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PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON

BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION Community Hall, Shergaon

11th OCTOBER 2011 OFFICE OF THE DIVISIONAL FOREST OFFICER SHERGAON FOREST DIVISION RUPA, ARUNACHAL PRADESH


Contents Acknowledgements

3

Introduction

4

Agenda

6

Introduction to Wildlife in Western Arunachal Pradesh – value &

7

threats: Umesh Srinivasan Benefits of Wildlife Conservation: K. Mazumdar, WWF-India

9

Identification of local wildlife: an interactive documentation: Millo

12

Tasser Awareness about WP Act 1972: KS Jayachandran

14

Government schemes on Conservation: KS Jayachandran

17

Interactive brainstorming session –

20

Discussion and development of action points Action Points decided

24

ANNEXURES: TERMS OF REFERENCE – BRAINSTORMING SESSION

26

QUESTIONAIRE

27

PRIZE WINNING SCHOOL PAINTINGS

28

2


PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

Acknowledgements

Shergaon Forest Division would like to thank Shri. B.S. Sajwan, IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & Principal Secretary (Environment & Forests), Government of Arunachal Pradesh and Shri. J.L. Singh, IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Government of Arunachal Pradesh for sincerely encouraging environmental awareness initiatives in Arunachal Pradesh and providing financial sanction for this workshop. We are grateful to Shri. G.N Roy, IFS, Chief Conservator of Forests, Western Arunachal Circle for being the constant source of encouragement for all educational and awareness activities undertaken by this Forest Division. Special thanks are addressed to Dr. Umesh Srinivasan, National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore and Shri. K. Mazumdar, WWF – India, Tezpur for taking part in the workshop as resource persons. Their sincere role as central pillars of the entire workshop was instrumental in ensuring evolution of tangible ideas out of the gathering. The role of Mrs. M Taipodia Jini, Circle Officer, Shergaon is hereby duly acknowledged, whose energy and enthusiasm shaped the basic events that formed the gathering. We thank Shri. Pradeep Wahule, ACF Bomdila Forest Division for the delightful photographs. We also thank the participants and other well wishers and friends for their encouragement and inputs for the success of the programme.

Millo Tasser, IFS Assistant Conservator of Forests Shergaon Forest Division

K.S. Jayachandran, IFS Divisional Forest Officer Shergaon Forest Division 3


Introduction Shergaon Forest Division is home to several endangered plants and animals. The geographical and climatic range of the region is variable extending from sub tropical plains in the south to the temperate mountains in the north. This gives rise to an amazing range of habitats for biological diversity. The division borders the largest legally protected area in western Arunachal and Assam region covering 3500 km2 of prime forests across 100m-3300m in altitude. The community lands surrounding the protected areas thus serve critical ecological support functions and are biologically significant lands containing high priority species and habitats. Both the landscapes are inter-dependent in terms of habitats: the rich biological diversity of the protected areas on the surrounding community lands and the communities on the rich ecological benefits of the protected areas. There is a need for all stakeholders including the local communities, government departments, NGOs and scientific communities to seek, evaluate, use and create information especially with regard to thorough biological inventories of the fringe lands, awareness, and livelihood issues of neighboring communities; so that wildlife conservation needs could be addressed in an ecological landscape context. The present workshop thus sought to involve, inform, and raise awareness about conservation of wildlife especially in the fringe lands of Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary among the public, community leaders, officers, officials, Gaon Burahs and NGOs. The

one

day

workshop

titled

“BENEFITS

OF

WILDLIFE

CONSERVATION� was conducted by Shergaon Forest Division on the occasion of National Wildlife Week at the Community Hall, Shergaon on 11th October, 2011. 4


PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

The objectives of the workshop are as follows:

1. To understand the composition of wildlife in the region, their value and threats faced and to instill a sense of pride over the resources we support. 2. To stress the need to manage our wildlife resources and understand the benefits of wildlife conservation. 3. To evolve a participatory action plan for better conservation based on traditional and modern knowledge.

