Sunday, October 30, 2011

Revered around the globe: The tiger

  1. Being the national animal of India and also one of the species that is near extinct worldwide, tiger are also depicted elaborately in Chinese zodiac sign and Buddhist viewpoints. Tigers are enshrined and venerated throughout the world often with awe. They are iconic representation of power and strength, and also a protector of people and nature, a stark combination of natural imbalance fairly at its feet for ground of coordinated existence of our ecosystem.  
The four powerful animals, the tiger, snow lion, mythical eagle and thunder dragon are believed to embody the mind, strength, wisdom and voice of great renown. These quartets also recognized as ta-sing-chung-druk, which are significantly, noticeable on the walls of traditional houses, dzongs, lhakhang and schools, symbolizing four qualities of compassionate spiritual heroes. Perhaps the tiger symbolizes the dignity that derives from meekness: although it can be ferocious the big cat makes its way through the jungle with quiet confidence and unlimited potential energy.
According to the legend related to Taktsang, one of the most holy sites in Bhutan, which literally means “tiger’s lair” or “tiger’s nest”, it is believed that Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) flew to this location, from Tibet on the back of a tiger from Khenpajong, in the 8th century. He then meditated for three months where the monastery was constructed later. The cave is said to be the origin of Buddhism in Bhutan.
Since then, the tradition of Buddhist respect for life and that all things are connected, that all life is to be revered, the Bhutanese people have not hunted wildlife. So today Bhutan’s forest shelter most of the endangered species from most of the Himalayas. Their presence here shows the abundant well being of Bhutan’s environment.
The account of the tiger conservation remains one of the big concerns throughout the world today. In the view of speedy development of the world, providing adequate protection to the wild life, biodiversity is an immense challenge to all of us. With the rise in threat to disappearing tiger many countries in the world have been putting effort to safeguard it from extinction. Of the nine subspecies of modern tiger, three are extinct and remaining six are classified as endangered. While all surviving species are under formal protection, poaching, habitat destruction and fragmentation continue to threaten the species. In the past, the tiger range was spread in Asia, but today’s tiger range is only 7% of what it used to be.
Habitat loss and fragmentation occurs when land is modified for agriculture purposes and land conversion for grazing domestic animals. On the other hand, rapidly growing human population has reduced the number of viable tiger habitats. Prime tiger habitats such as forest and grassland are being converted for agriculture. The adaptation of the land for agriculture purposes create open land, on which may isolate tiger population from one another. In addition to the reduced genetic variability, fragmentation also leads to more aggressive encounter between tigers due to the increased competition for resources and mates.

Poaching is the illegal killing of an animal. Tiger are poached for two main reasons, their threat or perceived threat to wild life and people, and monetary gain. Historically they are poached for fur. Tigers may prey upon agriculture animals and have illegally shot at. However tigers are poached for their bones and other body parts which are in great demand for trade.
 The loss of biodiversity at global, regional, and national level contributes to concern threat. The most important direct driver of forest biodiversity loss continues to be agricultural expansion, forest fragmentation, pollution, and climate change while the most important underlying drivers are population growth.
To conserve wild species that are globally threatened, we need to put our effort together and help the world to identify emerging threats and identify strategies like launching projects basically designed to save tiger habitat, regulating the international trades of tiger, and their parts and international union for conserving the tiger. In addition, educating local people on the need and benefits of conservation are important steps in saving tiger and their habitat. Besides that, research on the tiger in the wild and captivity enables regulatory to make informed, rational decision regarding species conservation and management.
The tigers are important biologically to maintain the overall health of an ecosystem. As a top predator of food chain, tiger helps keep prey population in check. Tiger also have cultural importance. They symbolize beauty and power.
So, the loss of this symbolic cat could lead to a decline of support in maintaining their ecosystem and consequently all other plant and animals species that share it. In order to conserve and bring back the tiger from the brink of extinction, we need a commitment to save tiger, environmental conservation, protect tiger zone and reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss and most outstandingly various endowment, be given strong political supports and strong conservation ethic.
Paro College of Education

25th November

This is the day for us to depart from Vladivostok. After taking morning meal we the delegates from Bhutan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Russia took off from Vladivostok International Airport to Moscow, the capital city of Russia. Yet again we dash from Moscow to Delhi in Russian airline, which took almost nine hours. Morning at 5 a.m. of 26th November we landed on Indra Ghandhi International Airport. After that we have to wait for another 6 to 7 hours for Drukair, the flight to Bhutan. At 12 noon we took off from Delhi to Paro International Airport which took two hours exactly.
So this is the factual narrative and good experiences we came across during our visit to International Youth Tiger Summit held at Vladivostok, Far East of Russia from 18th to 24th of November 2010.

24th November

This is the concluding day of our week long summit. The day started by means of breakfast with emotional disturbance, as some delegates from UK and Russia are parting. The forum was concluded with summarizing and adopting action plan on tiger conservation. Then we had farewell lunch and departure of some delegates from the Sedanko hotel to their country.  Before that organizer arranged some departure cake where all the participants enjoyed and thanked the Russian team. There was song performance by some delegates and all joint for fun. The day seems upset for those leave-taking delegates.

23rd November

The plan on this day was Teleconference with Head of Government participating in the International Forum on Tiger Conservation. The conferencing is scheduled in the evening, because of time differences between two places.  Then in the morning we had breakfast and gathered in the hall for some discussion and rehearsal for teleconferencing. We had a tea/coffee break in the middle of preparation. Then lunch break and carried on our rehearsal till dinner. After dinner we transferred to venue where teleconferencing took place. There all the delegates are wearing their national costumes and preparing for presentation. On the other side media people and organizer are getting ready for video link by connecting wire, checking sounds, making arrangement for microphone and so on…
Than at 8 p.m. we had a teleconferencing, where we presented on youth appeal to the participants of International Forum on Tiger Conservation.

