Dundhwa Seha, Panna Tiger Reserve

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On 22nd September 2015, The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh (and Chairman of the State’s Wildlife Board) cleared the Ken-Betwa River Linking project despite strong protests from some members of the Board. Now the proposal needs approval by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL).

Here’s a snapshot of what the project will entail: A 224 km long canal will siphon off 660 million cubic meters of water from the Ken to the Betwa; a 77 meter high dam will be … Read More

Flamingo City in Peril

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An edited form of this article appeared in the February 16, 2015 issue of the Outlook magazine.

The unique natural heritage of the Great Rann of Kutch that Amitabh Bachchan promotes in the slick Gujarat Tourism commercials, is imperiled, ironically by a proposed road said to promote tourism.

Among the 130-odd projects that the new National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) cleared in its controversial first meeting in August last year, is a road that cuts through the Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary … Read More

Urgent Campaign for a Credible National Board for Wildlife — Act Now!

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Campaign Details — September 2014

Urgent Campaign for a Credible National Board for Wildlife — Act Now!

Most urgent! Write to the Minister of Environment & Forests urging him to constitute a CREDIBLE National Board for Wildlife. The few minutes you spend on this could make a huge difference to India’s precious protected areas. Act now!


All development projects, such as roads, dams, mines, power plants etc. that are proposed in or within 10 kms of a Sanctuary or … Read More

Narcondam Campaign Update — Rare Hornbills in danger as Ministry Reopens Radar Project!

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Campaign Update 21st November 2012

Great News! The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) has rejected the proposal by the Indian Coast Guard to erect a RADAR installation on Narcondam Island in the Andamans.

Amur Falcon campaign update — Another migration season begins!

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Campaign Update 30th October 2013

Great news! The peak migration of Amur Falcons is on, and there have been absolutely no killings reported so far! This remarkable outcome has been the result of a full year of painstaking effort from the Nagaland government (especially the forest department), NGO groups, and most importantly, the local communities who were determined to end the killings.

Walayar — Walking on Knife’s Edge

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This image was shot at 1209 hrs on 13th Oct 2012, at km 510/21 on the B-line of the Palakkad- Coimbatore railway line, a kilometre away from the Walayar Railway station, in Kerala. The B-line, which has been laid through the Walayar Reserve forest, bisects an elephant corridor. More than thirty elephants have been killed / maimed during the last two decades (see post on calf being run over), due to speeding trains between Kanjikode and Madukkarai (a … Read More

Bleeding the Chambal Dry

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Reckless water hoarding, diversion, sand mining and fishing are killing a pristine river that once used to recast its vast ravines every flood. Jay Mazoomdaar on the curse of the Chambal.

This article originally appeared in Tehelka, 8 March, 2013.

In a culture where rivers are worshipped, the Chambal, by all means mightier than the Yamuna, would be slighted as a tributary of the latter. Unsurprisingly, no great cities or shrines came up on its banks. This traditional isolation fostered … Read More

Joy as migratory Amur Falcon reaches its wintering grounds again in South Africa

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Raptor enthusiasts across the world were overjoyed and relieved to learn that a migratory adult female Amur Falcon (Falco amurensis) finally reached her wintering grounds at Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal again on the 10th of January 2013 after an eventful 14,500km journey from the species’ breeding grounds in north-eastern China which started in mid-October last year.

This bird was fitted by Prof. Bernd Meyburg of WWGBP, the World Working Group on Birds of Prey, with a solar-powered satellite transmitter … Read More

Flamingo City Campaign Update — NBWL Clears Road Project

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Campaign Update July 2013

The road proposal whose ecological damages CI highlighted in this campaign was unanimously and strongly rejected by all members of the MOEF constituted Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) on June 6th, 2013. The project was rejected on grounds that it was having a serious impact on the wildlife of the fragile Kutch region particularly the nesting site of flamingoes.

The Nicobarese get their Megapode

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A unique bird, a unique island, and unique customs that bind them all.

On Oct 04, 2012, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) rejected a proposal to create a missile-firing testing system on Tillanchong island, a narrow strip of island in Nicobar.

Tillanchong is an unfamiliar name for many. Uninhabited except for a police post, the Navy chose this Nicobar island for erecting a missile range for shooting dummy missiles. Tillanchong is a long, narrow ridge of land, prone to … Read More

Betraying India’s Wildlife

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Shekar Dattatri co-authored this article, which originally appeared in the Oct 2011 issue of GovernanceNow.

Poor governance, replete with farcical meetings, subjective and improper application of the law, and unilateral decision-making, mars the functioning of the National Board for Wildlife, the apex body on conservation. The new Union Environment Minister must take urgent corrective action to restore the Board’s credibility, and protect India’s precious natural heritage from the relentless pressures of development.

Forests and wildlife in India are governed … Read More

Karnataka Wildlife Sanctuaries Get Bigger

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In a welcome development, the Karnataka state government has extended the boundaries of Bannerghatta national park and four wildlife sanctuaries (Dandeli, Mookambika, Cauvery and Someshwara) adding an incremental 1,255.64 sq km to the state’s protected area (PA) network. This constitutes a 20% increase in the overall size of PAs in the state. This has been achieved by merging the existing sanctuaries with adjoining reserve forests.

Specifically, Bannerghatta grew from 102.74 sq km to 260.51 sq km (254%), Dandeli from 638.34 … Read More

Project Tiger Merger With Other Schemes Dropped

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Union environment minister, Jayanthi Natarajan revealed to the members of the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) that the planning commission’s proposal to merge three centrally sponsored schemes — Project Tiger, Project Elephant and Integrated Development under Wildlife Habitat (IDWH) into one has been dropped. When the move was proposed, all nine members of the NBWL had opposed the move. NBWL members thanked the Union Minister and the Planning Commission chairman, for showing concern towards the implications … Read More

NHAI Violations Come Up In Standing Committee Meeting Of National Board for Wildlife

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The violations by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) were brought up by members of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) in its 24th standing committee meeting held on 13th December, 2011.