5


AGENDA

0945 hrs

Welcome address: KS Jayachandran, DFO Shergaon Forest Division

1000 hrs

Introductory talk: Circle Officer, Shergaon

1015 hrs

Introduction to Wildlife in Western Arunachal Pradesh – value & threats: Umesh Srinivasan, NCBS

1100 hrs

One land for all – a photographic journey into the world of wildlife

1115 hrs

Tea break / Group photograph with participants / Exhibition of paintings

1145 hrs

Benefits of Wildlife Conservation: K. Mazumdar, WWF-India

1215 hrs

Identification of local wildlife: an interactive documentation: Millo Tasser, ACF Shergaon Forest Division

1245 hrs

Awareness about WP Act 1972: KS Jayachandran

0115 hrs

Lunch

0215 hrs

Screening of wildlife movie

0245 hrs

Government schemes on Conservation: KS Jayachandran

0300 hrs

Brainstorming and discussions with participants

0400 hrs

Feedback session

6


PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

Introduction to wildlife in western Arunachal Pradesh: Values and threats Umesh Srinivasan National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru Arunachal Pradesh has variety of wildlife habitats which is unique in the entire world. South East Asia comprising Arunachal Pradesh and particularly the western Arunachal is very rich in biodiversity. This part of the region ranks third in mammal and bird diversity but at the same time the area also faces the fastest rate of extinction of wildlife especially the birds. Many animals are reported only in this region and the extinction of those animals would mean extinction from the entire world. For example only 7 pairs of the bird Bugun liocichla, has been reported in the eagle nest wildlife sanctuary and this bird is not found anywhere else. Some other wildlife commonly found in this part of Arunachal are flying squirrel, golden cat, laughing thrust, parrot billed, sun bird, false cobra, krait, loris etc.

Hunting poses a major threat

to wildlife, especially the large mammals whose breeding rate is not very fast. Other threats to wildlife are habitat loss and degradation. And the reasons for forest degradation are mostly jhum cultivation and human settlement because of which Indian forests have reduced drastically. But it is still not too late in Arunachal. Photographs of all wildlife including birds and butterflies were exhibited and their characteristics, ecological value and threats were discussed. The audience were very enthusiastic about the various species found in the region and sought more details about some species. After presentation, the house was open for questions and some of the questions raised by the audience were: 1. Can menace animals like wild pig and wild dog be allowed to kill? 2. A mysterious animal visits our fields at night and destroys our maize crops, it can stand on two feet; we believe it to be a ghost. What could be that animal? 3. Why do we have so much of diversity in this region?

7


4. Migratory birds visited Shergaon long time back and were hunted. What could be the name of that crane? How do we protect them if they visit again? What is the incentive from government for conservation? 5. Why there is delay in action and response from the forest department in case of a wildlife related query or offence and why the forest check gates are not being utilized properly? It

was

clarified

during

simultaneous discussions that wild pigs and wild dogs are not vermins and cannot be killed. Killing solution

predators because

is

not

a

continuous

killing of wild animals in the name of protecting one’s crops and livestock could only put an end to the existence of that

Shri. Umesh Srinivasan, NCBS

particular wild species. Instead, we should look at altering our agricultural pattern to suit our environment. Or protect our agricultural assets in a better manner. Moreover, the government offers compensation for crop damages done by wildlife. The migratory birds visiting Shergaon are to be identified during their next visit. Villagers promised support through prompt information to the Forest Department.

After identification, the Department would try to prepare a

proposal for conservation of the same. The Forest Division is severely under staffed (50%) and hence many a time the response to situations in villages especially with regard to wildlife cases have been slow. But it was assured to the participants that the higher office would be pursued to get the Forest Division staffed as per the sanctioned strength.

