Testing Times & New Tiger Cubs

Tigress with four tiny cubs

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

Globally, we are in unprecedented times, the same applies for the wild tigers in India too where human encroachment and human-animal conflict are still at very high levels. Only two weeks ago we received news of a young girl mauled and killed by a wild tiger whilst in the forest in the twilight hours and a tiger which fell into an open well in a village whilst chasing a chital (spotted deer). The latter resulted in a night long rescue operation, at the end of which the young tigress was safely released back into the forest, which was a tremendous relief. Congratulations to all those involved in the rescue operation, a job well done. It does, however, raise the question about making more of these open wells safer to reduce the likelihood of future incidents like this. We have already spoken to another charity with experience in this area, and they are looking into ways in which they can help by erecting walls around the wells or providing some kind of mesh covering to cover the opening.

Our anti-poaching patrols are working flat out to mitigate the risks caused by increased human encroachment levels and the rumours of an increase in poaching activity in the neighbouring states and even in the last week in Kanha National Park (Madhya Pradesh) where a young tigress was killed by a wire snare intended to poach wild boar and deer for their meat. The people from the villages around Bandhavgarh are still suffering from the economic consequences of COVID19 and continue to put their own lives at risk by going deeper and deeper into the forest in search of something to eat or sell, the death and injury toll over the last few months 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.

The only way we can address these issues is to keep our patrolling at monsoon levels (double patrolling) until at least the end of April 2021, when hopefully the COVID vaccination rollout will help to alleviate the economic burden of COVID19, and hopefully the children of the villages will be able to return to school for the first time in over a year.

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.

It isn’t all bad news though, this week we received news that one tigress has 4 new cubs of 4 to 5 weeks old, a second tigress has 3 cubs of around 2 months old and a third tigress has recently given birth but nobody has seen the cubs yet because it is too soon for her to let them leave the protection of the birthing den. We do know that we have at least eight more tigers to keep safe now in addition to all the others.

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 ($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 £500 ($650) 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/28767.

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.

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