PROTECTED AREA UPDATE

News and Information from protected areas in India and South Asia


 

Vol. XIII No. 5                                                                                                                         October 2007 (No. 69)


 

 

LIST OF CONTENTS

EDITORIAL                                                               2

A crisis of governance?

NEWS FROM INDIAN STATES

Andhra Pradesh                                                        3

Fall in GIB numbers in Rollapadu WLS

Assam                                                                          3

Train kills two elephants near Deepor Beel WLS

Flood waters drown Pobitora WLS

Bodo council looking at alternative livelihood methods for conservation

Two flyovers in Manas to protect wildlife

World Heritage Committee’s monitoring mission not satisfied with Manas NP

The India Rhino Vision 2020 relocation program to take off soon

Project to showcase Karbi culture bordering Kaziranga NP

Metal detectors for Kaziranga by year end

Kaziranga TR boundaries notified

Hollock Gibbon Conservation Training

Gujarat                                                                        7

Vehicles kill two big cats in Gir

Further steps to protect Gir

Carcasses of four Cubs found in Gir WLS

Project to cover open wells in, around Gir

Himachal Pradesh                                                     8

FD looking for person with expertise in Himalayan Fresh water fishes

Six sanctuaries to be handed over from territorial to wildlife wing

HP to have new state animal, bird and flower

Jammu & Kashmir                                                   9

Kashmir wildlife benefiting s from insurgency, hunting ban

SC allows Mughal road, lays conditions

Karnataka                                                                   9

Police enquiry into elephant deaths in Nagarhole

 

 

Wildlife research institute for Karnataka

Elephant carcasses in Bandipur being left for other wild animals

Kerala                                                                          10

Kerala tourism to promote forests, PAs

Madhya Pradesh                                        11

SC allows for completion of canal work in Karera Wildlife Sanctuary

Cash incentive for florican conservation in Sailana and Sardarpur WLS not working

2005 Rajiv Gandhi Award for Deputy Director, Kanha TR

SC nod for development work in forest villages in PAs

Maharashtra                                                            12

State for denotification of Jayakwadi WLS

Officials with wildlife training posted in non-wildlife posts

Mizoram                                                                      13

New species records for Mizoram PAs

Orissa                                                                         13

State sitting on proposal for Satkosia Tiger Reserve

Tamil Nadu                                                                 13

New interpretation centre at Guindy NP

Forest Commission set up in Tamil Nadu

Confiscated star tortoises to be released in Point Calimere WLS

Uttarakhand                                                                14

Flyovers as elephant corridors in Rajaji NP

Elephant tramples two to death near Rajaji

West Bengal                                                            15

Tiger rescue centre in Sunderbans

Eco-Development initiative bordering Senchal WLS

NATIONAL NEWS FROM INDIA       16

New popular science publication on conservation

Photo IDs for wild elephants

Three PAs likely as UNESCO World heritage sites in 2009

CMS Vatavaran 2007 held

MigrantWatch launched

Policy for relocation of wild animals soon

Assessment of trade in peacock feathers.

Details of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau

Toll-free number to protect wildlife

Tracking the Social and Ecological Impacts of Forest Rights Act

CEC to continue

Paul Getty Award to Dr. K.Ullas Karanth

First meet of Butterfly Northeast held

 

SOUTH ASIA                                                          21

NEPAL

WWF Nepal’s conservation Awards

 

UPCOMING                                                             21

Transboundary Mountain PAs Workshop

1st International Wildlife Reintroduction Conference

28th Annual Sea Turtle Symposium
 
OPPORTUNITIES                                                 21
Coordinator, Wildlife Conservation for project near Kuno WLS

Volunteers needed for Biodiversity Documentation in Eaglenest WLS

CISED is looking for Core Faculty, Visiting Fellows and Postdoctoral Research Associates

 

READERS WRITE                                                  23

 

Protected Area Update

Vol. XIII, No. 5, October 2007 (No. 69)

Editor: Pankaj Sekhsaria

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.

Email: psekhsaria@gmail.com

Website: www.kalpavriksh.org

Production of PA Update 69 has been supported by Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), Anand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The PA Update needs your support

For details see Page 24

 

 

 

 

EDITORIAL

 

 

A crisis of governance?

 

Will wildlife protection and protected area management be possible in the absence of properly trained, sufficiently staffed and adequately funded Forest Departments? It might sound like a question that is ridiculous. The answer too would be a straight forward one - An obvious no!

            The issue, however, is precisely this. The shortage of well trained personnel and financial resources is a real problem on the ground– though it might be the most obvious thing to do, the fact of the matter is that PA managements in some cases and entire State Forest Departments in others, are short on basic staff and money to manage, protect and conserve our forests and protected areas in particular.

            A few months ago (PA Update Vol XIII, No. 2 June 2007), it had been reported that the West Bengal Forest Department is facing a serious shortage of staff. Anywhere between 20 to 50% of posts were vacant in various categories including forest guards and rangers. A report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India indicated, for instance, that patrolling staff in the Buxa Tiger Reserve was short by over 60%. Additionally, a large number of staff in premier parks like the Buxa and Sunderbans Tiger Reserves were found to be over-age as per the guidelines of the Wildlife Institute of India.

In Gir, in Gujarat, it took the huge crisis of lion poaching (see edit of the last issue of the PA Update) to galvanise the department into filling up the number of vacant posts and also getting staff that is young and fit.

            News from Maharashtra in this issue highlights another equally important matter– officers of the State Forest Department with wildlife training are actually not being posted in wildlife management posts. The state has only 78 officers who have some training in wildlife as against the state’s requirement of 141. Quite inexplicably, only 10 of the 78 are actually posted in wildlife areas – the other 68 are in places that have nothing to do with wildlife. None of the three tiger reserves in the state have, at the helm, an officer who has wildlife related training. Why is money from the public exchequer being spent for the training when the expertise is not used where relevant?

The other related issue is of finance, rather its non-availability. Excellent examples are the high profile tiger reserves of the country as was reported recently in the national media. In spite of the huge hue and cry about poaching and the need to augment facilities including those of protection, most of the reserves are not getting the money that is due to them. It is not that money is not available – it appears to be the lack of the correct systems and an accountability that will ensure the needful is done. Either the National Tiger Conservation Authority has not released funds to states, or where it has been, it is stuck in state bureaucracies. Whatever be the reason, the net result on the ground is the same- no money to pay staff, to hire vehicles or to reimburse costs.

When, even the most high profile reserves like those in Melghat, Ranthambore, Buxa and Dudhwa have not received the money, the fate of lesser known sanctuaries and national parks can only be imagined. Is it realistic to expect that management and protection work can be carried out effectively in such a situation?

The crisis here is, clearly, one of governance. If the fundamentals of the foundation will be neglected in such a manner, the edifice, if it can be constructed at all, can only be a shaky one.

 

 

NEWS FROM INDIAN STATES

 

 

ANDHRA PRADESH

 

Fall in GIB nos in Rollapadu WLS

 

Latest reports indicate that the population of the Great Indian Bustard has come down drastically in the Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary. The number now is said to be only eighteen which is less than half the 40 birds seen here five years ago.

There are various factors being held responsible for this decline. This includes the blasting of rocks during excavation works for widening of the Alagnur Balancing Reservoir, located few kilometres from the sanctuary. This had forced the birds to move.

Another serious problem is the accumulation of water in the vicinity of the sanctuary that is causing serious ecological changes in the habitat. The groundwater levels are increasing in the sanctuary leading to change in vegetation, which in turn is resulting in a change in the insect life and on food sources of the birds.

 

Source: ‘Concern over dwindling number of Great Indian Bustard’, The Hindu, 23/090/07.

Contact: DFO (Wildlife Management), Rollapadu WLS, Atmakur, Kurnool. Andhra Pradesh. Tel: 08516-283337

 

ASSAM

 

Train kills two elephants near Deepor Beel WLS

 

Two elephants were killed after a goods train knocked them down near the Deepor Beel Wildlife Sanctuary in August. The calf and a nine year old adult were part of a herd that was crossing the track at night when the accident occurred.

            Forest officials have pointed out that the train was moving at a speed of 40 kmph. The driver of the train is reported to have said that the accident occurred about three kms away from the earmarked speed restriction zone where the speed limit is 25kmph. Additionally, the engine headlight could not illuminate the herd as the train was negotiating a curve and it was too late by the time the driver applied the brakes.

            The Forest authorities are seeking permission to arrest the railway driver while the Railways officials have said that this was not a solution as the driver was only discharging his responsibility of running the train. They have, instead, insisted that the FD should keep them posted regularly on elephant movement so that timely action could be taken to lower the speed and avoid such accidents.

            Three elephants had similarly been knocked down by a goods train in the same stretch in 2004.