8


PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

Benefits of wildlife conservation K Mazumdar WWF-India, Tezpur Northeast India is bestowed with rich wildlife resources because of the presence of diverse multilayered habitats and we are lucky and proud to have such diversity. North Eastern India is known to have:  11 primate species (including 2 recently discovered species from this region) out of the 17 species found in India.  Among the Cervidae (or deer family) 7 species are found in the region out of 9 species found all over India.  Among Cat family 9 species are found out of 15 species found in India.  Among the pig family both the Wild pig and Pigmy hog both are found in North eastern India (While pigmy hog is endemic to western part of Assam).  The Great one Horned Rhinoceros, Red Panda, Sun bear, Chinese pangolin, Binturong, Hog badger etc. are found only in the NE region.  Among large mammals Asian Elephant, Gaur, Asiatic wild buffalo, Yak, The royal Bengal tiger are found in the region. Some of the rare species found in the region are: 1. Golden langur (Trachypithecus geei) 2. Phayre’s leafmonkey (Trachypithecus phayrei) 3. Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock hoolock) 4. Slow Loris (Nycticebus bengalensis) 5. Arunachal Macaque (Macaca munzala) 6. Tibetan macaque (Macaca thibetana) 7. Stamp tailed Macaque 8. Pigmy Hog (Sus salvanius) 9. Lesser or Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) 10. Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) 11. Blood Pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus) 9


Arunachal Pradesh shows a great diversity of cultural groups with 26 major tribes and over a 100 minor tribes. However the entire population of state is meager with only around 13 people per Sq.Km. Tribal people have been living in close association with the nature and wildlife resources. Loss of wildlife would lead

to

loss

of

certain

customary

practices. For example, if the hornbill gets extinct, then how would the tribal people decorate their headgears? Conservation

can

be

done

through

people’s participation, say for example by initiating community based tourism like bird watching, trekking etc. People can rent out part of their house to tourists.

Forests are, in the life and times of man and nature, of value directly and indirectly – the former through their produce, and the latter through the influence that they are capable of exercising on the climate, the regulation of moisture, the stability of the soil and so on. It has been said that the healthiness of a country and its subjects depend directly or indirectly on the state of its forests.

Community conserved area (CCA) is a very good concept, which is being tried out in different parts of West Kameng region. New CCA at Zemithang Development of facility:  High Altitude Camping Materials are available with CCAMCs for visitors.  9 Home Stays and 2 Home Based Restaurants were established for first time.  Village Camp Sites at Sangti and Zemithang established.  CCAMCs Office cum Tourism Information Center with basic infrastructure in place. Income options generated: A. Earning scope for villagers  Home stay operators  Home based restaurant operators  Pack animal 10


PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

 Porter, guide, cook and cook helpers  Cultural program  Local handicraft B. Earning scope for CCAMC (to develop corpus)  CCA Entry Fee  Camera Fee  Camping Site Charge  Camping Material Charge  CCA Conservation Fee (15% and 10% of total service cost for International and domestic tourist) Economic impact of project: Income

PLUMCCAMC

TBCCAMC

Sangte

Namshu

Rs.19,650

Rs.2,89,486

Rs.6.300

0

BCCAMC

Rs.10,015

Rs.80,267

Rs.10,500

Rs.8,500

Total

Rs.29,665

Rs.3,69,753

Rs.16,800

Rs.8,500

(By) Villagers

High Altitude Wetland Conservation: Conservation initiatives 1) First ever scientific documentation of wetlands of Arunachal Pradesh. 2) Tawang Monastery Authority decided to take necessary steps to reduce accumulation of Waste During the pilgrims visit. 3) Cleanliness drive in collaboration with Tawang Monastery and SSB 38th Battalion, Tawang was organized. In short, the following activities can be included in a community conserved area to benefit the community: 1. Travel to natural area: trekking/bird watching/wild trail etc. 2. Community participation: contribution to conservation/ guides etc. 3. Visitor and host interaction: accommodation/hospitality etc. 4. Benefit sharing: with the government, amongst the community. 11


After presentation, following questions were raised by the audience: 1. Why are vultures on the verge of extinction? 2. What is the life expectancy of a vulture? 3. How can community tourism be initiated at Shergaon?

Given the immense interest shown

by

participants

towards CCA, it was decided that the WWF – India, Tezpur

chapter

would

prepare a blue print about the way to move forward, if CCAs are to be initiated in Shergaon region.

