Monday, September 22, 2008


News and Information from protected areas in India and South Asia
Vol. XIV No. 5
October 2008 (No. 75)


Citizen Science for Conservation


Area of Kolleru WLS to be reduced
Fears over impact of irrigation project on wildlife in Nagarjunsagar Srisailam TR

ARUNACHAL PRADESHConservation Initiative for high altitude wetlands in state

Flood parts of KNP; anti-erosion project on the cards
No expansion of NH-37 running through Kaziranga NP
Digital bank for Deepor Beel
Rhinos relocated from Pobitara to Manas ‘straying’ regularly
Gibbon Conservation Day observed in Jorhat
Workshop on Primate Census Techniques at Gibbon WLS

Wild animals from airport being relocated to Asola Bhatti WLS

Landslide blocks road in Molem WLS

Chharidhandh declared a conservation reserve

Elephant rehab and research centre to come up near Kalesar WLS

Wildlife training programme in Dachigam NP
Indian ‘cold desert’ to be on world biosphere reserve map
Rs. 2.90 crores for wildlife conservation from Mughal Road Project

DNA fingerprinting to help decide number of tigers in Palamau TR
State to adopt Karnataka model for tourism promotion in wildlife areas, PAs
No experts to radio-collar Dalma elephants
Rs Five Lakh Central support for Dalma Bachao Abhiyan

Permission granted for electricfication; erection of poles inside Nagarhole NP
Garbage dumping near Bannerghata NP
Flood waters threaten Ranganathittu

Spurt in animal deaths in Periyar TR; disease, pollution of river could be reasons

Land of the Karera Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary to be sold off
Diamond mining to restart inside Panna TR
Gaur spotted near Bandavgarh NP

Tiger attacks continue around Tadoba Andhari TR; six more killed since March 2008
Rs 35-lakh plan to end human-tiger conflict in Tadoba Andhari TR
Villagers from Pench, Tadoba Andhari and Melghat TRs denounce relocation moves

‘Caution’ signboards help save elephants in the Garo Hills Elephant Reserve

Crocodiles to protect Bhitarkanika

Good rainfall and Planning Commission bring good news for Keoladeo NP
Satellites tracking tigers introduced to Sariska

Panang hydel project opposed over fears of impact on people and Khanchendzonga NP

Rs. 37 cr. sought for Anaimalai Tiger Reserve

Special train to connect Delhi and Rajaji NP
Tigers migrating from Rajaji’s western section
Elephant overpass at Rajaji park
Officers shifted from Corbett NP
Increased tourism threat to Corbett TR

Pesticide use in tea estates suspected cause of elephant deaths in Mahananda WLS
Leopard killed by train dead in North Bengal

MigrantWatch enters 2nd year
Regulatory mechanism for wetlands
MoEF committee for Conservation and Community Reserves and Community Conserved Areas
Drugs firms warned against selling diclofenac
National peafowl count on the anvil
Workshop held on the ‘Himalayan Wetlands Initiative’

Foreigners threaten Afghan snow leopards

Lake 2008: Symposium on Conservation and Management of River and Lake Ecosystem
International Marine Conservation Congress

Narendra Babu Ecological Research Initiative Grant
Convenor – The Academy of Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies
WTI looking for Trainers for its Van Rakshak division



One of the biggest concerns about scientific research over the years has been its ‘inaccessibility to common people’ and often, the ivory tower disposition of the scientific community itself. Debates over the lack of accountability in scientific establishments and their general unwillingness to engage with the masses have been common. Admittedly, all scientific endeavours don’t lend themselves to easy explanations, but that does not mean that none do.
A good example of the latter is MigrantWatch, a citizen science programme for bird migration that has now entered its second year. Over 500 amateurs, serious researchers and weekend enthusiasts from across the length and breadth of the country are already part of the program that seeks to document, understand and analyse the phenomenon of bird migration to and from this country. Bird studies in fact easily lend themselves to initiatives of this kind, and such efforts have shown their worth in different countries around the world, particularly in the West. Even in India some of the most significant contributions towards understanding birds have come from the enthusiastic amateur. What is significant this time is that the program is well thought out and structured. That the organizers are now expanding its scope significantly is perhaps proof that it has been enthusiastically received so far. Rest assured, we could be getting some exciting results.
What is further promising is that MigrantWatch is not an isolated effort of its kind. There are a few more such endeavors, though perhaps more low key. One of them in Project PteroCount, a South Asian Bat Monitoring Project that seeks to form a wide network of volunteers to create a comprehensive database of the roosting sites of the Indian Flying Fox.
Another one that has yielded some noteworthy results is a little initiative tucked away in Meghalaya in the North Eastern corner of the country. This is a project of the Samrakshan Trust to involve local people in monitoring elephant movement in the South Garo Hills, which is part of the Garo Hills Elephant Reserve. It is considered to be one of the most significant elephant bearing areas in the country but little is known of elephant behaviour here. In a situation where the landscape is large, where human and financial resources are seriously limited, and the area extremely difficult to access, it makes perfect sense to involve the local community. The elephant monitoring project here has done just that. For about three years now, a network of local individuals situated in remote and dispersed villages has been trained to collect data on elephant presence and movement in a simple and structured manner. The data has just been put together and it has created for the first time a good overview picture of the elephants here; including aspects like herd size and the general direction and period of their movements. Additionally, the study has provided some important insights into other dimensions like crop raiding by the elephants. It is, perhaps the first crucial step in understanding and perhaps solving the escalating problem of human-elephant conflict, and for ensuring a better future for both, the local communities and the elephant.
These examples provide the proof that science need not be distant, that it can be made meaningful with and for people and it can still be just as exciting. Needless to say, the involvement of the local communities should not be restricted to only those situations where the going is tough or where getting data is difficult. We must recognize also that is this is only a start, a good one and hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more of such citizen science initiatives for conservation in the days to come.


Protected Area Update
Vol. XIV, No. 5, October 2008 (No. 75)
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.
Production of PA Update 75 has been supported by Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), Anand.
For a full copy of the newsletter please write to me at

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