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     In February, 2002, (see previous newsletter, May-August 2002) IWCS received a generous grant of $3000 from the American Himalayan Society for the construction of two waterholes, principally for nilghai (forest antelope) but also for tiger and other animals, in the White Grass Plains Wildlife Reserve. The work was carried out and the project completed by IWCS Executive Director Peter Byrne, in March and April. In June and July the southwest monsoon filled both of the new waterholes and in November an inspection indicated that nilghai had started using the waterholes as well as which three tigers, one a female with a cub, were also coming to them to drink.

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Tiger Crossing
     For readers unfamiliar with the WGP, it may be useful to look briefly at the background of this project and other water-for-wildlife projects carried out in the WGP by IWCS across the years. Essentially, the reserve, though bordered by two rivers, is perennially short of water for its wildlife, both its carnivores-mainly tiger and leopard-and its herbivores-including elephant and rhino-with most of the central and northern part of the park being dry and waterless through the seven, non-monsoon months (November through May) of each year. For some years, IWCS has been working to rectify this problem, firstly (2000-2001) with the rehabilitation of the beautiful and previously abandoned lake of Rani Tal and, more recently, (2002), through the innovative but essentially simple plan of creating waterholes from old, winter-dry river beds, by widening them, deepening them, damming them-small earthen dams with spillways-and then letting the monsoon rains fill them. The first two of these were completed in April, 2002.

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     In the summer of 2002 IWCS received another generous grant, this time of $7500, again from the American Himalayan Foundation, for a continuation of this work and for two new projects. These are THE HIDDEN SPRINGS PROJECT and THE WGP GROUND WATER PROJECT.

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Tree Sunset

     The basic and simple plan for this project consists of the rehabilitation of an existing waterhole in the south center of the park. Water is supplied to this hole by a gushing underground spring which, during the fifty years that Peter Byrne has been visiting the park, has never ceased its powerful flow. However, the hole itself-actually a small lake, some 15 meters wide by 200 meters long-is not used by wildlife for two reasons. One, it is completely filled with debris-fallen trees, rotting logs, brush, and weeds. Two, its sides are too steep to allow safe access for animals, especially young animals. The plan… to completely clean out the hole, remove all of the debris and then construct four, 7 meter wide, gently sloping earthen walkways that will allow wildlife to safely reach and drink its crystal clear waters. Work on this project commenced in December 2002 and is scheduled for completion in February 2003.


     During the work of creating the two new, riverbed waterholes in the spring of 2002, ground water was discovered at a depth of less than half a meter and a hydrologist employed by IWCS, as a consultant to the project, stated than in his professional opinion water could be found at this level, or similar levels, in other areas of the park. From this observation came the idea of investigating the feasibility of opening up these ground water sources, enclosing them with simple earthen banks and thus creating new waterholes. Work on this next phase of the IWCS water-for-wildlife projects is scheduled for February-March, 2003, and will be carried out by Peter Byrne.

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     SUPPORT FOR IWCS. The directors of IWCS wish to thank Anne Cardone, of Scarborough, New York, who, with the energetic support of her local community, has contributed so generously to the funding of IWCS and its programs.

     HELPING IWCS. IWCS directors gratefully acknowledge the gracious contributions of Susan Barksdale, and her community, of Portland, Oregon, to its work and funding.

     CONTRIBUTIONS TO IWCS. We are indebted to the generosity of Mr. Rory McFarland, for making a gift to IWCS of our new email address, previously owned by him. This is … internationalwildlife.org

     GRATEFUL ACKNOWEDGEMENT. We make grateful acknowledgement to Mr. Tom Dadras, of Brentwood (Los Angeles, California), for both the not inconsiderable time and the admirable expertise he has kindly given to the reconstruction and maintenance of our website.

     IN PASSING. IWCS and its Board members regret the recent passing away of IWCS Director Karl Jonas. Dr. Jonas, originally of Washington DC, was one of the founders of the society, in 1968, and for thirty-four years was a staunch supporter of its activities and programs.

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Kingfisher      Look for our next newsletter, with details of our ongoing wildlife projects, in April 2003. Until then, your support and you interest in our work is greatly appreciated.
Peter Byrne
Peter Byrne.
Executive Director, IWCS.


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