Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers

by Tigers4Ever
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Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
Saving Bandhavgarh's Wild Tigers from Poachers
A young male Tiger alerted by a calling Tigress
A young male Tiger alerted by a calling Tigress

Thank you for your incredible support for our Anti-poaching Patrols throughout the 3 months. Your generosity has helped us to continue with triple patrolling as the new standard and increase to quadruple patrolling for 2022 monsoon. Without your kindness this would be impossible. With increased patrolling we’re able to give the growing wild tiger population the best protection we can currently provide.

A lot has happened in a few short months

  • Our Board of Trustees approved Triple patrolling the new standard outside the monsoon period and Quadruple patrolling the new standard during the three months of the monsoon season, for 2022-23.
  • We increased our anti-poaching patrollers’ wages by 14% to help them cope with post pandemic rising costs. 
  • Our fuel and transport costs to ensure our patrollers reach the remotest parts of the forest have also increased as fuel prices soar.
  • Visits to remote patrolling camps showed that many are in a poor state of repair, lack vital equipment and in some cases lack basic equipment. Urgent help is needed for more than 250 of these camps, so we plan to set up a dedicated project to help address these needs.
  • Waterproof clothing and waterproof boots are desperately needed by almost 300 anti-poaching patrollers, as those provided by Tigers4Ever in 2014 have now warn out with age and use.
  • Wild elephants have attacked and even destroyed some of the patrolling camps! At least 250 powerful, rechargeable flashlights are urgently needed to protect the patrollers on night-watch duties.
  • During the monsoon months, snakes become much more active and each year kill 7+ people including forest patrollers. Rescue kits to safely remove and relocate snakes from patrolling camps, schools and other buildings are essential for preventing these deaths. In 2015, Tigers4Ever provided 3 of these kits and training for the forest patrollers responsible for snake rescue and relocation. More rescue kits are now needed.
  • Both tigers and leopards have increased their hunting of domestic livestock in recent weeks which in turn increases the risk of human-tiger conflict and poaching activities.
  • Three tigers have died as a result of tiger-tiger conflict as habitat pressures persist.

We’re trying our best to keep our costs down, where possible, but some increases are beyond our control. These new costs are now reflected as suggested donation amounts in our anti-poaching patrols project profile page: (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/saving-bandhavgarhs-wild-tigers/).

The Heavy Monsoon Rains are Late

The drought season has persisted for much longer this year in Bandhavgarh. The heavy monsoon rains which normally arrive by 01 July are still awaited! This is very worrying as natural water sources haven’t been replenished and rice crops in the villages are on the brink of failure. Strangely, the temperatures have dropped from the searing heat of May and June, which is normally something which happens when the rains arrive! There is a fear that the monsoon will fail in 2022 as heavy rains have been experienced further North and East of Bandhavgarh but the desperately needed rainfall is yet to arrive in the forest and surrounding villages.

Villagers prepared their rice paddy fields by mid-June in anticipation that the rains would arrive, now the rice crops are all but failed which will have a huge economic impact on both the farmers and consumers. Ultimately, this will also impact the tiger forests as people search for food and other resources to eat or sell, taking the scarce resources which wild animals desperately need for survival! We only hope that the heavy rains arrive soon otherwise many more crops will fail, rivers, streams and lakes won’t replenish and the lives of many animals will be threatened by the shortages of food and water.

Our patrols are always on high alert at this time of year due to the increased risk of poaching and retaliatory poisonings. Sadly, when peoples’ livelihoods suffer due to pandemics, droughts, floods, etc., it always seems to be the forest and its inhabitants which bear the brunt of consequential actions! Our wildlife waterholes are proving critical in fighting both human-wildlife and Tiger-Tiger conflict as water shortages persist. (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/water-for-bandhavgarhs-tigers/).

After Six Long and Hard Years

In 2016, we provided waterproof clothing to protect the anti-poaching patrollers from the heavy monsoon rains. After 6 years of constant use throughout the monsoon seasons, this equipment has finally worn out. We were asked in June 2022 if we could get replacements and new waterproof boots for almost 300 anti-poaching patrollers who had no of these. This is essential equipment and was needed urgently so the patrollers continue to work in the rain. The waterproof boots are knee high so they also protect the patrollers against fatal snake bites in the field. Thanks to your generosity we were able to equip 200 of the patrollers with new waterproof equipment and boots at the beginning of July. In the meantime we continued to fundraise to provide equipment for the rest.

We also learnt in June that a number of patrolling camps have been attacked by wild elephants in recent weeks, striking fear into the patrollers inside these vital watch posts which provide somewhere to rest between shifts. Many of the remote camps have no electricity and when wild animals attack at night the patrollers cannot see where the dangers lie. As a result we were asked to provide 250 powerful handheld rechargeable flashlights for use in and around these camps so the patrollers can see what dangers are lurking around them. We were able to provide 50 of these flashlights by the beginning of July which is a start but we now need to raise £5355 (US$6855) to provide the rest of the waterproof clothing, boots and flashlights, which are desperately needed.  If you are able to help, please donate whatever you can afford at: https://goto.gg/28767 where even the smallest donations can make a huge difference.

