Bandhavgarh was the first to die as her body weakened by old age and failing limbs (suspected arthritis) in July. A few days later we received news of three more tiger deaths as a tigress sought to defend her cubs from an intruding male lost her life in the fight and her male cub also died close by from the wounds inflicted by the male. The female cub was rescued by forest department officials who arranged immediate treatment by a vet and housed the cub in a specially designed enclosure to allow her time to recover. In a separate incident, a young sub-adult male tiger was bitten by a venomous snake and died a few hours later. Further bad news arrived just a few days later when the rescued female cub also died from the wounds inflicted by the intruding male. It had been a bad start to the monsoon period with five tiger deaths in a matter of weeks.

Things didn’t really improve as we moved into August with the discovery of another young cub abandoned by his mother and dead in the undergrowth. It was difficult for the patrollers to determine why his mother had left him behind, maybe he was unwell or maybe he was just weaker than his siblings and couldn’t keep up with them. As September arrived, and the heavy rains became more sporadic, we received reports that one of the older tigresses in Bandhavgarh hadn’t been seen by the patrolling teams for quite a few weeks, she had left her two cubs whilst she went off to hunt but hadn’t returned, not wishing to lose any more tigers the forest department decided to rescue the cubs and put them in an enclosure where could learn vital hunting skills by killing easier prey. The search for their mother continued and a few days later her skeleton was discovered in the think undergrowth, cleaned by the vultures, she had obviously died a few days or possibly a week earlier. The final reported tiger death came when we received news that a tigress had died near to a river which had burst its banks, she was a young tigress and is thought to have struggled to cross the river as a sudden swell caused a fierce current as she tried to cross.

It is always sad and difficult to receive and report so many tiger deaths in such a short period of time, the only consolation is that the deaths were not due to illicit poaching or poisoning activities.

Now we must prepare for the challenges presented by the cooler post monsoon weather, as summer turns to winter. Yes the weather is much drier in winter but it is much colder too. Our anti-poaching patrollers can put away their waterproof clothing for a while and turn to study warm boots and warm jackets to protect them from the early morning and night time cold. They also need to be extra vigilant in the early morning mist as visibility is reduced so spotting wild animals including tigers lurking in the undergrowth is more of a challenge. At this time of year, our patrollers are always grateful for the alarm calls sounded by the langur monkeys high in the trees, especially the panicked alarm call which alerts the monkey troop to the presence of a leopard on the move. Leopards present a greater risk to both humans and monkeys because they are much better at climbing trees, than tigers, when in pursuit of their prey.

Peak poaching season may be drawing to a close, but it doesn’t mean our patrollers can relax, quite the contrary in fact. During the monsoon rains the plants and grasses in the jungle have flourished but so have the crops in the villages too. Wildlife doesn’t distinguish between the jungle and human habitat so human-animal conflict often increases when the fields are filled with crops of rice, fruit, vegetables, sugar cane and other grain crops too. The herbivores often see these crops as food for them and indulge themselves at the farmers’ expense. This can lead to traps and snares being set around the villages to prevent crop raiding wildlife, but where the prey ventures the predators, including tigers, will follow. These traps and snares are both illegal and indiscriminate but it doesn’t prevent them being laid. Prior to the establishment of our anti-poaching patrols many tigers, young and old, fell victim to these snares and traps even though their purpose was to prevent wild boar and deer, etc., from raiding the crops. For this reason, we utilise local intelligence in our patrolling network to discover which villages and farms have been most affected by crop raiding, loss of livestock, etc., as these are the villagers who are most likely to take retaliatory action against the wildlife which they see as a nuisance. In the last few weeks, our patrollers have been mobilised to search around the perimeter of two villages where we had received information that snares and traps had been laid. Our patrollers were quick to ensure the removal of these traps and snares before any tigers or other wildlife fell victim.

It isn’t just about removing the traps and snares, it is also as important to communicate with the villagers about the consequences of such traps and snares for both the wildlife and themselves. Many are unaware of the consequences of their actions, so our patrollers talk to them about other ways to protect their crops and livestock, from their wild neighbours, without inflicting harm. It is, after all, the people who live with wild tigers on their doorstep who will have the greatest say as to whether wild tigers will have a wild future. For this reason, we have always had a community focus with all our wild tiger conservation projects: we recruit our anti-poaching patrollers (and other workers) from the local villages, use local suppliers to make their uniforms, equipment and the food which our patrollers eat whilst on duty. This way the villages are dependent on the wild tigers for income from other sources which sustain their wellbeing too. Providing a uniform and full equipment for one patroller cost just £123 ($165) but can provide employment for up to 20 people https://goto.gg/34704 plus the patroller, and that means that at least 21 people and their families need wild tigers to survive to ensure that their work will continue into the future. When we say that all donations can really make a big difference to saving wild tigers, no matter how large or small the donation is: https://goto.gg/34704, we hope that you can see why.  

