Friday, July 30, 2010

Protected Area Update - August 2010

Dear Friends,
If you want the entire issue of the newsletter please write to me at

News and Information from protected areas in India and South Asia
Vol. XVI No. 4, August 2010 (No. 86)

A terrible train of accidents
Plan to relocate Chenchu tribe from Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam TR
Drunk drivers pose threat to wildlife in Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam TR

Railway advisory to restrain elephant deaths in Assam
CBI probe into wildlife contraband haul at Guwahati airport
Speed restriction on NH-37 through Kaziranga NP
Locals protest killing of a youth by Kaziranga NP staff
Manas Tiger Reserve Information System

Dolphin mitras in Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary

‘Amitabh Route’ in Gir interests tourists

Markhor numbers up in Qazinag NP; peace along Indo-Pak border main reason

Bannerghatta night safari between 6 and 11 pm: FD
Motor rally inside Cauvery WLS; spotted deer killed
MoEF cancels clearance given to power plant in Karwar; says it is too
close to Cotigao WLS
Two elephants from Hassan moved to Bandipur NP; one starts return journey
Special Tiger Protection Force for Bandipur TR
Pollution related deaths of fish and crocodiles in River Kali near
Dandeli WLS, Anshi NP

Solar fencing leads to increased human-elephant conflict in Kerala
New frog species in Ervikulam NP

Guards burn tiger cub carcass in Pench TR; cut pads for tantrik ritual

Big reshuffle in Maharashtra FD
Satellite-collared leopard walks 120 kms to Sanjay Gandhi NP
Four policemen suspended for getting to close to tigress in Nagzira WLS

NBWL rejects uranium mining in Balpakram NP

NTCA to oppose decision allowing for removal of bamboo from Satkosia TR
Expert committee to probe mass killing of elephants in Simlipal TR in
MPs ask for action on Dhamra Port forest violation
MoEF denies permission for thermal power plant at Dhamra near
Bhitarkanika NP

Rajasthan to construct small dams and ponds in its protected areas
Tigers translocated to Sariska from Ranthambore TR were siblings

Sikkim says no to SC directive of 10 km eco-sensitive zone around PAs

Elephant-proof trench work along NMR stopped

CEE biodiversity awareness programme in Dudhwa TR

Meeting on conservation and livelihoods in the Askot-Nanda Devi landscape
Initiative to revive Gola elephant corridor

Ban on diesel cars and plastic in Gorumara National Park
North Bengal PAs under threat from hydroelectric project in Bhutan
Elephant killed in railway accident near Siliguri
Advisory emphasizes over/underpasses across railway tracks in North
Bengal; nature groups disagree
Radio collared tiger crosses border from India into Bangladesh in the

Solar lamps in buffer villages of tiger reserves
List of threatened bird species in India rises to 154
Committee for appraisal of mining and industry projects around tiger
More than 70 leopards killed in first three months of 2010
2nd meeting of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel
NeBIO – New Journal on Environment and Biodiversity with a focus on
the North East
Open source software application for tree identification in Western Ghats

Rhesus macaques released from research centre to Shivapuri NP; court
issues show cause notice

Course in Conservation Biology and Wildlife Management
ATREE Small Grants Programme 2010
Short-term field-based course in conservation science
EQUATIONS is looking for programme staff for tourism related research

Research Seminar on Manas and Kaziranga National Parks
4th Symposium of ‘Biodiversity and Natural Heritage of the Himalaya’
Conference on ‘Interdisciplinary Approaches in Environmental Sciences’

Marine conservation – Seeking a model that safeguards livelihoods and



It is more than six years now that the railway track running through the
forests and protected areas in North Bengal was converted from meter
gauge to broad gauge. Scores of wild animals including elephants, gaur
and leopards have been crushed under trains that have been speeding
along this corridor. Accidents were happening even before the gauge
conversion but then the speeds were limited and the number of trains
were less.
No solution seems in view and to say then that Gorumara, Jaldapara,
Chapramari and Buxa are protected areas makes no sense, because the
animals here have no protection. Nearly a dozen and a half elephants
have been mowed down in these PAs and adjoining forests by trains here
and nothing has been done about it. Some of the solutions suggested over
the years are outright laughable and non-implementable. These include
suggestions by the court a few years ago to light up the tracks using
solar lighting so that the train drivers will be able to see the
elephants. More recently the West Bengal Forest Department has been
advised to construct rail under and over passes to allow safe passage to
wildlife in a few places along the 160 kms track.
The other suggestions have been of the temporary band-aid types - clear
vegetation along the tracks to increase visibility; employ trackers with
walkie-talkies to keep an eye on elephant movement; increase
co-ordination between forest and railway staff and slow down the speed
of trains at night when most of the accidents seem to happen. It is a
telling comment that the concerned authorities have not managed to
implement even these simple ideas. Conservation groups have suggested
that all nighttime train traffic be stopped on this route or that the
line be diverted to avoid the vulnerable areas. This might be a small
price to pay to prevent the death of an endangered animal, but even this
appears to be non-acceptable. When villages that predate the creation of
PAs by 100s of years can be relocated in the interest of wildlife, there
is no reason the same can’t be done for these rail tracks that are much
more recent and have proven hugely detrimental to wildlife.
Killing an elephant attracts the highest punishment under the law.
There is much breast beating, for instance, when animals are killed by
poachers or in retaliatory killings by villagers who are victims of
elephant depredation. There are demands for stricter punishment, for
immediate arrests and calls for the Central Bureau of Investigation to
look into the matter.
We know exactly what is happening on the rail tracks in North Bengal. A
similarly distressing situation exists in neighbouring Assam, which has
the dubious distinction of maximum elephant deaths in train accidents
(there are four stories on elephants and train accidents in this issue
of the PA Update alone). The scene of ‘crime’ is known, the actors are
known and yet no action is taken: killing of wildlife is clearly a
lesser crime when committed by a particular set of actors. This is the
story in different forms in different parts of the country. Some are
more equal than others and wildlife, certainly, is at the bottom of that


Protected Area Update
Vol. XVI, No. 4, August 2010 (No. 86)

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
- Association for India’s Development
- Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
- Indian Bird Conservation Network
Information has been sourced from different newspapers and the following