Assam tigers set to be homeless soon
Saturday, August 09, 2008, (Laukhuwa, Assam)
Even though the PM has himself asked all the chief ministers to respond to the challenges of tiger conservation, NDTV has learnt that the Assam government has moved to de-notify two sanctuaries marked as tiger reserves mainly because of the huge pressure of the population inside the reserve forests.
Paddy has replaced large areas of what used to be forestland in Laukhuwa in Assam, and as NDTV went further in the area, more and more human habitation became visible.
The range office resembled a massive cowshed.
This area is supposed to be a tiger reserve, but more than 10,000 people live on the fringes and inside the sanctuary, it's also within the state forest ministers constituency, displacing these people would mean that his vote bank would be affected considerably.
The villagers are very candid about encroaching the protected area.
"It's survival of the fittest. People encroach in protected areas or poach wild animals when they are pushed to do that, Abdul Rehman, villager.
"Displacing such a huge population will have adverse affects," Rehman added.
"Politics may not be in support of wildlife conservation, since wildlife cannot cast votes," said Bibhab Talukdar, Member State Wildlife Board and co-chair IUCN.
Laukhowa and Burachapori are contiguous sanctuaries to Kaziranga National Park, and were notified as tiger reserve in 2006. But the state government wants the two populated sanctuaries to be left out from the notification.
"Of late I have heard from some sources that there is some objections to the declaring of the Kazi tiger reserve, just because areas like Laokhowa, Burachapori has been included within the limit of the tiger reserve," Bibhab Talukdar further said.
Though Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had signed NDTV's 'Save the Tiger Campaign' earlier this year, his Cabinet colleague and Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain definitely seems opposed to the idea of tiger conservation.
As it happens:
Tigress to be shifted to Sariska
Play to bring awareness to save tiger
Ranthambore tigers airlifted to Sariska
Tiger killed after falling in trap
Tiger population rising in Ranthambore
Chennai hosts exhibition to save tiger
Centre formulates plan to save tigers
MLAs in Andhra join NDTV's tiger campaign