We want to end this newsletter on a positive note because it isn’t all bad news for the wild tiger numbers in Bandhavgarh. In the four and a quarter years since we established our first of its kind buffer zone anti-poaching patrols (established 01 July 2015) we have seen the number of wild tigers in Bandhavgarh double, we have eliminated wild tiger deaths from retaliatory poisoning and have seen a 96% reduction in wild tiger poaching, which gives us the confidence that our community focussed projects are getting it right. As we have said previously, we are eternally grateful for the bravery and ingenuity of the men and women who are the Tigers4Ever anti-poaching patrollers and who risk their lives each day to ensure that wild tigers are safe. As we don’t receive any grants or government funding, we are entirely dependent on the generosity of our supporters, people like you, to keep our patrols protecting wild tigers.

Thank you for sparing the time to read this newsletter and for all your amazing support and donations. We know that Christmas is on the horizon for many of you now, so it is always difficult to ask, 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.

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

Tiger cubs playing in a tree
Tiger cubs playing in a tree
A Chittal (Spotted Deer) in a lush meadow (vah)
A Chittal (Spotted Deer) in a lush meadow (vah)

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Tiger cubs learning how to defend themselves
Tiger cubs learning how to defend themselves

The drought season is almost over with heavy monsoon rains expected any day. With the rains will come new problems for our patrollers to address: it is harder to spot the tracks of would be miscreants because the heavy rains wash these away quickly; the patrolling vehicles aquaplane in the surface water and mud; visibility is down to very few metres (about 6 feet) in heavy rainfall so the risk of wildlife encounters increases; lightning fells trees blocking tracks and roads whilst endangering life too; and if that isn’t enough to contend with it is peak poaching season too! It isn’t all bad news though, wild tiger numbers in Bandhavgarh have almost doubled in the 4 years we have been conducting our patrols, so we must be getting something right, especially with poaching and retaliatory killings on the increase elsewhere….. 

We’ve already had some heavy pre-monsoon rain making visibility difficult for our patrollers in June, none the less they are on high alert because all kinds of miscreant activity increases in the lead up to and during the monsoon period. Once again, our patrollers found evidence of encroachment into protected tiger forest habitat from the villages in the buffer forest around Bandhavgarh, this has been detailed and reported to officials in the forest department who will take steps to reverse the encroachment and reclaim the land. Newly planted areas of the previously denuded forest were also showing signs of cattle encroachment which is having a significant impact on the recovery of the forest. If we can double our patrols during the monsoon period we will be able to monitor this more closely to catch the culprits in the act. To ensure that we can double our patrols we need to raise £2268 ($3040) to cover our additional costs during the monsoon period starting right now, if you feel able to help please donate now at: https://goto.gg/34704 all amounts will help our quest no matter how large or small the donation.

Wild tiger numbers have almost doubled in Bandhavgarh during the time whilst we have been helping to give wild tigers wild futures there, this has been helped significantly by cub mortality rates which have seen almost all cubs born in the last 3 years surviving to adulthood. We recently received news about the patter of even more tiny tiger paws when one of the tigresses in the buffer forest gave birth to five cubs. This brings the number of cubs in pristine tiger habitat to 41, with more cubs expected soon as we’ve received plenty of reports of tigers mating over the last few months. It will be a challenge for both the mother (of the 5 cubs) and our patrollers to keep them safe throughout the monsoon period, but a challenge which our patrollers are ready for. We are delighted to say that the all the females with cubs living in the areas where Tigers4Ever has constructed permanent wildlife waterholes are doing well and the cubs are growing up quickly. You can read more about our waterhole project progress here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/water-for-bandhavgarhs-tigers/reports/#menu. It really has been a bumper year for tiger cub survival in Bandhavgarh, which means that our patrols now have many more than 100 wild tigers (including cubs) to protect from harm.

