Water for Bandhavgarh's Tigers - Reducing Conflict

by Tigers4Ever
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Water for Bandhavgarh's Tigers - Reducing Conflict
Water for Bandhavgarh's Tigers - Reducing Conflict
Water for Bandhavgarh's Tigers - Reducing Conflict
Water for Bandhavgarh's Tigers - Reducing Conflict
Water for Bandhavgarh's Tigers - Reducing Conflict
Water for Bandhavgarh's Tigers - Reducing Conflict
Water for Bandhavgarh's Tigers - Reducing Conflict
Water for Bandhavgarh's Tigers - Reducing Conflict
Water for Bandhavgarh's Tigers - Reducing Conflict
Water for Bandhavgarh's Tigers - Reducing Conflict
Water for Bandhavgarh's Tigers - Reducing Conflict
Water for Bandhavgarh's Tigers - Reducing Conflict
Water for Bandhavgarh's Tigers - Reducing Conflict

Project Report | May 21, 2024
Dealing with Wildlife Conflict

By Dr. Corinne Taylor-Smith | Project Leader

Male Tiger in Small Waterhole
Male Tiger in Small Waterhole

It is hard to believe that almost 5 months of 2024 have already passed, as things have been so busy for Tigers4Ever in both the India and the UK. The increased number of wild tigers in Bandhavgarh still concerns us as the pressures on their fragile don’t go away. The burgeoning human population continues to grow at a phenomenal rate as does the infrastructure which keeps development at the forefront of India’s challenge. Fighting to keep wild tigers safe is more and more about habitat protection with each passing day. As we reported in January, the 4-fold increase in human-wildlife conflict continues to keep our anti-poaching patrols and Indian based team very busy. Whilst, here in the UK we have added another 5 new members to our team of dedicated volunteers, to help us cope with the increased workload and demand for new help for the wild tigers. As many of you know already from our previous conservation reports, the primary purpose of our wildlife waterhole project is to reduce both human-wildlife conflict and tiger-tiger conflict. Something which has become a 365 days per year 24 hours per day requirement now.

Before going on, I must thank you for your continued tremendous support for our vital efforts through what have been some incredibly challenging times. Thank you, we couldn’t do a fraction of what we do without your loyal support.

Solar Borewell Pump Repairs

In our January report we told you how winter had hampered our progress with waterhole repairs and new construction due to near freezing temperatures and dense fog which reduced visibility to less than 100 metres (328 feet) and made work conditions too dangerous in the dense jungle habitat. The brave workers have to work where wild tigers, leopards, wild dogs and bears roam freely so they need good visibility around them so they can protect themselves when necessary. All our workers rely on the jungle alarm calls from the monkeys, birds and deer as an early warning system so that they can move to safety when a predator approaches, however, when the langur monkeys can’t see the ground for dense fog their alarm calls aren’t sounded early enough, and our brave workers could lose their lives! Such delays were incredibly frustrating especially as human-tiger and tiger-tiger conflict is still rising.

Thankfully, February brought warmer sunnier weather which enabled the engineer to visit all our waterhole sites and assess the damage and repairs needed for each. Repairs at our Kisanhai and Kamtagarhi Har waterhole sites were the first to be completed thus restoring normal wildlife water levels within a few hours at each. These waterholes are in an extremely dry terrain and are vital for the wild tigers, birds and other animals in the area as seasonal streams and rivers run dry before December ends. Unfortunately, more significant repairs were necessary at the Sukhi Patiha, Rajberha, Mahaman and Arharia waterhole sites. Drilling equipment to flush the borewells and additional labour was needed. Holi, the marriage season and the national elections impacted the availability of both labourers and the rangers who stand guard to protect them whilst they work. Thankfully, we managed to complete repairs to the borewell pump system at the Sukhi Patiha waterhole as the Tendu and Mahua picking season commenced. This was critically important not only because it is the only wildlife water source for miles, but it is also the only source of water to quash forest fires which frequently occur when mahua pickers set fire to dry leaves beneath mahua trees to promote the dropping of the mahua flowers.

This week we have contacted a second drilling company to assist with the flushing of the borewells at the Arharia, Rajberha and Mahaman waterhole sites and the drilling of a new borewell at the Bhainsmooda site (see below) where we hope to complete our next waterhole project. The usual supplier has been unable to get the drilling equipment on site for the past few weeks, so we needed to activate our contingency plan to get this work done before it is too late. The total cost of the repairs for all these waterholes including elephant proofing the solar arrays at the Arharia and Rajberha waterhole sites exceeded our two-year budget for waterhole repairs of £3000 ($4050) and left us with a shortfall of almost £900 ($1215) to find. If you are able to help at all, all donations however large or small will be most welcome https://goto.gg/34315.

