Vijay Pinjarkar | TNN | Updated: Jan 20, 2018, 08:28 IST
NAGPUR: The appeal by London-based Survival International to tourists across the world to stop visiting tiger reserves in India has led to spontaneous protests across wildlife sanctuaries and parks in Maharashtra.
Protests continued on the second day by guides and tourists at Pench, Tadoba, Melghat, Navegaon-Nagzira and other parks. The guides have also launched a signature campaign against remarks by Survival International director Stephen Corry. Survival International describes itself as a human rights organization.
Corry wrote an email to the global community that "India's government is illegally evicting tribal people from their forest homes. They are being forced out because the forests that they have cared for since time immemorial have been turned into tiger reserves".
He further said that "hundreds of thousands of tourists in jeeps are permitted to enter the reserves. This disturbs the tigers, gets them used to human presence (which helps poachers), and creates litter and pollution". Corry further says, "They evicted us on the pretext that we disturbed the forest. But now there are lots of jeeps and tourism vehicles — isn't that a disturbance for the animals? India's tribal people are the best guardians of their forest homes."
Satpuda Foundation, a leading NGO working for tribal development and tiger conservation in Central India, shared this shocking email with the tribals from relocated villages and guides who survive on tiger reserves. "We have not given consultancy to Survival International to speak on our behalf," said Bandu Uike, president of EDC at Ghatpendhari in Pench. It is totally unethical to make an appeal to foreign tourists in the name of Indian tribals, he stated. Kishor Rithe, president, Satpuda Foundation, said SI's campaign is against India and its economic development. "Our tribals are protecting the forests and reaping benefits through wildlife tourism. Tadoba earns more than Rs5 crore revenue from tourism every year and most of the money is shared among local communities," said Rithe.
The Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT), a global initiative to save tigers and their forests across the Indian subcontinent, involving travel operators, parks, communities, and visitors, dubbed Cory's remarks illogical. TOFT member Aditya Dhanwatey said, "It is a disregard to India, which has always protected tribal rights. Maharashtra has set the best example in relocation, and tribals are themselves coming forward to get out of the parks. TOFT will issue a statement condemning the appeal."
Young naturalist Himanshu Bagde said, "Maharashtra has set the best example of coexistence. Many tribals are voluntarily going in for relocation as they know there is no future for their kids by living deep inside the forests. Many rehabilitated tribals are working as guides and get indirect employment due to wildlife tourism". The protest against the London NGO continued on Friday at Sillari, Tadoba, and Melghat. A signature drive was started demanding action against the NGO by the Indian government. Guides said there are no forced eviction of tribals in Pench.
The Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve was closed for tourism on Thursday, yet guides gathered at Mangezari to stage protests. On Friday, the guides held separate meetings under conservationist Mukund Dhurve at Pitezari and Chorkhamara gates to condemn SI. "We get employment from wildlife tourism. This livelihood has come after long effort of conservation. What is the problem with Survival International?" asked guide Manoj Lakhe from Bor. "We condemn the SI campaign and appeal to foreign tourists that our tribals are happy and their livelihood comes from tourism and conservation, and not from bush meat like Africa," said wildlife photographer Sarosh Lodhi. Assistant director of Satpuda Foundation Abhijit Dutta said SI's stand will be explained in all parks in the region. "The opinions of tribals will be communicated to the global community," he added.
Jan 18, 2018
Usually I get a phone call once in a week from Mr.P.M. Lad.Usually his calls are regarding saving the forest land in Sailana, how MoEF or MP state Government issued some letterwhich is going against the interest of Lesser Florican or how the capture of Forest owlet by researchers would go against the conservation of Forest Owlet.I was busy in last two months and could not speak to him.My last discussion with him was in November 2017 regarding leopard safari in SGNP.Later I regularly received likes and comments to my posts on facebook.
But this morning I got the shocking news that this "parindoka massiha" has left me alone actually left the entire bird life alone. For me, he was no less than Dr.Salim Ali.He was awarded Vasundhara Sanman in 2013 at Amravati. He was always available for expert advise and detailed comment. His guidance was helpful to Dr.Asad Rahmani, Late Dr.Ravi Sankaran and so many birders.
After retirement, he bought the tele- lens and an ambulance to carry that lens.He always preferred to drive it on his own.On several occasions, I had accompanied him in many expeditions including Pujari Kanker,Indrawati,Pamed in Bastar, Sailana and Sardarpur sactuaries in Madhya Pradesh,Navegaon National Park,Pench in Maharashtra and in Melghat for forest owlet.He use to inject insulin every evening while in the jungle as he was a diabetic. Still till 2016 he travelled a lot right from Tamilnadu in the south to Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and north east, just in search of birds and their habitat. He was a legend.He worked on wild buffalo in Bastar,travelled as a Chief Wildlife Warden in the joint Madhya Paardesh(which includes todays Chattisgarh).He reared a tiger cub at home when there were no facilities in Madhya Pradesh and later established a Van Vihar zoo at Bhopal for such rescued wild animals. Dr.Salim Ali use to call him and request to fix up his travel programme in Madhya Pradesh. He also worked closely with Dr.M.K.Ranjitsinghji for creating NPs and sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh.
I had requested him to write a book which he left at a laugh.This facebook page now would never get a like and comment from him.Without him, I feel so lonely now.I pray homage to departed soul.Will try to live with his wonderful memories which he gifted me.
14 Oct 2017, Nagpur
4 Sep 2017, Nagpur
23 Aug 2017, Nagpur
27 Mar 2017, Nagpur
22 Mar 2017, Nagpur
15 Mar 2017, Nagpur
15 Mar 2017, Nagpur
22 Feb 2017, Nagpur
10 Feb 2017