Wildlife activists for court direction to protect tigers

The Hindu , Friday, January 28, 2005
Correspondent : Staff Reporter
NEW DELHI, JAN. 27 . Several wildlife activists today decided to move the Supreme Court and also write to the Prime Minister, who is the chairman of the Wildlife Board of India, to seek their intervention in protecting tigers.

The activists will submit an affidavit before the amicus curiae, Harish Salve, to seek the apex court's directions to protect the tigers and wildlife in the national parks and sanctuaries of the country.

These decisions were taken at a daylong workshop "Wildlife Management: New Issues and Challenges in Rajasthan,'' organised by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature India, here today.

The proposal for approaching the court was mooted by wildlife activist, Valmik Thapar, who said it would be in the interest of the wildlife to seek directions from the apex court in protecting the tigers at Bharatpur, Sariska and Ranthambore National Parks since the administrative set up at these places had collapsed and there were reports of the decreasing number of tigers because of poaching and deaths due to lack of basic amenities such as drinking water.


The Supreme Court directive could act as a "model" for Rajasthan and other wildlife sanctuaries in the country, it was said. As far as seeking the Prime Minister's intervention, the participants said it was necessary to bring it to his notice as he heads the Wildlife Board. This was not drought in Keoladeo National Park but an administrative and management collapse that could lead to the loss of a heritage site and violation of the Ramsar Treaty to which India was a signatory, they said.

Mr. Thapar said the affidavit should either suggest solutions or seek solutions from the court. "It is time that the non-governmental organisations come together, instead of making individual representations, and present their case before the amicus curiae. "It is a critical juncture and needs a critical view," he said.

Some participants criticised the Government for giving the green signal for tabling of the Scheduled Tribes and Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill in the Budget session that seeks to recognise the land rights of the communities living in forest areasprior to the coming into force of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 but were left unsettled. Once the act came into force, the problems will become more serious as the forest dwellers would start cultivation and indulge in tree felling, they said.

Following reports that no tiger pug marks had been sighted in Sariska for the past four months, the Director of Project Tiger in the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests rushed to Sariska this morning to take stock of the situation. It was also said that while the Supreme Court had banned mining within Sariska, it was being carried out clandestinely and as much as 10 per cent of the forest land had been encroached upon by villagers.

SOURCE : The Hindu, Friday, January 28, 2005

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