Just this week, our patrollers found some discarded metal wire on a tiger trail, thankfully it wasn’t a snare, but it reaffirms why we need to be extra vigilant at this time of year. It isn’t uncommon during the monsoon period for villagers to set traps to catch wild boar and deer which come to the villages to raid the food crops, sadly these snares and traps can be indiscriminate and have killed tigers and leopards in the past. As a matter of course, our patrollers scour the periphery of the villages in and around the buffer forest searching for these ill devices and those who have laid them. With over 70 villages to check, this is no easy task, especially during the heavy rains of the monsoon. Our brave patrollers are not deterred by the challenge, they even scour through the tangled lantana bushes looking for traps and snares, and patrol along the power lines which transect the forest looking for signs of tethered snares. Canes and head-torches are invaluable equipment during these searches, as available light is low which results in poor visibility and an increased risk of the patroller stepping into a trap intended to kill a wild animal. We are eternally grateful for the bravery and ingenuity of the men and women Tigers4Ever patrollers who risk their lives each day to ensure that wild tigers are safe. Did you know that it costs us just £123 ($165) to provide a patroller with full uniform and equipment (including vital head-torch, spare batteries and cane) which usually lasts for up to 3 years?If you would like to help us to provide vital equipment for our patrollers, please donate now at: https://goto.gg/34704 every little helps.

For those of you who have been following the progress about our Senior Anti-Poaching Patroller, Ravi, who was beaten up by poachers towards the end of 2018, he is still receiving specialist treatment for his injuries at a hospital in Jabalpur. We know that like us, you wish him a speedy recovery and hope that he will be fit, healthy and back protecting Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers again as soon as he is able.

Before we close, just a little reminder that peak poaching season is already upon us. We are already on high alert, and we are trying to double our patrols for the duration of the monsoon period. Elsewhere, the poachers have started early, with more than 7 tiger deaths reported already this month. This news is devastating in its own right but when we think about the 41 small cubs who could so easily be orphaned if their mothers were to be poached, the impact just doesn’t bear thinking about! We’ve already asked our patrollers to be on high alert for new miscreant or suspicious activity and tethered snare traps, it is now with some urgency that we therefore ask if you could spare £20/US$26, or more if you can afford it, after reading this report to ensure that we can double our patrolling before the poachers strike in Bandhavgarh: https://goto.gg/34704. We really want to ensure that the 41 plus tiny tiger cubs grow up safely; and that their parents are around to protect them whilst they grow. Your donation will help us to pay a team of brave patrollers to protect wild tigers for a day and will give you the satisfaction of knowing that you are making a real difference today. It is more than 21 months since the last tiger was poached in Bandhavgarh which together with our record of 48 months without a retaliatory poisoning is a great achievement on the part of our patrollers. We hope that we can raise sufficient funds to keep this exemplary record going.

I can’t sign off without thanking you all for your continued amazing support and donations, which enable us to give wild tigers a wild future. I know that many of you will have holidays/vacations to pay for right now, so if you can’t donate £20/US$26 right now, please feel free to donate whatever you can afford, every little really does make a big difference. Finally, I would like to thank you again on behalf of the wild tigers, which we are keeping safe; on behalf of the patrollers we are keeping in work (and their families who have food on the table). I would also like to thank you on behalf of the wider tiger community in Bandhavgarh, which benefits from providing food/uniforms/equipment for our patrols and from the safety/education advice given by Deepak, Prahlad, Vidya, Ravi and our patrolling team.

Patrols need to check tiger waterholes for snares
Patrols need to check tiger waterholes for snares
Tiger cubs struggle to survive without mothers
Tiger cubs struggle to survive without mothers

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Young tiger who had entered a house to get food
Young tiger who had entered a house to get food

Firstly we would like to wish those of our supporters who will be celebrating Passover and Easter a happy and peaceful time. It is hard to believe that we’re already into April, where has 2019 gone so far? It has been a busy first quarter of the year with a great deal happening both in India and the UK in respect of wild tiger conservation, with the building of another Tigers4Ever waterhole which brings the number of tigers with permanent year-round water, funded by Tigers4Ever, in Bandhavgarh to 32.

Next we would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported our Anti-Poaching Patrols projects (our first project: https://goto.gg/28767 and this (2019) project https://goto.gg/34704) over the last 16 months. Your tremendous support has enabled us to keep Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers safe from poachers’ snares and traps for 562 days. Not only that, we are delighted to say that our record of working with the communities around Bandhavgarh, who have lost livestock and relatives in tiger attacks, has meant that it has been 1416 days since the last wild tiger died due to a retaliatory poisoning. We couldn’t do this without your valuable support in raising awareness and kind donations.

