Manas Revival Possible Because of Role Reversal of Rebels

Mothanguri, Manas Tiger Reserve
Ramki Sreenivasan
World Heritage Committee (WHC) lifted the ‘danger’ tag over Manas last month.

The diverse and rich Manas Tiger Reserve has staged a revival of sorts after the Bodo insurgencies in the last 80s saw its wildlife and forest wealth being plundered. In 1992, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee demoted it to a “World Heritage Site in Danger” and faced prospects of being completely removed from the list. However, a turnaround occurred in 2003 when the Bodo Liberation Tigers gave up their weapons and the locals turned to being protectors. Around 40 former poachers have turned into forest guards and some others are working for the Manas Maozigendri Ecotourism Society (MMES), an NGO. The role of MMES has also been significant. Formed with the sole aim of reviving Manas, the organization aims to bring about socio-economic development of the community living in the fringes of Manas through sustainable conservation and eco-development. Recently UNESCO removed the “in danger” tag and acknowledged that Manas’ resurrection was possible because of the synergy between the government, wildlife activists and people living around the reserve.


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