When The Monsoon Rains Arrived Early

A young male Royal Bengal Tiger has found somewhere cool and shaded, he is asleep at the foot of a tree
Sleeping Tiger

Thank you for your amazing support over the last four months; thanks to your help we’ve been able to protect an additional 772 km (483 miles) of wild tiger territory each month. In these testing times, with people desperate for income from any possible source, the additional patrolling is vital. Just a few weeks ago, despite the lockdown measures enforced by the Indian government in response to the latest COVID crisis, our patrollers found an area of forest strewn with evidence of human activities including ropes and wires amongst the hedges. From November 2020 we resumed double patrolling and In April we increased this to 2.5 times normal patrolling to counter the increasing risks to tigers following the forest fires and new lockdown measures. Your donations have helped us to increase our patrolling when it is most needed to keep wild tigers safe.

We are especially grateful to those of you who are making regularly monthly donations as these are helping us to plan our future patrolling as peak poaching season approaches with the monsoon rains: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/protect-bandhavgarhs-tigers-from-poachers/?show=recurring. For those setting up new monthly donations GlobalGiving is adding a 100% bonus in matched funds to your donation on month four, so if you choose to donate £20 ($28) per month not only will your donation help to pay a team of patrollers for one day per month but in month four it will help us to pay them for two days. So if you’re thinking about setting up a regular donation, there has never been a better time to help.

After the Forest Fires

If you’ve not been following our newsletters and blog, you may be unaware of the challenges which the wild tigers and our patrollers faced as forest fires raged the Bandhavgarh’s forests for four days and four nights at the end of the Holi celebrations whilst we looked forward to Easter. We have witnessed some tough times following the fires as poaching and retaliatory poisonings have once again started to increase. During April and May, our patrollers faced some very cold and unseasonably wet weather as the tail ends of cyclones Tautkae and Yaas swept into Bandhavgarh. These cyclones brought unseasonably cold weather and torrential rainfall when baking heat and parched landscapes are the norm for the period known as the nine hottest days. For the animals which were starving due to the lack of vegetation following the forest fires, the rainfall brought some new growth of shoots and grasses to eat. However, these unseasonable rains have brought additional challenges and dangers for our anti-poaching patrollers as visibility is greatly reduced and lightning fells many trees around them. With more than a third of wild tiger habitat decimated by the forest fires and over 35000 animals either killed, maimed or displaces by the flames, the rainfall brings hope of some seed germination and new shoots for the starving prey animals to eat.

Poachers Don’t Stop

Despite the latest COVID19 lockdown measures there has been more bad news coming from India as both pangolin and tiger poachers are stepping up their evil activities. In recent weeks, patrollers have caught multiple gangs of pangolin poachers red-handed with their traps in the Manpur buffer forest of Bandhavgarh; some were promptly arrested and charged on the spot whilst a few absconded so sniffer dogs were deployed to track them and apprehend them later. A carcass of a young tigress was found in the forest by early morning patrols in the same buffer forest. It was unclear whether she had been poisoned but some body parts had been removed leaving the patrollers who discovered her to believe it was the body of a young male. DNA reports from the post mortem, however, indicated that it was an 8 year old female.  Regardless of this mistaken identity, it was still devastating news after 43 months without a tiger poaching incident. It is also a reminder that since the outset of the COVID pandemic that the risk of wild tigers being poached is extremely high. We have already increased our patrolling again to two and a half times the normal levels for this time of year, but with the early onset of the monsoon rains, the risk will increase further and we plan to mitigate the risk with triple patrolling during the monsoon period, subject to raising sufficient funds.

How Triple Patrolling Will Help

By tripling our patrolling (3 times the level of normal patrolling) we can ensure that our patrollers are able to cover and extra 1544 km (966 miles) extra month above normal patrolling levels. This means that we can increase our protection of an additional 772 km (483 miles) of wild tiger territory each month above our current patrolling levels too. With recent news that more than 41 tiger cubs have been born during the lockdown period, increasing our patrolling is now more important than ever as we don’t want to see cubs orphaned or dead because their mother or father fell victim to a poacher’s snare or trap.

As always, our anti-poaching patrols will work around the clock to mitigate the risks caused by increased human encroachment levels and the rising poaching activity in the neighbouring states and Madhya Pradesh. The forest fires increased both tiger-tiger and human-animal conflict so our patrols are doing everything they can to reduce the risk of retaliatory poisonings too, so extra patrols will also help with this. We hope we can rely on your continued loyal support for the wild tigers and their cubs in these challenging times.

Early Monsoon Rains

No sooner had the cyclones of Tautkae and Yaas swept through the forests of Bandhavgarh, then cooler weather came and persisted with the early onset of the monsoon rains. Whilst this is good news for the dried rivers, streams and the ground parched by drought and forest fires, it brings danger and uncertainty elsewhere. It has also held up our work to complete our latest waterhole project as we’re unable to get the drill on site to create the borehole to underground streams as the ground is unstable. We still plan to complete the waterhole at the earliest opportunity when it’s safe to do so. We don’t know yet whether the early monsoon rains will also signal an early monsoon end which could have devastating consequences for wildlife as well as humans.

Making a Difference

With triple patrols, comes greater protection for wild tigers but also increased costs. Our patrols will spend more time looking for snares; traps and signs of would be poisoners around forest areas where human encroachment is rife and poaching gangs are known. Increased patrols also help to curb the dangerous encroachment into the territories of wild tigers, and to provide safety advice for those trying to protect their crops and livestock from wandering elephants and tigers respectively.

Considering the challenges that our patrols and the tigers have faced in the last year, it’s brilliant to report how well the majority of tigers are and how many new cubs have been born increasing wild tiger numbers too. We mustn’t get complacent though, keeping so many wild tigers safe in peak poaching season will be hard, so we need to ask for your help again. Your gift today can make a huge difference as to whether Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers and cubs can survive these increased 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’re certain 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. On 14 July 2021  (09:00:00 EDT to 23:59:59 EDT) (14:00:00 BST – 04:49:59 BST 15 July 2021) GlobalGiving is offering bonus matched funds on all unique online donations over $100 (£76) whilst funds last, so if you are able to make a more generous gift it will have a greater impact, at no extra cost to you, if you act early on that day.

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.

The image is of a previously dry river flowing through the forest. When early monsoon rains arrive dry streams and rivers beds are quickly replenished with water. The surrounding trees and plants become greener too.
River Replenished by Early Monsoon Rains

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Winter Patrolling


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