It is sometimes easy to delight at the significant increase in adult tiger numbers since we started our buffer zone patrolling (the first of its kind in the whole of India), to almost double the number when we first started work in Bandhavgarh; but we must be aware that all of these tigers need space and prey if they are to continue to thrive at their current rate. Tiger-tiger conflict has become more apparent in the last 3 years and it is no longer limited to conflict between males who are vying for the title of “Alpha Male”, but it is also between females who are desperate for enough territory to provide sufficient prey for their offspring. Only last year, the Rajbehra female, star of the BBC documentary “Dynasties” was fatally wounded in a territorial fight with her own daughter, Solo.

Inevitably, tigers are being pushed to the very periphery of their pristine forest habitat and into areas of human habitation, with this there is an increase in incidence of human-tiger conflict. Only a few weeks ago, our patrollers were alerted to such a situation whilst checking around the periphery of a village for snares and traps, they learnt that a tiger had killed a cow and entered a villager’s house. Clearly, this was a very dangerous situation for both the villagers and the tiger. Our patrollers went to investigate the situation further and came face to face with the guilty tiger as she lay in the grass a few metres from the house digesting her meal. In such situations, there is always an increased risk of a retaliatory response against the tiger by the aggrieved villagers. Our patrollers needed to act quickly to diffuse the tension and ensure that the tigress could return to the forest safely. Thankfully, the situation was resolved without harm to the young tigress, our patrollers or any of the villagers, but it is a reminder to us that our patrollers constantly risk their lives to keep wild tigers safe. We are grateful for the sterling efforts and bravery of the men and women who make up the Tigers4Ever Anti-poaching Patrols.

Now we must prepare for the onset of the monsoon season, which is also peak poaching season so we would like to double our patrols to address the increased threat to the wild tigers. At present, we cannot do this, as fundraising is behind target, but if we can raise £2500 over the next 6 – 8 weeks, we will hopefully be in a position to increase our patrols when the tigers need the most protection. If you are able to help in any way, please donate at: https://goto.gg/34704, if you can help on a regularly monthly basis GlobalGiving are currently offering 100% matched funding on new monthly donations at month 4, so if you sign up to donate £10 or $10 monthly by month four your donation will be worth £50 or $50 instead of £40 or $40. Please consider adding Gift Aid to your donation if you are a UK taxpayer, every little really does make a big difference in saving wild tigers, thank you.

We know that this is an expensive time for everyone and appreciate that you may not have much to spare right now, but if we can get 125 of our supporters to donate just £20 (US$26) each over the next few weeks, we will be able to double our patrols protecting wild tigers during the peak poaching season. If you can help us to give these precious wild tigers a safer wild future, even the smallest donation can make a huge difference. All donations, however large or small, will help to keep wild tigers from perishing at the hands of humans.

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

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1 of the orphaned cubs in a Tigers4Ever Waterhole
1 of the orphaned cubs in a Tigers4Ever Waterhole

Firstly we would like to wish all our supporters a happy and peaceful new year. It is hard to believe that 2018 is already over and we’re already into the third week of 2019, so much has happened with the wild tigers and with Tigers4Ever over the last twelve months.

From January to March 2018 we had to deal with increased incidence of human-animal and tiger-tiger conflict due to the early onset of severe drought in Bandhavgarh; whilst operating with a 17% reduction in our Anti-Poaching patrols due to a lack of funding. In the same period we managed to install a solar-powered bore-well to provide permanent year-round water for the 3 orphaned cubs. We also started work on a second waterhole which is used by up to 9 different tigers, some of which appeared in the BBC wildlife documentary “Tiger Dynasties” which aired in December in the UK and just last weekend on BBC-America. This work was completed by the beginning of April and harmony was restored as wild tigers and other wildlife stayed out of the villages as their natural waterhole has been replenished by water from underground sources.

Funds were still tight in the second quarter of 2018, so patrolling continued with a 17% reduction, we had to do this so that we could increase patrolling during the monsoon period which is peak tiger poaching season throughout India, due to the washing away of human tracks which makes tracking poaching activity so much harder. It was quite remarkable, therefore, that there were no tigers killed by poachers or poisoners during the first 6 months of 2018. Our patrols, manage to maintain this because of the way they deal with miscreants when they find them in the forest and by the communication they have with the villagers so that they are left with no doubt that miscreant activity will not go unchecked.

