With a sharp fall in India's tiger population, the ministry of environment and forests has decided to set up special teams to deal with poaching.

The Pench tiger reserve is named after the Pench river which flows from north to south through the park. This river constitutes the district boundary of Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh in the upper region and state boundry with Maharashtra state in the lower region. This area became the 29th tiger reserve of India in 1992.

Canine distemper virus (CDV) infection occurred in captive leopards (Panthera pardus), tigers (Panthera tigris), lions (Panthera leo), and a jaguar (Panthera onca) in 1991 and 1992. An epizootic affected all 4 types of cats at the Wildlife Waystation, San Fernando, California, with 17 mortalities. CDV-infected raccoons were thought to be the source of infection in these cats. Two black leopards died at the Naibi Zoo, Coal Valley, Illinois, and 2 tigers died at the Shambala Preserve, Acton, California.

Two recent raids have proved to be a setback for the lucrative wildlife trade in India. Though enforcement agencies are becoming more efficient, there are many rough edges to be ironed out

The Chinese people may resent the restrictions, but the government has to crack down on trafficking in products from rhinos and tigers or else suffer US trade sanctions.

Modern hi tech methods notwithstanding, the traditional technique of counting tigers from pugmarks remains the most efficient.

The killing of tigers and of forest guards in Ranthambore is the result of a conservation strategy that took away the rights of the local people and made them willing allies of poachers.

Kishorilal not his real name , is 39 and has been a forest guard at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve for 17 years. He spoke to Down To Earth on his experiences:

The third tiger census in three years in Ranthambore may pronounce a verdict on the country's conservation strategy that could send a few heads rolling.

Tiger skins and tiger bones are extremely profitable for everyone involved in poaching, whether through killing or selling.