Shri. K Mazumdar, WWF speaking on benefits of wildlife conservation

Identification of local wildlife: an interactive documentation Millo Tasser ACF-Shergaon Forest Division Some of the wildlife (mammals and birds) as reported in the working scheme of the Division were selected, with the view to document them in the local sherdukpen language. Pictures of the animals were shown to the audience, their unique characteristics were told and on the basis of that, the audience was requested to identify the animals in their local language.

12

An unidentified mysterious creature with 50 cms long footprint and 30 cms long body hair feeding maize in fields was reported by villagers of Shergaon. Photographs of footprints and hair samples are to be collected for scientific identification.


PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

Following animals and birds were identified:

Sl.

Common Name

Scientific Name

No.

Local Name (Sherdukpen)

1.

Tiger

Panthera tigris

Poon

2.

Leopard

Panthera pardus

Gungto

3.

Elephant

Elephas maximus

Sthong

4.

Himalayan Black

Selenarctos thibetanus

Sthung

Bear 5.

Wild Dog

Cuon alpinus

Sau

6.

Wild Boar

Sus scropa

Scand

7.

Sambar

Cervus unicolor

Zhuk

8.

Hog Deer

Axis porcinus

Zhuk

9.

Barking Deer

Muntiacus muntjac

Skee

10.

Musk Deer

Moschus chrysogaster

Sambou

11.

Common Macaque

Macaca mullata

Zudung

12.

Capped Langur

Trachypithecus pileatus

Zhuh

13.

Red Panda

Ailurus fulgens

Clubumu Dungkar

14.

Himalayan Stripped

Taniops macclellandi

Stopchangka

Squirrel 15.

Pika

Ochotona sp.

Broyakpu

16.

Porcupine

Hystrix sp.

Zhubo

17.

Rufous Necked

Aceros nipalensis

Manchu

Hornbill 18.

Blyth’s Tragopan

Tragopan blythii

Eru

19.

Temminck’s

Tragopan temminckii

Bap

Phylloscopus cantator

Regnio

Tragopan 20.

Yellow vented warbler

13


The villagers could identify most of the animals but only few

birds.

smaller

Especially

birds

the

remained

unidentified; they perceive all small birds as common birds only.

Reasons

ignorance

about

could the

be bird

diversity or bird population has reduced to such an extent that they are not seen any more nearby human residents.

Shri. Millo Tasser, ACF documenting wildlife in local language

Awareness about WP Act 1972 KS Jayachandran DFO, Shergaon Forest Division Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 is an act for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants. There was a general notion that hunting of birds, deers and wild pigs do not affect the forests and the future of our forests; while conservation of tigers and elephants alone will serve the purpose of conservation. The ecological pyramid was explained in lucid terms. The hunting of herbivores will directly affect the carnivores that are dependent on them. Thus the prey depletion is one of the most serious threats to the carnivores. The population densities, survival rates and chance of persistence are all strongly tied to the densities of their prey base. Even if small populations exist in an area, they could be “ecologically extinct�, that is, they no longer fulfill their ecological role in the forest, which affects the forest population. Vast stretches of forests in Arunachal Pradesh are bereft of wildlife. Such forests cannot be considered ecologically alive.

14


PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

Bird hunting is a serious problem. Killing of birds with catapults especially by children innocently without realizing the harm they are causing to the future children is an issue, which needs to be addressed by reaching out to the younger generations. Hunting also plays a pivotal role in extinction of several bird species. Butterflies and moths are placed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which prohibits commerce in wildlife articles. Catching and killing frogs are done against the Wildlife Protection Act. Frogs play a vital role in the food chain of the eco-system, help prevent spread of diseases by consuming insects and are necessary to maintain the ecological balance. Village economies elsewhere have shifted from hunting and shifting agriculture towards settled agriculture through proper land use planning by keeping apt proportions of land separately for agriculture, development and conservation. This would only help the future generations of the region. Conservation through proper land use planning is very important in mountains compared to plains, because deforestation and extinction affects the fragile mountains more than the plains. Important definitions in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 like animal, wildlife, wild animal, vermin, hunting and trophy were discussed. Names of various

species

under

different

schedules were drawn attention to. Section 9, which is the cornerstone of the Act, was discussed and several situations deliberated whether such Shri. KS Jayachandran, DFO Shergaon Forest

situations under the tribal customs

Division discussing the WP Act

would be covered under the said section.