Thanks to a kind and generous donation from our new (for 2022) corporate partners from the TigerChi Community project on the GlobalGiving July Bonus Day (20 July), we have already placed orders for waterproof clothing and boots for the remainder of the anti-poaching patrollers. We have also ordered a further 40 of the powerful rechargeable flashlights for the remote patrolling camps. If we can raise £3030 (US$3875) quickly, we can ensure that all the remote patrolling camps have high powered rechargeable handheld flashlights at a time when they are needed most: https://goto.gg/28767.

On days when the monsoon rains are heavy, there is less than 10% of the normal light in the forest making patrolling duties much more dangerous as wild animals and poachers move around secluded by the low light. Although we have provided powerful waterproof head-torches for our anti-poaching patrols to aid their patrolling in the darkness and gloominess, they do not have the illumination range of the powerful flashlights. We are always grateful that these brave men and women risk their lives patrolling the forests to keep wild tigers safe, so we want to do whatever we can to improve their safety whilst on duty. Your donation of just £20 (US$26) at: https://goto.gg/28767 can help us to buy one powerful flashlight and keep a patrolling team safe.

Global Tiger Day (International Tiger Day)

Since 2010, the world has celebrated the existence of wild tigers each year on 29 July. At the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit, it was decided that 29 July annually would become known as Global Tiger Day or International Tiger Day, and would be celebrated each year thereafter. Tigers4Ever was founded in June 2010 by people with a lifelong passion for saving tigers in their natural habitat. At Tigers4Ever, we have always treated every day like Global Tiger Day because with your help we have been giving wild tigers a wild future since June 2010 and we believe that is something worth celebrating.

If you have read some of our recent project reports on our waterhole project, education project or earlier reports about our anti-poaching patrols, you will know that we’re eagerly awaiting formal confirmation of the current wild tiger numbers in Bandhavgarh from the latest census. Details are due to be released at the 2022 Tiger Summit in September, but we know that Bandhavgarh has seen a baby boom over the last 2.5 years, that cub survival has dramatically improved since we introduced our anti-poaching patrols in July 2015, such that wild tiger numbers have dramatically increased. We are certain that the objective in 2010 to double the wild tiger numbers was achieved in Bandhavgarh by the end of 2018, now we eagerly await confirmation of how many more wild tigers have wild futures in the forests of Bandhavgarh, today!

Patrols Always on High Alert

More tigers is great news for successful conservation work, but it also has a downside too because poaching gangs still seek to profit from killing of wild tigers and selling their skins and body parts. As a result, we can never relax and celebrate our successes without ensuring that we protect the increased tiger population from increased threats.  Our anti-poaching patrollers are recruited from villages around Bandhavgarh so they know the locals well, which helps to reduce the risk of strangers (poachers) entering the forest unnoticed and keeps our patrols are on high alert when they encounter unfamiliar faces. This is something which has become more important since the pandemic when so many daily waged Indians lost their jobs in towns and cities before returning to rural communities to eke out a living, as the forest now is a source of income for many more people.

As wild tiger poaching increased across India over the last 3 years, our patrols have needed to be on high alert constantly. Traditionally the monsoon season always sees an increase in poaching activities, so our patrolling has been quadrupled to counter the increased risks. This is something which wouldn’t be possible without your kind and generous support.  In May this year, our patrols received a stark reminder of the dangers they face when 3 policemen were killed by a gang of blackbuck poachers in nearby Guna district. Such incidents remind us that whilst India recovers from the economic impact of the pandemic, the risk of the poorest most desperate families turning to poaching for an income is high. We know that many trap laying poachers are just poor people desperate to feed their families; they’re not the ring leaders who facilitate the trade in wild tiger body parts nor do they make huge sums from their heinous acts.

Making a Difference

This is why our quadrupled patrolling, which enables us to protect an extra 1000km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory, is vital right now. Without your support, it would be impossible, so thank you on behalf of the wild tigers we’re keeping safe. If you can support our anti-poaching patrols today, please donate at: https://goto.gg/28767 so we can keep patrolling throughout the years to come.

Increased patrolling is vital during the monsoon, when heavy rains slow down both our foot patrols and patrolling vehicles. Our patrols need sufficient time to search for snares; traps and signs of poisoners around forest areas where human encroachment is rife; and around the periphery of villages where crop raiding and livestock killing is rife. Increased patrolling also helps us to curb the impact of human encroachment into wild tigers’ territories, and allows us to provide safety advice for those trying to protect their crops and livestock from wandering elephants and tigers respectively.

