Using RTI for Wildlife Conservation

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Excerpts from a presentation given by Biswajit Mohanty in Bangalore on 23rd August 2013. You can reach him for questions or comments at kachhapa@gmail.com.

What is Government?

This is a difficult question for an ordinary Indian citizen. He/she knows that Government is an omnipotent and omnipresent entity but is not exactly sure who “Government” is. When you want something from any government office, you will frequently hear the words … “Government will decide”. If there are dues/taxes to be … Read More

Conservation Letters Study Identifies Wildlife Tourism Challenges

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A study by Krithi Karanth and others in Conservation Letters identifies challenges to wildlife because of burgeoning tourism. The main drive behind the increase is attributed to the rising affluent, middle class with money to spend on vacations. Increased revenue from tourism is still not benefiting individual parks, as it goes into a larger treasury. It also skips local communities, with the revenue ending largely in private hands. Other challenges include threats to unprotected adjoining lands, corridors as well as … Read More

Mass hatching of Olive Ridley turtles starts in Orissa Coast

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Mass hatching of Olive Ridley turtles has started in the Orissa Coast. During the past two nights, around 4 lakh hatchlings have come out of 50,000 nests. Around 2,54,000 mother turtles have come to nest this year. The hatchlings so far experienced tough conditions for hatching, as light rains had hardened the top layer of the sand, making it hard for them to emerge from the nests. Hundreds of volunteers under the banner of the Rushikulya Sea Turtle Protection Committee … Read More

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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Karnataka Forest Department seeking Tiger Reserve Status for Kudremukh National Park

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The Karnataka State Forest Department is seeking a Tiger Reserve Status for the Kudremukh National Park (KNP). Recently, the Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple Wildlife (BRT) Sanctuary was given the tiger reserve status by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). Union Minister Jairam Ramesh has also recently directed the state government to submit a proposal to declare KNP as a tiger reserve and also to shift machinery and infrastructure of the Kudremukh Iron Ore company that is lying inside the park. There … Read More

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

Assam forest department orders Army to dismantle Sonai Rupai firing range

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The Assam forest department has asked the army to dismantle the short firing range near the Lama camp in Kalamati. Sonai Rupai was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1998. The Forest department has written twice since the beginning of the year to the army and though there was a reply, the response has not been suitable. The area is home to a sizeable Elephant population, as well as leopards, gaur, barking deer, sambar and a variety of birds.… Read More

Review of the Tiger Task Force report, 2005 — Joining the Dots but Losing the Cats?

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After the Sariska catastrophe, and the resultant public outcry, the Prime Minister appointed a Tiger Task Force (TTF) to review the status of the species. The TTF submitted a 206-page report titled Joining the Dots in August 2005. Dr Ullas Karanth reviews the TTF report.

Maintaining ‘inviolate’ areas for wild tiger populations

The TTF recognizes that viable breeding populations of wild tigers need sufficient habitats free of incompatible human uses. It projects an area of 37,000 sq km, within boundaries … Read More

Irate villagers burn alive captured leopard near Corbett Tiger Reserve

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300-400 irate villagers in Dhamdhar village in Kalagarh Forest Division, Corbett Tiger Reserve doused a captured leopard with petrol and burnt it to alive. Apparently, there were 35 wildlife officials and 4 policemen, but they were overpowered by the mob and could not prevent the act. The leopard was alleged to be responsible for three deaths, but according to Chief Wildlife Conservator of Uttarakhand, S. K. Chandola, the leopard had strayed from Corbett National Park and attacked three people causing … Read More

Maharashtra proposing to promote Tiger Tourism

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Maharashtra is proposing to advertise its tiger assets and increase tourism. The government is proposing to tag Nagpur as the ‘tiger capital’ to promote the state . The state has an estimated 169 tigers (as per the 2010 Tiger Estimation Survey). Tadoba, Melghat and Sahayadri reserves have shown an increase in tiger population, according to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, A. K. Khetrapal. Maharashtra has 4 reserves and 34 sanctuaries. The state has created buffer zones of around 8 … Read More

Panther caught in snare freed in Anamalai Tiger Reserve

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A panther caught in a snare made out of brake and clutch cables near Sholayar Dam in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve, was freed by forest officials. The panther was found hanging with one of its legs caught in the snare which was tied to an immovable object. The animal was tranquilised and freed from the snare. In its attempts to free itself, the panther had suffered leg injuries. The injuries were treated and the panther released into the forest on … Read More

National Geographic Newswatch: Dr. Ullas Karanth shares his views on India’s latest Tiger Census

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Dr. Stuart Pimm, a Conservation Biologist from Duke University, North Carolina shares details about his time spent with Dr. Ullas Karanth in Nagarhole National Park, India. The article provides insights into Dr. Ullas Karanth’s crtical views on India’s latest Tiger Census results. Dr. Karanth summarizes that it is high time that the four year national estimation be changed to an annual exercise based on DNA analysis and camera trapping. He also calls for an end to the Government’s monopoly over … 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

Voluntary Resettlement from Bhadra Tiger Reserve, Karnataka

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Devappa was born when the Jagara Valley was a hunting ground of the British. When he was small, the valley had elephants, gaur, and tigers. Within it were villages such as his, sparsely distributed with few people.

In 1951, this 198 sq km area was declared Jagara Valley Game Sanctuary. The population of the villagers inside the reserve was low and the extraction of forest resources was more for self-subsistence than for the market.

In the sixties, a reservoir was … Read More