Prohibition of picking and uprooting of specified plants especially Ladies slipper orchids and vandas was also elaborated. Photographs of all specified

15


plants were projected to the audience and various provisions with regard to uprooting and transport of such plants were discussed. Provisions related to trade or commerce in wild animals, animal articles and trophies was also discussed. Penalties for various acts related to different species covered under the 6 schedules were examined. The new ‘amnesty’ provisions by the amendment to the Environment Protection Act, 1972, the Declaration Of Wildlife Stock Rules, 2003, permits persons with ‘prohibited’ wildlife items like captive animal or bird, an article or trophy derived from animals specified under the Wildlife Protection Act, to apply for a ‘possession certificate’. Keeping undeclared wildlife products or animals is punishable with a jail term of 3 to 7 years and a fine of over Rs. 10000. Importance of Eaglenest Wildlife sanctuary was highlighted and analysed from different perspectives. The ecological benefits shall definitely reach the local communities alone. Moreover, the economic advantages to neighboring settlements of the Wildlife sanctuary would be very vital, especially when the sanctuary becomes famous and attracts more tourists. Business, development and entrepreneurship will increase. Examples of Thekkady near Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala were taken up for inspiration. The conservation of forests and wildlife in Wildlife sanctuary and fringe community lands is in the interest of the people themselves, because a rich sanctuary would attract the attention of the world and more visitors.

Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary: Doimara Reserve Forest was notified in 1966, part of which was eventually notified in 1989 as Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary. The area of the sanctuary is 217 square kilometers. The altitudinal variation from 600 m to 3900 m makes it a top birding destination in the country. Together with Pakke Tiger Reserve, Sessa Orchid Sanctuary, Nameri Tiger Reserve and Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary, Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary forms one of the largest contiguous Protected Area complex in the region. The sanctuary has the potential to transform the entire economy of the region.

16


PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

Government schemes on Conservation KS Jayachandran DFO, Shergaon Forest Division Protection of Sacred Groves is an important step towards local conservation keeping in mind both the aspirations of local people and the larger objective of conservation. Inventory of Sacred Groves incorporating the location, area, people involved in protection, cultural and religious beliefs associated with these sacred groves is to be done. Contribution of community in protection and conservation may be highlighted. Documentation of Flora and Fauna of each Sacred Grove could be done by the Forest Department with the help of locals and NGOs. Preparation of Management Plan/Work Plan is the next step for improvement and conservation in sacred groves including improvement works such as labelling of important species and signage, cultural operations, improvement of footpaths, laying of eco-trails for education purposes and protection measures. Identification of unique ecosystems such as wetlands including endemic vegetation is another area of conservation, which could be used to bring funds to the communities. The huge scope in declaration of Community Reserves was specifically stressed on. The State Government may, where the community or an individual has volunteered to conserve wild life and its habitat, declare any private or community land as a community reserve, for protecting fauna, flora and traditional

or

conservation practices. Reserve committee, five

cultural

values

A

and

Community management

consisting

of

representatives

nominated by the Village 17


Panchayat and one representative of the State Forests shall be the authority responsible for conserving, maintaining and managing the community reserve. The committee shall be the competent authority to prepare and implement the management plan for the community reserve and to take steps to ensure the protection of wild life and its habitat in the reserve. The committee shall elect a Chairman who shall also be the Honorary Wild Life Warden on the community reserve. No change in the land use pattern shall be made within the community

reserve,

except

in

accordance with a resolution passed by the management, committee and approval of the same by the State Government.

Many

examples

of

successful community reserves in other parts of the country were focused

on.