With more than 50 tiger cubs born in the last 2.5 years, we have so many more wild tigers to keep safe now. We need your help to make this possible. Your gift today, however large or small can make a huge difference as to whether Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers can survive the daily threats to their very existence:

  • Your gift of £20 ($26) will help us to provide a powerful rechargeable flashlight for patrollers at a remote patrolling camp to share.
  • A gift of £25 ($32) will help us to pay a patrolling team for a day
  • A gift of £30 ($39) will provide hot nutritious meals for a patrolling team for a day whilst they’re on duty
  • A gift of £45 ($60) 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 help us to provide powerful rechargeable flashlights for patrollers at 5 remote patrolling camps to share
  • A monthly gift of £12 (US$18) per month will help us to pay an anti-poaching patroller for 35 days per year.

Making your Gift Count Twice

Your new online monthly gift of £12 (US$18) per month won’t just help us to pay an anti-poaching patroller protecting wild tigers for 35 days per year; it will also qualify for a 100% match bonus on the first donation amount if you keep donating for 4 months or longer. That means when you donate at £12 (US$18) monthly in month 4 we will receive an extra £12 (US$18) from GlobalGiving to help us save wild tigers. Thus there has never been a better time to start a new monthly donation than now. (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/saving-bandhavgarhs-wild-tigers/?show=recurring).

Without our help, we know 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 can 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/28767).

Wild Tigers & Essential Patrolling Equipment
Wild Tigers & Essential Patrolling Equipment
A wild Tiger showing who is king of the road
A wild Tiger showing who is king of the road

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Forest Fires are a Challenge for Our Patrollers
Forest Fires are a Challenge for Our Patrollers

We were absolutely blown away by your incredible support for our Anti-poaching Patrols throughout 2021. Your generosity has helped us to make increased patrolling the new standard for 2022, which we think is fitting as 2022 is the Year of the Tiger! Thank you so much for making this possible and ensuring that the growing population of wild tigers and cubs is getting the best protection we can currently provide.

For 2022-23 we have made triple patrolling the new standard outside the monsoon period, and with your help we hope to make quadruple patrolling the new standard during the three months of the monsoon season. As with everywhere else right now, some of our core costs have escalated as fuel prices and living costs have increased. Due to this, there will be a few small changes to our project breakdown costs as we are increasing wages for our patrollers by 14% and need to cover the increased transport costs associated with getting the patrollers to the remotest parts of the forest. We’re doing everything we can to keep our costs down, where possible, but some increases are beyond our control.

Each day the temperatures are rising in Bandhavgarh as the drought season takes hold, with it comes an increased risk of spontaneous fires or those caused by human carelessness. Our patrols are always alert at this time of year to the risk of fires, seeking to identify them early and extinguish them before they get out of control. You may remember that in 2021 devastating fires raged through Bandhavgarh at Easter time killing thousands of animals, birds and trees vital to forest ecology. One year on, there are still areas of forest scorched by the fires, devoid of life, needing a breath of new life from seeds dispersed by insects, birds and other animals.  It could take years for the recovery to start, which makes it even more important to protect the remaining forest from new fires.

What we are Doing to Help

Over the last four months we have completed work at three new permanent waterholes for wildlife projects which have restored water in areas of the forest already parched dry by drought. In the last week we’ve also started drilling at a fourth new waterhole site, in an area where human-wildlife conflict and poaching activities have always been a threat to the survival of wild tigers and their cubs. You can read our latest project report on our waterholes here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/water-for-bandhavgarhs-tigers/reports/?subid=188601.

As outlined above, our patrols are helping with the early identification of forest fires to ensure these are addressed and quenched as quickly as possible. Our brave patrollers are well trained in the skills necessary for quenching forest fires and limiting there spread, but every fire where they spend hours fighting takes them away from essential patrolling duties. This is why keeping our anti-poaching patrols tripled is vital for keeping wild tigers and their cubs safe. We were fortunate enough to receive grant funding from the Marjorie Coote Animal Welfare Foundation which enabled us to undertake tripled patrolling this month. This has enabled us to plan forward for our patrolling right up to the monsoon season at triple levels which given the increased risk of forest fires during the drought season is absolutely essential.

It is quite difficult for our patrollers right now, with daily temperatures in Madhya Pradesh already reaching 43.4°C (110°F) some 6°C (11°F) higher than normal for this time of year. With these temperatures set to persist and a 94% reduction in pre-monsoon rains across the state, our patrols will need to exercise caution to avoid heatstroke in addition to the need to prevent the spread of forest fires. All our patrollers are equipped with refillable water bottles which are essential kit right now. Our patrols call at forest department patrol camps, where Tigers4Ever has provided safe drinking water tanks, to refill their water bottles whilst in the field.