The biggest impact of our lack of funds came in May and June when we had to reduce the number of education packs we could distribute to the poorest children in the villages most impacted by human-animal conflict by over 56%. The consequence of this was we could only distribute education packs to the children in 2 villages instead of 3; and we needed to reduce the number of education packs provided for the pop up schools in the remotest poorest villages by 70%. June also saw a visit from GlobalGiving to each of our project sites to verify the work we are doing and assess the impact on the tiger community. Thankfully, by the start of the monsoon in July, we were able to increase our patrolling by 240% and maintain this increase throughout July, August and September. This was only possible thanks to the amazing help we have received from supporters like you.

October saw the anniversary of the last tiger poaching case in Bandhavgarh, which had left 3 orphaned cubs, which survived with our help including the provision of a permanent year-round water source for them. November saw Tigers4Ever start work on another major waterhole in Bandhavgarh, providing a solar-powered borehole pump and dry-lined core waterhole at the site of the Rajbehra dam featured in the BBC Tiger Dynasties programme. This waterhole helps to sustain the lives of up to fifteen tigers, including seven tigers which were featured in the programme, and appear in our 2019 Calendars. Work on this waterhole was critical as natural water sources had run completely dry in each of the last 3 years leading to repeated incidents of human-animal conflict in the villages which surround Bandhavgarh. We were delighted, therefore, to see the work on the solar-powered borehole pump completed before the end of December, the final stages will be completed in the coming weeks, and we are delighted to hear that there is currently plenty of water in the waterhole for tigers and other wildlife. We are also delighted to report that in the final quarter of 2018 we were able to complete our patrolling at normal levels in each of the three months; and that it is now 1 year and 111 days (476 days) since the last tiger poaching incident in Bandhavgarh. It is 3 years and 7 months since the last case of retaliatory tiger poisoning in Bandhavgarh, too, which is quite an achievement for our patrollers.

On a sour note, Ravi (name changed for anonymity), a senior Tigers4Ever Anti-Poaching Patroller, was brutally attacked and hospitalised, by a gang of poachers, at the beginning of December. Ravi sustained a fractured skull and nose together with broken ribs and multiple bruises during the attack. He spent most of December in hospital and had to be moved to the nearest large city some 400 miles away for treatment at a specialist hospital. Whilst Ravi was in hospital, times were quite hard for his family due to the increased burden of his medical bills. We are delighted to say that Ravi is feeling much better now, and although he still has some pain in his wounds, he returned to his duties as a Tigers4Ever Anti-poaching Patroller last week. Ravi is a true hero for the wild tigers.

For January 2019, we have kept the patrolling at optimum levels, but this is currently under review as we may need to reduce our patrolling again over the next few months to ensure that we will be able to patrol during the monsoon peak-poaching season this year. Much will depend on the funds we manage to raise over the next few weeks. We know that this is an expensive time for everyone and appreciate that you may not have much to spare right now, but if we can get 80 of our supporters to donate just £20 (US$26) each over the next few weeks, we will be able to keep our patrols protecting wild tigers at optimum levels for the next three months. Throughout 2018, our Anti-Poaching Patrols helped to keep Bandhavgarh free of poachers’ traps; and we hope to continue this success throughout the whole of 2019, but we cannot do this without funds to keep our patrols in the field.

If you can help us to give these precious wild tigers a safer wild future, even the smallest donation can help: £10/US$13 can provide 3 hot meals each for 2 patrollers whilst they are on duty, whilst £38/US$50 will help to provide transport and fuel to get a team of 6 Anti-Poaching Patrollers to their patrolling area for the day/night. Your donations help us to feed & pay the patrollers, they also help to provide a safe haven for our patrollers, transport, fuel, and any vital equipment which needs replacing. Transport and fuel are vital for our patrollers who help to protect 1598 square kilometres (993 square miles) of precious tiger habitat. All donations, however large or small, will help to keep these brave men and women protecting wild tigers from perishing at the hands of humans.

We have also reduced the price of our 2019 Calendar which is available from our website at: http://www.tigers4ever.org/onlineshop.html at £5.00 plus post & packing each. This beautiful A3 full colour calendar contains 14 original images of the tigers your donations are helping to protect plus details of how our work helps to make a real difference for wild tigers. We think this would also make a perfect gift for a special someone in your life who loves wild tigers.

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

Bandhavgarh Tigress & 4 Tiny Cubs
Bandhavgarh Tigress & 4 Tiny Cubs
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Organization Information

Tigers4Ever

Location: Warrington - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Tigers4Ever2010
Project Leader:
Corinne Taylor-Smith
Dr
Warrington, Cheshire United Kingdom
$30,812 raised of $33,000 goal
 
498 donations
$2,188 to go
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