Thursday, April 22, 2010

The State of India’s Wildlife Management.

The state of the wildlife management in many of India’s wildlife reserves makes me wonder where the conservation is headed. The knowledge about wildlife is abysmally poor in many areas and the concerned officers make no serious effort to keep themselves current. Reading habit is unknown. Recently I made a quick reconnaissance of untrained officers manning some of our wildlife reserves. What I found was shocking. Many of the officers had absolutely no inkling about the advances in wildlife management. They were beating around the bush in their effort to make an impression and in the process cut a very sorry figure
It may not be possible to train all officers in wildlife management but they can at least do a little bit of reading. This is happening at a time when wildlife institute is finding it difficult to get trainees for their management programmes.  Officers are not willing to go for wildlife training and want to cling on to their plum postings.
There is rot at the top. Officers are more concerned about pandering to the politicians. Last year I attended a workshop in one of India’s premier wildlife reserve. The minister came, did the inauguration and tried to impress on the gathering his interest in the welfare of wildlife. The conference was attended by some of India's leading conservationists. The politicians departed immediately after the inauguration. They have no time to interact with the scientist or even the courtesy to sit though at least one session. I would have been a happy man if the minister had attended at least the presentation of one paper. They had other “pressing affairs”. No wonder India’s wildlife is languishing.
Some of the scientists are also to be blamed. I recently found that in a census equation the error was taken as 20% which is unusually high. This was never put to test objectively. 0.10 could be used.0.05 is more common.0.01 is also sometimes used. There is no follow-up.
99% of the officers had not even the vaguest idea about the free online journals readily available on the net. This brings to my mind a funny incident that occurred in one of the wildlife reserves. A college professor walked up to the wildlife warden and asked about the recruitment. The reply was “The Government has imposed a total ban on recruitment by PSC. The professor was shocked to see the level of ignorance. He steered the subject away from wildlife and started talking about weather.
A total revamp of the system is long overdue. This has to be done on a war footing if India’s wildlife is to survive.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

High Range Tidings Salutes Dr Manmohan Singh

After chairing the National Board of Wildlife meeting, an obviously distressed, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has written to chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand to declare areas around tiger reserves as eco-sensitive buffer zones. Things are not very rosy in these three key tiger-bearing states.
Centre has written several times to state Governments to create a buffer zone in tiger areas in order to reduce human-tiger conflicts. Many states are yet to wake up.   Special tiger protection force meant to hire and train local tribal population in conservation is yet to take deep roots in many states.  There is no dearth of high flown pronouncements yet nothing of consequence is happening in the field.  It is against this sad backdrop that the prime minister has taken a personal initiative amidst his various pressing chores.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wildlife SOS Blog Post from K.V Uthaman

K.V Uthman has sent a guest blog post requesting your help in protecting a tree that is used every year by a pair of endangered WHITE BELLIED SEA EAGLE to build nest and lay eggs. Unfortunately this tree stands on private property and the owner wants to sell off his land after hacking the tree. As my other blog has wider readership I have posted it there. Read what Uthaman has to say here. 
Uthman can be contacted at