Assam National Parks Face Funds Crisis

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The Assamese government has failed to release funds required to manage the state’s national parks and sanctuaries. As a result, maintenance activities in all the five national parks – Kaziranga, Manas, Orang, Dibru-Saikhowa and Nameri, have come to a standstill. It has been more than six months since Dispur released these funds. Orang national park — the smallest — which needs about 10 lakhs per month, has seen 26 of the 42 casual workers leave. Officials at Kaziranga had a … Read More

Greater Adjutant in Guwahati Garbage Dump, Assam

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Endangered Greater Adjutant Storks Leptoptilos dubius patiently await their turn at a landfill near Guwahati, Assam. They await their turn patiently at the garbage table – every time a fresh truckload of garbage enters the landfill people rush to it first, and once they are done with their pickings the storks move in filling their gullets with rotten meat. I still wonder how this species living so calmly in an urban environment could be so endangered.

The Greater Adjutant Stork … Read More

Manas and Kaziranga National Parks at Risk From Dams

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Manas National Park, which recently regained its World Heritage Site status continues to be at risk from hydel projects. The Kurichu hydro electric project (60 MW) and the Mangdechu hyrdro electric project (720 MW) in Bhutan are deemed likely to threaten Manas. The Kurichu dam has already flooded Manas once in 2004, killing large numbers of wildlife. Release of water from the dam has been reported on several occasions in the last six years creating floods in the Manas Biosphere … Read More

Golden Langur Conservation Awareness in Manas

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Locals in Manas, joined hands with the Bodoland Territorial Council, the Assam Forest Department and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) – Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) to create an urgent campaign to save the highly endangered Golden Langur. Less that 2500 individuals are estimated to be found in the wild today. The species has suffered tremendously due to habitat loss and fragmentation, which forces them to descend to the ground where they are vulnerable to accidental death and … Read More

Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary First Critical Wildlife Habitat in India

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Assam’s Hoollongoppar Gibbon Sanctuary is set to become India’s first Critical Wildlife Habitat. Under a new concept floated by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), for an area to be included in that category, the area must be free of encroachments and tribal settlements and should have a well demarcated boundary. By categorizing the area as a Critical wildlife habitat, the ministry hopes to create inviolate spaces for wildlife. Gibbon wildlife sanctuary has no tribal settlements or encroachers, … Read More

Proposal to Include Buffer Areas of Manas Under Field Director Control

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The Management Effectiveness Evaluation brought out by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has recommended that the buffer areas of the Manas Tiger Reserve under the control of Manas’ field director. Manas was notified as a tiger reserve in 2008, with 500 sq km as the core area and 2,337.10 sq km as buffer. Currently, the buffer areas are under the control of the Forest Chief of the Bodoland Territorial Council. The core … Read More

Manas Revival Possible Because of Role Reversal of Rebels

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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 … Read More

Translocation of Swamp Deer Planned in Manas National Park

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In accordance with suggestions given by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC), the forest department is planning to increase the population of swamp deer in Manas National Park. Translocation of swamp deer from Kaziranga into Manas is planned as a three year project. Kaziranga has around 1200 swamp deer, whereas Manas has only 20. Eleven rhinos have been translocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary into Manas since 2008 and the translocation has been deemed successful.

The recovery plan has been prepared on … Read More

UNESCO Lauds Manas’ Revival, Removes Danger Tag

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The UNESCO removed the “danger” tag from Assam’s famed Manas National Park, a World Heritage site, acknowledging its revival. The Manas sanctuary, a national park, a tiger reserve, an elephant and a biosphere reserve, was listed as a World Heritage site in 1985. In 1992, it was declared a World Heritage site in Danger due to severe damages to the ecosystem during the civil unrest of the 1980s and early 1990s.

The name of the park comes from the Manas … Read More

Rhino Poached for Horn in Pobitora, Assam. Teacher arrested.

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The tiny Pobitora wildlife sanctuary ( 38.81 sq km) in central Assam known for its rhino density, lost a rhino to poachers who used a .303 rifle to kill the beast. The armed gang of four illegal hunters fired at the guards continuously and got away in the cover of darkness.

Subsequently, on the 16th of June, a school teacher was arrested in connection with the poaching. Read the Times of India article. … Read More

Rescued Elephant Finds ‘Family’ in Manas, Assam

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Manas (Assam), June 10, 2011: A rare conservation success story is emerging from Manas National Park with the sighting of a rehabilitated elephant having been accepted into a wild herd – good news for conservationists currently pleading for the removal of the park from the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger.

The elephant, named Hamren, was among the five hand-raised calves, relocated to Manas in January this year as part of the Elephant Reintegration Project – a joint venture … Read More

Unsustained Tourism a Cause for Concern across Tiger Reserves

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Sujit Banerji, Chairman of the Forest, Environment and Eco-tourism Committee and former Secretary, Tourism, Government of India, said this while addressing a seminar on tourism in Guwahati organized by the Tour Operators Association of Assam (TOAA) that tourism around Kaziranga would soon be shifted from the core area of this national park. “Buffer areas need to be well forested and so once wildlife starts inhabiting these areas, pressure of tourism is shifted from the core areas. There has to be … Read More

Armed Poachers Arrested While Attempting to Enter Kaziranga

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Police arrested three armed poachers in the Bihali area of Sonitpur district in Assam, while trying to sneak into Kaziranga National Park. The three were found during a combing operation, hiding in the house of a local. The local escaped. A .303 rifle, ammunition, some food and camp materials were found on them. It is believed their plan was to spend a week inside Kaziranga and poach Rhinos. … Read More

Assamese conservationist Firoz Ahmed wins prestigious award

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M Firoz Ahmed, a Wildlife Biologist working with Aaranyak in Assam, has been awarded the prestigious Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award 2011.

Firoz is currently conducting research on tigers, prey animals and their habitats in Orang, Manas and Kaziranga National Parks supported by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. He is also involved in community-based conservation of wildlife in Assam and is a passionate environment educator.

The Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award is given annually to wildlife conservationists, researchers and managers … Read More