Source: Sushanta Talukdar. ‘Freight train kills two elephants’, The Hindu 11/08/07

Contact: Divisional Forest Officer, Assam State Zoo Division, I/c Deepor Beel WLS R.G. Baruah Road, Guwahati - 781 024, Assam. Tel: 0361-261363(O), 263331(R)

                               

Flood waters drown Pobitora WLS

 

As much as 95 per cent of the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary was reported to be under floodwaters in the middle of September. A large number of wild animals - mainly rhinos, buffalos and wild boars were found taking shelter on the raised roads running inside and along the sanctuary.

            The wild animals, particularly the herbivores, were also said to be suffering from a serious food shortage and forest personnel were forced to ensure that food was made available to them. Forest Department elephants also had to be shifted to higher ground outside the sanctuary. This hampered the movement of the forest personnel but the elephants had to be moved as they were also facing a food shortage.

            The rising waters had also forced the abandonment of many of the forest camps. Of the 22 camps in the sanctuary three camps were completely damaged and nine others had to be abandoned. Deaths of two wild boar was also reported. A complete list of the casualties would be available only once the waters subsided.

The sanctuary authorities have submitted a proposal for the construction of highlands in the sanctuary to deal with such situations in the future.

 

Source: ‘All of Pobitora is virtually under water’, http://www.wildlifewatch.in/news/area/assam/2007/09/61

Contact: Divisional Forest Officer, Pobitora WLS, Nagaon Wildlife Division, P.O. & Dist. Nagaon – 782001, Assam. Tel: 03672-223104(O), 222310(R )

 

Bodo council looking at alternative livelihood methods for conservation

 

A seminar on ‘Alternate Livelihood Support for Conservation of Forests and Wildlife in Bodoland’, was jointly organised by the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), the Forest Department and the Green Heart Nature Club in Kokrajhar recently.

            The BTC Deputy Chief said the success of the tourism initiatives in the Manas National Park (also see PA Updates 65, 63, 60, 56, 54, & 45) had encouraged the to focus itself on alternative methods of livelihood support as part of its forest and wildlife conservation programme and that tourism was one of the areas being stressed on.

Residents of 169 forest villages participated in the seminar.

 

Source: ‘Bodo council looking at alternative livelihood methods for conservation’, www.wildlifewatch.in, 14/09/07.

 

Two flyovers in Manas to protect wildlife

Two flyovers will be built on a stretch of National Highway 152, flanked by the wilds of Manas National Park, to divert speeding vehicles away from wild animals crossing the road. A 12-km stretch of the busy highway, which connects Pathsala in Barpeta district to Nganglam in Bhutan, cuts through the park.

The project for the flyovers was sanctioned recently by the Union ministry of Surface Transport. The budget and the specifications of the proposed flyovers have not been finalised yet, but each of the structures would be between 1km and 2km long.

The highway is also to be realigned to facilitate construction of the flyovers, resulting in a portion of it moving further east. The project includes two more bridges on the Pota, which flows along the Indo-Bhutan border.The Manas flyover project is the result of a suggestion made by the Deputy Commissioner of Baksa District, Anwaruddin Choudhury, to the Public Works Department (PWD) in September 2005.

A meeting was convened on December 3 that very year to discuss the issue with engineers of the PWD’s highway division following which they gave their ascent.

 

Source: Pullock Dutta. ‘Fly over forest, spare animals’, The Telegraph, 21/09/07.

Contact: Director, Manas NP, PO Barpeta Rd. Dist. Barpeta – 781315, Assam. Tel: 03666 – 261413. Fax: 232253 / 260253

 

World Heritage Committee’s monitoring mission not satisfied with Manas NP

 

Manas National Park continues to be on UNESCOs’ List of World Heritage in Danger because many recommendations of the World Heritage Committee’s (WHC) Monitoring Mission of 2005 have not been implemented.

            Some of recommendations that were made include the need to work with the Bhutan government regarding release of water from the upstream dam as it causes widespread floods in Lower Assam; setting up of a co-ordination mechanism between park staff and the Bodo people on planning and conservation activities; identifying sources of funds and timely release of money for the park’s management in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling; mechanisms for transferring funds directly to the park through agencies such as the Wildlife Areas Development and Welfare Trust; a management plan for invasive species and defining roles and expectations of all relevant stakeholders in relation to future community development activities.

            The Govt. of Assam had submitted its report in response at a recent meeting in Christchurch in New Zealand and the WHC found many inconsistencies. It was pointed out, for instance, that there was a discrepancy in the elephant population reports for 2006 and 2007. The 2006 report noted an increase from 567 to 658, whereas the 2007 report indicated a decline from 567 to 247. The report did not include new information on communication facilities within the park, particularly re-building of bridges and culverts. On vacancies too, it was found that there was a shortfall of 140 positions out of 445 sanctioned posts. The committee also made a note of the fact that the information on bird population and habitat was very limited.

The WHC has asked the Central Government to provide an updated report on the park by February 1, 2008 for examination by the committee at its 32nd session next year.

 

Source: ‘Why is Manas still in danger’, The Telegraph, 02/08/07

Contact: Director, Manas NP, see above

 

The India Rhino Vision 2020 relocation program to take off soon

 

The India Rhino Vision 2020 programme, which aims to attain a population of 3,000 rhinos in the wild in Assam, is likely to begin by end of 2007. Under this programme, the rhino population will be distributed over seven protected areas by 2020.

The programme would involve translocating rhinos from two source populations (Kaziranga and Pobitora) into at least three target protected areas (Manas, Laokhowa-Buracharpori-Kochumora, Dibru Saikhowa and possibly Orang).

 The infrastructure at Manas National Park is expected to be ready by October, following which at least 20 rhinos will be moved here from Kaziranga. A total of 13 new camps will be set up and 50 volunteers would be brought in for the programme to help provide a safe and secure site for the rhinos in Manas.

The Indian Rhino Vision 2020 project is being implemented by the Department of Environment and Forests of the Assam government and is being supported by a number of other organizations including WWF India and the International Rhino Foundation (IRF). (also see PA Update Vol XIII, No. 2, April 2007)

 

Source: ‘Succour for rhinos, at last’, The Telegraph, 10/08/07.

 

Project to showcase Karbi culture bordering Kaziranga NP

 

As part of a project funded by the Central Government and implemented by the Karbi Anglong District Administration efforts are being made to set up a Karbi village to enable visitors to Kaziranga to sample a way of life of this local community here. The village will be named after the Karbi mythological heroine Kajir Ranghangpi.

            A sum of Rs. Two crores has already been released for the first phase of the project. The project involves the setting up of more than a dozen hamtuns (Karbi homes), an amphitheatre where the traditional culture of the community would be displayed, a restaurant where the emphasis would be on traditional cuisine, a centre where an outsider would be shown how the community uses herbs for treatment as well as fashion shows. A team of trained youths will also guide tourists in tracking and exploring the adjoining hills.

 

Source: Sarat Sarma. ‘Glimpses of Kajir’s realm’, The Telegraph, 25/09/07.

 

Metal detectors for Kaziranga by year end

 

The Guwahati based NGO Aaranyaak has decided to gift metal detectors to the Kaziranga National Park to help deal with the poaching problem. It is hoped that metal detectors will help forest guards locate guns and rifles hidden in the park by poachers. 17 rhinos have already been poached this year, 10 of which were shot inside the park.

            The NGO is looking for different models of metal detectors in various countries and the one best suited for the situation in Kaziranga will then be procured. This is being tried as a pilot project and if successful similar detectors will be made available in other PAs as well.

 

Source: Pullock Dutta. ‘Hunt for rhino calf after poachers kill mother’, The Telegraph, 17/09/07.

Roopak Goswami. ‘Metal detectors to outwit poachers’, The Telegraph, 25/09/07.

Contact: Bibhab Talukdar, Aaranyaak, Samanwoy Path (Survey), PO Beltola, Guwahati - 781 028, Assam. Email: bibhab1@sancharnet.in

               

 

 

 

Kaziranga TR boundaries notified

 

The demarcation of the boundaries of the Kaziranga Tiger Reserve was announced in a notification issued in the first week of August. It will cover an area of 1,030 square km of which 482 square km will be the core area.

            The core area comprises Kaziranga National Park and the first, second, third and fifth addition areas while the buffer zone comprises the fourth and sixth addition areas, the Kukurakata Reserve Forest, the Panbari Reserve Forest, the Bagser Reserve Forest, and the Laokhowa and Burhachapori Wildlife Sanctuaries.

 

Source: ‘Tiger Reserve status for Kaziranga NP’, The Telegraph, 13/08/07.

Contact: Contact: Director, Kaziranga NP, PO Bokakhat, Dist. Golaghat – 785612, Assam. Tel: 03776-268095(O), 268086®

 

Hollock Gibbon Conservation Training

 

The Fourth Hollock Gibbon Conservation Training session was held from September 8, 2007 at the Gibbon Conservation Centre at the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Jorhat district. 62 participants from different Forest Divisions of Assam have participated in the training during the preceeding three sessions.

The workshop was inaugurated by MC Malakar, PCCF, Govt. of Assam.

