Sunday, January 24, 2010

Protected Area Update - New Issue: February 2010

News and Information from protected areas in India and South Asia

Vol. XVI No. 1
February 2010 (No. 83)

Don’t forget those on the frontlines


Jerdon's courser sighted in Sri Lankamalleswara Wildlife Sanctuary

Database of all rhinos in Assam
Increased human - elephant conflict in Assam
Over one lakh people visited Kaziranga National Park in 2008-09
PWD study for diverting traffic from NH 37 section through Kaziranga NP
14 rhinos poached in Kaziranga NP in 2009
Ramsar tag proposed for Dhir Beel, Son Beel, Kaziranga Beel and Dordoibam Beel
Two senior Nagaland officials suspect in rhino poaching

Railway track creates new rhino habitat adjoining Valmiki TR
Tourism promotion plans for Valmiki TR
Tiger Protection Force proposed for Valmiki TR
Mining ban shows positive results in Valmiki Tiger Reserve

Bio-tech efforts to conserve Gir lion

Satellite collars for black bears in Dachigam NP

Work to proceed on Mysore –Mananthavadi road through the Nagarhole NP

Joint initiatives with Tamil Nadu for Periyar TR

State signs tri-partite agreement with NTCA for tiger conservation
Wildlife law enforcement and training in Bhopal

Dismantled film sets degrading forests adjoining the Sanjay Gandhi NP
Van majoors protest non-payment of wages; stops tourists from entering Nagzira WLS
Deer and neelgai translocated from Nagpur to Bor Wildlife Sanctuary
Shifting of villages from Tadoba Andhari TR to be expedited
MoEF rejects mining project near Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve

Seven month ban on marine fishing in Orissa from November 2009
Oriental small-clawed otter reported from Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary

Illegal fishing rampant in Harike WLS

Illegal fishing in Sariska TR; four arrested
NTCA approves Darrah Tiger Reserve
New road threat to Ranthambore TR

New facilities, tourism initiatives at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve
Convention held on livelihood rights of peasants, repatriates and adivasis of Nilgiri District

Additional compensation from FD to those killed in feline attacks
Advanced detectors to locate metal traps in Dudhwa TR
Daily wages in Dudhwa TR not paid for seven months
17 tiger cubs sighted in Dudhwa TR
Rhinos near Indo-Nepal border to get unique identities

70% resorts around Corbett TR used for non-wildlife tourism

Pollution, road widening project threaten East Kolkata wetlands
State signs tri-partite agreement for tiger conservation; allotted Rs. 300 crores for Buxa and Sunderbans TRs
Gaur run over by train near Chapramari WLS
Growth in elephant, rhino & gaur population in Dooars region
Dalma WLS elephant herd caught in Maoist-police war in West Bengal
Deer in Sunderbans being poached for Kolkata hotels
Move to supplement tiger prey base in Sunderbans

Forest Area Under Encroachment
SeasonWatch – A project to monitor plant phenology across India
IGNOU, WWF offer PG Diploma in environmental law
New threat to vultures from Ketoprofen
Ministry of Tourism to carry out audit of seven protected areas
Central Empowered Committee of the SC under purview of RTI
Sanctuary Wildlife Awards 2009

Bardia NP expanded by 900 sq. kms

Virus kills more than 70 ibex in Khirthar NP

WWF Prince Bernhard Scholarships for nature conservation
CEPF-ATREE Western Ghats Small Grants
Call for nominations: Wildlife Tourism Awards
JRFs needed for research in the Southern Western Ghats

13th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons



If technology, money and good intentions were enough, there would be no reason for any concern about the fate of Indian wildlife. There is plenty of that in evidence even in this issue of the PA Update – calls for more PAs, declaration of more tiger reserves, larger demands and commitments for money, sophisticated equipment for surveillance and use of newer technologies for various aspects of research, management, and protection. Much of this is necessary and welcome. But, is it enough? Are we, in the clamour for all this and more, losing sight of something more essential and absolutely fundamental?
There are at least two reports in the pages that follow that force these important questions – about the treatment and the neglect of the foot soldiers of conservation; those in the forest staff that are out there, working where it matters the most. What can be the justification for non payment of many months of wages to daily wage workers in the Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra and in Uttar Pradesh’s Dudhwa Tiger Reserve? It is indeed a sad state of affairs when these workers have to strike work and block tourist traffic (like in Nagzira) to bring attention to their plight.
Needless to say, these are not new happenings and delayed salaries are only one of an array of problems that they are forced to face – working conditions are poor and outright dangerous sometimes; there are no family care facilities; training and equipment are often inadequate and there are few avenues for promotions and other incentives.
If this is the treatment that will be meted out to the most vulnerable can we really hope that management, conservation or protection will happen effectively? Lofty hopes and pronunciations will remain merely those if issues of brass-tacks continue to be neglected in this manner.
When many crores of rupees are being allocated for wildlife conservation in general and to individual PAs and tiger reserves in particular, why treat those at the bottom of the hierarchy with such callousness? And that too for only their legitimate dues.
The lesson should be a simple one – if conservation is to be successful, things need to be in order, first, inside the home. Everything else can come later.

Protected Area Update
Vol. XVI, No. 1, February 2010 (No. 83)

Editor: Pankaj Sekhsaria
Editorial Assistance: Reshma Jathar
Illustrations: Madhuvanti Anantharajan
Produced by: Kalpavriksh

Ideas, comments, news and information may please be sent to the editorial address:

Apartment 5, Shri Dutta Krupa, 908 Deccan Gymkhana, Pune 411004, Maharashtra, India.
Tel/Fax: 020 – 25654239.

Publication of the PA Update has been supported by
- Foundation for Ecological Security (FES)
- Duleep Matthai Nature Conservation Trust
- Greenpeace India
- Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
- Indian Bird Conservation Network
Information has been sourced from different newspapers and the following websites

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Islands in flux: 2004-2009

Dear Friends
Many of you will recollect, and also perhaps have read 'Troubled Islands', which was a compilation of my journalistic writings on the A&N from the period 1998 to 2003. (see the side bar for details of Troubled Islands)

I have in the subsequent years, continued to write on the various issues of the islands including those related to the indigenous communities and the impacts of the earthquake and tsunami of December 2004.

Over time there have been many requests from members on the group and otherwise for copies of these and older articles. Prompted by the requests and the interest I have just put together a set of another 14 articles in a basic photocopied compilation of 50 pages.

The issues covered include the earthquake and tsunami of 2004, the situation of the indigenous communities of the islands and some matters related to tourism.

The compilation is available for Rs. 70 (for photocopy, handling and postage). If any of you would like a copy of this compilation do please write to me. In case you are also interested in a copy of the older 'Troubled Islands' (Rs. 120) we will be able to optimise postage and other costs and send you the two together for Rs. 150.

best wishes