Apprehensions

on

increased control of the government on the reserves were also addressed. Land Bank is a newer scheme which can be used by the communities to address both development and environment together without affecting each other. Any community land can be donated by a village to the state government for plantation and other forestry activities and notified as a Village Forest Reserve (VFR) under the Arunachal Pradesh Anchal and Village Forest Reserve (Constitution and Maintenance) Amendment Act, 1984. Government shares 50% of the net revenue obtained from such village forest reserves with the Gram Panchayat Fund, for developmental activities of the village. Compensatory Afforestation means that when any land with forest is diverted for developmental purposes, the user agency has to compensate for the loss of the forest by planting of trees over double the area in lands with degraded 18


PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

forest according to Forest Conservation Act, 1980. Since it compensates for the loss of forest it is called Compensatory Afforestation (CA). Development activities are not granted forest clearance without CA. The link between Land Bank, VFR and CA needs to be understood. When CA is done in community lands, then the land has to be notified by the state government as VFR. This is done to ensure that the new forest raised through CA is provided legal protection. So when land is donated by communities for CA, it also has to be notified as VFR. By donating degraded lands, the communities can convert bad areas into good areas (forested lands). The immense advantages are as follows: 1. Legal protection for ecological security to the village in the future (pure air, soil conservation, protection of water source, wildlife habitat etc). 2. Income generation from lands, which otherwise do not generate income. 3. Employment to the villagers in plantation activities, sharing of 50% net revenue with the village gram panchayat, plantation and cultivation of fast growing medicinal herbs in the VFR etc. 4. Entry point activities @ Rs 8000/- per hectare, for creation of community assets like roads, school building, community hall etc. Thus Compensatory Afforestation / Land Bank / VFR encourages developmental work like roads, dams etc. while conserving nature for our future generations at the same time.

Supreme Court’s historic order on the Public Interest Litigation of TN Godavarman Vs Union of India (W.P 202 of 1995) clarified that the word ‘forest’ must be understood according to the dictionary meaning of the term irrespective of the nature of ownership and classification thereof including “deemed forest”.

19


Interactive brainstorming session Discussion and development of action points Reason for reduction of forests: Firewood was the most common reason cited

by

the

audience.

Increased

population has put tremendous pressure on the forests. Taking into consideration, the altitude and climatic condition of Shergaon, firewood is a must during winter. However, commercial extraction needs to be checked. Some other reasons cited were wild fire, agriculture and related

Mrs. M Taipodia Jini, Circle Officer, Shergaon moderating the brain storming session

activities. Wildlife commonly seen nowadays: Barking deer, bear, wild boar, flying squirrel, wild cat, wild dog etc. These animals are seen only in jungles, that too after several hours of search. Wildlife seen years ago and not seen nowadays in this region: Tigers and otters were seen long back. The general response to this topic was that the animals they had seen years ago still seem to exist but the number has reduced drastically. Reasons

for

wildlife:

decline

Hunting

in was

unanimously declared as the most prominent reason behind disappearance

of

wildlife.

Forest reduction and Forest fires also caught the attention of the audience as a major A participant making a point

contributing

factor.

Some

villagers argued that hunting by locals is done sustainably and cannot be a reason for the decline. However, they opined that hunting by government officers is a major concern especially due to the uninhibited access and modern weapons. Road construction has 20


PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

affected migration of animals especially bears. Moreover, the road network has created islands of forests accessible from all around for the sake of hunting. There was also an opinion that use of pesticides in cultivation also affects wildlife. What would happen if wildlife gets

extinct?

thought

that

Participants

forests

without

wildlife will not remain forests. Wildlife is essential for the forests to remain healthy and vibrant. Wildlife

conflict: Wild

dogs

attack the livestock during winters and wild pigs damage the field crops. People even asked if they could kill these two animals. Bear attacks happen when people go deep inside the forests. Wildlife commonly hunted/preferred: The most unanimous response was, barking deer and bear. The reason for preference was that these two animals are the most commonly seen ones in the region. So during ritual hunting, these two are mostly encountered. Some of the participants also let it out that bear claws are very costly. Monkeys are also shot nowadays. Reasons for hunting: People hardly hunt for food. Hunting is mostly for fun and thrill. Hunters: Almost all educated persons indulge in hunting. Government officers and staff are the most active hunters. They often collaborate and travel inside the forests with local office subordinates to execute hunting. Vehicles and modern weapons render their hunting very effective and deadly. It is interesting that guns are used predominantly, while the poor people set traps. Are all animals hunted, any taboo on hunting? All animals are not hunted; especially the felines like tigers are avoided. Elephant, tiger and wild mithun are considered religious and are regarded as god. Even in case of accidental killing, a rigorous ritual has to be performed. So hunters try to avoid these animals. 21