The Gibbon Conservation Center was established in 2004 with a mission of carrying out research, training and conservation activities in Northeast India with the Hoolock Gibbon as the flagship species. So far the center has organized a series of five training programs for foresters from gibbon habitats in Assam. The workshops have been organized in collaboration with the Primate Research Center, School of Desert Science, Aaranyak, and Assam Forest Department and with financial support from the US Fish and Wildlife Services (Great Ape Conservation Fund).

 

Contact: Dr. Dilip Chetry, Gibbon Conservation Centre, Meleng, Mariani, Jorhat – 785634. Tel: 09435043982 / 03771-244378. Email: chetryd@rediffmail.com

 

            Chief Wildlife WardenAssam, Rehabari, Guwahati – 781008, Assam. Tel: 0361-2566064. Fax 2547386 

 

GUJARAT

 

Vehicles kill two big cats in Gir

 

One leopard cub and one lioness were killed in road accidents in the first week of August in the Gir East Forest Division. The lioness was killed on the state highway No. 90 between Chaturi and Khadadhar villages in Khambha taluka. The post mortem revealed that the animal had suffered multiple fractures in its right limb and the right side of the head and had subsequently succumbed to the injuries.

            The Forest Department officials have said that they have identified three roads which have frequent movement of wild animals. Letters have been written to the government departments concerned to put up speed breakers on these roads.

A number of wild animals have also been killed in road accidents in the past in Gir (Also see PA Update Vol XIII, No. 1, and PA Update No. 50)

 

Source: Sibte Husain Bukhari. ‘Two big cats come under wheels within 24 hrs’, The Indian Express, 04/08/07

 

Further steps to protect Gir

 

The Gujarat Government has announced further steps to augment protection of the forests of Gir. 18 new check posts are being set up in the park. Five of these which will be located at Jasadhar, Tulsishyam, Dalkhaniya, Jamwada and Bamansa ranges. These will be equipped with close circuit televisions and night vision cameras to capture any suspicious movement in the jungle.

The Forest Department is also reported to have completed the process of recruiting new staff. Accordingly, 81 guards have been inducted in Gir west and 37 have been inducted in Gir east.

(Also see PA Update Vol XIII, Nos. 4 & 3)

 

Source: Himanshu Kaushik. ‘Hi –tech security for Gir lions’, The Times of India, 19/08/07.

 

Carcasses of four Cubs found in Gir WLS

Carcasses of four lion cubs were found in the month of September in the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. Forest guards found the dead bodies of two cubs and body parts of two others in the Bhuribhekh area of the Hadada range while they were searching for an ill lion.

            Twelve claws were also reported to be missing though the cause of the deaths has not been confirmed.

Samples have been sent to Forensic Science Lab in Junagadh and the Veterinary College at Anand to ascertain the cause of death. The Gujarat State Forest Department has claimed these deaths as natural and due to diseases.

 

Source: ‘Carcasses of four cubs found in Gir WLS’, Gujarat Samachar, 22/09/07

 

Project to cover open wells in, around Gir

 

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Rajkot based Wild Life Conservation Trust (WLCT) and the Gujarat Forest Department to construct parapet walls around open wells in and around the forests of Gir. There are nearly 9000 such wells in 158 villages in this landscape where nearly 50 lions are reported to have fallen into them in the last six years. At least 24 of these big cats eventually died. (Also see PA Updates Vol. XIII, No. 2, and Vol XII, No. 6)

            Already 700 of these wells have been covered by the Forest Department and work for parapet walls around the rest is to be completed in the next three years. The most dangerous wells for wildlife are the ones that are located in Kotda, Paniya, Chanchai and Dalkhania villages and it is here that the construction of parapets on wells will be taken up on a priority basis. The expenditure per well is Rs. 10,000

            The WLCT, along with the Reliance Rural Development Trust (RRDT) and Ambuja Cement would also construct parapets on 2,000 wells. Other corporates who are interested in supporting this project include the Tatas and Shell.

            The Forest Department has prepared two plans for the implementation of the project. The first is where the government would monitor the process of parapet construction and would give a total of Rs 4,000 per well and the remaining would have to be financed by the NGOs and corporates. In the second model, the NGO would give the money to Lion Conservation Society formed by the state government and the government would take up the construction on behalf of these NGOs or the corporates.

 

Source: ‘NGOs, corporates give lions wall cover’, The Times of India, 28/09/07

Contact: Bharat Pathak, CF (Wildlife) Junagadh, Sardar Bag, Junagadh, Gujarat. Tel: 0285 - 631678/ 630051. Fax: 631211. Email: cfwildlife_ad1@sancharnet.in

Kishore Kotecha,WLCT Asiatic Lion Protection Society, 128, Star Plaza, Phulchhab Chowk, Rajkot, 360001, Gujarat. Tel: 0281 2444 074 Mobile: +91 98240 62062. Email: info@asiaticlion.org. URL: www.asiaticlion.org

 

CWLW - Gujarat, Block 14, Dr. Jivraj Mehta Bhavan, Old Sachivalaya, Gandhinagar-382010, Gujarat. Tel: 02712-230007. Fax: 221097.

HIMACHAL PRADESH

 

FD looking for person with expertise in Himalayan Fresh water fishes

 

The HP Forest Department is looking for a person with expertise in Himalayan Freshwater Fishes for conducting research including inventorying and breeding status in wetlands and freshwater streams in the state. 
 

Contact: Vinay Tandon, Chief Wildlife Warden, Himachal Pradesh, Talland, Shimla – 171001. Tel: 0177-2624193. Email: Vtandy@gmail.com

 

Six sanctuaries to be handed over from territorial to wildlife wing

 

Six wildlife sanctuaries in the state: Tundah WLS, Kugti WLS, Saichu Tuan WLS, Shimla Water Catchment WLS, Gobindsagar WLS and the Dhauladhar that have been under the control of the territorial wing of the Forest Department are to be handed over to the Wildlife Wing. This decision was taken during the 3rd meeting of the State Wildlife Board held in Shimla recently.

            Earlier (see PA Update Vol XII, No. 3, June 2006), the Central Government had denied resources to the tune of Rs. 1 crore to the State Forest Department because these sanctuaries had not been transferred to the wildlife wing.

It was also decided during this meeting that the State Wild Life Wing would be the nodal agency for the five wetland and wildlife sanctuaries which included Renuka, Khanniar and Chandertal wetlands and Gobind Sagar and Pongdam lake Wildlife Sanctuaries.

 

Source: ‘Himachal to have new State Animal, Bird and Flower’, http://himachal.us/2007/08/10/himachal-to-have-new-animal-bird-and-flower/2636/news/himachal-news

 

HP to have new state animal, bird and flower

 

As per a decision taken during the 3rd meeting of the State Wildlife Board held recently in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh will have a new state animal, state bird and state flower. These will now be the Snow Leopard, the Western Tragopan and the Pink Rhododendron Rhododendron campanulatum respectively. They replace the Musk Deer, the Monal and the Rhododendron arboretum.

 

Source: ‘Himachal to have new State Animal, Bird and Flower’, http://himachal.us/2007/08/10/himachal-to-have-new-animal-bird-and-flower/2636/news/himachal-news

 

JAMMU & KASHMIR

 

Kashmir wildlife benefiting s from insurgency, hunting ban

 

Wildlife officials in Jammu & Kashmir say that a ten year old hunting ban and the ongoing insurgency have benefited wildlife in Kashmir. They have said that the crack down on gun ownership at the start of the rebellion and the risk of being caught in the cross-fire between militants and troops have largely kept poachers out of the forests in the region.

As a result there are increases in number of many wild animals including leopards, black bears, musk deer and a number of bird species.

It has also been pointed, however, that increase in predators like the leopard has increased the threat for certain animals like the hangul whose numbers have dropped in recent years There has also been an increase in attacks on humans by the predators.

            It is also important to consider that earlier reports have indicated that increase in insurgency and the presence of troops has actually negatively affected wildlife in Kashmir (see PA Update Vol XIII, No. 1, Feb 2007)

 

Source: ‘Kashmir wildlife benefits from insurgency, hunting ban’, AFP, ???

 

SC allows Mughal road, lays conditions

 

Following the recommendations of its Central Empowered Committee the Supreme Court has allowed the construction of the 83.90 km long and 10 m wide Mughal Road from Bafliaz (Poonch)to Shopian (Phulwama).

            The CEC also laid down a series of conditions which were also accepted by the court.

These include:

a)       Complete ban on the movement through the sanctuaries and conservation areas by graziers and their livestock.

b)      Sanctuary/conservation areas which are in the neighbourhood areas of human settlements to be fenced to prevent poaching and other illegal activities.

c)      The areas of the 3 continuous PAs: (Lachipora WLS, Limbar WLS and the Naganari Conservation Area falling in the Kaj-i- Range to be upgraded as a National Park and the management of the entire area should be transferred from the Forest Department to the Wildlife Protection Department.

d)      An additional area of 149 sq.km. located on the eastern side of the Hirporal WLS and under the possession of the Peer Panjal Forest Division to be included within the boundary of the sanctuary.

e)       Requisite Environment clearance for the project to be obtained as per the prevalent rules/guidelines.

f)       5% of the project cost to be deposited in CAMPA.

g)      Monitoring Committee to be set up under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary with PCCF and Chief Wildlife Warden as members. The Committee is to be responsible for strict compliance of the stipulated conditions.

