New specialized programs to protect wildcats are aiding ranchers to conserve forest habitat and authorities to track poachers


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service International announced this week a new program in Central and South American to safeguard jaguars by offering specialized programs and aid to ranchers. Known as Jaguars Forever, instruction is given to ranchers on how to peacefully co-exist with jaguars, how to prevent their livestock from being prey and provides some ranchers with compensation for agreeing to conserve forests.

Thanks to the program, jaguars are being viewed as less of a problem and more as a source of pride.


The Kali Tiger Reserve

Kali leopards

Helped by nearly 500 camera traps placed in strategic spots, the forest officers at Kali Tiger Reserve have been able to zero in on poachers and protect the animals in their care.

With 43 anti-poaching teams working round-the-clock and aided by state-of-the-art technology, the reserve is an inspiration to others and won a state award for its outstanding contribution to wildlife conservation.

“Our camera traps have helped us track several poachers over the years. Only last year we caught three poachers with weapons. But the camera traps also help us understand wildlife. For instance, we have got some 300 photographs of black leopards, which we are currently processing to arrive at the exact number of these big cats in the reserve,” said a forest officer.

The forest officers use android handsets with an app named “Huli,” allowing them to maintain data on real time basis of animals through direct sightings, pug marks, scrapings, scent marks, and scant. The data is directly saved on the server in Dandeli and any officer can log in at any time to retrieve it.

In addition to providing conservation educational programs for children, the department began a new elephant camp in the Phansoli range to help with patrolling and to promote tourism. It also relocated around 80 to 100 families living in these forests by paying them a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each about $22,000US. “It is a win-win situation for both the tribals and wildlife,” the officer noted.

The Kali Tiger reserve is home to tigers, leopards, black leopards, wild dog, jackals, elephants, gaur, sambar deer, sloth bear, and many other species.

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