Local laws against hunting; is its implementation satisfactory? If not, reasons and solutions: There is a ban in hunting during certain months especially during breeding season of animals. In the month of June, people do not hunt nor do they eat meat during 3 days of 8th, 15th and last day of month in Buddhist calendar. Hunting with dogs is not allowed. Laying traps for animals, use of blasting materials and mass destructive substances like bleaching powder are banned. Since the ban has religious sentiment attached, its implementation is considerably satisfactory. Moreover, when the woman of the house is pregnant, there is no hunting or fishing. The supremacy of the GBs and village councils is eroding as implementation of local laws is becoming difficult slowly. The GBs and village councils were asked to strengthen their law enforcement measures or allow the government to take action on offenders. Are there any benefits if we conserve forest and wildlife? Everybody agreed to the fact that there is benefit in conserving the forests and wildlife. Ideas to protect wildlife and reduce hunting: Religious sentiments should be enforced though religious leaders. But people were also of the opinion that awareness should come from within. No amount of awareness campaign would be sufficient, if people don’t realize themselves. One of the participants said hunting shouldn’t be banned but should be regulated. Such voices cannot be ignored while organising awareness campaigns. After all, there could be more people who have the same opinion. It was also suggested in the questionnaire that all gun licenses should be cancelled and guns shall be asked to be deposited back; and selling of bullets and pellets should be stopped. Any

traditional

practice/culture/custom

which

conserved

forests/wildlife/any natural resource for future? The religious beliefs attached with the natural resources have been an important factor in conserving natural resources. Sherdukpens have various practices, for 22


PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

example

dying

saplings

are

always replanted, very old and over mature trees are not cut. Village councils have strong laws and impose penalties on offences How can communities do conservation

for

future

generations

themselves?

Banning hunting, afforestation and by declaring Village Forest Reserves (VFR) were the common opinions shared. How should government help the communities conserve their wildlife? Apart from conducting awareness campaigns and implementing more conservation schemes, government should try to influence the dharm gurus regarding forest related offences and natural resource management. People are of the opinion that, religious leaders have a huge impact on the social behavior of the people Other issues: Participants felt

that Bodo militancy is a big problem in the areas bordering Assam

like

Doimara,

Kamengbari, Khellong etc. The militants are not confined to Assam

forests.

They

often

infiltrate into Arunachal forests and create problems for the

local people there. They indulge in illegal felling. This is a very

serious issue and needs to be tackled by forest and police department of both the states collectively.

23


Action points decided to be done in future The following action points were prepared through deliberations during the brainstorming session as well as from the analysis of filled up questionnaires submitted by participants: Awareness campaigns by department especially about the endangered species should be undertaken. Religious heads should be actively involved in creating mass awareness and moulding public opinion. Local laws by councils shall hand over stringent punishment especially for government officers. Forest Department should be more vigilant.

Transport of firewood outside shall be stopped. Check Posts shall be strengthened, after the staff strength is increased up to the sanctioned strength as the Forest Division is presently is only 50% staffed. WWF-India, Tezpur is requested to prepare a blue print for introducing ecotourism activities through CCAs in Shergaon, and kindly submit a copy to the Circle Officer, Shergaon and DFO, Shergaon Forest Division. Government Conservation schemes such as sacred groves, unique ecosystems, community reserves and land bank – VFR shall be utilized properly by communities.

The

Forest

Department

would

prepare

proposals

if

communities are ready to come forward with enthusiasm. Proposals for conservation of migratory birds would be formulated, if reliable data about the bird visits is generated. Communities shall inform the local Forest Range Officer on sighting of migratory birds. 24


PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

As regards the yeti like mysterious creature visiting the village of Shergaon, samples of body hair and photographs of footprints shall be submitted to the local Forest Range Officer. Samples and photographs would be sent to specialists for identification. Awareness campaigns by department like travelling village talkies to bastis to reach out to more number of people shall be strengthened. This outreach program has already been initiated in certain areas. Audio-visual aids would be most effective in rural areas. Posters of endangered species may be prepared.