 

Source: Forest Case Update, Issue 37, August 37.

Contact: Wildlife Warden North, Incharge – Lachipora and Limber WLSs, C/o CWLW, Government of Jammu & Kashmir, Tourist Reception Centre (TRC), Srinagar – 190001. Tel: 0191-544575, 0194-452469

 

KARNATAKA

 

Police enquiry into elephant deaths in Nagarhole NP

 

The CID Forest Cell of the Karnataka State Police has begun investigations into the deaths of elephants that had occurred in the Metikuppe Range of the Nagarhole NP between June 2006 and May 2007. Eight elephants had died here in this period in mysterious circumstances.

The police inquiry has been instituted as the carcasses were found without tusks and autopsy reports were unable to establish the cause of death. In some cases discrepancies were also observed in the spot inspection reports related to the deaths and the autopsy’s that were subsequently conducted.

The order of the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State that the DCF should visit the site and also take photos in the case of death of a Schedule I animal were not followed.

            Assistance for the investigations is being be sought from the Bangalore based Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals. (Also see PA Update Vol XIII, No 1 and PA Update 54)

 

Source: KV Subramanya. ‘Police begin inquiry into elephant deaths’, The Hindu, 11/08/07...

Contact: Dy. Conservator of Forests, Nagarhole NP, Wildlife Division, Hunsur, Dist. Mysore, Karnataka. Tel: 08222-252041(O), 252070(R)

 

Wildlife research institute for Karnataka

 

The Central Government has sanctioned Rs Two crores for an animal husbandry and wildlife research institute to be set up in Kodagu in Karnataka. The institution will be the first of its kind in the country. It will come up on 74 acres of land in Chikkaaluvaara village of Somwarpet taluk in about a year’s time.

It will be governed and monitored by the Karnataka Animal Husbandry and Fisheries University, Bidar.

 

Source: ‘Wildlife research institute to be set up in Karnataka’, http://www.wildlifewatch.in/news/area/karnataka/2007/09/6, 10/09/07.

 

Elephant carcasses in Bandipur being left for other wild animals

 

The Forest Cell of the State Police has found that carcasses of elephants in the Bandipur National Park were being left in the wild without being burnt or cremated. Park officials were reported to be are leaving carcasses as food for other animals. As many as eight elephants were found dead at the park between June 2006 and June 2007 (see PA Updates Vol XIII, Nos 4 &1). They said that the earlier practice was to burn the carcasses but this was changed following instructions from higher ups.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) of the State, Mr IB Srivastava has denied that any such instructions were issued. He said the department has laid down guidelines for disposal of bodies of wild animals in accordance with Supreme Court rulings. Guidelines prescribe that in case of the death of a tiger or a leopard, the carcass should be burnt. In case of elephants, it is left to the discretion of the local officer to either bury or burn it, but in any case the dead body should not be left in the open.

Officials of the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biological Sciences have expressed concern that leaving bodies in this manner could lead to the spread of diseases, including anthrax and the foot-and-mouth disease.

There have been, in the recent past, several instances of wild animals being infected by anthrax. In March 2004, three elephants died of anthrax suspected to have been carried by cattle, in the Nagarahole National Park.

 

Source: ‘Elephant carcasses being left for other wild animals’, http://www.wildlifewatch.in/news/species/mammals/elephants/2007/09/42, 13/09/07

Contact: Field Director, Bandipur Project Tiger Reserve, Aranya Bhawan, Ashokapuram, Mysore – 570008, Karnataka. Tel: 0821-2480901(O), 2484980 (R).

 

Chief Wildlife Warden - Karnataka, 2nd Floor, 18th Cross, Malleshwaram, Bangalore – 560003, Karnataka. Tel: 080-3341993 / 3345846. Email: pccfwl@vsnl.com

 

KERALA

 

Kerala tourism to promote forests, PAs

 

The Kerala Tourism Department is working towards promoting tourism in the forest areas of the state including in protected areas. It is said to be fine-tuning a new forest tourism product aimed at attracting tourists to explore the lesser known areas and wildlife sanctuaries in the state.

            25 projects have been taken up for the purpose and to build infrastructure. These projects relate to building up a trekking trail and working out packages for guided tours to the forest areas.

An amount of about Rs Two crore is being spent on the initiative.

 

Source: Kerala tourism shifts focus from backwaters to forests, http://www.wildlifewatch.in/news/area/kerala/2007/09/78

Contact: Chief Wildlife Warden – Kerala, Vazhudacaud, Trivandrum – 695014, Kerala. Tel: 0471-2322217 / 2360452 / 2204896. Fax: 2360452 / 2322217 

 

MADHYA PRADESH

 

SC allows for completion of canal work in Karera WLS

 

The Supreme Court has accepted the recommendation of its Central Empowered Committee to allow for the construction of Right Bank Canal upto Mahuar river, which is within the boundaries of the Karera Wildlife Sanctuary.

            The project authorities have been asked to deposit an amount of Rs. Two crores in CAMPA for the protection and conservation of the sanctuary.

 

Source: Forest Case Update, Issue 37, August 2007.

Contact: DFO, Karera WLS, Dist. Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh. Tel: 07492-23379. Fax: 07492-33692

 

Cash incentive for florican conservation in Sailana and Sardarpur WLS not working

 

Last year’s initiative of the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department to give cash incentives to local people for information on the lesser florican in the Sailana and Sardarpur Wildlife Sanctuaries (WLS) is reportedly not yielding good results. Reports last year had indicated that the scheme had been a good success. Incentives of upto Rs. 5000 are being given for information on the bird and for protection of its eggs (see PA Update Vol. XII, No. 4, Aug. 2006).

            It has been found that people, in lure of the cash being awarded have started to tamper with the nest and the eggs at the bird’s breeding sites. Many farmers also reportedly tried to shift the nests from their actual breeding sites to their fields to be eligible for the money. In other cases farmers received the cash awards by showing eggs of other birds, which looked identical to the eggs of the florican.

            A total of 16 birds have been sighted in the two sanctuaries this season

            According to official records, 26 floricans were spotted in Ratlam in 1997, 31 in 1998, 26 in 1999, 30 in 2000, 35 in 2001, 38 in 2002, 38 in 2003, 32 in 2004 and 28 in 2006. The reporting of 2007 has not been done yet.

Source: ‘Jumping kharmors a rare sight now.’ The Pioneer, Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Contact: DFO Ratlam. Tel: 07412-235179.

 

2005 Rajiv Gandhi Award for Deputy Director, Kanha TR

 

The Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Conservation Award in the individual category for the year 2005 has been given to Dr. HS Negi for his significant contribution to wildlife conservation as deputy director Kanha Tiger Reserve, buffer zone and deputy director Kanha National Park.

            He is credited with resolution of the issue of opposition to the creation of a buffer zone forest division of Kanha National Park, convincing the target villages of the importance of the buffer and motivating them to be a partner in wildlife conservation.

            Dr. Negi is presently Director of the Kanha Tiger Reserve.

 

Source: State bags Rajiv Gandhi award for wildlife conservation’, The Pioneer, 19/09/07.

Contact: Director, Kanha Tiger Reserve, Mandla - 481661, Madhya Pradesh. Tel: 07642-250760(O), 250761(R). Fax: 251266, 250830

 

SC nod for development work in forest villages in PAs

 

The Supreme Court is reported to have granted permission to the Madhya Pradesh Government for carrying out construction works relating to drinking water, power supply, school buildings, aganwadis and hospital buildings in the forest villages located within the national parks and sanctuaries in the State. The decision came in response to a petition filed in the matter by the State Government.

            Details of the number of villages and the respective PAs where this work will be now undertaken is not known. (Also see PA Update Vol. XIII, No. 2, April 2007)

 

Source: ‘SC nod for development works in forest villages’, The Pioneer, 25/09/07.

Contact: CWLW, MP, Van Bhawan, Tulsi Nagar, Bhopal 462003, Madhya Pradesh. Tel: 0755-557371/ 550391.

 

MAHARASHTRA

 

State for denotification of Jayakwadi WLS

 

The Maharashtra State Government has decided to approach the Supreme Court for the denotification of the Jayakwadi Sanctuary to facilitate galpera (draw-down) agriculture by project affected families.

            The issue had come up for discussion in the state assembly in July following which the State Chief Minister called a separate meeting of political leaders of the region and forest officials. 

            The proposal will have to be first approved by the National Board for Wildlife following which it will have to be cleared by the state assembly.

