Winter Challenges Ahead for Our Anti-Poaching Patrols
Your incredible support over the last 19 months enabled us to increase our patrolling to triple standard patrolling during the 2021 monsoon peak poaching season. This was vital as wild tiger poaching is still increasing as the pandemic wanes and the economic impact hits hard. Triple patrolling enables us to protect an extra 1000km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory over and above our June 2020 patrolling levels. We couldn’t do this without your support, so thank you on behalf of the wild tigers we’re keeping safe.
It has been a strange monsoon season this year, In Bandhavgarh, with the rains arriving in May almost 6 weeks earlier than usual and finishing in late September; a full 3 weeks later than seen in each of the last 5 years. Heavy rains always make foot and vehicle patrolling so much harder, it takes at least twice as long to cover the same distances which can be covered in dry conditions. This makes the additional patrolling vital or we could have faced pockets of wild tiger territory we simply couldn’t reach. Poachers capitalise on these wet conditions to lay their snares, traps and baited meat, safe in the knowledge that their tell-tale footprints will be washed away by rainfall and floodwaters. Our patrollers must take extra care too as weather conditions may conceal a trap or snare intended for a tiger or other wild animal, such devices are sadly capable of severing a patroller’s foot. The sturdy wooden canes provided for each of our patrollers are essential equipment for checking ahead for snares or traps.
We’ve heard a lot this year about using drones to aid monsoon patrolling, and yes, these can help to get an aerial perspective of short ranges but they can’t disarm a snare or trap set for a tiger, nor can they spot a concealed snare or trap from the air. As technology improves, it will definitely add to the anti-poaching patroller’s arsenal but as yet it can’t replace those dedicated men and women who risk their lives to keep wild tigers safe.
The prolonged monsoon has brought some different challenges for our anti-poaching patrols as we head towards the colder winter season. The poaching risk was and still is at its highest level. A little over a month ago, we had a sharp reminder of how we must always be on high alert in these testing times when a tigress, mother of three cubs, was poached in a wire snare! The wild future of the orphaned cubs hangs in the balance without their mother’s guidance on the life skills essential for them to survive as wild tigers. Thankfully, within two weeks of the incident the poachers had been identified, caught and charged for the killing. They are now in custody, but other poachers are still at large so we need to be vigilant. In light of the current situation we have decided to maintain our tripled patrolling at least until the end of 2021, which of course will increase our monthly costs to £1507 (US$2140) per month to ensure that the highest level of patrolling is maintained. (https://goto.gg/34704).
Winter Challenges Ahead
We are still fighting hard to improve on our 97.5% reduction in wild tiger deaths due to poaching and poisoning, but incidents like the recent poaching of a tigress remind us that there is still a lot more to be done before we can eliminate these threats completely. In recent years, winter has been bitterly cold in Bandhavgarh, with this in mind we have equipped our patrollers with new sturdy boots, thick socks and warm jackets to aid their patrolling in icy cold conditions. It is strange to think of days at 25°C (77°F) by day plummeting to close to 0°C (32°F) in the jungles of India, but it seems that these temperature extremes are here to stay. The animals have to adapt to these colder temperatures too so it impacts their daily routines making the chance of serendipitous wildlife encounters more likely whilst on patrol. In the winter months 3 hot nutritious meals and hot tea whilst on duty are always welcome for a team of patrollers who have covered around 160 km (100 miles) in a day’s patrolling of wild tiger habitat in freezing conditions. Providing a team of patrollers with hot food and drinks costs as little as £25 (US$36) for a day, but ensures that they are able to keep 160 km (100 miles) of wild tiger territory safe. (https://goto.gg/34704).
Despite the current climate in India, poachers are still active so our patrollers need to be equally active too, if we are to keep the wild tigers and their cubs safe. To ensure that we can undertake our planned increased patrolling until the end of this year, we need to raise a total of £4521 (US$6420) so we can keep this going (https://goto.gg/34704). Despite a slowdown in the new infections from the current wave of COVID19 in India, we know that the economic impact on the wider tiger community is high and so our patrolling will still need to be increased for quite some time too.
As always, our anti-poaching patrols are working flat out to mitigate the risks caused by increased human encroachment levels, in Bandhavgarh, and the increases in poaching activity in both the neighbouring states and Madhya Pradesh. We don’t always get it right as the recent poaching incident has shown, but we always try to learn from our mistakes when the worst happens, and improve where we can. We hope we can rely on your continued loyal support. The only way we can address the increased threat of poaching and retaliatory poisoning is to keep our patrolling at the highest possible levels (triple patrolling) until at least the end of December 2021, when hopefully the current risks will begin to subside.
Something a Little Different
If you follow Tigers4Ever on social media or via our blog you will have seen that we’ve challenged our supporters worldwide to plant a native tree where they live and share details with us using the hashtags #CallToEarthDay and #10000TreesForTigers. We want this to be a prequel to our challenge to restore the Tiger forests of Bandhavgarh which have been ravaged in recent years by a succession of forest fires and the historical problem of illegal logging. We’d like all our supporters to join in if at all possible, the tree doesn’t have to be for tigers per se, unless you happen to live where wild tigers roam, but can be a symbolic tree for someone you have lost during the pandemic, before or since, or to mark a life event. All we ask is that the tree is native to where you live and that you plant it/them before 10 November 2021 and let us know that you have done it. You can find more details here: https://tigers4ever.org/plant-a-native-tree-for-calltoearthday-2021/.
Making a Difference
Right now, thanks to your continued support and with triple patrols, we’re covering an extra 1000 km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory over and above the 1.5 times patrolling we were doing in June 2020. This enables us to spend more time looking for snares; traps and signs of would be poisoners around forest areas where human encroachment is rife. Our 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.
Remember that there have 42 new tiger cubs born since April 2020, so we have a lot more wild tigers to keep safe now. To sustain our increased patrolling, we need your help. Your gift today, however large or small can make a huge difference as to whether Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers will survive these unprecedented threats:
- A gift of £20 ($28) will help us to pay a patrolling team for a day
- A gift of £25 ($36) 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 ($142) 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.
Without our help, we’re certain 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 will 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/34704).