25 June, 2021

The Eco Line Of Control

It's come to this: forest dwellers may have to go, for the sake of the forests

Sandeep Adhwaryu
The Eco Line Of Control
Tigers grab headlines while the rest of India's wildlife often get ignored. Elephants, mouse deer, pangolin, hornbills and hundreds of other rare species find refuge in our national parks. The disappearance of tigers at Sariska is a terrible tragedy but it is not an isolated incident, nor should it be the final curtain call for India's wildlife.

At the risk of blundering into a thicket of thorny opinions, let me suggest a few partial solutions. First, we must accept that humans have been living in the Indian forests for millennia and conflicts can only be resolved if the needs of forest dwellers are met. However, the possibility of humans sharing these forests in peaceable harmony with other creatures no longer exists. The situation has become critical. Communities that depend on forest resources, within the boundaries of wildlife sanctuaries, must be relocated and rehabilitated with expediency and equity. A year ago I might not have held this view, but after recently visiting the Chilla range of Rajaji National Park (Uttaranchal), where Gujjar herdsmen and their buffaloes...

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