Saturday, April 7, 2007

Protected Area Update

News and Information from protected areas in India and South Asia
Vol. XIII No. 2April 2007 (No. 66)
Pilgrims and PAs
58 rhino deaths in Kaziranga NP in 2006
Centre agrees to Assam plea for increase in elephant depredation compensation
Rs. One crore for Pobitora WLS
Two rhinos released in Manas
Call to declare the Khabalu-Ghagarmukh stretch of River Subansiri in Lakhimpur as a river dolphin sanctuary
Migratory bird deaths in Sukhna; bird flu ruled out
New Ceacilian found near Mhadei WLS
Gir lions to be moved to Barda
Gujarat Government to form 'Gujarat Lion Conservation Society'
Efforts to reduce lion mortalities, conflict in Gir
Meeting held to discuss Bhindawas WLS
Over 1,00,000 birds in Pong Dam WLS
Training for Jharkhand PA staff
New Tiger Reserve to include Dandeli WLS, Anshi NP and Mahaveer WLS in Goa
Walls to deal with human-elephant conflict
Marine national park proposed for Netrani Island
Fire threat to Bandipur, Nagarhole NPs
FD seeks power to shoot illegal miners
Scheme approved for forest villages outside protected areas
WII study indicates 9 tigers in 185 sq. kms of Panna NP
Village relocation starts from Tadoba Andhari TR
Vigil in Sanjay Gandhi NP and Tungareshwar WLS for Mahashivratri
Eco-festival in Bhimashanker WLS on occasion of Mahashivratri
Indo-Bangladesh border patrol road to pass through Dampa TR
FD objection to power lines inside Lakheri Valley WLS
Seven sites for 'Conservation and Management of Wetlands and Mangroves' Scheme
Kin of elephant attack victims get compensation
HC probe into Badrama Wildlife Division tree-felling
Sea turtle nesting sites for tourism development
Hydrophones to study Chilika dolphins
Crab culture project in Chilika area
Concerns over tourism plans in Chilika
Villagers volunteer land for mangrove regeneration near Bhitarkanika
1482 crocodiles counted in Bhitarkanika
Dogs sterilized to save Orissa turtles
Fisherman shot dead; forest guard arrested; colleagues boycott protection duty at Gahirmatha
Rajasthan to set up a Tiger Cell
Wildlife sanctuary proposed at Sujilkuttai near Bhavanisagar
Augmenting tourist facilities in Indira Gandhi WLS
Wildlife census in Indira Gandhi WLS
Deer census in Guindy NP in May
Wildlife census in Tamil Nadu from March 12
Elephant rides resumed at Mudumalai too
ATREE newsletter on KMTR
CEC approves road through Askote WLS
State to purchase 50 elephants for patrolling, tourism
Luxury cruise to Sunderbans from Kolkata
Survey finds no river terrapin in Sunderbans
Steps to check illegal felling in Buxa TR, North Bengal region
Elephants kill two timber smugglers in Buxa
Workshop held for National Policy for Human-Leopard Conflict
New technology for tracking small animals
Definition of Forest
Rs. 65 crore for National Tiger Conservation Authority
Members of the NTCA appointed
Training Programme on Wildlife Crime Management in Guwahati
Gold mining being allowed in Hukuang Valley Tiger Reserve
Locals in Chitwan buffer zone demand action against warden
Army initiatives in Nepal for wildlife protection
1850 elephants killed in Sri Lanka in 15 years
India signs IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU
Call for entries: Vatavaran Environment Film Festival 2007
Call for papers on failed proposals for protected areas
State of Environment 2005 - Andaman and Nicobar Islands
'Carnivore Conflict': Support provided to leopards in Conflict related cases in Maharashtra
Environmental Issues in India - A Reader
Opportunities with GEER in Gujarat
Position available in project on epiphytes
Volunteers needed for survey of Bugun Liocichla around Eaglenest WLS
Curatorial Technical Education staff needed for new nature facility in South India
Samrakshan Trust needs Conservation Awareness Officer


Many protected areas across the country, be it the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra, the Sariska and Ranthambore Tiger Reserves in Rajasthan, Gir in Gujarat, the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala or the Biligiri Ranga Temple Sanctuary in Karnataka have one thing that binds them.Deep in the heart of these PAs with rich forests and a diversity of wildlife are important and extremely popular places for worship; sites that are revered and visited by lakhs of pilgrims every year. In many places the traffic of the devout is a steady, regular stream flowing through the year. On special occasions like the recently passed Mahashivratri this stream becomes a flood and lakhs of visitors descend to these areas.The pressure this creates on the forests, the wildlife and basic amenities like water and sanitation can well be imagined. It can also be argued that changing times and values are destroying the very sanctity that made them sacred in the first place. What is also clear is that we have little understanding or capacity to deal with these situations and particularly so because these are within areas kept aside for wildlife.Some efforts, however, are being made like we saw on the occasion of Mahashivratri in Maharashtra in February (see stories below). We also know of initiatives from other places like Periyar where there are joint efforts with the local communities to deal with this specific situation of a huge number of pilgrims.For a deeply religious country like India the challenges and questions that this throws to us are, of course, huge and daunting. Can we have a pilgrimage in forest areas that is different from what we see elsewhere? How can the communities, both the local residents and the visiting thousands, be part of the solution? Can we conceptualise and execute systems that make a difference? Can / does the conservation community see this as an opportunity of educating the huge numbers a little more about the animals, the forests and their importance? Can NGOs, the Forest Department and other interested parties come together to send back a pilgrim who is a little more aware of the environment and sensitive to the imperatives of conservation.A good starting point might be an effort to comprehensively document such situations and also the small and scattered efforts that are indeed being made. There might be lessons to learn and share.The questions, needless to say, are easy to ask; the solutions, if any, will be extremely tough.

Issues of the Protected Area can be accessed at

Vol. XIII, No. 2, April 2007 (No. 66)
Editor: Pankaj Sekhsaria
Illustrations: Madhuvanti Anantharajan
Produced by: Kalpavriksh
Ideas, comments, news and information may please be sent to the editorial address:KALPAVRIKSH, Apartment 5, Shri Dutta Krupa, 908 Deccan Gymkhana, Pune 411004, Maharashtra, India. Tel/Fax: 020 - 25654239.Email:

Production of PA Update 66 has been supported by Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), Anand.

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