 

Source: Vivek Deshpande. ‘State to have Jayakwadi denotified to facilitate agriculture’, Indian Express, 26/07/07

Contact: Dy. Conservator of Forests (WL) Aurangabad Division, Incharge Jaikwadi WLS. Aurangabad 10, "Paripurti" Gurujan Sahakari Gruh Nirman Sanstha, Tilak Nagar, Aurangabad-431 005. Tel: 0240-331027(O), 480965(R)

 

Officials with wildlife training posted in non-wildlife posts

Of the 78 officials in the state that have wildlife related training 68 are reported to have been posted in non wildlife areas in the state. None of the three Directors of Tiger Reserves of Melghat, Tadoba or Pench have any training in wildlife.

            The state has 141 officers posts sanctioned for the state’s wildlife areas, which indicates a serious shortfall of availability of appropriately trained personnel. Even those who have been trained are not being deployed in the right areas.

            Further 126 (or about 10%) of the 1295 posts of officers, forests and forest guards in protected areas are vacant. Of these 15 vacancies are of the Range Forest Officers where the sanctioned strength is 93.

            The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) – Wildlife, Maharashtra is reported to have acknowledged the problem but pointed out that he has no say in the deployment of personnel in wildlife areas.

            In a response to a writ petition filed in the Bombay High Court in 2002 in a matter related to tree felling and wildlife protection, the FD had said that it would send two Deputy Conservators of Forests (DCFs) or Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs), five ACFs and 12 RFOs to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) for training at a cost of Rs. 16 lakhs per annum. The cost was to be borne by the Centre.

 

Source: Vivek Deshpande. ‘Only 10 trained officers in wildlife areas’, Indian Express, 09/08/07.

Contact: Chief Wildlife Warden, Maharashtra State, Dr. Ambedkar Bhawan, 4 & 5th Floor, M.E.C.L. Building Seminary Hills & Campus, Nagpur – 440001, Maharashtra. Tel: 0712-2526758 / 2530126. Fax –2510671. Email: cfwl@nagpur.dot.net.in

 

MIZORAM

 

New species records for Mizoram PAs

 

Two new species of mammals have recently been reported from PAs in Mizoram. A Malayan Bear Helarctos malayanus was recorded via a camera trap in the Dampa Tiger Reserve while the Asiatic brush tailed porcupine (local name Sumsi) was found in the Tawi Wildlife Sanctuary.

 

Source: Navraj Pradhan. Email dated 24/08/07

Contact: Navraj Pradhan, ACF, Khawzawl, Incharge Murlen NP & Lengteng WLS, Mizoram Forest Department. Email: navrpmiz12@yahoo.com

 

ORISSA

 

State sitting on proposal for Satkosia Tiger Reserve
 
The Orissa State Government is reported to have not yet forwarded the proposal for the creation of the Satkosia Tiger Reserve to the Centre, raising fears that the idea itself might therefore get dropped. 
               Recent changes have meant that while earlier, the Directorate, Project Tiger was the nodal agency to declare tiger reserves, now it is the newly formulated National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). New rules also stipulate that the proposal for constituting a tiger reserve should be prepared in consultation with an expert committee constituted by the state. 
               The Orissa Government is yet to formulate this committee and this is one reason why the proposal for Satkosia is said to be stuck. A proposal, in fact, already exists and consultation with the expert committee is believed to be only a formality. In the absence of the committee, however, even this is not presently possible.
               An earlier proposal submitted to the Project Tiger Directorate had been sanctioned (see PA Update 41, April 2003) and the tiger reserve was to cover an area of 1093 sq km. In the new proposal, that is presently pending, the area of the tiger reserve has been reduced to about 900 sq km. It constitutes the Satkosia Gorge and Baisipali Wildlife Sanctuaries. The core area comprises 55 percent of the total area of the reserve and has five villages in it. The buffer zone has about 115 villages in several clusters.
 
Source: ‘Will tiger reserve go the elephant way?’, The New Indian Express, 28/08/07.

Contact: Divisional Forest Officer, Satkosia Wildlife Division, At/P.O Dist. Angul – 759143, Orissa. Tel: 0674-230218(O), 230219®

Contact: Biswajit Mohanty, Wildlife Society of Orissa, Shantikunj, Link Road, Cuttack – 753012, Orissa. Tel: 0671 – 334625. Fax: 610980. Email: biswajit@cal.vsnl.net.in

 

CWLW– Orissa, Plot No. 8, Shahid Nagar, Bhubaneshwar – 751007, Orissa. Tel: 0674- 2512502 / 2513134 / 2515840. Fax: 512502

 

TAMIL NADU

 

New interpretation centre at Guindy NP

 

A new interpretation centre spread over an area of 4000 sq. ft to provide information on various aspects of wildlife and forests is being established at Guindy National Park (GNP). The upcoming facility will have pictorial display boards and will also have a library.

            The authorities are also putting up models on the city beautification programme launched by the Forest Department and about climate change and role of medicinal plants.

 

Source: ‘Interpretation centre at Guindy park’, The Hindu, 23/09/07

Contact: Wildlife Warden, Guindy NP, 259 Anna Salai, DMS Compound, Chennai – 600006, Tamil Nadu, Tel: 044-24321471

 

Forest Commission set up in Tamil Nadu

 

The Tamil Nadu State Government has set up a Forest Commission to look into various aspects of forest and wildlife management in the State and to make recommendations in this regard.

The objective of the Commission is to review the existing forest policy and legal framework of forestry and its impact from ecological, economical, social and cultural viewpoints. It will also recommend specific policy options to achieve sustainable forest management in production and protection-forestry, protected area management, social and extension forestry to bring one-third of the land area under tree cover.

Additionally it will also suggest technological innovations in communication, technology-enabled solutions to manage remote forest areas and to take up research innovation activities to increase forest productivity. Other responsibilities include suggesting measures to improve the skills of officers and staff of the Forest Department and helping forge a partnership between the Forest Department personnel and locals, especially tribals for forest management and protection and studying the service conditions, excluding pay and allowances, of the field staff

The Commission is to be headed by a former/serving civil servant. A professor or an academic with science background will be appointed as Member and an Indian Forest Service officer of the rank of Chief Conservator of Forests will be appointed as its Member-Secretary

 

Source: P Oppili. ‘Forest commission set up in state’, The Hindu, 22/08/07.

 

Confiscated star tortoises to be released in Point Calimere WLS

 

Nearly 1,600 star tortoises rescued by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and housed at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), Borivali, are to be released in Tamil Nadu's Point Calimere Sanctuary.

               The tortoises had been seized in two separate instances recently: 670 in November 2006 and 1,235 in March 2007 from smugglers who later confessed that the tortoises had been brought from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. An official in the forest department's anti-poaching cell said, that 1,666 surviving tortoises will be released in their natural habitat.

               Point Calimere has been chosen as the site of release for the tortoises because the semi-arid grasslands here constitute the natural habitats of the animal.

 

Source: ‘Rescued star tortoises to be released in Point Calimere’, Email from Rajesh Sachdev dated 25/07/07. http://cities.expressindia.com/local-news/fullstory.php?newsid=247542

 

Contact: CWLW, Tamil Nadu,6D, Panagal Building, No.1, Jeenis Road, Saidapet, Chennai - 600015. Tel: 044-24321738 / 22353589. Fax: 2433707/24321738 

 

UTTARAKHAND

 

Flyovers as elephant corridors in Rajaji NP

 

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has sought the National Wildlife Board's clearance to build two 750-metre-long flyovers in the Rajaji National Park stretch of the Delhi-Dehradun highway. The area below flyovers will be considered ‘elephant corridors’ that will hopefully be used by the animals and thereby reduce the danger posed to them while crossing the road.

About 5-6 km stretch of the Dehradun-Haridwar highway witnesses a lot of elephant movement. This area falls in NHAI's National Highways Development Project phase-III plan to widen the Delhi-Haridwar-Dehradun road. The 77 and 69-km stretch between Muzaffarnagar-Haridwar and Haridwar-Dehradun, respectively, fall in the phase III. In this phase, the government has approved four-laning of 12,109 KM of national highways at a cost of Rs 80,626 crore.

 

Source: ‘Flyovers as elephant corridors in Rajaji’, http://www.wildlifewatch.in/news/species/mammals/elephants/2007/09/12, 01/09/07

Elephant tramples two to death near Rajaji

 

A tusker ran amok in Haridwar district in the first half of September, trampling two sleeping children to death and injuring another. The incident occurred in the early hours when the elephant entered the gujjars colonies in Kotwali area and began attacking their mud houses

Forest officials had gone to the area to chase away the elephant, who was then seen to move into the jungles of nearby Rajaji National Park.

 

Source: ‘Two children trampled to death by elephant’, http://www.wildlifewatch.in/news/area/uttarakhand/2007/09/118, 26/09/07.

