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Tiger sways man in Indian tribal village, Allocation of a new land now

Anup Kumar Nayak, a senior forest officer in Bhubaneswar proclaimed that wildlife protection laws refused to allow humans from living within critical wildlife habitat.

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tribal
Tiger, pixabay

Feb 20, 2017: India has nearly about 3,200 tigers in dozens of reserves established since the 70s, with some of the nominated land shared with primeval tribal villagers. Wildlife tourism has grown widely and is a medium for earning huge amount of money for India.

However, conservationists are dubious as to whether travellers help protect threatened species or trespass onto their habitat. According to a report published in Reuters, the tigers that roam around these dense forests of eastern India have more dominance than the people that live alongside, tribal activists say, this is a drive to boost thriving wildlife tourism and trump the rights of poor villagers of tribal areas.

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Sanghamitra Dubey, a worker in an informal Indian advocacy group for forestry rights questioned,”Why are indigenous people being asked outright to leave without even attempting to explore reasonable options of co-existence with wildlife?”

Now the situation arises such that one of the two will win the priority and, the place too. The families of the ancestral land have already been asked to shift, just to protect a handful population of tigers. Last November, hundreds of families from these tribal villages were asked to vacate their homes to ensure the security of a local tiger habitat.

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Anup Kumar Nayak, a senior forest officer in Bhubaneswar proclaimed that wildlife protection laws refused to allow humans from living within critical wildlife habitat or what is deemed the ‘core zone’ of a national park. He further added by saying, ‘the relocation are voluntary but a number of villages around Similipal were in the ‘core’ habitat zone or so close they were “as good as inside it” and would need to move’.

Following the trail, in the village of Jamunagarh, in the park’s ‘core’, just three families out of more than 35 families decided to stay on and continue to use the land they won in 2015. The others chose to take the compensation and move away.

(Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation report on The Goat Village)

By Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter @Nainamishr94

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Sambhar Lake Becomes Death Bed for Large Number of Birds

The excessive salt in the water led to the poisoning, causing hypernectremia, which is water deprivation due to sodium intoxication

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Sambhar Lake
After witnessing drought for many years, this year the Sambhar Lake, however, brimmed with water due to heavy rains. The inflow made the water toxic due to the change in its alkalinity. Pixabay

A deadly game of survival is on in the Sambhar lake of Rajasthan for decades — salt versus birds. The result came a few days back: thousands of birds were seen floating dead in the lake and their carcasses scattered on the edge of the 12 km catchment area.

The dead birds seen floating in this largest inland salt lake in the country, include plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet among many other migratory birds.

Harsh Vardhan, a renowned environmentalist, told IANS that no forest department official has ever been appointed to look after the lake. The lake comes under the Hindustan Salt Limited, a public limited enterprise formed in the post independence era to manufacture salt. Its job is to manufacture salt. So who should look after the lake; this has never been decided, he said.

The lake has not been handed to the forest department, and the area, where birds come, is no one’s land. Sambhar lake may be a part of the Hindustan Salt Ltd, but the company has nothing to do with the birds, he says.

The chief wildlife warden Arindam Tomar has maintained silence over the issue.

Even, Principal secretary, forest and environment Shreya Guha has washed her hands off the issue. All that she did was to a give statement that the Jaipur and Nagaur District Collectors have been asked to remove the bodies. She added that 4,800 birds have been dead till date, which is disputed by experts like Harsh Vardhan, who say that counting is not easy in the vast area.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday held a meeting on the issue.

Sambhar Lake
A deadly game of survival is on in the Sambhar Lake of Rajasthan for decades — salt versus birds. Pixabay

Meanwhile, Harsh Vardhan questioned the presence of several private salt miners and entrepreneurs, who have set shops in and around the lake. “They dig tube wells which suck water from the land making it parched. The remaining water gets evaporated leaving crystal of salts which are packed and sold in gunny bags,” he said.

Lack of water and drought has haunted Sambhar lake for years. State government has been spending huge money to woo tourists through activities like mobiking, balloning, race, Bollywood shoots, etc. A resort on the rim of the lake showcases salt manufacturing for the tourists. Crores of Rupees have been spent on the upkeep of the narrow gauge train and watch stations, but birds and conversation issues were always overlooked.

As Sambhar lake went dry, concentration of salt deposits came up within it. The water from surrounding rivers, meant to flow into the lake, was diverted by the miners.

After witnessing drought for many years, this year the lake, however, brimmed with water due to heavy rains. The inflow made the water toxic due to the change in its alkalinity.

The excessive salt in the water led to the poisoning, causing hypernectremia, which is water deprivation due to sodium intoxication, Vardhan said.

It seems birds which came in high numbers due to high water quantity this season died due to hypernectermia after consuming their feed which is the planktons, the microrganisms found in water.

Sambhar Lake
The dead birds seen floating in this largest inland salt lake i.e Sambhar Lake in the country, include plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet among many other migratory birds. Wikimedia Commons

The only step that has ever been taken by any government in the state was in 1981 when it was decided to designate the site as wetland and was renamed as the Ramsar site.

According to an estimate, around 60,000 birds visited the lake in a year which has come down to less than 20,000.

Vardhan says that if the lake remains with the Hindustan Salt Limited, which has been a loss making unit since years or if it is handed over to the private operators, who do excessive mining of water, then the lake and the birds are sure to die.

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Experts like him want the lake to be handed over to the forest department which can develop it as a wetland. (IANS)