Rare and endangered!!
This month's "WildBytes" features a write up on the endangered tragopan pheasant and a heartfelt cry from Uttaranchal to save the Chir pheasant. We also feature a quiz on pheasants this month. Seeing these birds at close quarters
( you can see them in the Nainital Zoo ( Uttaranchal) and Sarahan Breeding centre ( Himachal Pradesh), redefines one's idea of beauty. Are we destroying the unparalleled beauty of nature and its creations for our own selfish purposes? We wish that the monal
and tragopan will survive for future generations to glimpse them.
Sing a song for the Chiru!
Wildlife Institute of India has coined the catchy phrase" Say No to Toosh". How about hearing it in song form from Usha Uthup in her inimitable style? Click here to hear her sing this song as well as the song she specially composed
for saving animals.
We thank Smt. Usha Uthup for making the CD available for IndianWildlifeClub members.
Slide show on tigers
The tiger contest online closes in September. So hurry and send in your entries. We are giving away three attractive prizes for the best entries. So, log in with your email id and password for IWC.com and write a script in 100
words for the slide show. Please remember to fill in your email id in the online entry form. This enables us to identify the contestants.
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The predicaments of conservation by Ashwini Chhatre and Vasant Saberwal
The conservation establishment in India periodically finds itself caught in a cleft stick—between the developmental onslaught on biodiversity and local resistance to conservation projects that threaten human livelihood. Conservation as a necessary agenda requires
a new vision that transcends the inherent limitations of the current practice.
The crux of the problem, therefore, is interest groups. What is the support base for biological conservation in the country? ............To some extent public opinion in the metropolis does influence conservation policy. It influences
the way the Supreme Court may make decisions that have far-reaching legal and social consequences. And to that extent, it is important that information be made available to a public so that an informed opinion can be formed. But once policy has been formulated,
the weight of various interest groups determines the ways and means by which this policy is implemented. For too long, Indian conservationists have focused their efforts on the crafting of public policy and the shaping of public opinion within urban India.
Too little effort has gone into understanding the negotiated and fiercely contested process by which such policy is implemented.
An alternative perspective that has emerged in recent years places local communities at the centre, rather than on the periphery, of the entire exercise. The crux of this argument is that the environment needs to become a part
of electoral politics within rural India. The objective, then, is to turn electoral power around, such that pressure from below works in the service of, rather than against, conservation.
Popular support for conservation can only come when local communities play a greater role in the decision-making concerning protected areas which affect them. Such support comes from a sense of control over a resource and a negotiating
process in which the community perceives itself to be an equal partner with outsiders who also stake a claim to managing the area. Conservation partnerships with local interests are not easy to forge since these imply a loosening of state control over people
and resources. Such collaborations also pose an intellectual threat to scientists accustomed to having it their way.
The Great Himalayan National Park of Himachal provides a unique opportunity to test the waters of community participation. There is mounting empirical evidence supporting the view that security of tenure is the most compelling
incentive for participatory conservation. GHNP is probably the only protected area in India, which affords us the luxury of indulging all the stakeholders without compromising on basic scientific and social principles. Where else in India would you find 1100
square kilometres of area with only 15,000 people, that too populating only its southwestern periphery?
There are even now large areas inside the park that have fallen into disuse. It is possible to devise a scale of graded protection to different areas inside the park, ranging from totally closed areas to fully open spaces near
villages. The villages are characterized by strong community institutions, which could be harnessed in a new conservation paradigm. But for that to happen, community representatives, politicians, conservationists and biologists ought to agree to negotiate
and make the necessary compromises. This could signal the end of exclusionary conservation choices forced by urban middle-class India upon its fellow citizens who rely on the forest, and the institutionalization of a more adaptive system of managing biological