A busy year for foresters as wild animals venture into city
   Date :30-Dec-2021

By Kaushik Bhattacharya :
AS debates on man-animal conflict kept dominating the social space, Nagpur city and district remained in limelight in 2021 for different developments and issues in wildlife. The Forest Department was busy throughout the year handling poaching cases in Nagpur district. Forest teams arrested many poachers and seized body parts of tiger, leopard, pangolin etc. Similarly, Nagpur city, this year, experienced many incidents of wild animals entering residential areas which created panic among citizens. Man-animal conflict claimed many human and wild animals too in the district. Tigers killed more than 35 persons in Maharashtra this year, the highest in a year over the past decade. Similarly, the State lost more than 18 tigers, more than 46 leopards to poaching since 2018. Reshuffling at higher level in the Forest Department also took place this year.
Gorewada Zoo named after Balasaheb Thackeray Though the newly constructed Gorewada Zoo came into existence in the era of BJP-led State Government, the year 2021 witnessed the name change of the zoo as the existing Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray decided to named it as ‘Balasaheb Thackeray Gorewada International Zoological Park’.
The zoo faced shutdown due to pandemic at the beginning of the year but after its opening the Indian Safari received tremendous response from visitors. Herbivores arrive at Gorewada zoo from Delhi In the first major animal exchange with zoos outside Maharashtra, the Balasaheb Thackeray Gorewada Zoo, received herds of blackbuck, albino blackbuck, sambar and barking deer from National Zoological Park, New Delhi. The Gorewada zoo received 10 blackbucks, 10 albino blackbucks, 4 sambar and 20 barking deer from Delhi zoo. 2 tigresses, 2 sloth bears shifted from Gorewada Management of Balasaheb Thackeray Gorewada International Zoo shifted two tigresses and two sloth-bears (one male, one female) to National Zoological Park, New Delhi, under the exchange programme following approval by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA). The animals were caged and sent to New Delhi under the guidance of Dr Shirish Upadhyay, Dr V M Dhoot, Panchbhai and H V Madbhushi, ACF. PTR receives prestigious CA/TS accreditation On the occasion of International Tiger Day, the Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) received the prestigious Conservation Assured/Tiger Standards (CA/TS) accreditation from Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). The accreditation is given for meeting a set of standards for effective conservation of big cats. Sunil Limaye is new PCCF (Wildlife) Sunil Limaye, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife-West) took over the charge of Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) (PCCF).
He was promoted in the place of PCCF (Wildlife) Nitin Kakodkar. Limaye is an IFS officer of 1988 batch. Limaye is the only one with two species named after him, the jumping spider Jerzego Sunillimaye and a lizard named Cnemaspis Limayei. He is also the former Director of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in Mumbai. Three arrested for smuggling Pangolin scales A team of forestmen arrested three persons for smuggling of pangolin scales from Fulzari road near Hivara village of Paoni Forest Range. On the basis of a tip-off, the team detained two persons Prashant Ganesh Chacher (27) and Dilip Mayaram Admane (38). After interrogation, they named another person who was also nabbed lateron. The forestmen found 20-25 numbers of scales of the wild animal in three plastic bags from them. Leopards create panic in Nagpur city The forest teams, this year, were busy in spotting and rescuing leopards that entered city limits. The first incident was highlighted when couple of residents spotted a leopard in IT Park area which was also captured in CCTVs installed in the locality. The forest teams came into action and started search and rescue operation. The leopard was spotted at different places in the city near the Nag river. The forest teams installed cages near Maharajbag zoo and PDKV premises to capture the leopard. But more than a week later no authentic sighting of the leopard were recorded by the team. Similarly, a leopard was spotted by an air warrior in Vayusena Nagar area. Thereafter, joint teams of Indian Air Force and Forest Department conducted search operations in the premises for two days.
Another incident of leopard spotting took place in Ordnance Factory Ambajhari Estate where some security guards noticed the animal. Citizens sight crocodile in Nag river Residents of Gawalipura near Bhole Petrol Pump first noticed a crocodile in the Nag river. People informed Forest Department about the sighting and the videos and photos of the crocodile also got viral on social media. However, the Forest Department failed to spot the crocodile. For the first time, the forest teams spotted the crocodile at the backside of the Maharajbag zoo where they installed a cage and camera traps to rescue the reptile. But, so far the reptile is still elusive from the forest team. Leopard found dead in Hingna A leopardess was found dead in Dabha under Hingna forest range of Nagpur. The carcass was first noticed in an artificial water tank situated in an agriculture farm of Vijay Kakde. As per the sources, the leopardess had fallen in the tank after being chased by a dog. After getting the information, the forest team of Hingna reached the spot. After the first investigation, it looked like death due to drowning.
The carcass was found in a 2.5 mtr tank. The carcass of the dog that chased the leopardess was also found in the tank. Forest Deptt team seizes tiger skin, paws; nabs one from MP A team of Nagpur Forest Division conducted a raid at Bichwasahani village in adjoining state of Madhya Pradesh on Thursday night, and arrested one person on charges of smuggling of tiger’s body parts. The team seized tiger skin, four tiger paws, and a mobile phone from the accused. After interrogation the joint forest team broke the nexus and captured more than 10 more persons from different places of Nagpur district. Similarly, forest teams of Nagpur division seized many leopard skins, paws and other body parts of leopards in different raids. Pombhurna tigress succumbs to injuries The injured tigress that was trapped recently in a pipeline on Chintal Dhaba-Ashta road in Pombhurna Forest Range under Central Chanda succumbed to injuries. The tigress might have sustained injuries on its jaws after chewing a crude bomb used to scare away or kill the wild animal. The feline was brought from Pomburna to Gorewada Rescue Centre on December 24 under the treatment of WRTC. The feline got trapped in the pipeline while crossing the road through it after killing a goat. The injured tigress was initially seen in the fields in Chek-Ashta in Pombhurna tehsil. After noticing the trapped and injured tigress, the villagers reported the matter to the senior forest officials.