Contact: Director, Rajaji NP, 5/1 Ansari Marg, Dehradun – 248001, Uttaranchal. Tel: 0135-2621669 Fax: 2621669

 

CWLW, 5, Chandrabani, Mohobewala, Dehradun, Uttaranchal. Tel: 0135- 2644691

 

WEST BENGAL

 

Tiger rescue centre in Sunderbans

The West Bengal State Government has again brought up the plan for setting up a Tiger Rescue Centre at Jharkali island in the Sunderbans. To be spread over 100 acres it is hoped that this centre would then also become a major tourism attraction.

            The discussions in the matter were held recently between the Land and Land Reforms Minister, Abdur Rezzak Mollah; the Sunderbans Development Minister, Kanti Ganguly; State Forest Minister, Ananta Ray and Irrigation Minister Subhas Naskar.

It has also been pointed out that the state government has already earmarked the Jharkhali island for refugee rehabilitation. The fisheries department, too, is planning to set up a fishing harbour.

This plan for the rescue centre had earlier been announced in May 2005 and it had been said at that time that it would be completed within a year (see PA Update Vol. XI, No. 4, Aug. 2005).

 

Source: ‘Tiger rescue centre in Sunderbans’, The Times of India, 18/08/07.

Contact: Director, Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve, Bikash Bhavan, 3rd Floor, North Block, Salt Lake City, Kolkata - 700091, West Bengal. Tel: 033-3211750. Fax: 3211529

 

Eco-Development initiative bordering Senchal WLS

 

The Rajahata Ecodevelopment Committee (EDC) bordering the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS) has built a sales counter for organic vegetables in association with the Forest Department (FD). The counter is located along the NH 55 and will be used to market vegetables like radish, cabbage, cauliflower and beans grown by the 35 families of the village of Rajahata.

The FD provided a sum of Rs. 50,000 to the EDC for the purpose from the North Bengal Forest Project, which is an extension of the joint forest management programme. This is the first project that has been taken up by the EDC of this village. They have formed self-help groups with six members each and will be running the counter by turns.

A bank account has been opened for the EDC and the profits from the sale of vegetables will be deposited in this account. This will be later distributed among the villagers to buy seeds and other inputs needed for agriculture.

            It is hoped that initiatives like this will help in moving villagers living along the forests away from activities like timber extraction and poaching.

 

Source: Vivek Chhetri. ‘Vegetable counter to save green wealth’, The Telegraph, 22/09/07.

Contact: DFO, Senchal WLS, Wildlife Division-I, Old Secretariat Campus, P.O. & Dist. Darjeeling – 734101, West Bengal. Email: dfowl1@dte.vsnl.net.in

Contact: CWLW, Vikas Bhawan, North Block, Salt Lake, Calcutta - 700 091, West Bengal. Tel: 033-3346900/3583208. Fax: 3345946. Email: wildlife@cal.vsnl.net.in

 

 
NATIONAL NEWS FROM INDIA

 

 

New popular science publication on conservation

 

A new popular science publication on conservation ‘Current Conservation’ has been launched with the support of the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) and the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE).

            Edited by Dr. Kartik Shanker and Dr. Ankila Hiremath it carries the latest in research news from the natural- and social-science facets of conservation, such as conservation biology, environmental history, anthropology and sociology, ecological economics, and landscape ecology.

 

Contact: Meera Anna Oommen.ATREE 659, 5th A Main Road, Hebbal, Bangalore 560024, Karnataka. Tel: 080 353 0069, 353 3942 Fax: 353 0070. http://www.conservationandsociety.org/currentconservation.html Email: meera@atree.org

 

Photo IDs for wild elephants

 

Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Nature Conservation Foundation have developed a unique “photographic capture-recapture” survey method that identifies individual males by the shape and size of their tusks, ears, and such other features. These photo ids will help create an archive of individual animals and also help in monitoring their survival rates and movement.

Working in collaboration with the Karnataka State Forest Department in the Nagarhole and Bandipur reserves, the researchers systematically took more than 2,400 photographs of individual elephants, sampling roads and waterholes over an 80-day period. Male elephants in particular were given special treatment, with the scientists recording data such as tusk length, thickness, angle, arrangement, as well as other characteristics like ear shape, shoulder height, tail length and scars. This data revealed some 134 individual male elephants in a population of 991, with an adult male/ female ratio of 1:4.33.

 

Source: ‘Asian elephant IDs’, The Statesman, 08/090/07

 

Three PAs likely as UNESCO World heritage sites in 2009

 

Three protected areas in the country: the Kanchendzonga National Park in Sikkim, the Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh and the Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Rann of Kutch and the Western Ghats have been put on UNESCO’s tentative list of World Natural Heritage Sites.

The decision for the final inclusion will be taken in 2009.

 

Source: Bishal Cintury. ‘World heritage tag beckons Sikkim park’, The Statesman, 18/08/07

 
CMS Vatavaran 2007 held 
 

The CMS Vatavaran 2007, 4th Competitive Environment and Wildlife Film Festival was held in Delhi in the month of September. The festival attracted a total of 275 entries and 72 films were nominated. A five member final jury chaired by Mr. Shyam Benegal, selected the winners from nominated films in the Indian categories. The International jury was chaired by Mr. Ashish Kothari.

            In Indian categoryWild Dog Diaries’ by Senani Hegde bagged the Best of Festival 2007 with a Trophy, citation and Rs. 1,50,000/- and also received award for Best story telling. ‘Tiger -The Death Chronicles’ by Krishnendu Bose won the award in the Wildlife Conservation Category.

The Forum of Environmental Journalists of India and CMS Academy Award for Young Environmental Journalist (Print and Broadcast) was given to Amar Jyoti Baruah from Assam and Bahar Dutt from CNN IBN respectively.

 

Contact: Alka Tomar, Festival Director, Centre for Media Studies (CMS), CMS Research House, Saket Community Centre, New Delhi 110 017. Tel: 011-24992597 / 26522244/55. Fax: 26968282. Email: vatavaran@cmsindia.org; info@cmsvatavaran.org Web: www.cmsvatavaran.org

 

MigrantWatch launched

 

A new, participatory activity involving naturalists and enthusiasts from across the country has been launched to gather information on bird migration to the Indian subcontinent. 
               The exercise involves keeping a record of the first date of sighting of nine migratory species of birds – Northern Shoveler, Marsh Harrier, Wood Sandpiper, Common Swallow, Grey Wagtail, Brown Shrike, Black Redstart, Greenish Warbler, and Rosy Starling.
               Sign up information, and information on who is participating, identification tips can be accessed at http://www.ncbs.res.in/citsci/.
 
Contact: Suhel Quader, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka. Tel: 080-23666339. Email: suhelq@ncbs.res.in; Web: www.ncbs.res.in/~suhel/

 

Policy for relocation of wild animals soon

 

The Central Government will soon be coming out with a policy related to relocation of wild animals to help reduce animal-human conflicts. This was announced by the Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, S Raghupathy, during a recent visit to Himachal Pradesh where there is a serious problem with monkeys and leopards straying into fields and human habitations.

The Minister pointed out that the government had granted permission for selective killing of monkeys in severely affected areas but people had not taken advantage of this.

He also said that the proposed policy would take care of all aspects like nature of habitat and carrying capacity of the forests to identify the areas for translocation of the animals. The animals could be relocated either within the same state or be shifted to some other states, subject to their willingness. The Centre would also support programmes to contain the population of animals like monkeys through sterilisation and other methods.

 

Source: ‘Policy to relocate wild animals soon’, The Tribune, 20/09/07

 

Money from Centre yet to reach Tiger Reserves

Reports in early August indicate that tiger reserves across the country were facing a funds crunch as money had either not been released by the Centre or money that had been was stuck in the state level bureaucracies.

States for which funds had not been released were Assam, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Arunachal Pradesh. Besides, funds had also not been released for Tadoba-Andhari and Melghat in Maharashtra, Panna in Madhya Pradesh, Palamau in Jharkhand, Dudhwa in Uttar Pradesh and Buxa in West Bengal

In Melghat, as a result, about 250 daily wagers who have been deployed for additional protection have not been paid for three months. In Dudhwa too, protection staff was not paid for five months, while in Satkosia services of 40 local people who were trained and hired on daily wages to supplement the highly inadequate staff had to be discontinued.

In many other cases while the funds have been released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) they have not reached the park managements as they were stuck at the state government level. Part of the problem has also been created because state governments have not yet formed the state level Tiger Conservation Foundations (TCF) as provided for by the NTCA.

While NTCA had already released a total of Rs 1,531.96 lakh the only parks that had received the money were Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Satpura in Madhya Pradesh.

The case of Ranthambhore TR represents the worst case scenario of money lost in the bureaucratic maze. Though Rs 197.51 lakh were been released in two installments on June 21 and July 12 no funds had reached the park management. Rs. Six Lakhs are needed every month for the Home Guards who have been employed to protect against poaching, but paying them had become difficult. In the case of Karnataka the NCTA is said to have released Rs 335.9 lakh but the money has yet to reach the state. One reason for that is that the state level TCF has not yet been formed.