22nd November

This is the day where we had a plenary session on tiger conservation- problem and solution in tiger habitats, and engagement of youth in tiger conservation. We the delegates worked on improving action plan, and presented our project on the youth appeal.
The day set of with morning meal followed by introductory session by WWF Russia team. Then the delegates from all the countries presented their youth outreach project to the crowds, one after another. This youth outreach project was asked to draft before we came to summit. The project developed by tiger ambassador will be carried out after the summit, and the project is guided with the project title, aims, executants, project setting, tool used, expected result, scope and age of audience, action plan and time frame, and partner to work with. The delegates furthermore presented on the status of tiger in each countries, conservation work, initiative and strategies, task, key action and future plan for tiger conservation. Since all the delegates are Youth, our projects were likely to be associated with schools, universities and have something to do on the social networking websites. Although the projects vary from country to country, they all have one common aim. That is to cultivate the idea of tiger conservation in youths. Apart from online activism; powerful off-line movements are also discussed which includes occasional public engaging activities such as competitions, dramas, talks, and games etc… to involve youths at large. At the same time we came up with youth action plane and is as fol

21st November

This is second day trip, new day and fresh hope for learning new things and experiences. As regular the day start on with morning mealtime for an hour. Then we caught the bus and took a trip to Kedrovaya Pad State nature reserve. Then after two hours we got to center office of Barabash village and met with Khokhryakov, Kedrovaya Pad director and staff of the Pad. We had a short introduction with the director and some verbal data and outline information on the protected area. There after half of us went around the Pad, climbing up and sliding down on thick snow ground. Visiting the center land of the leopard (Barabash village) and observing ecological trail and checking of photo trap was fun and cherishing.
Barabash village is one of the oldest reserved found in 1916. It has the area of 1800sqkm and convenient for leopard and tiger habitat. From the area we can see west territory where Amur tiger and leopard stays. According to the survey they said, the reserved has 8-10 tiger and 14 leopards. The reserved is supervised by minister of natural reserve and also supported by WWF Russia.
During our walk in the reserved area we came across rare species of plants and flowers such as Taxus cespidata, Kishmish, Oak tree (has traditional medicine value), Vistis Amurensis (type of grape), poisonous bush, evergreen trees like Pinus Koraiensis and typical trees such as Phethodendron amurens (which has soft bark and medicine value). We are also told about the types of animals found in the area such as wildcat, hare, leopard, wild boar, tiger, eagle, spotted deer, and fezea (bird). It took more than an hour to go around and after that we went for video session on tiger facts inside the office.
The video session is followed by lunch break. Then next visit was located near a highway where animals’ habitat was divided by highway. This causes accidents when the animal needs to cross this road and one such incident took place where female tiger was killed by vehicle travelling at high speed.  Now the reserved people are planning to build a tunnel, so that animals can effortlessly cross to next area.
From the highway we again went far in the jungle where we discovered, deer track, leopard track, wild boar track, rain deer track and tiger track. They said, this is the focused area for tiger habitat and every year scientists carry on studies. Another amazing day is over and we are back to our hotel. Had dinner and worked on internet.

20th November

For a field trip, the delegates are divided into two groups namely:
1.      group O and
2.      group K
Each group will take different field trip alternatively on 20th and 21st of November. The group division is as follows:
Group O consist of delegates from:  Bhutan, Vietnam, India, Thailand, United Kingdom, Myanmar, Malaysia and two from Russia out of four.
Group K consist of delegates from: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Laos, Nepal and two from Russia
Our field trip to conservation of Siberian tiger and its habitat in Far East of Russia has two destination allocated
1.      Kedrovaya pad state nature reserve and
2.      Orlinoe model hunting estate
Our first trip was at Orlinoe model hunting estate. Early at 7:30 a.m. of 20th morning we had a breakfast and at 8:30 a.m. we departed to our field destination led by Russian police force pilot, which was to avoid traffic jam and safety purpose on the way. It was two hours drive through high way, jungle road and hard ice.
We set up our expedition by visiting the feeding station for wild ungulates (main tiger prey).We are familiarize on the area by director of the Orilinoe which includes biotechnology complex created in the reserved to increase the number of ungulates for tiger. We also saw traces of wild board, deer, etc… they explained the kind of food they nourish to those animals like fodder, minerals, soda, iodine, and calcium phosphate. There are 50 feeders that provide for ungulates, two to three times a week and they make available all variety of foods. The reserved is assisted from WWF Russia, like conducting management education and workshop for people, government, hunter and worker.
We also have seen observing tower that is used to overlook for prey base in the area. The area is also designated as hunting area and that is based on payment. The hunters have to get license for hunting in the area after making payment.
We are informed about the census they do for animals in the area that is to maintain constant number of animals all time. After sometime in the feeding station we moved to central office of the Orlinoe where we met with director of the reservation. Than we have lunch and proceed to winter census route, where we find the remaining of a boar that has been killed by a tiger, three to four days ago. The high quantity of prey in the area, guarantees the tigers’ survival in the wild and the prey population moreover matches the density of tigers. On the way to vicinity we profoundly generated lots of discussion, question and answer on trees species, animals, plants, birds species etc…found in the premises. It was exhilarating to see the Siberian Tiger habitat and we took massive pleasure in learning and gazing the scene of the area.
With total involvement in the trip we didn’t notice the time past, by than we have to return to our lodging. As usual we had dinner and working on internet.