Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Protected Area Update - October 2007

Dear Friends,
Pasted here are the contents followed by the editorial from the new issue of the Protected Area Update - Vol XIII, No. 5, October 2007 (No. 69). For more details or to get a soft copy of the Update please write to me at psekhsaria@gmail.com

News and Information from protected areas in India and South Asia

Vol. XIII No. 5

October 2007 (No. 69)



A crisis of governance?



-Fall in GIB numbers in Rollapadu WLS


-Train kills two elephants near Deepor Beel WLS

-Flood waters drown Pobitora WLS

-Bodo council looking at alternative livelihood methods for conservation

-Two flyovers in Manas to protect wildlife

-World Heritage Committee’s monitoring mission not satisfied with Manas NP

-The India Rhino Vision 2020 relocation program to take off soon

-Project to showcase Karbi culture bordering Kaziranga NP

-Metal detectors for Kaziranga by year end

-Kaziranga TR boundaries notified

-Hollock Gibbon Conservation Training


-Vehicles kill two big cats in Gir

-Further steps to protect Gir

-Carcasses of four Cubs found in Gir WLS

-Project to cover open wells in, around Gir


-FD looking for person with expertise in Himalayan Fresh water fishes

-Six sanctuaries to be handed over from territorial to wildlife wing

-HP to have new state animal, bird and flower


-Kashmir wildlife benefiting s from insurgency, hunting ban

-SC allows Mughal road, lays conditions


-Police enquiry into elephant deaths in Nagarhole

-Wildlife research institute for Karnataka

-Elephant carcasses in Bandipur being left for other wild animals


-Kerala tourism to promote forests, PAs


-SC allows for completion of canal work in Karera Wildlife Sanctuary

-Cash incentive for florican conservation in Sailana and Sardarpur WLS not working

-2005 Rajiv Gandhi Award for Deputy Director, Kanha TR

-SC nod for development work in forest villages in PAs


-State for denotification of Jayakwadi WLS

-Officials with wildlife training posted in non-wildlife posts


-New species records for Mizoram PAs


-State sitting on proposal for Satkosia Tiger Reserve


-New interpretation centre at Guindy NP

-Forest Commission set up in Tamil Nadu

-Confiscated star tortoises to be released in Point Calimere WLS


-Flyovers as elephant corridors in Rajaji NP

-Elephant tramples two to death near Rajaji


-Tiger rescue centre in Sunderbans

-Eco-Development initiative bordering Senchal WLS


-New popular science publication on conservation

-Photo IDs for wild elephants

-Three PAs likely as UNESCO World heritage sites in 2009

-CMS Vatavaran 2007 held

-MigrantWatch launched

-Policy for relocation of wild animals soon

- Money from Centre yet to reach Tiger Reserves

-Assessment of trade in peacock feathers

-Details of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau

-Toll-free number to protect wildlife

-Tracking the Social and Ecological Impacts of Forest Rights Act

-CEC to continue

-Paul Getty Award to Dr. K.Ullas Karanth

-First meet of Butterfly Northeast held



-WWF Nepal’s conservation Awards


-Transboundary Mountain PAs Workshop

-1st International Wildlife Reintroduction Conference

-28th Annual Sea Turtle Symposium


-Coordinator, Wildlife Conservation for project near Kuno WLS

-Volunteers needed for Biodiversity Documentation in Eaglenest WLS

-CISED is looking for Core Faculty, Visiting Fellows and Postdoctoral -Research Associates




Will wildlife protection and protected area management be possible in the absence of properly trained, sufficiently staffed and adequately funded Forest Departments? It might sound like a question that is ridiculous. The answer too would be a straight forward one - An obvious no!

The issue, however, is precisely this. The shortage of well trained personnel and financial resources is a real problem on the ground– though it might be the most obvious thing to do, the fact of the matter is that PA managements in some cases and entire State Forest Departments in others, are short on basic staff and money to manage, protect and conserve our forests and protected areas in particular.

A few months ago (PA Update Vol XIII, No. 2 June 2007), it had been reported that the West Bengal Forest Department is facing a serious shortage of staff. Anywhere between 20 to 50% of posts were vacant in various categories including forest guards and rangers. A report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India indicated, for instance, that patrolling staff in the Buxa Tiger Reserve was short by over 60%. Additionally, a large number of staff in premier parks like the Buxa and Sunderbans Tiger Reserves were found to be over-age as per the guidelines of the Wildlife Institute of India.

In Gir, in Gujarat, it took the huge crisis of lion poaching (see edit of the last issue of the PA Update) to galvanise the department into filling up the number of vacant posts and also getting staff that is young and fit.

News from Maharashtra in this issue highlights another equally important matter– officers of the State Forest Department with wildlife training are actually not being posted in wildlife management posts. The state has only 78 officers who have some training in wildlife as against the state’s requirement of 141. Quite inexplicably, only 10 of the 78 are actually posted in wildlife areas – the other 68 are in places that have nothing to do with wildlife. None of the three tiger reserves in the state have, at the helm, an officer who has wildlife related training. Why is money from the public exchequer being spent for the training when the expertise is not used where relevant?

The other related issue is of finance, rather its non-availability. Excellent examples are the high profile tiger reserves of the country as was reported recently in the national media. In spite of the huge hue and cry about poaching and the need to augment facilities including those of protection, most of the reserves are not getting the money that is due to them. It is not that money is not available – it appears to be the lack of the correct systems and an accountability that will ensure the needful is done. Either the National Tiger Conservation Authority has not released funds to states, or where it has been, it is stuck in state bureaucracies. Whatever be the reason, the net result on the ground is the same- no money to pay staff, to hire vehicles or to reimburse costs.

When, even the most high profile reserves like those in Melghat, Ranthambore, Buxa and Dudhwa have not received the money, the fate of lesser known sanctuaries and national parks can only be imagined. Is it realistic to expect that management and protection work can be carried out effectively in such a situation?

The crisis here is, clearly, one of governance. If the fundamentals of the foundation will be neglected in such a manner, the edifice, if it can be constructed at all, can only be a shaky one.


It was around the same time last year that we had sent out a similar appeal for support for the Protected Area Update. Many readers and organizations had responded positively, which itself was an indication to us that the PA Update is useful and we have a number of well wishers.

The Foundation for Ecological Security continues to be our biggest supporter and has willingly agreed to provide a majority of the funding for the PA Update for another year. Just like last year, however, we are still short by about a 30% of the budget.

There are various ways, big and small, in which we can be helped. Individual readers are urged to send in their contribution as subscription. These are small amounts but if we receive a large number the help will be great. Organisations like Forest Departments and NGOs can avail of the bulk subscription method where we can together reach out to a larger number of people as well.

We also have back issues of the Update is a simple hard bound three volume set that would be a very valuable resource base for researchers, officials, activists or anybody else interested in getting a comprehensive picture of what has happened in the country’s PA network over the last few years.

I do hope you will consider contributing. For any further details or clarifications please do write to me. We would also welcome any other ideas that you might have for us.

Pankaj Sekhsaria

Email: psekhsaria@gmail.com


Protected Area Update

Vol. XIII, No. 5, October 2007 (No. 69)

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: psekhsaria@gmail.com

Website: www.kalpavriksh.org

Production of PA Update 69 has been supported by Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), Anand.

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