By Dr. Corinne Taylor-Smith | Project Leader
A young male Tiger alerted by a calling Tigress
Thank you for your incredible support for our Anti-poaching Patrols throughout the 3 months. Your generosity has helped us to continue with triple patrolling as the new standard and increase to quadruple patrolling for 2022 monsoon. Without your kindness this would be impossible. With increased patrolling we’re able to give the growing wild tiger population the best protection we can currently provide.
A lot has happened in a few short months
- Our Board of Trustees approved 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.
- We increased our anti-poaching patrollers’ wages by 14% to help them cope with post pandemic rising costs.
- Our fuel and transport costs to ensure our patrollers reach the remotest parts of the forest have also increased as fuel prices soar.
- Visits to remote patrolling camps showed that many are in a poor state of repair, lack vital equipment and in some cases lack basic equipment. Urgent help is needed for more than 250 of these camps, so we plan to set up a dedicated project to help address these needs.
- Waterproof clothing and waterproof boots are desperately needed by almost 300 anti-poaching patrollers, as those provided by Tigers4Ever in 2014 have now warn out with age and use.
- Wild elephants have attacked and even destroyed some of the patrolling camps! At least 250 powerful, rechargeable flashlights are urgently needed to protect the patrollers on night-watch duties.
- During the monsoon months, snakes become much more active and each year kill 7+ people including forest patrollers. Rescue kits to safely remove and relocate snakes from patrolling camps, schools and other buildings are essential for preventing these deaths. In 2015, Tigers4Ever provided 3 of these kits and training for the forest patrollers responsible for snake rescue and relocation. More rescue kits are now needed.
- Both tigers and leopards have increased their hunting of domestic livestock in recent weeks which in turn increases the risk of human-tiger conflict and poaching activities.
- Three tigers have died as a result of tiger-tiger conflict as habitat pressures persist.
We’re trying our best to keep our costs down, where possible, but some increases are beyond our control. These new costs are now reflected as suggested donation amounts in our anti-poaching patrols project profile page: (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/saving-bandhavgarhs-wild-tigers/).
The Heavy Monsoon Rains are Late
The drought season has persisted for much longer this year in Bandhavgarh. The heavy monsoon rains which normally arrive by 01 July are still awaited! This is very worrying as natural water sources haven’t been replenished and rice crops in the villages are on the brink of failure. Strangely, the temperatures have dropped from the searing heat of May and June, which is normally something which happens when the rains arrive! There is a fear that the monsoon will fail in 2022 as heavy rains have been experienced further North and East of Bandhavgarh but the desperately needed rainfall is yet to arrive in the forest and surrounding villages.
Villagers prepared their rice paddy fields by mid-June in anticipation that the rains would arrive, now the rice crops are all but failed which will have a huge economic impact on both the farmers and consumers. Ultimately, this will also impact the tiger forests as people search for food and other resources to eat or sell, taking the scarce resources which wild animals desperately need for survival! We only hope that the heavy rains arrive soon otherwise many more crops will fail, rivers, streams and lakes won’t replenish and the lives of many animals will be threatened by the shortages of food and water.
Our patrols are always on high alert at this time of year due to the increased risk of poaching and retaliatory poisonings. Sadly, when peoples’ livelihoods suffer due to pandemics, droughts, floods, etc., it always seems to be the forest and its inhabitants which bear the brunt of consequential actions! Our wildlife waterholes are proving critical in fighting both human-wildlife and Tiger-Tiger conflict as water shortages persist. (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/water-for-bandhavgarhs-tigers/).
After Six Long and Hard Years
In 2016, we provided waterproof clothing to protect the anti-poaching patrollers from the heavy monsoon rains. After 6 years of constant use throughout the monsoon seasons, this equipment has finally worn out. We were asked in June 2022 if we could get replacements and new waterproof boots for almost 300 anti-poaching patrollers who had no of these. This is essential equipment and was needed urgently so the patrollers continue to work in the rain. The waterproof boots are knee high so they also protect the patrollers against fatal snake bites in the field. Thanks to your generosity we were able to equip 200 of the patrollers with new waterproof equipment and boots at the beginning of July. In the meantime we continued to fundraise to provide equipment for the rest.
We also learnt in June that a number of patrolling camps have been attacked by wild elephants in recent weeks, striking fear into the patrollers inside these vital watch posts which provide somewhere to rest between shifts. Many of the remote camps have no electricity and when wild animals attack at night the patrollers cannot see where the dangers lie. As a result we were asked to provide 250 powerful handheld rechargeable flashlights for use in and around these camps so the patrollers can see what dangers are lurking around them. We were able to provide 50 of these flashlights by the beginning of July which is a start but we now need to raise £5355 (US$6855) to provide the rest of the waterproof clothing, boots and flashlights, which are desperately needed. If you are able to help, please donate whatever you can afford at: https://goto.gg/28767 where even the smallest donations can make a huge difference.
