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

The Institutional Framework for Wildlife Conservation in India

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Reworked from Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund Report May 2007* with inputs from Praveen Bhargav, Wildlife First.

To be an effective conservationist, it is important to understand which institutions control land in India and what laws govern the protection of forests and wildlife. Before any conservation interventions can be attempted in any landscape, the legal status of the land must first be ascertained so that one can engage with the correct authorities or agencies. This piece should be read alongside its … Read More

Human – Tiger conflict: Cause, Consequence and Mitigation

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Dr. K Ullas Karanth, Senior Scientist, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Dr. Rajesh Gopal, Member Secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) explain how conflict between humans and tigers can be reduced.

Wherever wild tiger populations survive and come into contact with landscapes dominated by humans, they pose a threat by preying on livestock, and, less commonly, on people. In most parts of India, people are remarkably tolerant of wildlife damage compared with elsewhere in the world, but sometimes, in … Read More

Nine arrested near Coimbatore for possession of skins of a Tiger and five Leopards

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An undercover officer from the Forest Department was shown the skins of a Tiger and five leopards (including a black panther) in Pollachi, by a man named Jailani who demanded five crores. The officer was from a team of plainclothes Forest department officials, who were acting on a tip off. After the skin traders ultimately agreed to sell all the skins for a sum of one crore, the officer told them he had to consult with his friends, after which … 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

Right to Information (RTI) — a Powerful Tool for Wildlife Conservation

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RTI stands for Right To Information and has been given the status of a fundamental right under Article 19(1) of the Constitution. Article 19 (1) under which every citizen has freedom of speech and expression and the right to know how the government works, the role it plays, its functions, and so on. This empowers any citizen to demand access to government files and after scrutinizing the files obtain certified copies of the letters, documents, file notings etc. Another important … Read More

Wild India’s Grim Reapers — Interview with Belinda Wright, WPSI

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In an interview to CI, Belinda Wright, Executive Director, Wildlife Protection Society of India, talks to Prerna Singh Bindra about the growing illegal trade in wildlife.

Belinda Wright, tiger conservationist and wildlife campaigner, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). Born in Kolkata, she has spent her entire life working with wildlife in India. She was a internationally renowned wildlife photographer and Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker before turning to full time Read More

Nobody’s Heroes: Our Forgotten Forest Watchers

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It was an hour after dawn. Siddarama, a forest watcher, was walking to the Tiger Reserve’s headquarters from his village a good six kilometres away, when he heard the faint sound of voices. Suspicious, he approached quietly, and saw three men sitting by a stream, smoking and chatting. Two guns leaned on the rocks behind them and a dead giant squirrel lay on a sackcloth. Siddarama was alone and unarmed, but all he could think of then was that he … Read More

Freeing sea turtle nesting beaches from Casuarina plantations – A case study from Tamil Nadu

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When two powerful entities such as the World Bank and a State Government agency make an expensive ecological blunder, what are the chances that they can be persuaded to undo the damage? In the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, a massive coastal plantation project initiated by the two was about to permanently destroy sea turtle nesting grounds. Would a small group of conservationists be able to make them see sense? Shekar Dattatri recounts the untold story of a campaign … Read More

Cabinet approves decentralization and strengthening of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)

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The Union Cabinet today approved the creation of four posts in the rank of Inspector General of Forests for the three Regional Offices and Headquarters of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). This decision, in conjunction with the recent decision to set up 3 regional offices of the NTCA in Nagpur, Guwahati and Bengaluru is expected to give a major boost to India’s tiger conservation efforts.

Welcoming the decision, the Minister of State (I/C), Shri Jairam Ramesh said: “This is … Read More

Resettlement project approved for trapped farming communities in Wayanad

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The Ministry of Environment and Forests has approved the resettlement of farming communities inside Wayanad Wilidlife Sanctuary and has set aside a sum of Rs 5.5 crores to aid in implementing the first phase of relocation. The resettlement comes under the Voluntary Relocation of Settlements project. The communities in Wayanad have been fighting a three decade long battle asking for relocation. Phase 1 will affect 1388 people living in 880 families across 14 settlements and is expected to cost Rs. … Read More

Railways and West Bengal govt. to declare Railway stretch as ‘elephant corridor’

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The Railways and the Wildlife officials of both the West Bengal government and Centre today unanimously agreed to declare the entire 164-km stretch between Siliguri and Alipurdiar on the North East Frontier Railway as an “elephant corridor” and put a speed restriction of 45 kmph on all the trains – day and night.

Both the sides formulated and agreed on a number of other steps to prevent recurrence of such animal dashing by speeding trains, official sources said.

On Wednesday … Read More

Seven elephants die after speeding train hits herd

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Incident once again raises questions over movement of trains along the elephant corridor.

Seven elephants of a herd died after being hit by a goods train in the Banarhat area of Jalpaiguri district (West Bengal) on Wednesday night.

While four were killed on the spot, the rest died on Thursday. The dead include a sub-adult and two juvenile elephants, Divisional Forest Officer (Wild Life II) Sumita Ghatak told The Hindu over telephone.

The incident has once again raised questions over … Read More

Leopard skins and Himalayan Black Bear gall bladder seized in Uttarakhand

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New Delhi: The Anti-Poaching cell of the Uttarakhand Forest Department, assisted by the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), seized 2 leopard skins, 1 leopard cat skin and 1 Himalayan black bear gall bladder from Chakrata in Dehradun district, Uttarakhand, last night.

In the late night operation, the Anti-Poaching cell led by Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Mr. Paramjit Singh, arrested two local persons in connection with this seizure. A case under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 has been registering … Read More

Another elephant electrocuted in Orissa

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Notwithstanding the “elephantine” efforts proposed by the Project Elephant in its elaborate report ‘Gajah’ to secure the future of jumbos in the country, “elephanticides” continue in Odisha. In the latest incident, two elephants died in the State — one due to electrocution and the other shot dead by suspected poachers — in the wee hours on Monday.

Official sources in the State forest department confirmed the killing of two tuskers, of which one had been electrocuted at Hindol in Dhenkanal … Read More