News and Information from protected areas in India and South Asia
Vol. XVIII No. 3
June 2012 (No. 97)
LIST OF CONTENTS
An officer and a wildlife researcher
NEWS FROM INDIAN STATES
- Tiger Reserve status for Kawal WLS
- 35 species recorded in camera-trapping exercise in Namdapha NP
- Assam forest staff allowed use of fire arms; other measures for forest protection
- 118 tigers in Kaziranga NP in the last three years
- Serious water shortage in Gibbon WLS, Orang NP in March
- Rainwater harvesting for Gibbon WLS
- Elephant population rises in Assam
- Increase in rhino population in Assam
- River dolphin research centre at Patna
JAMMU & KASHMIR
- Camera traps to be used to study wildlife in J&K
- Concrete threat to Dachigam National Park
- Road connecting Mysore and Mananthavadi to bypass Nagarhole NP
- Power line in Kudremukh NP to be dismantled as ‘conservation swap’ for new power line in Nandikur
- IISc researchers held for ‘hunting’ at Panna TR
- Gujarat gives the ‘cheetah’ reason to refuse lions for Kuno Palpur WLS
- NHAI proposes to reduce width of the road passing through Pench TR
- Jaw traps near Tadoba Andhari TR get tigers, injure forest guard
- Zero-garbage plan for Matheran, Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani ESAs in state
- Minister orders halt on the construction work inside Sariska TR
- Agitators shut down Sariska TR for a week in March
- Gram sabhas oppose creation of the Sathyamangalam tiger reserve
- Two proposals totaling Rs. 6.6 crore for Dudhwa NP
- WII recommends scrapping of 34 big dams in Uttarakhand
- Court orders ‘complete silence zone’ in a radius of 500 m around Corbett NP
- Road-widening plan may affect revival of the Gola corridor
NATIONAL NEW FROM INDIA
- SC stays cheetah reintroduction project
- Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award–2012
- Awards for tiger reserve management
- GoI-UNDP India Biodiversity Awards
- Timber smuggling in Royal Manas NP from across the border
- Fires hit forests, wildlife in Nepal; neighbouring PAs in India also affected
- First rhino poaching incident this year in Chitwan NP
- Disease threatens endangered Markhor population
IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS UPDATE
- Large scale encroachment of lakes in Kamrup district
- Road proposed through Kutch Desert Sanctuary
- Over 87000 birds counted in the Khijadia Bird Sanctuary
- Vulture sanctuary planned in and around Ramdevarabetta RF
- Birders seek protection for the Kattampally Wetlands IBA
- Vulture festival held at Phansad WLS
- Navi Mumbai airport less than 10 km away from Karnala Bird Sanctuary; FD withdraws forest clearance
- 121 vultures found during census in Nilgiris district
- Rs 15.75 crore plan for Pallikaranai marsh
FROM THE ARCHIVES: A Decade Ago
IN THE SUPREME COURT
On vets, zoos and wildlife conservation
- An officer and a wildlife researcher -
Talk to a wildlife researcher and the one topic most likely to come up is the huge difficulty s/he faces in dealing with forest officers. The litany of complaints can be endless – no responses to research proposals or permits to conduct research; inordinate delays if permits are eventually granted; permissions denied for no ostensible reason, leave alone an explanation; and harassment and allegations, particularly when research results show the managers in poor light
Almost every scientist who has tried to study the wild has had a couple of such experiences. A few years ago a well-known research team was hounded out of the Panna Tiger Reserve for calling the bluff of tiger numbers in the reserve. More recently, another researcher made public his experience and his frustration in getting permits from the Maharashtra Forest Department for a project seeking to study the state of the endangered Forest owlet in Central India and only a few weeks ago two young researchers from the Indian Institute of Science were arrested for ‘hunting’ in the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh - they had been found with a couple of scorpions, a skink and a skink’s tail in their possession. The law, as they say is an ass, but surely this is not about the law alone. There are deeper and more serious issues at stake here.