Free distribution of

seedlings

should be more. The proposal for increasing target

the

for

free

distribution

of

seedlings would be

done

from

next year. Eaglenest Wildlife sanctuary shall be protected and preserved by all means for future local prosperity – both environmental and economic.

25


ANNEXURE – I

ONE DAY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION 11th OCTOBER 2011, SHERGAON

TERMS OF REFERENCE – DISCUSSIONS 1. Reasons for reduction of forests: Development projects / Firewood / Timber / Cultivation / any other 2. What is the wildlife commonly seen nowadays in this region: common wildlife 3. Wild life seen years ago and not seen nowadays in this region: disappeared wildlife 4. Reasons for decline in wildlife: Forest reduction / Hunting / Forest fires / any other 5. What would happen if wildlife gets extinct? 6. Any wildlife conflicts 7. Wildlife commonly hunted / preferred: 8. Reasons for hunting: Selling in market / food for consumption / ritual / fun / any other 9. Who hunts the most: Villagers / Tourists / Students / Officers / any other 10. Are all animals hunted? Are there any taboos on hunting any animal? Which animal and why? Any religious animal? 11. Local laws against hunting? Is its implementation satisfactory; if no why? Solutions? 12. Are there any benefits if we conserve forests & wildlife? 13. Ideas to protect wildlife and reduce hunting: 14. Any traditional practice / culture / custom which conserved forests/wildlife / any natural resource for future 15. How can communities do conservation for future generations themselves? 16. How should government help the communities conserve their wildlife? 17. Any other issue to be discussed WILDLIFE WEEK CELEBRATIONS, 02 – 08 OCTOBER 2011

Shergaon Forest Division, Rupa Defend the wild or disappoint a child

26


PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

ANNEXURE – II

ONE DAY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION 11th OCTOBER 2011, SHERGAON

QUESTIONAIRE Reasons for reduction of forests: Development projects / Firewood / Timber / Cultivation / any other: __ Wildlife commonly seen nowadays in this region: __________________________________________ Wild life seen years ago and not seen nowadays in this region: ________________________________ Areas rich in wildlife in this region today: __________________________________________________ Reasons for decline in wildlife: Forest reduction / Hunting / any other: __________________________ Wildlife commonly hunted: _____________________________________________________________ Number of active hunters in your village: __________ Age group of active hunters in village: less than 20 years / 20-40 / 40-60 / more than 60 years Season of hunting: ___________________________________________________________________ Most common mode of hunting: Guns / Arrows / Traps / all / any other: _________________________ Reasons for hunting: Selling in market / food for consumption / ritual / fun & thrill / retaliation/ any other: Who hunts the most: Villagers / Tourists / Students / Officers / any other: _______________________ Any traditional practice / knowledge which helped forests & wildlife: ____________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ Ideas to reduce hunting: ______________________________________________________________ Ideas to protect / conserve wildlife: __________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________ What did you like about this workshop? ___________________________________________________ What you did not like about this workshop? ______________________________________________ Any other suggestions / comments:

My Name (Optional): ______________________________Phone (Optional): _____________________ WILDLIFE WEEK CELEBRATIONS, 02 – 08 OCTOBER 2011

Shergaon Forest Division, Rupa Defend the wild or disappoint a child

27


ANNEXURE – III PRIZE WINNIING PAINTINGS FROM SCHOOL CHILDREN

28


PROCEEDINGS OF THE ONE DAY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

Participants having lunch together

Participants together with organizers at Community Hall, Shergaon

OFFICE OF THE DIVISIONAL FOREST OFFICER SHERGAON FOREST DIVISION RUPA, ARUNACHAL PRADESH TELEFAX: 03782 232249 E-mail: forestshergaon@gmail.com Copy of proceedings available at www.shergaonforests.org

OCTOBER 2011

29


BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION