Goa Wildlife Census Shows Tiger Presence

Evidence of at least three tigers’ presence has been found in Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries during the ongoing wildlife census in the state by forest department officials.A forest department official said tiger faeces was found at Surla and Nandran, in the Mollem National Park in the thickly-forested eastern part of Goa, 80 km from here.”We also found pug marks of a tigress near the Anjunem dam, located near the Goa-Karnataka border,” a forest official said, requesting not to be named.

The official said the pug marks found at the Anjunem dam catchment area indicated that a tigress had passed by the water’s edge along with two cubs.The development is a shot in the arm for green activists who have been lobbying for Goa’s forest areas being declared as tiger reserves.However, no forest department official is willing to come on record to acknowledge the development.According to noted wildlife expert Rajendra Kerkar, there’s a reason for the forest department’s silence.

“There has always been proof that tigers are there in our forests. But the forest department has been consistently denying the presence of tigers because they are hand-in-glove with the mining lobby,” said Kerkar, who recently exposed tiger poaching in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary.

Kerkar said if the Mhadei, Netravali, Cotigao and the Bhagwan Mahavir sanctuaries were declared tiger reserves, illegal mining near these green havens, secretly endorsed by the several powerful politicians and allowed by the forest department, would have to immediately stop.Goa’s Rs 6,000 crore open cast mining industry rings the state’s forests in the north and eastern parts which border with Maharashtra and Karnataka.

According to Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar, nearly 20 per cent of the Rs 40 million ore exported from Goa comes from illegal mining.



National Zoo: Rare Oryx, Extinct In Wild, Born

The National Zoo says a scimitar-horned oryx has been born at its conservation center in Virginia — the zoo’s first such birth in 13 years.Oryx are extinct in the wild. They are known for their curved horns that can be several feet long.

The female calf announced Wednesday was born April 9. She is the offspring of 3-year-old mother Jena and 13-year-old Dr. Bob.
The zoo is renewing efforts to breed the oryx, a type of desert antelope. There are now 16 of them at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal and one at the zoo in Washington.

How Did Rare Pheasants Die At Himachal Centre?

Conservation officials are in a bit of a tizzy in Himachal Pradesh. With two fully grown Western tragopans dying within a week of each other, a project to breed the critically endangered bird has received a setback.One female Western tragopan died three days ago, while the other died last week at Sarahan pheasantry, 160 km from state capital Shimla. Officials say bacterial infection caused at least one of the deaths. There are now 11 pairs left for breeding at the pheasantry.

“Two fully grown Western tragopans died at the Sarahan pheasantry. The latest one was female Western tragopan, which died while laying eggs three days ago,” Chief Conservator (Faunal Diversity and Protected Areas) Sanjeeva Pandey told IANS.He said the female bird was infected with Escherichia coli bacteria, while the other one died due to some internal injuries. The Western tragopan is the state bird of Himachal Pradesh.