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ABOUT US
Tiger Watch is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) registered in Mumbai under the Bombay Public Trusts Act. This organization has, as its primary objective, the conservation and protection of wildlife, at Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan. Mr. F. S. Rathore (Field Director, Ranthambhore National Park, Retd.) along with other prominent conservationist have launched this organization.
Mr. Fateh Singh who was the former Field Director of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve made this park world famous for its Tigers. On his retirement seeing the deteriorating situation owild life in general and the grave condition of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in particular, wished to use his personal and intimate knowledge of the park and contribute
towards its betterment. The NGO Tiger Watch has thus been constituted with the idea of augmenting the resources of the Forest Department to combat various problems faced in the management of this famous Tiger Reserve.
Keeping in mind the above objectives a broad based plan was conceived and the same are broadly classified as below:

 
Objectives and achiements af Tiger wathh

Infrastructure & Capacity Building for the Forest Department
  Vehicles  
  Binoculars
  Cameras
  GPS
  Clothing
  Camping Gear
 
Workshops & Training Programs for Field and Enforcement Staff
  Refresher training in Field Craft & Census Methods
  Workshop on Legal Matters
  Use Of Firearms
  First Aid
 
Direct Emergency Support
  Insurance for Forest Staff
  Drought Relief Measures
  Social Welfare
 
Reduction of Man - Animal Conflicts
  WWF Cattle Compensation
  Wall Project
  Awareness program in villages through Village Fair.
  Moghiya Rehabilitation Program
  Moghiya Education program
 
Conducting Research & Wild Life Monitoring Programs
  Monitoring & Photo Trapping of Tigers
  Study of Exotic Plant Species
  Preybase Analysis
  Snakes
  Butterflies
 
Protection & Anti Poaching Measures, Legal Initiative
  Antipoaching Project
  Legal Initiative
 
 
INFRASTRUCTURE & CAPACITY BUILDING
The forest department in India has been plagued by bureaucracy preventing much required funds to come in time to the field causing delay in procurement of equipment such as vehicles, motorcycles, binoculars etc which are extremely important for patrolling and enforcement. Even essential items such as clothing & camping gear are not provided in time leaving the forest guards with an extremely low morale. In such circumstances to expect commitment and effectiveness in an otherwise thankless job is extremely difficult. In fact this factor has been adjudged as one of the most important factors in the forest departments failure to manage the National Parks of India.
When Tiger Watch NGO was launched, its first task was to work on augmenting the infrastructure of the Forest Department to help them perform their tasks more efficiently and effectively. To uplift the morale of a force that had little or no motivation, it was necessary to deal with the psychological set up of the individual. To deal with these problems the following items were donated directly or were arranged for through donor agencies.
Maruti Suzuki Gypsy 4x4 Vehicle (Funded by Care For The Wild, UK)
Canter Troop Carriers (Funded Global Tiger Patrol)
Motorcycles (Funded Global Tiger Patrol)
Cameras for taking evidence (Funded by miscellaneous donors of Tiger Watch)
GPS for mapping the park (Funded by miscellaneous donors of Tiger Watch)
Binoculars for Patrolling staff (Funded by Care For the Wild, Germany)
Clothing (Uniforms, Boots, etc.) (Funded by Rhino Rescue)
Winter Clothing (Funded by Rhino Rescue)
Miscellaneous Camping Gear (Funded by Rhino Rescue)
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TRAINING PROGRAMS & WORKSHOPS
To simply provide the provide the Forest Department with equipment would be insufficient as the "man behind the machine" was also going to be vital. For this purpose a training program funded by Rhino Rescue Trust was organized. The training period was to be over a month in which experts were called to impart training on the following subjects:
Field Craft (Tracking, Study of Birds/Mammals/Reptiles/Insects, Census methods, Vegetation Etc.)
Workshop on Legal Issues, Study of Wildlife Act, Knowledge on Various Rights of Villagers, etc.
Workshop on interaction with enforcement authorities such as the police and correct/effective methods of filing First Information Reports to ensure a higher rate of conviction, collection of evidence and handling of the same.
Use of Fire Arms
Emergency First Aid
Along with the training Handbooks in the Hindi language on each of the above subjects were given to the participants. Field trips were conducted for hands on training. At the end of the program each of the participants were handed over certificates and a set of clothing. The effect was seen immediately on the morale of the force.
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DIRECT EMERGENCY SUPPORT.
Insurance Scheme:

