Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dear Friends,
Given below is the list of contents and the edit of the new issue of the Protected Area Update (Vol XVI, No. 6, December 2010). If you would like to receive the entire newsletter in its soft copy format, please write to me at

Pankaj Sekhsaria
Editor, Protected Area Update
C/o Kalpavriksh

News and Information from protected areas in India and South Asia
Vol. XVI No. 6
December 2010 (No. 88)

FRA and wildlife conservation: The ‘critical’ question
- Locals help to restore Kaziranga NP corridors
- Centre releases Rs. 573 lakh for Kaziranga, Manas and Nameri TRs
- India, Bhutan to jointly monitor Manas tigers
- ONGC to support swamp deer conservation in Kaziranga NP
- Tiger conservation education program in schools adjoining PAs
- Ecodevelopment committees formed in 11 villages bordering the Orang NP
- Arms training for Orang NP staff

- Gir attracts 33000 visitors, earns Rs. 42 lakh during Diwali

- Dalma WLS to expand by over 1500 ha

- Plea to allow removal of already mined ore in Kudremukh

- Bandhavgarh TR to get gaur from Kanha

- HC asks for relocation of villages from Tadoba Andhari TR within a year
- High Court stays construction of tourist resorts and installation of windmills in Koyna WLS
- 49 mining leases approved in Sindhudurg; corridor connecting Koyna, Radhanagari WLSs and Anshi-Dandeli TR to be impacted

- 227 families to be evicted from Dampa TR

- Coastal fishing ban for seven months
- Concerns over proposed thermal power plant proximity to Chandaka WLS
- Maoists blow up forest buildings inside Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary

- Rs. 58 crore to fence wildlife sanctuaries

- Rajasthan Tourism proposes train-safari through Todgarh Raoli WLS
- Illegal mining threatens Sariska again

- Gangtok Himalayan Zoological Park to be upgraded

- Minister suggests inclusion of Segur plateau in buffer zone of the Mudumalai TR

- Rs. Four crore for tourism development and promotion in Buxa TR
- No river-linking project through Buxa TR

- India, Norway to collaborate for protecting biodiversity
- National Board for Wildlife reconstituted
- Save Western Ghats meet in Moodubidri in January 2011
- CEE to implement gibbon conservation programme in five North-Eastern states
- 2010 TOFT Wildlife Tourism Awards
- CEE to initiate a two-year education program for river dolphin conservation
- Former SC judge, LS Panta to chair National Green Tribunal
- Task force for Dugong conservation

- Stricter wildlife law proposed in Bangladesh

- India elected secretary in Interpol’s Wildlife Crime Working Group
- UN conference for protection of dugongs

- Openings for research with the Wildlife Research and Conservation Society
- The WCS Research Fellowship Program
- Openings at the Nature Conservation Foundation

- First Indian Biodiversity Congress

SPECIAL SECTION: Forest Rights Act, Protected Areas and Wildlife Conservation

- MoTA, MoEF clarify that protected areas are not outside FRA ambit

- Villagers oppose CWH status for Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary

- Soligas oppose tiger reserve status for BRT Wildlife Sanctuary

- Forest Rights Act being violated in Simlipal Tiger Reserve
ELEPHANTS IN THE NEWS: August – November 2010

Wildlife Tourism: A Valuable Tool for Conservation



Ever since the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (FRA for short) was notified, large sections of the wildlife conservation community have vehemently opposed it. The vociferous opposition that had started much before the final notification is seen even today. Journalists, editors and a section of wildlifers continue to berate and demonise the FRA in any and all possible fora unmindful of developments on the ground.
A historical battle to protect forests, water security, and a threatened indigenous community in the Niyamgiri hills of Orissa has just been won on the back of the FRA and yet, the argument continues to go out that this law will destroy the last of India’s remaining forests and wildlife. Neither have other organizations who had petitioned the Supreme Court and a number of High Courts against the FRA thought it right to re-negotiate their positions. There have been no shades of grey in these articulations, not even a black and white; there is just one lens through which this issue is being seen.
The Protected Area Update (Vol. XII, No. 4) had argued even before the law was enacted that a balance was needed in the discussions and that it was certainly not the disaster it was made out to be. No law can be perfect. There will always be shortcomings and challenges, but it is baffling why the narratives don’t change even when a lot around the narrative does. Why not give credit where it is due? Why continue to discredit even when there is evidence to the contrary?
Take the case of the ‘critical’ – the critical tiger habitat (CTH) and the critical wildlife habitat (CWH) – the former under the Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA) and the latter under the FRA. There is a huge push to get the ‘critical’ declarations done because then people can be relocated in the presumed interests of wildlife. What is being forgotten in this urgency is that there is due process of law to be followed. Certain conditions have to be met and the local communities have to consent fully. The Ministries of both, Tribal Affairs and Environment and Forests have made it clear that protected areas are not outside the ambit of the FRA and yet, as a number of reports in this issue of the PA Update – from the Dampa Tiger Reserve (TR) in Mizoram and the Simlipal TR in Orissa to the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple and Cotigao Sanctuaries in the Western Ghats – point out, it is evident that the provisions of the law are not being followed.
There is enough other evidence to show at the same time that the WLPA is in many situations unable to protect the PAs, leave alone wildlife outside. Illustrations abound – denotification for mines, dams, and infrastructure projects, continued illegal mining in a number of PAs and continued poaching in even the best protected of parks.
The future for forests and wildlife is certainly not rosy; certainly not in this present paradigm of development where the stakes and vested interests are disproportionately large and too deeply embedded in the system. The terms of the game are not amenable to easy change, but if one looks at the possibilities that the FRA offers there might just be the faint outline of a game changer on the horizon.
It happened in Niyamgiri; it is happening in the continued opposition to land acquisition for the Pohang Steel Company (POSCO) also in Orissa and it happening in a number of places were communities are using the FRA to protect their forests and livelihood resources and keeping out the dams and the quarrying and the logging (see earlier issues of the PA Update). The critical question is whether we are willing to see this and give it even an outside chance.

Protected Area Update
Vol. XVI, No. 6, December 2010 (No. 88)
Editor: Pankaj Sekhsaria
Editorial Assistance: Reshma Jathar
Illustrations: Madhuvanti Anantharajan

Produced by:
The Documentation and Outreach Centre, 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 websites

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