A New Waterhole

As previously mentioned, the essential repairs outlined above won’t impact our next wildlife waterhole project in the Dhamokhar Buffer (Bhainsmooda) as we already have funding set aside for this project. The impact will be on future waterhole projects including the one proposed in the Kithauli Core Zone, which we hoped to start after finishing the Bhainsmooda waterhole. We have also received a request this week to put a solar-powered borewell pump at a seasonal waterhole in the Pachpedi core area of Bandhavgarh. We have agreed to do this as part of the current repairs and construction project and still hope to complete work in the Kithauli Core Zone before the onset of the monsoon rains. It will be quite a challenge because of the labour and drilling equipment issues but we will do our best to ensure that we can complete both the Dhamokhar and Kithauli waterhole projects before the monsoon.

Fundraising continues to be challenging in the current cost of living crisis, but we are doing our best to seek alternative sources of funding too. As the number of wild tigers in Bandhavgarh has quadrupled since 2010, the need for both forest rehabilitation (native tree and native grassland planting) alongside a need for more wildlife waterholes increases daily. Tiger-Tiger and Human-Wildlife conflict incidents are frequent every week now, sometimes even daily. As a result, we have had to expand of reduction of human-wildlife conflict projects into solutions other the wildlife waterholes since our last report. Permanent wildlife waterholes are still one of best ways of ensuring adequate prey for wild tigers and reducing Tiger-Tiger conflict, they also help to reduce the wildlife conflict which results from herbivores raiding human crops, but they don’t stop predators which have become habitualised cattle raiders from entering the villages and hunting livestock. Alternative solutions are needed to curb this, and the damage caused by elephant raids.

We reported in January that India had 181 wild tiger deaths in 2023, the highest number for 15 years and a 50% increase on 2022. Fourteen of the 181 wild tiger deaths were Bandhavgarh tigers with 5 young adults dying whilst trying to migrate to new territories and 9 dying due to increased Tiger-Tiger conflict. The situation since the start of 2024 makes grim reading too, with 10 of the 57 reported wild tiger deaths in India being from Bandhavgarh. Again Tiger-Tiger conflict has claimed these lives, further proof that drastic action is essential! We want to increase wild tiger territory and even create protected wild tiger corridors so young adults can safely disburse but the new territories will also need water and much more funding than we can currently raise. Since the beginning of 2024, we have been talking to small businesses and corporates about planting trees to offset their carbon footprint and grant funding bodies to hopefully kickstart our 4-year tree planting project soon. In the meantime, our attention will turn back towards fixing the remaining 3 solar pump systems, plus the request for help in Pachpedi, and completing our 20th wildlife waterhole in the Dhamokhar buffer at Bhainsmooda.

Cattle lifting by wild tigers has also peaked in the last six months, which has increased human-wildlife conflict. When the same herdsman or village suffers repeated losses week upon week, this conflict escalates too. Tigers4Ever has worked hard for almost 14 years to both increase compensation amounts for loss of life and loss of livestock and to improve the speed at which compensation for losses is paid. Something which is important in both mitigating the losses and reducing the risk of retaliatory poisoning; but it doesn’t remove the problem which is why more permanent wildlife waterholes and habitat restoration are vitally important! Thebest way to reduce human-wildlife conflict is to reduce the need for wildlife to enter the villages and vice-versa.

Pilot Solar Powered Lighting Project

The increase in cattle predation plus the threat to human lives has meant that young and old tigers have been condemned to spend the rest of their lives in captivity, which is not a situation we would wish on any wild tiger. To curb these nightly animal intrusions into the villages to kill livestock (tigers and leopards) and raid crops (elephants) we trialled solar powered street lighting at the edges of the forest where they meet the 10 most at risk villages. A similar initiative has reduced human-tiger conflict in parts of the Sundarbans. The effects of the installation at the 10 most vulnerable villages in March have been so positive that we have installed 10 more solar powered streetlights in another 10 locations, this week, to reduce human-wildlife conflict. So far there have been no intrusions by tigers, leopards or elephants into any of the villages where solar street lighting has been installed by Tigers4Ever. This is not only good news for the humans, but it is good news for the wild tigers too. The solar powered street lighting is helping to reduce the risk of retaliatory poisoning and the risk of wild animals being captured and sent to zoos. Good news all around. Your kind donations make wildlife waterholes and other projects to reduce human-wildlife conflict, like these possible and help us to fight the effects of climate change on wild tigers too. Without your help we will be unable to provide more safe forest homes for disbursing young wild tigers. https://goto.gg/34315.