The Collection of Forest Produce

With the hot summer months comes the tendu leaf and mahua flower picking season, these are used to make Indian tobacco and Indian alcohol respectively. Villagers enter the forest in droves in the early morning to collect the tendu leaves and mahua flowers, but this is a very dangerous time of day as tigers are more active at dawn and dusk as they hunt whilst the temperatures are lower. Over the last few years, many more villagers have turned to collecting leaves or flowers as a source of income because the pandemic robbed them of their livelihoods. This means more people in the forest and thus a greater risk of human-animal conflict, but it also means that poachers can seize the opportunity to enter the forest under the guise of being tendu or mahua collectors.

It’s not just the collection of produce to sell which drives the villagers into the forest in the drought season; it is the need to feed themselves and their livestock too. As the summer months progress and the land becomes parched, herders take their livestock into the forest to graze, something which can cost the lives of both the farmers and their animals. Just 10 days ago we received news that a villager had been killed by a tiger as he grazed his cattle in the core forest. The farmer had placed himself and his cattle between a tigress and her young cubs. The tigress did what was natural and attacked the man, striking him to the ground with a single blow from her extended claws. His survival chances were slim and he died from the wounds inflicted by her claws.

There are no winners in these situations, the family is left without its main income earner and the angry villagers often call for action against the tigress to prevent future attacks. Education is key to both avoiding future tiger attacks and retaliation against the tiger. Despite the best efforts of our patrollers to give safety advice and the Tigers4Ever safety notices at key entry points in the forest, some villagers choose to ignore the advice and can lose their life.

Local Knowledge Helps

One of the major benefits of recruiting our anti-poaching patrollers from the villages around Bandhavgarh is that they know the locals and have familiarised themselves with the regular collectors over the last 7 years since our patrols began. This reduces the risk of strangers (poachers) entering the forest unnoticed and ensures that our patrols are on high alert when they encounter an unfamiliar face. This is something which has become increasingly important since the pandemic when so many daily waged Indians lost their jobs in towns and cities before returning to rural communities to eke out a living.

Our patrols have been on high alert almost constantly for the last three years as wild tiger poaching has continually increased across the whole of India. Madhya Pradesh, being the Tiger State (with the highest number of wild tigers in India) and Bandhavgarh in particular can be targeted at any time as poachers seek to capitalise on the increase in wild tiger numbers. The economic impact of the pandemic is still being felt in Bandhavgarh, as with many other parts of India and beyond, which will always increase the likelihood of the poorest most desperate families turning to poaching for an income.

We know that many of the poachers who lay the snares and traps are just poor people desperate to feed their families, they’re not the ring leaders who facilitate the trade in wild tiger body parts nor do they make huge sums from their heinous acts. That’s why our new triple patrolling standard, which enables us to protect an extra 1000km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory, is vital. Without your support, this would be impossible, so thank you on behalf of the wild tigers we’re keeping safe https://goto.gg/28767.

Tiger Census

Since our last report, even more tiger cubs have been born so we know that the wild tiger population in Bandhavgarh is still increasing. We eagerly await the results of the latest tiger census which are due later this year; however, our focus right now is on keeping all these additional tigers safe.

This is the Year of the Tiger, in the Chinese zodiac, and there is a lot of momentum gathering as we approach the date set by all 13 tiger countries to double the number of wild tigers at both country and at a global level since 2010. It is anticipated that India will still be home to more than two thirds of the global wild tiger population, which in turn will doubtless increase the poaching demand. One thing is for sure, we cannot assume that our successes to date mean that wild tigers are now safe. They are safe because they are being protected and measures are being introduced to reduce human-tiger conflict. If we stop patrolling, sadly, wild tigers will die https://goto.gg/28767.  

Forest Fires

The mahua season is here and with it comes the increased risk of forest fires. Today our poaching patrols had to quench a forest fire which raged because collectors burnt leaves around the base of mahua trees to aid their flower harvest, and their fires weren’t controlled. These forest fires can continue to burn for days on end, with efforts to extinguish them hampered by changing winds. Where possible our patrols help to create fire breaks to stop the flames in their tracks, but sometimes they risk their own lives helping forest department rangers to beat down the flames as fires spread. Such bravery in saving wild animals and their forest home should not go unnoticed.

The risk of forest fires will be high for the next few months as the forest is parched dry through lack of rainfall and searing heat. Wild tiger habitat cannot afford to be ravaged by fires as there is precious little left. Our increased patrolling will help to identify fires early, create fire breaks and help with extinguishing the fires when needed. This is extra work for our patrols in addition to the regular anti-poaching duties so our decision to make tripled patrolling the new standard will be vital to ensuring the safety of Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers from all the threats they may face. (https://goto.gg/28767)

Making a Difference

Right now, thanks to your continued support and with tripled patrols, we’re can cover an extra 1000 km (624 miles) of wild tiger territory per month. This gives us more time to search for snares; traps and signs of poisoners around forest areas where human encroachment is rife; and around the periphery of villages where crop raiding and livestock killing is rife. It also gives us more time to fight the forest fires which are prevalent at this time of year.  Increased patrolling helps us to curb human encroachment into wild tigers’ territories, and allows us to provide safety advice for those trying to protect their crops and livestock from wandering elephants and tigers respectively.

