There has been increased funding for wildlife conservation efforts in recent years. These funds have largely been spent on "habitat improvement" activities. In the absence of a scientific evaluation of such activities, inappropriate management of landscapes has led to human-wildlife conflicts in certain areas. Moreover, funds are being used for construction of conservation structures, forest roads and planting of exotic tree species without assessing the resulting adverse ecological effects and the gradual degradation in the quality of wildlife habitat.

Tiger conservation took a major hit when senior forest officials found the president of the local Eco (logical) Samiti carrying four tiger paws to the house of a local tantric in order to conduct a special puja in the Chindwara district of Madhya Pradesh.

Mahouts are a specialized class of people with a proud professional background. However, the profession is losing its appeal owing to the dwindling importance of captive elephants. We have assessed their incomes, number elephants, background and human casualties by captive elephants through extensive surveys in three captive elephant management systems - private, Hindu temple and forest department prevalent in Tamil Nadu.

B. Aravind Kumar

Chennai: The State Forest Department will be recruiting nearly 700 frontline staff in the coming months to bolster its conservation efforts, according to Debendranath Sarangi, Principal Secretary, Environment and Forests.

KOKRAJHAR May24: Though the BTC Forest department has taken some steps against illegal felling of trees and encroachment in reserve forests in BTC, the syndromes continue unabated in the eyes of the department. The valuable sal logs are smuggled without much resistance for which the famous reserve forest virtually turns denudated. Depletion of forest also threatens habitat of wild animals.

Kuldeep Chauhan

Thanks to the acute shortage of dedicated forest guards and proper monitoring and surveillance, the Shikari Devi Wildlife Sanctuary here faces threat from active

DIBRUGARH, MAY 16: Insecurity plagues the personnel who are supposed to protect the forests of Dibrugarh Range. The weakness of forest protection machinery is reflected by the strength of the staff. For thousand of hectares of forest land, there are just twenty-two personnel including the Range Officer.

Coimbatore: The zonal conference and state executive committee of the Tamil Nadu Forest Staff Association have appealed to the State Government to increase the manpower to three-fold from the present strength in areas prone to man-animal conflicts.

Forest officials of the Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary in Nuapada district boycotted the tiger census fearing danger to their live as they suspected a large number of Maoists have entered the area.

V NarayanaMurthi | ENS

A SUSPECTED group of poachers hurled petrol bombs and opened 10 to 15 rounds of fire with their country-made guns after the forest personnel narrowed in on them at the Ambur reserved forest area, bordering Tirupattur and Vellore forest divisions on Monday. However, no one was injured.