Thanks to a kind and generous donation from our new (for 2022) corporate partners from the TigerChi Community project on the GlobalGiving July Bonus Day (20 July), we have already placed orders for waterproof clothing and boots for the remainder of the anti-poaching patrollers. We have also ordered a further 40 of the powerful rechargeable flashlights for the remote patrolling camps. If we can raise £3030 (US$3875) quickly, we can ensure that all the remote patrolling camps have high powered rechargeable handheld flashlights at a time when they are needed most: https://goto.gg/28767.
On days when the monsoon rains are heavy, there is less than 10% of the normal light in the forest making patrolling duties much more dangerous as wild animals and poachers move around secluded by the low light. Although we have provided powerful waterproof head-torches for our anti-poaching patrols to aid their patrolling in the darkness and gloominess, they do not have the illumination range of the powerful flashlights. We are always grateful that these brave men and women risk their lives patrolling the forests to keep wild tigers safe, so we want to do whatever we can to improve their safety whilst on duty. Your donation of just £20 (US$26) at: https://goto.gg/28767 can help us to buy one powerful flashlight and keep a patrolling team safe.
Global Tiger Day (International Tiger Day)
Since 2010, the world has celebrated the existence of wild tigers each year on 29 July. At the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit, it was decided that 29 July annually would become known as Global Tiger Day or International Tiger Day, and would be celebrated each year thereafter. Tigers4Ever was founded in June 2010 by people with a lifelong passion for saving tigers in their natural habitat. At Tigers4Ever, we have always treated every day like Global Tiger Day because with your help we have been giving wild tigers a wild future since June 2010 and we believe that is something worth celebrating.
If you have read some of our recent project reports on our waterhole project, education project or earlier reports about our anti-poaching patrols, you will know that we’re eagerly awaiting formal confirmation of the current wild tiger numbers in Bandhavgarh from the latest census. Details are due to be released at the 2022 Tiger Summit in September, but we know that Bandhavgarh has seen a baby boom over the last 2.5 years, that cub survival has dramatically improved since we introduced our anti-poaching patrols in July 2015, such that wild tiger numbers have dramatically increased. We are certain that the objective in 2010 to double the wild tiger numbers was achieved in Bandhavgarh by the end of 2018, now we eagerly await confirmation of how many more wild tigers have wild futures in the forests of Bandhavgarh, today!
Patrols Always on High Alert
More tigers is great news for successful conservation work, but it also has a downside too because poaching gangs still seek to profit from killing of wild tigers and selling their skins and body parts. As a result, we can never relax and celebrate our successes without ensuring that we protect the increased tiger population from increased threats. Our anti-poaching patrollers are recruited from villages around Bandhavgarh so they know the locals well, which helps to reduce the risk of strangers (poachers) entering the forest unnoticed and keeps our patrols are on high alert when they encounter unfamiliar faces. This is something which has become more 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, as the forest now is a source of income for many more people.
As wild tiger poaching increased across India over the last 3 years, our patrols have needed to be on high alert constantly. Traditionally the monsoon season always sees an increase in poaching activities, so our patrolling has been quadrupled to counter the increased risks. This is something which wouldn’t be possible without your kind and generous support. In May this year, our patrols received a stark reminder of the dangers they face when 3 policemen were killed by a gang of blackbuck poachers in nearby Guna district. Such incidents remind us that whilst India recovers from the economic impact of the pandemic, the risk of the poorest most desperate families turning to poaching for an income is high. We know that many trap laying poachers 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.
Making a Difference
This is why our quadrupled patrolling, which enables us to protect an extra 1000km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory, is vital right now. Without your support, it would be impossible, so thank you on behalf of the wild tigers we’re keeping safe. If you can support our anti-poaching patrols today, please donate at: https://goto.gg/28767 so we can keep patrolling throughout the years to come.
Increased patrolling is vital during the monsoon, when heavy rains slow down both our foot patrols and patrolling vehicles. Our patrols need 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 also helps us to curb the impact of 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 in the last 2.5 years, we have so many more wild tigers to keep safe now. We need your help to make this possible. Your gift today, however large or small can make a huge difference as to whether Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers can survive the daily threats to their very existence:
- Your gift of £20 ($26) will help us to provide a powerful rechargeable flashlight for patrollers at a remote patrolling camp to share.
- A gift of £25 ($32) will help us to pay a patrolling team for a day
- A gift of £30 ($39) will provide hot nutritious meals for a patrolling team for a day whilst they’re on duty
- A gift of £45 ($60) 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 help us to provide powerful rechargeable flashlights for patrollers at 5 remote patrolling camps to share
- A monthly gift of £12 (US$18) 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$18) 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$18) monthly in month 4 we will receive an extra £12 (US$18) 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).
Wild Tigers & Essential Patrolling Equipment
A wild Tiger showing who is king of the road