With over 50 new tiger cubs born since the start of the pandemic, we have many more wild tigers to keep safe now. So we still need your help. Your gift today, however large or small can make a huge difference as to whether Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers can survive these unprecedented threats:

  • A gift of £25 ($35) will help us to pay a patrolling team for a day
  • A gift of £30 ($42) will provide hot nutritious meals for a patrolling team for a day whilst they’re on duty
  • A gift of £45 ($63) 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 monthly gift of £12 (US$17) per month will help us to pay an anti-poaching patroller for 35 days per year.

Making your Gift Count Twice

Your new online monthly gift of £12 (US$17) per month won’t just help us to pay an anti-poaching patroller protecting wild tigers for 35 days per year; it will also qualify for a 100% match bonus on the first donation amount if you keep donating for 4 months or longer. That means when you donate at £12 (US$17) monthly in month 4 we will receive an extra £12 (US$17) from GlobalGiving to help us save wild tigers. Thus there has never been a better time to start a new monthly donation than now. (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/saving-bandhavgarhs-wild-tigers/?show=recurring).

Without our help, we know 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 can 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/28767).

Little By Little Campaign 2022
Little By Little Campaign 2022

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Young Tigers Relax on the Cool Sand
Young Tigers Relax on the Cool Sand

Your incredible support over the last 21 months has ensured that we could keep our anti-poaching patrols at triple standard patrolling levels until the end of 2021, thank you. It has been vital as wild tiger poaching has increased across India and Bandhavgarh can be targeted at any time as its increase in wild tiger numbers is well documented. Bandhavgarh is still suffering from the economic impact of the pandemic, as many other parts of India and beyond are. We’re well aware that many of the poachers who lay the snares and traps are just poor people desperate to feed themselves and their families, they are not the ring leaders who facilitate the trade in wild tiger body parts nor are they the ones making big bucks from their heinous acts. That’s why triple patrolling which enables us to protect an extra 1000km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory is so important. Without your support, this would be impossible, so thank you on behalf of the wild tigers we’re keeping safe.

Tiger Census

It only seems like yesterday when we broke the news that wild tigers in Bandhavgarh had more than doubled since we started our anti-poaching patrols in July 2015, but it’s actually more than three years since that count confirmed what we had hoped to achieve. Right now the 2021 wild tiger census is underway across the whole of India and Bandhavgarh is no exception. We are not anticipating numbers to double again, but we are hoping for another increase when the count results are in. After all 42 cubs were born during the pandemic lockdown and cub mortality has dramatically improved as we have reduced the number of retaliatory poisonings of wild tigers by 97.5% (in the last 6.5 years.

We know that 2022 is the Chinese year of the Tiger, a date set by all 13 tiger countries to double the number of wild tigers before at a country and at a global level. The bad news is that not all countries have seen their wild tiger numbers increase, in some cases where poaching is rife, wild tiger numbers have dramatically fallen, whilst numbers have significantly increased in both India and Nepal. It is unlikely sadly, that the target of 6400 wild tigers globally will be achieved by the 2022 target, and the economic impact pandemic won’t have helped. Nonetheless we eagerly await news of the expected increases in wild tiger numbers in India, and in Bandhavgarh particularly.

Winter Challenges

The weather in Bandhavgarh continues to present new challenges for our patrollers, as early morning mists and fog reduce visibility and make wild animal attacks more likely. Just a few days ago we received a report of a tiger suddenly appearing in the road in front of a young boy and girl on a motorised scooter. The huge male tiger growled aggressively at the youths and it took the youngsters all their courage to stay on board the scooter and make their escape. Imagine how dangerous such a situation could be for our patrollers on foot in the forest. Patroller safety is always at the forefront of our minds, which is why training both on the job and for emergency situations is an integral part of what we do. Some people ask us why we need fuel and transport for our anti-poaching patrols and there are two main reasons why. Firstly, our patrollers cover vast amounts of tiger territory on their daily patrols (on average around 125 km (78 miles) per day) and they are covering an area which is roughly the size of the country Wales (UK) or two thirds the size of the State of New Jersey in the USA, so they need to get to and from their foot patrolling start or finish points. The second reason is patroller safety: there are many possible emergency situations in the forest: freak weather;  snake bites; scorpion stings; bites or attacks by other animals or even people; to name but a few, so we always have a vehicle on hand with an agreed rendezvous point  or alternative escape point in case of need. It costs £38 (US$54) to provide such a vehicle for each day of patrolling, but enables us to transport a team of Tigers4Ever patrollers and Forest Department Rangers who accompany our patrols, as required.  (https://goto.gg/28767).