There is the other side to the story as well and one that can be got easily from that other side. Talk to those in the forest service, those who work as managers and legal guardians of the forests and wildlife and another list of complaints emerges quite consistently: researchers who focus on esoteric questions that have no relevance for management of or conservation in the landscape they are studying; researchers who are interested in little more than their permits, research results and papers; and researchers who make endless demands on the already stretched infrastructure and then leave without as much as sharing their research findings.
This is bound to end in a stalemate, particularly with each side talking past and not to, each other. Jairam Ramesh, when he was at the environment and forests ministry, had tried resolving this stalemate through proposed amendments to the research clauses in the Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA). Nothing surely seems to have come of that. That a solution should be found to this problem is stating the obvious; the bigger challenge would be to find the means and the mechanisms to do this. The first and perhaps the most important step would be to start discussing the issues. It is only when experiences and expectations are laid out openly that there can be a possibility of finding common ground.
It is in this context that the recent issue of the wildlife magazine Sanctuary Asia (Vol XXXII, No. 2) makes very relevant reading – the lead feature has prominent field biologists reflecting on their profession, those from their community and on their relationship with others including the forest department. In her recent book on the history of conservation in India, (Conservation at the Crossroads, Permanent Black 2010) field biologist Ghazala Shahabuddin has outlined a well-thought-out and detailed roadmap for research in wildlife, and only in the last issue of the Protected Area Update (Vol. XVIII, No. 2, April 2012) Sonali Ghosh shared her experiences of being both a forester and a researcher and made a plea for collaboration, even noting that the grass can be green on both sides.
It is in the continuation of such articulations and in joint effort alone that some important bridges can be built. These, in fact, need to be built urgently if the wildlife and wilderness that they claim to represent and care for are to survive into the future. The last thing that is needed is a skirmish between an officer and a wildlife researcher!
Protected Area Update
Vol. XVIII, No. 3, June 2012 (No. 97)
Editor: Pankaj Sekhsaria
Editorial Assistance: Reshma Jathar, Anuradha Arjunwadkar
Illustrations: Madhuvanti Anantharajan, Peeyush Sekhsaria
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. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://kalpavriksh.org/protected-area-update
Publication of the PA Update has been supported by
- Foundation for Ecological Security (FES)
- Duleep Matthai Nature Conservation Trust
- World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - India
- Bombay Natural History Society
- Donations from a number of individual supporters
Information has been sourced from different newspapers and
THE ‘PA UPDATES FOR A 1000 FOREST STAFF Initiative
It is a matter of great satisfaction for the team at the Protected Area Update and at Kalpavriksh that the newsletter will be soon hitting the century mark. In its 18th year of uninterrupted publication, the PA Update's 100th issue will be published in a few months time. We would like to thank all our supporters, well wishers and readers and hope that we will continue for another 100 issues as well, if not more.
There is surely great scope for improvement in what the newsletter covers, how it is produced and how we reach out to an interested and relevant readership. As an effort at increasing the readership, particularly amongst the forest and wildlife staff, those at the very frontlines of conservation effort, we are launching this 'PA Updates for a 1000 forest staff' initiative.
It has been prompted by feedback to us that field staff often do not know what is happening in the policy arena, in other parts of the country and sometimes even in their own backyard.
We have set ourselves a target of being able to raise enough resources in six months time so that the 100th issue of the PA Update will go out to a set of 1000 forest staff with your support. We would like to request and encourage you to subscribe to the PA Update on behalf of forest staff - the more you can support the better. You tell us which particular state, region, protected area or particular individual or office in the forest staff you would like to reach out to and we will use your gift subscription to send the PA Update to that person or set of persons for a period of one year.
The annual subscription for this initiative of the PA Update will be only Rs. 100/-. You can support 100 such subscriptions or you can support just one!
We are sure you will agree that this is a campaign worth undertaking and that we will also get your support and contributions for this. If you need any more information or details, please do let me know. Please also circulate this widely on other networks that you might be part of and send us suggestions or ideas of how to make this successful are very welcome indeed.
Editor, Protected Area Update,