Even before completing the training program, to uplift the morale of the force and to provide financial security to forest guards who were risking their lives on a daily basis, Tiger Watch felt it necessary to introduce a scheme that would tackle this issue. For this purpose an Insurance Scheme was implemented. The insurance scheme provided financial cover for partial, permanent disablement or in the worse circumstance loss of life. Each Guard was covered for a sum of Rs. 4,00,000/- and the entire force of the Tiger Reserve was insured under this scheme.
This scheme yielded the desired results when on two different occasions the department lost 2 forest guards, one being killed by poachers and the other dying of snakebite. Both the families were resettled on the insurance money received.
Salient features:
196 Forest Guards of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve Insured.
Insurance Cover for 3 Years.
First of its type for Forest Dept.
 
Drought Relief:
The year was 2001 and Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve faced an unprecedented water crisis. A culmination of three years of poor monsoon, the animals of Ranthambhore were left thirsting for water. Of the two major lakes that dominate the core of the park and around which roam the great Tiger amongst a host of ungulates, small ponds of water were left. Everyone wondered how this crisis was to be coped with. The forest department by themselves were, short of facilities and timely financial resources. Tiger Watch appealed to the Kolmarden Foundation, Sweden for help. An extremely quick response yielded much-desired funds through which pumps were bought to feed the many troughs of water made by the department. Old wells were cleaned and made serviceable. New tube wells were dug. Tiger Watch had helped in tiding over the crucial summer months before the monsoon brought much desired relief to the parched earth.
The map below gives the locations where the work was carried out under this project
Salient Features
Cleaning and Digging Of Old Wells
Building Of Anicuts
Prospecting for water
Providing Tube Wells
Providing Diesel Pumps
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REDUCTION OF MAN - ANIMAL CONFLICTS
The core of the problems faced by wildlife around the world revolves around man - animal conflicts. Under the garb of progress and industrialization, humans have reduced the green cover of the earth to dangerous levels. India the second most populated country in the world is plagued by this problem even more than most places around the world. Limited resources have led to populations living around National Parks to drastically of what is left of the country's natural treasures. In view of this it has become important to take all measures to reduce this conflict.
Tiger Watch along with various partners are participating in many schemes and the same are listed below.
 
Cattle Compensation program
The WWF has a cattle compensation program to combat the loss of domestic life stock to carnivores outside the boundaries of the National Park. The program is also designed to ensure that villagers do not poison such kills as a retaliatory move. Tiger Watch manages the handing over of compensation on behalf of WWF by assessing the veracity of the incident as well as the value of the animal killed by tiger or leopard.
 
Wall Project
Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve is a small island of dry deciduous forest surrounded by approximately 90 villages and two townships, having a population of approximately 200,000 people. The majority of this population are poor farmers whose major livelihood is animal husbandry and cultivation. These people depend on the national Park for fuel and for the purpose of grazing their cattle, putting immense pressure on the park. On the other had with the boundaries and vegetation shrinking, the wild animals venture out of the park into the fields. This conflict could only be resolved with the help of a buffer zone, in the absence of which, it became necessary for a wall to be built around the park. Tiger Watch initialized this project by giving the first donation of Rs. 100,000/- towards the implementation of the project.
 
Awareness Programs
Tiger Watch has helped in conducting (in Partnership with Britannia Ltd & Sanctuary Magazine) Village melas or fairs. These were held for three consecutive years and were targeted towards educating the local populace towards the importance of National Parks and the wildlife that live in them. Through the medium of painting, singing, drama environmental education has been imparted to children who hold in their hands the future of world's natural treasures.
 
Moghiya Rehabilitation Program
The Moghiyas are a nomadic tribe with an age-old history. They were mercenaries that fought in the armies of the Great Rajput King Maharana Pratap of Mewar. The have been adjudged as a criminal tribe that have been extremely infamous for their role in poaching. Masters at tracking and living of the land, they have used their skills to consistently poach wildlife, the major impact being on the Tiger.
Fateh Singh (Field Director Ranthambhore NP, Retd.) had felt that the only way to turn these people around was to rehabilitate them. In fact when Tiger Watch was launched, its first project was the Moghiya Rehab program with a grant of US$ 103,000/- from NFWF. The project was targeted towards providing required facilities for this tribe to settle in one village. They would then rely on cultivation, the infrastructure (wells, schools, community hall, housing, farming implements, cattle etc) being provided by the grant received from NFWF. Under the proposed plan the land on which the Moghiyas would settle had to be provided by the government. Unfortunately the state administration and the forest department could not provide this land and we after having spent US$ 3000/- for the purpose of scouting and other miscellaneous expense, the grant was not availed of and NFWF were informed accordingly.
 