The fog and mist may conceal a trap or snare intended for a tiger or other wild animal, so our patrollers must take extra care, in these conditions, as such devices are capable of severing a patroller’s foot, too. At such times and during night patrolling, the sturdy wooden canes provided for each of our patrollers are essential equipment for checking ahead for snares or traps, and keeping their feet safe.  Even though the current Tiger Census is maximising the use of technology including camera traps; technology cannot disarm a poacher’s snare or trap set for a tiger, nor can it replace those dedicated men and women who risk their lives to keep wild tigers safe.

The colder winter season always brings some different challenges for our anti-poaching patrols and this winter is no exception with the poaching risk still high. Tiger-tiger conflict continues to increase as sub-adult male tigers leave their mothers and challenge each other and older male tigers for territorial rights. This increases the risk of encounters with aggressive or injured tigers, so again our patrollers must be alert to these extra dangers.

In recent years, winter has been bitterly cold in Bandhavgarh, with this in mind we equipped our patrollers with new sturdy boots, thick socks and warm jackets to aid their patrolling in the icy cold conditions. When the daytime temperatures can reach 25°C (77°F) but plummet close to 0°C (32°F) at night, in the jungles of India, food and drink plays a vital role in maintaining our patrols. The wild animals adapt to these colder temperatures which alters their daily routines and increases the chances of serendipitous wildlife encounters whilst on patrol. We always ensure that all our patrollers get three warm nutritious meals each whilst they are on duty, to help them fight off the cold and maintain their strength during foot 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 at least 125 km (78 miles) of wild tiger territory safe. (https://goto.gg/28767).

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 poaching incident in September this year has shown, but we always try to learn from our mistakes and improve where we can. We hope we can rely on your continued loyal support. (https://goto.gg/28767).

Wild Elephants

One of the biggest challenges for our anti-poaching patrols in recent months is the ever increasing human-animal conflict due to damage caused by and attacks on humans by the wild elephants, which arrived from Chhattisgarh and made Bandhavgarh their home. Our patrollers always pride themselves on being able to give good safety advice to the villagers they encounter in the forest, which helps to keep both animals and humans safe; but the wild elephants cause most trouble by entering the villages, destroying crops and attacking the humans who try to save their livelihood. So our patrollers have to help the villagers with other types of advice, in addition to personal safety advice, including the use of deterrents to reduce the risk of crop raiding/destruction by the wild elephants.

To date there haven’t been any retaliatory attacks or traps set for the wild elephants, but we must always be mindful of the possibility of this changing as a population already devastated by the economic impact of COVID19 suffers further hardship due to human-wildlife conflict.  The only way we can address these risks and those of poaching or retaliatory poisoning is to keep patrolling increased until the risks subside. With this in mind, we hope to be able to maintain our anti-poaching patrols at a minimum of 2.5 times standard patrolling until at least the end of April 2022, when hopefully the current situation will begin to improve. (https://goto.gg/28767)

Making a Difference

Right now, thanks to your continued support and with tripled patrols, we’re covering an extra 1000 km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory when compared to the standard patrolling which we last did in June 2020. This gives us more time to search for snares; traps and signs of would be poisoners around forest areas where human encroachment is rife; and around the periphery of villages where crop raiding and livestock killing is rife. Increased patrolling helps us to curb the dangerous encroachment into wild tigers’ territories, which is still a huge problem, and allows us to provide safety advice for those trying to protect their crops and livestock from wandering elephants and tigers respectively.

With 42 new tiger cubs born since the start of the pandemic, we have many more wild tigers to keep safe now. So we still need your help. Your gift today, however large or small can make a huge difference as to whether Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers can 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 £38 ($54) 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 monthly gift of £10 (US$14) per month will help us to pay an anti-poaching patroller for 35 days per year.

Making your Gift Count Twice

From 13 -17 December 2021 inclusive, your new online monthly gift of £10 (US$14) per month won’t just help us to pay an anti-poaching patroller protecting wild tigers for 35 days per year; it will also qualify for a 200% match bonus on the first donation amount if you keep donating for 4 months or longer. That means when you donate at £10 (US$14) monthly in month 4 we will receive an extra £20 (US$28) from GlobalGiving to help us save wild tigers. Thus there has never been a better time to start a new monthly donation than now. (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/saving-bandhavgarhs-wild-tigers/?show=recurring).

Without our help, we know 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 can 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/28767).

Cubs so Tiny Depend on Mum for Everything
Cubs so Tiny Depend on Mum for Everything

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Tigress with Three Tiny Cubs
Tigress with Three Tiny Cubs

Your amazing support over the last 18 months has meant that we’ve been able to increase our patrolling to three times normal levels during the monsoon peak poaching season this year. Your support throughout these challenging times has ensured that we can protect an extra 1000km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory over and above what was possible in June 2020, so thank you on behalf of the wild tigers we’re keeping safe.