 

Source: ‘Prerna Bindra. ‘In monsoon gloom, tiger reserves wait for Central funds’, The Pioneer, 03/08/07.

Contact: Dr. Rajesh Gopal, Director, Project Tiger Annexe No.5, Bikaner House, Shah Jahan Road, New Delhi 110 001. Email: dirpt-r@hub.nic.in; dirpt-r@nic.in

 

Assessment of trade in peacock feathers.

 

TRAFFIC India is undertaking a short term assessment of the trade in peacock feathers. Inputs and references have been sought on various aspects of the trade as also instance of killing the bird.

 

Contact: Samir Sinha, TRAFFIC –India, WWF India Secretariat, 172-B, Lodi Estate, New Delhi 110003, Tel: 011-41504786. Fax: 43516200. Email: ssinha@wwfindia.net Web: www.traffic.org

 

Details of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau

 

A meeting was held recently in New Delhi where Regional Deputy Directors and officers of the Wildlife Wing reviewed the progress of the newly constituted Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB).A number of decisions related to the working of the WCCB were taken at the meeting.

It was decided that till a full time Officer was appointed, the Regional Deputy Director (WR) will look after the functioning of the newly - created office at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. Out of six posts of Assistant Directors, three will be posted at Sub-Regional Offices and three will be posted at Headquarters. Out of these six posts, two will be selected from the Police and four from the Forest Service. A decision was also taken to fill the 18 posts of Inspectors.

Regional Offices at Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai will have two persons each while New Delhi and Jabalpur will have one person each. Three Sub-Regional Offices as well as Five Border Stations will have one Inspector and one Person respectively while Headquarters will have two Inspectors.

The jurisdiction of Regional Offices also has been defined.

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Regional Office (WCCB-RO), Mumbai, will look after Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Daman and Diu and Dadara and Nagar Haveli.

The WCCB-RO, Delhi, will cover Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi.

WCCB-RO, Kolkata, will cover Bihar, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and West Bengal.

Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry are under WCCB-RO, Chennai while Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa will fall under jurisdiction of the new Office of WCCB-RO Jabalpur at MadhyaPradesh.

Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh, have been placed under WCCB-

Sub-RO, Amritsar; Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur are under WCCB- Sub-RO Guwahati, while Kerala, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands will fall under WCCB- Sub-RO, Cochin.

These offices will assist and advise Custom Authorities in the inspection of consignments of flora and fauna as per the provisions of Wildlife (Protection) Act, CITES and Exim Policy. They will collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities and disseminate them to State and other enforcement agencies for action.

The regional offices will develop infrastructure and capacity building for scientific and professional investigation into wildlife crimes. They will also assist State Governments to ensure success in prosecutions related to wildlife crime.

 

Source: ‘Wildlife Crime Bureau to strengthen its regional offices’, UNI, 13/08/07.

 

Toll-free number to protect wildlife

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) will soon provide a toll-free number on which interested people can report cases of illegal activities related to forests and wildlife. The number will be set up by the Ministry’s Wildlife Crime Control Bureau.

The pilot project will be first implemented in Delhi and then extended to other metros depending on the response.

 

Source: ‘Toll-free number to protect wildlife’, The Hindu, 20/08/07.

 

Tracking the Social and Ecological Impacts of Forest Rights Act
 
In an effort to understand the implications of the recently passed Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, Kalpavriksh has initiated a process to track the social and ecological impacts of its implementation, particularly in protected areas (PAs) and Community Conserved Areas (CCAs)
               The activities proposed include:
1. Tracking the development of the Act at a national and state level, e.g. 
- Are some states organizing programmes to prepare people or state departments for the Act?
- Do some states have state-specific guidelines or implementation schemes?
- What kind of information/public awareness material is being circulated by various states or the MoTA? (e.g. newspaper/radio/TV notices etc?)
- What institutional structures are set up for implementation (e.g. who is getting appointed to the sub-divisional, district, and state level committees? Who is the specific person or department responsible for taking action on the misuse or non-implementation of the Act, or on unwanted ecological and social impacts?)
2. Collating information about actions by civil society and people's organisations, e.g.:
- Are some organisations arranging preparatory workshops with people, or taking other steps to inform people about the provisions of the Act?
- Is there any ongoing mapping of lands/resources?
- Are organisations aware of any incidents of fresh encroachments or other misuse of the Act? Are they aware of enhanced evictions before the Act comes into play? Are they taking steps to flag this or who do they think should take action? 
- Are organisations taking matters relating to the Act to court? With what results?
 
Those interested in being part of the process are requested to get in touch at the contact details mentioned below. 
 
Contact: Arshiya Urveeja Bose. C/o Kalpavriksh (editorial address). Tel: 09764141867. Email: arshiyabose.research@gmail.com

 

CEC to continue

 

The Supreme Court has struck down the plea of the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to wind up the Central Empowered Committee, the body set up by the SC in 2002 to help in dealing with matters related to forests and wildlife conservation (see PA Update Vol. XIII, No. 4, Aug. 2007).

            The decision was taken by a three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan during a recent hearing. The court did, however, state that if the MoEF did manage to make a convincing representation, then the modification of powers and functions of the committee could be considered.

            The issues that the MoEF had raised in their affidavit include those related to the constitution of the committee under Section 3 (3) of the Environment Protection Act, its indefinite term and the inclusion of retired forest officials as members.

 

Source: Padmaparna Ghosh. ‘Plea to wind down green panel rejected’, http://www.livemint.com/2007/09/08001422/Plea-to-wind-down-green-panel.html

Contact: MK Jiwarajka, Member Secretary, Central Empowered Committee, Room No. 106, Paryavaran Bhavan, CGO Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi - 110003. Tel: 011- 4361297

 

Paul Getty Award to Dr. K.Ullas Karanth

 

The World Wildlife Fund-US (WWF-US) has selected Dr K Ullas Karanth, Director Wildlife Conservation Society - India Program as the winner of the prestigious J. Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership for the year 2007.

Previous winners of the award include Jimge Singye Wangchuck, King of Bhutan; pioneer in chimpanzee research Dr. Jane Goodall; Dr. Boonsong Lekagul from Thailand; famed ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali; and Sir Peter Scott from Great Britain.

The award's cash prize of $200,000 will be used to establish graduate fellowships named in honor of Dr. Karanth and J. Paul Getty. The fellowships will support graduate students in conservation- related fields at an institution of higher learning of the winner's choice.

Dr. Karanth's contributions that have been considered in giving the award include his work for the conservation of Asian elephants and tigers; facilitating the creation of three protected areas in the Western Ghats; innovative work on voluntary resettlement benefiting both people and wildlife; and his current focus on perfecting methods for monitoring wildlife abundance and distribution.

The award ceremony will take place in Washington DC on October 16, 2007.

 

Source: http://www.wildlife .in/content/ 25

Contact: Dr K Ullas Karanth, Wildlife Conservation Society, India Programme, 403 Seebo Apts, 26/2 Aga Abbas Ali Road, Bangalore - 560042, Karnataka. Tel: 080-5591747 / 5591990. Email: ukaranth@vsnl.com

 

First meet of Butterfly Northeast held

 

The first meet of Butterfly Northeast - a network for butterfly study and conservation was held in Kaziranga on September 1 and 2, 2007. It was attended by 75 participants from various parts of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

On the 1st day there were 10 presentations by different scholars / young researchers on the butterfly diversity of Northeastern India. Subjects included ‘Swallowtail butterflies and their Behaviour’ (Dr Dinesh Kakoti), ‘The Identification of Bushbrowns’ (Jatin Tamuly), ‘Some Questions regarding the ecology of Butterflies in Lowland Forests of Assam’ (Maan Barua), ‘The Butterfly Diversity of Jokai Reserve Forest’ (RR Tariang) and ‘The Tragedy of Butterflies in Ripu-Chirang’ (Kushal Choudhury).

Field trips were organized in the Panbari Reserve Forest where participants were acquainted with the butterflies of the area.

As an outcome of the meet, it was decided to form an informal regional network - Butterfly Northeast - in order to further research and conservation of butterflies in the region. An online community on Orkut called Butterfly Northeast has also been initiated.

It can be accessed at http://www.orkut.com/Community.aspx?cmm=37023664  (Also see PA Update Vol XIII, No. 1, Feb. 2007)

 

Contact: Maan Barua, Wild Grass, 107, MC Road, Uzan Bazar, Guwahati 781001, Assam. Email: maanbarua@gmail.com

 

 
SOUTH ASIA

 

 

NEPAL

 

WWF Nepal’s conservation Awards

 

WWF Nepal recently honoured nine individuals and organizations dedicated to conservation with Abraham Conservation Award, the Matthew Preece and Yeshi Choden Lama Young Conservation Leaders Award and the WWF Conservation in Media Award.