More Waterholes are still Needed

To sustain the growth Bandhavgarh’s wild tiger population, more permanent wildlife waterholes are needed in areas which can support both prey and predator dispersal. More than 10 locations have been identified and work is underway to determine the availability of underground water sources for solar pump systems and sites suitable for future rainwater harvesting projects.

This will be a major challenge for Tigers4Ever as more providing so many wildlife waterholes right now when they are needed, whilst fundraising is so challenging. Your support and donations continue to be vital to ensuring that our waterholes project (https://goto.gg/34315) can address this need as soon as is possible. We need to raise at least £18000/$23750 to provide 3 medium sized waterholes and we need 10+ which will cost at least £60000/$79200! With funding we can mobilise local labour, but without this it will take time.

The best way to reduce Human-Wildlife conflict is to prevent the prey animals and their predators from going to the villages in search of water and food. Thus, we prioritise our permanent wildlife waterhole projects, every year, as the drought season takes hold. We hope to provide permanent wildlife water sources at least two more locations before the end of the current financial year, which will bring the total number of Tigers4Ever waterholes completed to nineteen (serving 23 locations). When we complete these waterhole projects, the number of wild tigers benefitting from Tigers4Ever waterholes will increase to at least 110.

Imagine if 250 of you could read this report and donate just £10 ($13) per month each, we will raise enough funds to provide 2 more waterholes in just 4 months which would be amazing: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/water-for-bandhavgarhs-tigers/?show=recurring. It would be fantastic if we could do this now so that we can create wildlife waterholes at two more seasonal sites and benefit even more wild tigers and their cubs before the monsoon arrives.

Permanent wildlife waterholes are critical to prevent future tiger-tiger and human-animal conflict, which arise from increased wild tiger numbers, and better cub survival rates. There are currently more tiger cubs (70) in Bandhavgarh than the total number of wild tigers (37) counted in the 2010 Tiger Census, when Tigers4Ever started work there. One waterhole isn’t enough to reduce the conflict caused by wild tigers encroaching on the territories of other tigers and humans, so we need your help to provide at least 2 more waterholes soon, before it is too late for the wild tigers and other wildlife: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/water-for-bandhavgarhs-tigers/.

Our Challenges Ahead  

We need to keep wild tigers safe right now. Our anti-poaching patrols are tripled to address the risk of retaliatory poisoning and poaching. We need your help to complete 2 more waterhole projects soon so we can keep another 16 wild tigers including cubs safe.

Your donations will help us to save wild tigers by funding the following:

- £10 ($13) per month for a year will help to drill 12 metres (39 feet) of bore-well to access underground water;

- a one-off £20 ($26) gift will help to drill 2 metres (6.5 feet) of bore-well to access underground water;

- a one-off £40 ($52) gift will help to drill 4 metres (13 feet) of bore-well to access underground water;

- £90 ($117) can pay a team of workers to prepare a site for a new waterhole for wild tigers;

- £120 ($169) can cover the cost of labour and preparation of a 1.5 metre wide by 1.5-metre-deep elephant proof moat to protect a solar-pump system;

- £2000 ($2600) will enable the creation and lining of one larger waterhole.

Every donation, no matter how large or small, helps us increase and protect the tiger population. Thank you on behalf of the wild tigers, which you help us to keep safe; and on behalf of the wider tiger community in Bandhavgarh, which benefits from providing equipment and labour for our waterhole projects. We couldn’t do this without you, thanks to you, the wild tigers can live peacefully and those who live beside them can protect their livelihoods.

All donations are welcome https://goto.gg/34315.

If you can’t afford to donate perhaps you could become a Tigers4Ever fundraiser, here: https://www.globalgiving.org/dy/v2/fundraisers/start/?fundraiser.projids=34315 and ask your friends, colleagues and family to donate to your fundraiser to help us keep wild tigers safe.

Villages like this one sit within the Forest
Villages like this one sit within the Forest
Wild Tigers are Good Swimmers too
Wild Tigers are Good Swimmers too

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Feb 2, 2024
Time to Renew and Build

By Dr. Corinne Taylor-Smith | Project Leader

Oct 11, 2023
Monsoon Rains and Wildlife Conflict

By Dr. Corinne Taylor-Smith | Project Leader

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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
$42,582 raised of $48,500 goal
 
535 donations
$5,918 to go
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