Monsoon Challenges

Each year, the monsoon season brings a set of very different challenges for our anti-poaching patrollers, not just from the increased threat of wildlife poaching but from the weather itself. It is not uncommon for a sudden thunderstorm to knock out the power supplies for days, or lightning to strike down trees which have stood tall, up to 35 metres, (115 feet) and intact for hundreds of years; or rain to turn dry river beds into torrential currents in a matter of moments. Suddenly, the monsoon rains can wash away all matter of sins as human trails are washed from sight. Foot patrolling is hazardous too as snakes and lizards become more aggressive during the monsoon too. Each year, more than a hundred people are bitten by snakes with around 12-15% of these bites proving fatal. Suddenly, it’s not just wire snares and jaw traps which our patrollers need to be extra careful where they put their feet to avoid, it’s cobras, kraits, vipers and monitor lizards too. It is at times like this when we really admire the bravery and skill of our anti-poaching patrols.

The Roads and Tracks are Tricky Too

In a matter of moments, a dry track, trail or road can be overwhelmed by flash flooding, during the monsoon. Patrollers can go from following tracks to wading knee deep in water in a matter of minutes. It is why we always keep an all-wheel drive patrol vehicle at an agreed meet-point should ground conditions render foot patrolling impossible. Even with the most skilled drivers, the flash flooding can cause the patrol vehicles to fishtail too. Our patrollers carry on, determined to keep wild tigers safe, despite the challenging conditions which make their work so much more difficult. One of the biggest challenges of the weather is it slows everything down, foot patrolling is harder, it takes longer than in the dry. Driving is harder, slower and takes a greater toll on both the vehicle and its fuel efficiency too. That’s why we need to do more patrolling cycles to cover the same distances plus extra patrolling to cover those high risk areas where miscreant tracks get washed away.

The Monsoon was Early

This year the monsoon rains arrived 6 weeks earlier than normal, which was quite a surprise, what we don’t know for sure is whether this will also signal and early end to the rains too. The unseasonal rains played havoc with the crop growing in the villages around Bandhavgarh too; so time will tell whether this will also affect crop yields and ultimately increase human-wildlife conflict. Right now our patrollers are dealing with the challenges of rains which come, cause flash flooding and go, with thunderstorms which wreak havoc even without heavy rainfall because of lightning strikes on trees, etc.  Thankfully, our patrollers are well prepared for the challenges the monsoon brings and were equally adaptable to the extra shifts needed to take our patrolling to triple normal levels to minimise the increased risk. The early monsoon may be a sign of seasonal changes due to climate change, or may be an isolated event given that it followed two cyclones in Tauktae and Yaas, again only time will tell. In the meantime we will try to adapt our patrolling around these weather changes and the different challenges and risks each brings.

Poachers Strike Again

With very heavy hearts, we have to report that, despite our increased patrolling efforts, just last weekend the poachers struck again killing one of Bandhavgarh’s most famous tigers the Banvai female. In a brutal case, this beautiful tigress was strangled by a cable around her neck and her body was thrown into an open well. It’s not certain at this stage as the poachers are still at large, whether they threw the tiger into the well to hide their ill deed as they were disturbed before they could harvest what they needed, or whether they killed the tigress as a revenge attack or unintentional target. What we do know is that a precious wild tiger has been lost, the fate of her latest litter is uncertain and the criminals responsible are yet to be caught. We are still fighting hard to improve on our 97.5% reduction in wild tiger deaths due to poaching and poisoning, but incidents like this one remind us that there is still a lot more to be done before we can eliminate these threats completely.

Poachers Still at Large

Extra vigilance is now needed to ensure that further tigers aren’t targeted before these poachers are caught. We will keep our patrols tripled until the end of this month and will assess the risk levels as we enter October, when we currently plan to revert to 2.5 times standard patrolling , however, if the poachers of the Banvai tigress remain at large we may need to keep patrolling at the monsoon triple patrolling levels. If this is the case, we’ll need to raise an extra £260 (US$365) for each month we need to sustain this unseasonal increase. Next week (13-17 September 2021), it is the GlobalGiving Little By Little matched funding campaign when your donations up to £38 (US$50) will receive bonus matched funds at 50% of your donation, making this a great time to help us protect these wild tigers (https://goto.gg/28767).

Little by Little

Tigers4Ever is taking part in the GlobalGiving Little By Little campaign to ensure that we can sustain our increased patrolling as long as these increased threats remain. So if you can help with a small donation up to £38 (US$50) during next week, then your impact will be 1.5 times greater for the wild tigers. If you can afford to donate more, of course this will be most welcome too; and the good news is that your donation will get the matched bonus funds on the first £38 (US$50) too (https://goto.gg/28767).

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 £3960 (US$5620) so we can keep this going (https://goto.gg/28767). 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 and the in poaching activity in 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 do more and better when the worst happens, so 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 (2.5 times or triple patrolling) until at least the end of December 2021, when hopefully the continued 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 18 months.