NHAI’s non-compliance with conditions while constructing a four-lane expressway through the Lumding Reserve Forest in Assam that will cut through a crucial Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong migratory corridor for tigers, elephants, gibbons and gaur was brought up by Prerna Bindra, member of NBWL and co-ordinator of Panthera, an NGO … Read More

Illegal Canal Threatens Ranthambore Tiger Corridor

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An illegal construction of a canal to connect the Kushalipura nalla to the Manasarovar dam, threatens to destroy a corridor that connects Ranthambore National Park to the Sawai Mansingh sanctuary. Wild animals can cross the two protected areas that run parallel to each other, at only two points, as high hills and three villages block the other points. The canal is all set to block the most often used of the two points.

Ex-forest minister NN Meena laid the foundation … Read More

Framing Ecologically Sound Policy on Linear Intrusions Affecting Wildlife Habitats

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In the 20th meeting of the Standing Committee of the NBWL held on 13 October 2010, it was discussed that linear intrusions were a serious issue and a sound policy needs to be framed consulting various experts. The Chairman requested the member of the Standing Committee from the Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, to prepare a background paper that could be discussed at the next meeting to move towards the formulation of a policy on linear intrusions at the national level. … Read More

Non-official Members of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) write to Environment Minister on Faulty Clearance Process

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The non-official members of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) have written to the Environment Minister, Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan, about the faulty clearance process by the NBWL. They have said that the panel has turned into a clearing house for dodgy wildlife and forest projects. They have said that in the last meeting during Jairam Ramesh’s tenure, 59 proposals to start projects in forest areas were cleared in 2 hours. Also, 39 clearance proposals were received only two days prior … Read More

Project Tiger May Be Merged With Other Conservation Schemes

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Project Tiger, India’s first wildlife protection program, may be merged along with other conservation schemes. The Planning Commission has asked the environment ministry to merge Project Tiger along with Project Elephant and Integrated Development under Wildlife Habitat (IDWH). The move has been opposed by all nine members of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) who have termed it “retrograde”. They have written a strongly worded letter to the Planning Commission chairman, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and a copy has been sent … Read More

Ranthambore Canal Work Continues Despite Rejection by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL)

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In a gross violation of Wildlife Protection Act and Forest Conservation Act, construction activity continues despite the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) ban earlier this year.

In a letter to Mr. M. K. Jiwrajka, Member Secretary, Central Empowered Committee (CEC), conservation biologist Dharmendra Khandal of Tiger Watch working in the area writes:

“You have already advised the Rajasthan state government for no construction activity in Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve (file no. 1-26/CEC/SC/2010-PC.XXXVIII, Dated: 8th March 2011). However, recently there is new construction … Read More

CEC hearing on July 6 for illegal road widening in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar

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The central empowered committee (CEC), appointed by the Supreme Court to look into the cases related to the violation of Forest (Conservation) Act and Wildlife (Protection) Act, has fixed July 6 for the hearing of the case related to the violation of rules in a road widening work inside Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) of Bihar. The CEC admitted the case on the basis of a petition filed by Ashok Kumar, vice-chairman of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) based on an … Read More

Harmful practices being followed under the CAMPA banner

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Many harmful practices are being supposedly carried out under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) program. Plantations, clearing and burning of weeds, building plush rest houses, barracks in the core areas of the Tiger reserves etc. are alleged. This item was brought to the agenda of the Standing Meeting of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) by Biswajit Mohanty, an NBWL member. CAMPA is an ambitious central scheme for forest management and has over Rs. 11,000 crore … Read More

Agriculture land close to BRT Tiger Reserve handed over for Industrial Purposes

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The Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) has handed over 410.44 acres of land to Bannari Amman Sugars. The land is said to be within 1 km radius of the BRT Tiger Reserve and also on a part of an Elephant Corridor. According to a Supreme Court order, non-forest activities cannot be taken up within 10 kms of a protected area (eco-sensitive zone). The forest department has made it clear that no work can be undertaken without an approval from … Read More

Intervention on NH7 Four laning along Pench not granted relief by Supreme Court

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The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) had moved the Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court seeking a ban on the four laning of NH7 in the periphery of Pench-Mowgli Sanctuary. However, in a recent ruling the Supreme Court refused to give relief on the CEC recommendation for intervention. The court has encouraged the petitioner to approach the responsible authorities under the Wildlife Protection Act. It has also ruled that proposals be considered expeditiously given the importance of the … Read More

Mandate of the Standing Committee of the NBWL

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The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) is constituted by the Central Government under Section 5 A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA). The National Board may, at its discretion, constitute a Standing Committee under sub-section (1) of Section 5B. The Standing Committee shall consist of the Vice-Chairperson (Union Minister in charge of Forests and Wildlife) the Member Secretary and not more than ten members to be nominated by the Vice-Chairperson from amongst the members of the National Board.

The … Read More

Team formed to look into Simlipal elephant massacre

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The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has constituted a two-member independent team for assessing the ground situation at the Simlipal tiger reserve in Orissa (Odisha), particularly against the backdrop of incidents of elephant massacre.

Two carcasses of elephants were found burnt and two others were found buried with dismantled bones. At least 12 pachyderms have been killed here in the last two months.  

The team set up by the NTCA comprises Biswajit Mohanty, Secretary, Wildlife Society of Odisha and Belinda … Read More