With Tiger Watch having started an extremely aggressive anti poaching drive that has led to the arrests of many poachers (details in the current anti-poaching project). It was felt that the only way to solve the problem of poachers on a long term is to rehabilitate them with an alternative means of livelihood. Keeping this in mind various projects have been launched to turn around these compulsive hunters.
It is extremely uncanny & important to note that after almost 10 years this program has once again come up and the same is being executed with a great fervor.
 
Moghiya Education Program
On the one hand the information provided by Tiger Watch large number of arrests have been effected. On the one side we see hardened poachers being put behind bars and on the other side the sons of these poachers are being admitted into a school/hostel started by Tiger Watch with the help of generous donors. These program has been christened the Moghiya Education program and we believe it will go a long way in tackling an otherwise hopeless situation.
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RESEARCH AND MONITORING PROGRAMS
Having had access to the knowledge that Mr. F.S. Rathore had provided with his experience in Ranthambhore it had always been an important agenda in the road map originally charted out at the time Tiger Watch was conceptualized. The first time that Tiger Watch got with serious scientific research was when Dr. Ullhas Karanth launched a photo trapping exercise at Ranthambhore. Tiger Watch was involved deeply in providing logistic support along with on ground information of the park provide by Mr. Rathore. The information gathered by this team has ever since been a base for identifying tigers.
 
With the arrival of Dr. Dharmendra Khandal, a study was taken up on a subject, which could in the long run be even more dangerous to the survival of the tiger - the invasion of the park by exotic plant species. The Prosopis Juliflora a weed that does not permit anything to grow around, does not support any form of life, and needs to be eradicated with utmost urgency. The study has provided deep insight into a problem that needs to be addressed urgently.

Besides Dr. Khandal has carried out an in depth monitoring of:
Tigers
Prey Base
Butterflies
Snakes
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PROTECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
No Wild Life NGO's mission can be considered complete without it having made a difference in the aspect of protection and enforcement. Unfortunately by its very nature, this activity relies heavily on the support provided by various government departments such as the Police and the Forest Department. In the year 2004, with various research projects being conducted by Tiger Watch in the park and due to this close proximity to the wildlife, Tiger Watch came across compelling evidence pointing towards the loss of nearly 25 tigers at the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. In spite of initial denials by the forest department, the zero tiger situation at Sariska Tiger Reserve led to the constitution of a task force by the Government of Rajasthan as well as by the Government of India . The Rajasthan State 'Task Force' came up with a figure of 26 tigers, which tallied exactly with the figure submitted by Tiger Watch in June 2004, in comparison to the department's inflated figure of 47 tigers. This rang the alarm bells for India's new Tiger Crisis!

Following this crisis Tiger Watch had already put in place a vast net work of informers based in the many villages that surround the National Park. Based on the information given by these informers and an extremely effective under cover operations, the Rajasthan State police force conducted many raids that led to the arrest of key members of various gangs. Some of the members of these gangs confessed to have killed 25 tigers in a span of 2 years. A film, "Curbing the Crisis", has also been released by Tiger Watch, showing the candid confessions of the poachers who have brought about the near extinction of tigers in the state of Rajasthan.
The Tiger Watch team is well aware of the gravity and the extent of the poaching problem. In a bid to resolve this problem with more long lasting effect Tiger Watch has launched two ambitious programs - The Moghiya Reform Program and The Moghiya Education program. Both these programs will run parallel to the Anti Poaching Project, which is concentrating on enforcement, bringing into effect the carrot and stick concept.
As experienced recently this method is yielding amazing results with many Moghiya's mending their ways by providing information that has led to the arrest of more than 25 poachers.
 
Tiger Watch continues to remain committed to what seems an extremely difficult task but is sure that with a little support the members are confident of keeping the Tigers of Ranthambhore safe from extinction.

 

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