Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Protected Area Update - August 2008

Dear Friends,
Pasted below is the list of contents and the Editorial from the New Issue of the Protected Area Update (Vol XIV, No. 4, August 2008 (No. 74))
If you want to receive any particular stories or the entire update as an email attachment please write to me at psekhsaria@gmail.com

Pankaj Sekhsaria
Editor - PA Update
C/0 Kalpavriksh

News and Information from protected areas in India and South Asia
Vol. XIV No. 4, August 2008 (No. 74)

When elephants cross borders
Opposition to sanctuary proposal in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram districts
Orang tigers to be camera trapped

Two elephants found dead within 24 hours
Assam seeks tougher punishments for rhino poachers; army to help too

Gaur population up in Goa

Gir gets award for eco-tourism
Artificial water points in Gir for summer
Increased vigil after anthrax outbreak around Gir

Demand to cancel approval for cement plant near Sundarnagar and Bandli WLS

Dachigam NP opened to public after 60 years

Rs. 190 lakh Central assistance for wildlife protection to Jharkhand
Elephants flock to Dalma WLS during summer

Dalma WLS elephant and calf electrocuted

Workshop held to sensitise judges and forest officers to provisions of the WLPA.
Traffic management centre in Bannerghata NP
World Heritage tag likely for 12 sites

Newsletter on Vembanad
Malabar WLS proposed in Kozhikode
Diphtheria reported in Kani settlements in Peppara WLS
FD to set up three biodiversity parks

Wildlife sanctuary proposed in Alirajpur district

Lonar lake to tell the story of climate change

Proposal to reduce Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary to 350 sq. kms
PAs in Vidarbha, Aurangabad to be promoted for tourism
No support from police to demolish illegal ashram in Tungareshwar WLS: FD

FD files case against ZP member for blocking saline water ingress into Bhitarkanika NP

Effort to develop Harike as a tourism site

Nokia – WWF India project for Ranthambhor

Tigers re-introduced to Sariska

Elephant poached in Mudumalai after six years
Protest against declaration of Mudumalai WLS as a Critical Tiger Habitat
Tribals in Kalakad Mundunthurai TR face eviction for failing to stop forest fire.
Rs. 50 lakh project for Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve
Exotic algae invades Gulf of Mannar NP

Bird sanctuary proposed in Noida
Tigers pushing out leopards from Katerniaghat WLS, Dudhwa NP
Rhinos from Bardia and ShuklaPhanta move to Katerniaghat WLS, Lagga Bagga forests

Two conservation reserves for Musk deer in Pithoragarh
Rescue centres for big cats, tuskers in Almora, Haridwar
Severe staff shortage at Corbett
Record earnings from tourism in Corbett TR
Uttarakhand, UP to work together to curb poaching in Corbett TR
No more elephant deaths by trains in Rajaji
Rajaji tusker tramples nine, shot dead
Rajaji NP grassland to be handed over for temple construction

Increasing human-elephant conflict along the Bengal-Nepal border
Monkeys to prevent poaching, tree smuggling in the Sunderbans
Workshop on Community Forest Governance in North Bengal

Wildlife Bureau hit by staff shortage
Corridors to alleviate elephant crisis in Eastern Indian states
Disney Conservation Award to Shailendra Singh of the MCBT

Whitley Award for Dr. Deepak Apte

Steps to combat illegal wildlife trade in South Asia

Tiger attacks on the rise in the Sundarbans

Sherpa community creates the Khumbu Community Conserved Area

29th Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation


Declaration of the Khumbu Community Conserved Area



Following are some interesting cross-border news nuggets gleaned over the last few months.

a) Wild elephant migration from Karnataka to Goa and Maharashtra is termed ‘unnatural’ and Goa seeks Maharasthra’s help to drive the animals back. When Goa starts the operation it finds that its efforts to drive back the elephants have been hampered by trenches dug on the Maharashtra side to prevent the entry of the animals into that state. Goan authorities are asking Project Elephant authorities to intervene and ask Maharashtra to behave.
b) Elephants that had ‘strayed’ from Orissa into Andhra in late 2007 were termed ‘rogue’ and huge efforts were made to force them to return. Two of animals were even darted and drugged and carried back to their home state. One died almost immediately, most likely because of an overdose of the drug used on it.
c) Bangladesh wants India to ‘take back’ her 100 odd elephants that have moved across the international border from Meghalaya. They have threatened that the animals might otherwise be killed; and
d) (As you will read below) The Nepalese government is reinforcing the border with India in North Bengal with low-voltage electric wires to prevent herds of elephants from crossing over along their traditional migratory routes.

Reading news like this is to experience a tragic-comic drama being played out across elephant territory in the sub-continent. How else can one explain a country asking another to take back ‘its’ elephants, or one minister complaining to a counterpart in the neighbouring state that his elephants are causing trouble.
No one will argue that the situation on the ground is a simple one. The case of human-elephant conflict is an extremely protracted and complex one. Large populations of rural and tribal people undoubtedly suffer huge depredations because of elephants; and the pressure on administrators, politicians and forest staff to deal with the problem must be undeniably huge.
It needs to be remembered at the same time that elephants don’t have it easy either. Increasing encroachments, dam construction, mining projects and infrastructure corridors have, over the years, ruthlessly destroyed elephant habitat and snapped traditional migratory routes. Not only are the elephants being denied what was traditionally and rightfully theirs, but terms like ‘straying’ herds, ‘rogue’ animals and ‘unnatural’ habitat are used without thought to hold them responsible for a problem they are not responsible for at all.
Borders created by human beings for their own kind are turning tragically problematic, even fatal for the pachyderms in ways that can only be considered bizarre.
The largest mammal on land deserves better than being shot, electrocuted or drugged for crossing our borders. The animal that is one of the most venerated in our cultures and histories can surely be treated with more respect and tolerance. We, humans, can at the same time, certainly do better than blaming neighbours and demanding that ‘their’ animals behave or be taken back; it is the best way to ensure a solution will not be found. A little common sense and pragmatism in dealing with the issue will certainly do no one any harm.
It might, in fact, be a good starting point to find some meaningful resolution and long lasting answers.


Vol. XIV, No. 4, August 2008 (No. 74)
Editor: Pankaj Sekhsaria
Editorial Assistance: Wrutuja Pardeshi
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 74 has been supported by Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), Anand.

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