Making a Difference

Right now, thanks to your continued support and with triple patrols, we’re covering an extra 1000km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory over and above the 1.5 times patrolling we were doing in June 2020. The increase also we can spend more time 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, with 42 new tiger cubs born since April 2020, we have a lot of wild tigers to keep safe. To sustain the increase in our patrolling, we need to ask for your help. Your gift today can make a huge difference as to whether Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers can survive these unprecedented 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 ($139) will ensure that a team of patrollers can cover 125km (78 miles) of wild tiger territory in a day
  • A gift of £500 ($695) 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.

Snare Cable as used to kill the Banvai Tigress
Snare Cable as used to kill the Banvai Tigress

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A young cub keeps careful watch
A young cub keeps careful watch

Can I start this project update newsletter by thanking every single one of you for your amazing support over the last year; we’ve all been impacted in one way or another by COVID19 but you have helped us to undertake double patrolling when it was most needed, despite your own personal pressures. In this time, we have seen India enter total lockdown, resume some sense of normality for its domestic population then spiral into another full lockdown as the third wave of COVID19 claims at least 2000 lives per day.

The wild tigers and our patrollers have experienced some tough times too as poaching and retaliatory poisonings once again started to increase; forest fires raged for 4 days and four nights at the end of the Holi celebrations and as we looked forward to Easter; last week the tail end of cyclone Tautkae whilst this week our patrols are bracing themselves for the impact of cyclone Yaas. These cyclones have brought unseasonably cold weather and torrential rainfall at a time when baking heat and parched landscapes are the norm. The rainfall and cooler temperatures are welcomed by some but bring additional challenges and dangers for our anti-poaching patrollers as visibility is greatly reduced and lightning fells the trees around them. With more than a third of wild tiger habitat decimated by the recent 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 Strike Again

The latest COVID19 lockdown has also brought some bad news as both pangolin and tiger poachers stepping up their evil activities. Just a few weeks ago patrollers caught a gang of pangolin poachers red-handed in the Manpur buffer forest; they were promptly arrested and charged. Then last week, a young male wild tiger was poached in the same buffer forest just a few kilometres from the first incident, sadly the poachers absconded with some body parts from the dead tiger leaving his carcass to be discovered by the morning patrols. This was devastating news after 43 months without a tiger poaching incident and 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 and are currently patrolling at two and a half times the normal levels for this time of year, but we realise with the monsoon season just around the corner that the risk will increase again and we’re already considering triple patrolling throughout the monsoon period, subject to raising sufficient funds.

Despite the current lockdown situation 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 triple patrolling throughout the monsoon peak poaching season we will need to raise a total of £3930 (US$5465) or £700 (US$971) over and above what we raise for two and a half times patrolling. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the current wave of COVID19 in India so we anticipate that our patrolling will still need to be increased post monsoon too.

Making a Difference

As always, our anti-poaching patrols are working flat out to mitigate the risks caused by increased human encroachment levels and the in poaching activity in 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 do more and better when the worst happens, so we hope we can rely on your continued loyal support. The forest fires brought increased incidence of both tiger-tiger and human-animal conflict so our patrols are doing everything they can to reduce the risk of retaliatory poisonings too, meanwhile we are planning to start drilling at our next waterhole project as soon as we can get permission for the team of workers to enter the jungle (as COVID lockdown measures are currently preventing this). This will also help to alleviate some of the conflict issues caused by the displacement of wildlife following the fires.

The only way we can address the increased threat of poaching and retaliatory poisoning is to keep our patrolling at the highest possible levels (2.5 times or triple patrolling) until at least the end of October 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 15 months.

With triple patrols, we can cover an extra 1000km (624 miles) per month of wild tiger territory over and above the 1.5 times patrolling we were doing at this time last year. 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.

Wild Tigers are Amazing

It isn’t all bad news though, one tigress known as Tara has 4 young cubs and despite the forest fires raging throughout and destroying almost her whole territory, she rescued and kept all four cubs safe. Proof in itself that wild tigers are truly remarkable animals and capable of beating the odds if given half a chance. We reported in our last project report that at least eight more tiger cubs had been born and we’re delighted to say that these are all safe and doing well for now.

Your Support is Amazing Too

To implement and sustain another increase in our patrolling, we need to ask for your help again. Your gift today can make a huge difference as to whether Bandhavgarh’s wild tigers can survive these unprecedented 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 ($139) will ensure that a team of patrollers can cover 125km (78 miles) of wild tiger territory in a day
  • A gift of £500 ($695) 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.

Forest Fires Rage on
Forest Fires Rage on
Smoke Fills Bandhavgarh Skies
Smoke Fills Bandhavgarh Skies

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Organization Information

Tigers4Ever

Location: Warrington - United Kingdom
Website:
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Twitter: @Tigers4Ever2010
Project Leader:
Corinne Taylor-Smith
Dr
Warrington, Cheshire United Kingdom
$43,230 raised of $70,500 goal
 
1,009 donations
$27,270 to go
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