Tseten Dandu Sherpa - Chairperson, Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Management Council; Bijay Raj Shrestha from Kailali; Akhanda Upadhyay from Dolpa; Devendra Subedi – Superintendent of Police, Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Crime Division of Nepal Police; Samaj Kalyan User Group from Neulapur; and ECO-Nepal from Naxal received the Abraham Conservation Awards.

Matthew Preece and Yeshi Choden Lama Young Conservation Leader Awards were awarded to Karma Bhutia, Non-Timber Forest Products Officer from The Mountain Institute and Sadhana Thapa a student from Kaushaltar.

Subodh Gautam, a senior reporter with national daily Kantipur received the WWF Media in Conservation Award.

 

Contact: Sanjib Chaudhary, WWF Nepal Programme Office, PO Box 7660, Baluwatar, Kathmandu, Nepal. Tel: +977 1 4434820. Fax: +977 1 4438458. Email: sanjib.chaudhary@wwfnepal.org

 

 
UPCOMING

 

 

Transboundary Mountain PAs Workshop

 

A Transboundary Mountain Protected Areas Workshop will be held from November 11-14, 2008 to produce a ‘best practices’ manual for capacity building.

            The workshop is being organized by the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Mountain Biome in collaboration with ICIMOD and the WCPA Transboundary Task Force.

 

Contact: Nakul Chettri. Email: nchettri@icimod.org.np

 

1st International Wildlife Reintroduction Conference

 

The IUCN /SSC Reintroduction Specialist Group (RSG) and Lincoln Park Zoo will host the 1st International Wildlife Reintroduction Conference on April 15 and 16, 2008 in Chicago, IL, USA.

The theme of the conference will be ‘Reintroduction programs: Applying science to conservation’.

 

Contact: Devra G. Kleiman, Zoo-Logic, LLC, 7216 Delfield St. Chevy Chase, MD 20815 USA. Tel: 301-652-0647. Email: dgkleiman@aol.com Web: www.reintroduction.org

 

28th Annual Sea Turtle Symposium

 

The 28th Annual Sea Turtle Symposium will be held in Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico from January 22-26, 2008. The theme of the symposium is Native Oceans.

 

Contact: Wallace Nichols, President, International Sea Turtle Symposium. Email: jnichols@oceanconservancy.org

 

 

Coordinator, Wildlife Conservation for project near Kuno WLS
 
The Samrakshan Trust is looking for a Coordinator, Wildlife Conservation for their ongoing project in the Chambal valley in the vicinity of the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in MP.
The work includes: 
- Managing a team that is engaged in control of poaching, inventorying biodiversity, and conservation education;   
- Capacity building in biodiversity conservation to a variety of audiences, including rural populations; 
- Designing conservation education content for a variety of audiences, including illiterate ones, train personnel in the delivery of such packages and monitoring implementation;
- Designing and implementing simple methods of monitoring biodiversity, particularly flora, large mammals and birds; 
- Independently handling documentation, monitoring and planning of the ecological aspects of the organization's intervention. 
 
Contact: Anirban Datta Roy. Email: mpfo@samrakshan.org. Web: www.samrakshan.org

 

Volunteers needed for Biodiversity Documentation in Eaglenest WLS

 

The Eaglenest Biodiversity Project is looking for volunteers for its ongoing biodiversity documentation work in the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary. This is part of a non-profit activity the ‘Vacations for Conservation’ program that was initiated in March 2006 under which ‘self funded’ volunteers work in the sanctuary in a co-ordinated manner.

            Following are the dates and activities for the coming year:

1st-10th October 2007: primarily for documenting herps

15th-24th October 2007: primarily for documenting lepidoptera

1st-10th March 2008: primarily for birds

11th-20th March 2008: primarily for birds

May-June 2008 (dates to be decided): for all fauna

 

Contact: Ramana Athreya. Kaati Trust, NCRA, Pune University Campus, Ganeshkhind. Pune - 411007, Maharashtra. Email: rathreya@ncra.tifr.res.in; ramana.athreya@gmail.com

 

CISED is looking for Core Faculty, Visiting Fellows and Postdoctoral Research Associates

 

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment & Development (CISED) is looking to recruit Core Faculty, Visiting Fellows and Postdoctoral Research Associates in the following areas:  (a) water resources, (b) forests and common lands, and (c) energy and pollution.

 

Core Faculty Positions:

Applicants must be dynamic and highly motivated scholars, typically with a Ph.D. and one or more years of post-doctoral experience, with a strong track record of academically rigorous but socially relevant research in the areas indicated above. Applicants must have a strong interest in interdisciplinary research and teaching on environmental issues.

 

Visiting Fellow Positions:

Visiting Fellow positions are for persons interested in pursuing a writing project in residence for 6-12 months. Candidates could be from academic, activist, policy-making or practitioner backgrounds, with a strong record of work on issues at the environment- development interface.

The proposed writing project must be based upon field data or experiences mostly already gathered, and must be related to the areas of interest of CISED, viz., forests and common lands, water resources, or energy and pollution.

 

Post Doctoral Research Associate Positions:

Postdoctoral Research Associate (PRA) positions of one to two years duration are available to in the areas listed above. Candidates should have submitted their Ph.D. thesis by the time they join. Complimentarity with the ongoing activities of CISED or specific research interests of CISED core faculty would be desirable.

 

The deadline for receiving applications for the three positions is November15, 2007.

 

Contact: Coordinator, CISED, Institute for Social and Economic Change Nagarabhavi, Bangalore 560 072, Karnataka. Tel: 080- 23217013. Fax: 23217008. Email: cised@isec.ac.in

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Illustrations

 

The illustrations in the PA Updates look very good. Congratutations to the illustrator.

 

  • Venkat Ramanujam. Email: ramanujam.venkat@yahoo.com

 

Thank you for the issue of PA Update. It really is good to have news from across India in this format. I especially like the cartoons with the news items - the turtle one (PA Update Vol. XIII, No. 3, June 2007) was funny.

 

  • Kashmira Kakati. Email: kashmirak@hotmail.com

 

Suggestions on wild boar hunting in HP

 

This is with reference to the report ‘HP to allow hunting of wild boar’ (PA Update Vol. XIII, No. 4, Aug. 2007). I feel the Forest Dept has taken a bold step in going on record with this issue. Here are some suggestions to prevent misuse and allay apprehension amongst the doubters:

1) No hunting should be permitted from vehicles at night or day under any circumstances.

2) Hunting should be allowed only by traditional methods of stalking and beating. This will increase the degree of difficulty, and also prevent the wild boar from concentrating in any one area. The objective is not to eliminate the Wild boar but to control numbers.

3) Licensed sportsmen hunting under conditions of fair chase will also be a source of data for the condition of the forests and population of other species.

4) Licence fee should be substantial, and the limit of 10 animals in three weeks is probably a little on the higher side. These are of course minor details that need to be rethought if the principle is accepted.

5) If implemented successfully, this could used as a model for other states which are facing the same problem. It is not possible to carry out a physical survey of wild boar numbers unlike some other species because of the wide range and type of habitat. Those with field knowledge are aware of this.

 

  • Karnasingh Ghorpade. Email: kdghorpade@eth.net

 

Community participation needed for conservation

 

Your editorial ‘Some lessons from Gir (Protected Area Update Vol XIII No. 4, August 2007) points to real wildlife management issues. The report about losing lions to greedy poachers is another signal of political corruption which is rampant in India, especially so in Gujarat. The strategy of working with the local communities is the most important thing in this scenario, if it is taken up earnestly.

However, I would recommend recruitment and training of tribal people of the area for wildlife protection and management. As an erstwhile Asst. Professor of Wildlife and a researcher, I sincerely see this as the only possible cure for the malaise of wildlife politicism. I just want to remind you of such a work by Bishnois. Charge-sheeting of Salman Khan in two cases has brought the Wildlife Act to the fore front in India.

 

  • Jaswinder Sandhu. Email: jaswindersandhu@rogers.com

 



 

 
The PA Update needs support

 

 

It was around the same time last year that we had sent out a similar appeal for support for the Protected Area Update. Many readers and organizations had responded positively, which itself was an indication to us that the PA Update is useful and we have a number of well wishers.

            The Foundation for Ecological Security continues to be our biggest supporter and has willingly agreed to provide a majority of the funding for the PA Update for another year. Just like last year, however, we are still short by about a 30% of the budget.

            There are various ways, big and small, in which we can be helped. Individual readers are urged to send in their contribution as subscription. These are small amounts but if we receive a large number the help will be great. Organisations like Forest Departments and NGOs can avail of the bulk subscription method where we can together reach out to a larger number of people as well.

            We also have back issues of the Update is a simple hard bound three volume set that would be a very valuable resource base for researchers, officials, activists or anybody else interested in getting a comprehensive picture of what has happened in the country’s PA network over the last few years.

            I do hope you will consider contributing. For any further details or clarifications please do write to me. We would also welcome any other ideas that you might have for us.

 

Pankaj Sekhsaria

Email: psekhsaria@gmail.com

 


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