Monday, March 17, 2008

PROTECTED AREA UPDATE

News and Information from protected areas in India and South Asia

Vol. XIV No. 1
February 2008 (No. 71)


LIST OF CONTENTS
EDITORIAL
Securing corridors…Snapping corridors!
NEWS FROM INDIAN STATES
ANDHRA PRADESH
-Blackbucks feared poisoned near Rollapadu WLS
-Area of Nagarjunasagar – Srisailam TR reduced by over 1000 sq. kms
ASSAM
-Domestic elephants to deal with wild elephant depredation
-Bridge over rail line in Gibbon WLS
-Tiger death in tea estate bordering Kaziranga; management proposes acquiring part of estate
-Increase in Swamp Deer population in Kaziranga
BIHAR
-Large scale fish deaths near Vikramshila Dolphin Sanctuary
JAMMU & KASHMIR
-118 fire incidents in PAs in last three years
-Siltation threat to Hokresar
KARNATAKA
-Dog squad to fight wildlife crime
-Opposition to wall inside Ranganathittu WLS
-NGO initiative secures elephant corridor connecting BRT Wildlife Sanctuary
-Soliga tribals to be allowed to remove NTFP from the BRT Wildlife Sanctuary
-Deer to be translocated from Mysore zoo to Bandipur NP
-Illegal road construction work inside Jayamangali Conservation Reserve
KERALA
- Elephants move to TN forests with onset of Sabarimala season
- Cameras to monitor tigers in Periyar TR
MADHYA PRADESH
-Meeting of Madhya Pradesh Tiger Foundation
-New entry rules for NPs in MP
MAHARASHTRA
-Construction of wall around SG National Park to be speeded up
-Minister visits Tadoba TR after midnight in violation of rules
ORISSA
-Bird census conducted in Chilka
-Bhitarkanika closed for tourists for annual census
-DRDO link for turtle protection units; mass turtle mortalities reported
-Reduced elephant menace around Chandaka-Dampara WLS
PUNJAB
-Fresh water dolphins spotted in Harike
RAJASTHAN
-Rajasthan to get Museum of Natural History
-12 tiger cubs born in Ranthambore NP in last two years
-Keoladeo NP could lose UNESCO world heritage status
UTTARAKHAND
-Poaching alert in Corbett NP for New Year eve
WEST BENGAL
-Tigress in Sunderbans radio-collared
-12 tigers in Buxa TR
-Food problem for increasing rhino population in Jaldapara WLS
-MoEF proposal to deal with elephant deaths in train accidents in North Bengal
NATIONAL NEWS FROM INDIA
-Traffic to be monitored in tiger reserves to avoid animal mortality
-273 villages to be relocated from tiger reserves
-Wildlife Service Awards 2007
SOUTH ASIA
BHUTAN
-Workshop to develop National strategy on human-wildlife conflict
PAKISTAN
-Five year Houbara Bustard conservation project
INTERNATIONAL NEWS
-South East Asian Workshop on CCAs
OPPORTUNITIES
-Research Associate: Forest Fire Management
-Wildlife Conservation Society Invites Applications for its RFP
-Research project on management and use of biodiversity in the North East
-Work with CAT in the Mumbai Metropolitan region
UPCOMING
-International Seminar on PA Management
-ButterflyIndia Meet 2008
-Asian Wetlands Symposium 2008
-Conference of the ATBC - Asia Pacific Chapter

-CRITICAL TIGER HABITATS & CRITICAL WILDLIFE HABITATS: A STATUS REPORT
-READERS WRITE


EDITORIAL

SECURING CORRIDORS...SNAPPING CORRIDORS!

An interesting set of ‘infrastructure’ is to come up in protected areas in different parts of the country. These are bridges for wildlife, physical constructions that will allow wild animal movement along traditional routes. Conventional flyovers have been proposed on roads running through the Rajaji and Manas National Parks (PA Update Vol. XIII, No. 5) for vehicles to move over and allow animals to cross under. In the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, on the other hand, custom made steel bridges, designed like trees are to come up for gibbons to cross over a rail line running through their forest (see story below). In another, first of its kind initiative in the country, a group of NGOs is actually purchasing land that constitutes corridors between significant forest areas (see stories from Karnataka in this issue of the PA Update). The move is ensured at permanently securing these small ‘patches’ of forests so that these vital but tenuous connections are not broken.
While there might be questions about the implementation of the bridge construction plans or the widespread and long term financial and logistical viability of purchasing corridors (how many can be bought and where will the money come from?), there can be no denying their importance. These initiatives are also clear pointers towards the realization that corridors are absolutely crucial in a landscape that is being ruthlessly fragmented, where wildlife habitats are rapidly shrinking and protected areas are left only as islands in a sea of hostility all around. They are the symptoms of a larger problem where there is no vision or planning for the larger landscape and where attempts at securing corridors for wildlife like those discussed above are savagely out numbered by the magnitude and scale of the snapping of existing corridors.
Mining projects like in Orissa, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh; dam building like in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh; road, railway line & canal construction, and destruction of the forests by encroachers all over are rapidly cutting off channels for wild animal movement. The results are evident: rapidly escalating elephant depredation like in Orissa; increased animal deaths in road accidents and on railway lines like in North Bengal and growing hostility of local people as they suffer even more damage to life and property from the ‘straying’ animals. An equally important but little studied dimension is the slow but visible breakdown of the traditional pastoral and agricultural practices. Agricultural systems, in particular, used to be far more tolerant but are becoming increasingly unfriendly to wildlife as they get rapidly commercialized and intensified.
There is, without doubt, a serious and urgent need to go to the root of the problem. Corridors for human movement like the road and rail networks need to be planned (or even stopped or removed when necessary) to ensure that wildlife corridors are not snapped; a larger picture of the landscape (the oft repeated landscape planning) and the needs of wildlife have to be kept in mind; local communities need to be taken into confidence and made part of the conservation agenda; and hugely destructive activities involving construction of ports, dams, mines and industrial complexes that go under the name of developmental projects need to be reigned in.
All we could end up with, otherwise, is another huge cement, concrete and steel construction binge in the name of wildlife. There will be many bridges but all useless, because nothing will be left on either side to bridge.

PROTECTED AREA UPDATE
Vol. XIV, No. 1, February 2008 (No. 71)
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 71 has been supported by Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), Anand.




1 comment:

roopa said...

Extremely important point raised. I wish there is a Law or an Act passed for protecting these corridors like THe LAnd Ceiling Act. It allows a maximum percentage of private landholding of a person.
If the Central and the State govts show sufficient will then they can issue ordrs to reclaim corridor land from farmers or other trespassers adn demarcate it for use of animals only. Looking at the impending food crisis, I think we will santch away whatever of the little land that is still left to the animals.