Human – Elephant Conflict

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In our densely populated subcontinent, elephants and people have had to increasingly share land and resources, leading to frequent and often fatal conflict. How can the government resolve this problem? Janaki Lenin and Raman Sukumar recently submitted a lengthy report on the issue. Here is a gist of the report.

A few facts about elephants in India:

  • Only 22 per cent of elephant habitat is found within our protected area network – the remaining elephant range lies outside, in places
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Lessons from Voluntary Resettlement in the Western Ghats

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K.Ullas Karanth and Krithi Karanth on the lessons learned from resettlement projects in three important protected areas in the Western Ghats — Nagarahole, Bhadra and Kudremukh.

Forests in the Western Ghats occur as fragmented strips within a larger landscape matrix of crops and tree plantations. Reserves in the Ghats cover only twelve per cent of total area and the average reserve size is 243 sq km; the fourteen legally protected areas in the Ghats cover a total of only 6400 … Read More

Tribute — Billy Arjan Singh (1917 – 2010)

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Prerna Bindra looks back on the life of a committed conservationist whose legacy in wildlife preservation continues to inspire.

‘HONORARY TIGER’ Padma Bhushan Billy Arjan Singh breathed his last on the first day of the Year of the Tiger’ – January 1, 2010. He will be remembered as a pioneer conservationist, and for his long and courageous battle for India’s wildlife. My abiding memory of Billy dates back to five winters ago. I was at Tiger Haven, his home at … Read More

Madras HC Gives Go Ahead To Tamil Nadu Government To Notify Elephant Corridor

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The Madras High Court has declared that the Tamil Government is fully empowered to notify The Elephant Corridor in Nilgiris District. The government is also empowered by the Centre’s Project Elephant. The court order concludes that no fault can be found with the government’s action to declare the corridor, as it has acted towards Article 51-A (g) of the constitution. The GO on the topic dated August 31, 2010 had been questioned by various parties as erroneous and that it … Read More

Protests against mini hydel projects in Bisle forests in Karnataka

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A protest was held by various environmental groups against two proposed mini hydel projects across the Addahole and Girihole streams. The Karnataka Renewable Energy Ltd. has cleared the projects each with a capacity of 24 MW. The protesters alleged that the projects would divert the streams which provided water to wild animals. The Bisle forests are home to endangered species such as the Lion-tailed Macaque.… Read More

A Reprieve for the Wolves of Maidenahalli

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The Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes), a subspecies of the Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus), found in the Himalayan ranges, is a lanky animal with short fur, about the size of a German Shepherd Dog. An estimated 2000-3000 of these animals now survive in India, mainly in the states of Orissa, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. They are wide ranging, pack hunting predators requiring large home ranges. As agriculture expanded … Read More

Insights From A Scientific Study Of The Bhadra Resettlement

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Relocation, resettlement and displacement of people have been carried out for several reasons in India and the history of such efforts goes back forty years. In India it is estimated that resettlement for conservation is a small fraction (less than one percent) of the more than sixty million people relocated for other reasons. The nature of these efforts has ranged from forcible eviction to voluntary relocation and they have ranged from abject failure to mixed success.

Relocation and resettlement of … Read More

Supreme Court Panel directs State Government to stop construction activity in Ranthambore

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The Central Empowered Committee constituted by the Supreme Court has ordered that all construction activity that violates the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 and other court directives, be stopped. The directive is the result of a petition by Belinda Wright, executive director of Wildlife Protection Society of India. Massive construction work is being undertaken by the forest department to construct 20 big dams. The forest department is undertaking these activities in response to a severe scarcity of water last summer. … Read More

Conservation projects launched for Olive Ridley Turtles and Black Bucks in Ganjam District, Orissa

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Two projects have been launched under the Natural Resources Conservation Outside Protected Areas (NRCOPA) scheme in Ganjam district. The Rushikulya River Mouth project has been launched for Olive Ridley Sea Turtle conservation, while the Bhetonai-Balipadar project has been launched to protect Black Bucks. The NRCOPA is a Central Government scheme for conservation of biodiversity through community-led efforts. The said projects will extend support to conservation efforts in Odisha and Madhya Pradesh  by strengthening the capacity of communities to manage resources … Read More

Madhya Pradesh plans Great Indian Bustard conservation along the lines of Desert National Park

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The state of Madhya Pradesh is planning on increasing conservation activities around the Great Indian Bustard (GIB). The state has lost all the GIBs from the Karera sanctuary in Shivpuri and is left to preserve only a handful in Ghatigaon sanctuary (Gwalior). Chief Wildlife Warden HS Pabla closely monitored the conservation of the GIB in Desert National Park on his recent visit to Rajasthan, which is protecting around 100-150 GIBs. Only eight GIBs have been spotted in the last census … Read More

Running a Conservation Campaign

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(With inputs from Praveen Bhargav and Sanjay Gubbi)

Feel helpless in the face of conservation problems?  So do most people. But with a proper plan and a carefully thought out strategy, you’ll be surprised by what you can achieve.

There are numerous examples from around the world, which show that determined individuals – acting alone or working as a group – can win conservation battles even against huge odds.  To quote renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead, “never doubt that a Read More

Athirappilly Hydroelectric Project in Kerala Threatens Great Hornbills

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The 163-MW Athirappilly hydroelectric project proposed by the Kerala State Electricity Board could wipe out Great Hornbills from these unique low-elevation (180 m MSL) riparian forests. The Athirappilly Falls is situated on the Chalakudy river, which originates in the upper reaches of the Western Ghats. Many endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna are found in the forests of the Athirappilly-Vazhachal area. This area is the one of the few places in the Western Ghats where all four endangered … Read More

Human-Elephant Conflict and its Mitigation: Q&A with Sanjay Gubbi

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Is human–elephant conflict on the rise?

Yes, it seems to be.  We have failed to reduce crop depredation loss and injury to human life, which has made people living around wildlife habitats more hostile towards conservation.

As a consequence, there has been a constant increase in the retaliatory killing of elephants. In Karnataka alone 16 elephants were killed in 2006–07, 46 in 2008–09 and 41 in 2009–10. The compensation paid by the Karnataka Forest Department for loss to life and … Read More

India Proposes New Strategies to Conserve Elephants

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This was published in Oryx, February 2011.

India is home to a population of c. 26,000 Asian elephant Elephas maximus over an area of c. 110,000 km2. Currently 65,000 km2 of this area is declared as 32 Elephant Reserves across Protected Areas (30%), Reserved Forests (40%) and private lands (30%). Securing this landscape for the elephant is a challenging task in a country that has an expanding economy and over a billion people competing for space, some of it with … Read More