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Thread: Renaming National Parks as National Wildlife Preserves

  1. #1
    Join Date
    24-11-08
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    New Delhi
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    Default Renaming National Parks as National Wildlife Preserves

    National Parks? You mean to say it is a park owned by Govt. of India? I was asked this question by a person who had no idea about our forests and protected areas. I laughed at first. However, the reality hit me. Perhaps tourists think it is another park and a picnic place and start defiling it. Why not name our National Parks as National Wildlife Preserves?

    Well, cynical that we have become, you will ask what’s in a name? After all, a rose by any other name smells as sweet. I agree with the great poet Shakespeares words, afterall we call it gulab in Hindi and it still smells as sweet. However, with reference to wildlife conservation, I would disagree that nothing is achieved by a name change.

    To understand this issue, first look at the way our wilderness places used to be managed. Shikar or hunting was considered as a sport. If you haven’t shot a tiger – a leopard won’t do – then you were not considered as equals in the sporting clubs. A few forests had got protection from the erstwhile maharajas as they had limited the shikar to themselves and for their royal guests. Hakaa, (aadi in Oriya) or beat was carried out in a patch of forest by people walking in a single file - at times captive elephants were also used – beating a bush or tree here and there by their stick or axe forcing the animals to move towards the hunters waiting in a machan. Even after shooting was banned by the Govt. these beats were conducted to push tiger and other animals towards VIPs. Infact, these sightings were supposed to be the criteria to judge the best protected area. Fortunately, those beats have been stopped, but the idea to entice the tourists by some of these methods in one form or other remains.

    Once, I was proudly told by one of the Field Directors that his “park” earns 2 crores of rupees in a year. The focus remains on tourists and not on conservation. And the word park has been deep seated even in the brains of our forest officials.

    It is quiet natural that the tourists, a majority of whom have come to the jungle for the first time expect to be in a circus. Our tour operators include Ranthambhore or Bharatpur, to name a few, in the tourist circuit. So the casual tourist - doused in liberal doses of perfume or “scent” as it is referred to and gaudy clothes that would put to shame a young dancer in a bollywood movie - comes for a day or even half a day to these National parks and expect to get a ring side view in this “park”. Needless to say, the olfactory organs of the animals, especially the herbivores with a keen sense of smell, would be tortured to say the least. And the noise they make, the garbage they dump in the forests, the less said the better.

    As we have seen in successful strategies adopted by various organisations, a change of name often means a course correction and signifies a break from the past. It is often seen that a suitable name goes a long way in conveying a sense of direction. At a time, when our National parks have lost their way and are trying to outdo each other in attracting tourist traffic, forgetting their foremost duty of protecting the wilderness and wildlife and undertaking long-term ecological interventions; a name change will definitely bring focus back on the lost priorities. It will remind the field director as well as the official joining the forest service about the priorities. As far as the layman is concerned, I am sure the word National Wildlife Preserve strongly conveys the meaning in no uncertain terms.

    I am convinced changing the name from National Park to National Wildlife Preserve would bring focus back to wildlife and protection and can act as the first step in transforming our wildlife management.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    06-07-09
    Location
    Coimbatore
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    301

    Default

    Hello Sabyasachi,

    Shri. Kailash Sankhala, the first director of Project tiger and crusader of wildlife conservation was very much against the term NATIONAL PARK. He referred that Nature should not be limited to National feelings and Park means picnic.

    He tried to convince many to change the term National Parks. Similarly he was against naming the reserves after national leaders. He was very upset when Anaimalais was renamed as Indira Gandhi National Park.

    Nature Preserves is very appropriate.

    Our reserves require a radical change, right from the name !!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    23-04-09
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    Bangalore
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    Default

    Whilst I do see Nature Preserves as being appropriate, I think the idea of 'National' is very important. The biggest problem is that wildlife is a state subject and I see no future for our wildlife so long as states have control over our wildlife. 'National' could be a first step towards making wildlife a Central subject.

    Apana

  4. #4
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    Default

    I agree that wildlife being a state subject does more harm than good. For example, the Gujarat Govt. doesn't allow translocation of lions to create an alternate sanctuary in Kumo in Madhya Pradesh. Lions are seen as Gujarat's pride. It is not understood that one one devastating calamity like rhinderpest or earthquake, flood etc can just wipe out the entire population of lions. We don't seem to be learning from examples from Serengetti or other places that have faced such calamities in the past.

    When they started the Project Tiger, the reserves should have been directly brought under the control of centre. Earlier, the forests were seen as a source of revenue from logging operations. When there is a complete halt to logging, I don't understand why the individual states should say no to the transfer of these reserves to the centre. Ofcourse, any revenue accruing from tourism can be shared. A mechanism can always be worked out.

    It requires a strong will and strong leadership. I am afraid, I can't see both of these anywhere.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

  5. #5
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    Default

    I strongly support the name change to 'National Wildlife Preserves'. I have heard lot of incidents from the guides in Bandhavgarh about the way tourists behave when they are on the safari. After sighting a tiger, tourists ask the guides to show them the other 20-25 tigers as we say in Zoos. Similar incidents can be seen in Bandipur, where people have picnics unaware that they are in forest.

    A name change would definately point out, that it is not a Park and more of a natural reserve. That would get more it into more focus, and the idea behind it would make more people aware that they are not just parks or bigger zoos.

    Implementing this is definately a big challenge, considering our goverments mode of action.
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

  6. #6
    Join Date
    05-08-09
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    Bangalore
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    62

    Default Fate Sealed

    Hi,

    This is a good idea and a lot of people also agree that eco tourism at the cost of conservation will not work. Echoing the same words that everyone stated, it would've been a lot better if Government would have named the PA's 'National Wildlife Preserves' rather than a National Park. However I have absolutely no doubt that the situation will not change from what it is right now to what it will be after the name change. Educating the tourists, speed breakers close to animal corridors on the road, closure of roads, eco tourism and so on cannot save the fate of the wildlife of our country. I've seen Kaziranga getting developed in the name of eco tourism devastating everything on it's way not inside the park but on the fringes. There was a time when there used to be just a couple of Forest IB's and now the Kohora Range (Central Range) has sprung up with so many small time hotels to big time resorts thereby wiping out the old charm of the place and inadvertently also affecting some animal corridors. I've been visiting Muduamalai for more than 5 years and I've been there umpteen times and I have absolutely no doubt about the green patches that existed here and there that I used to see but now it's all gone lost in the name of eco tourism. "THE BEST PRACTICE TO MAKE SURE WE ENSURE A HEALTHY POPULATION OF WILDLIFE IS TO MAKE IT " COMPLETELY INVIOLABLE", NO TOURISM BUSINESS, NO RUNNING OF SAFARIS NOTHING AT ALL AT THE SAME TIME MAKING SURE THAT THE PA IS FREE FROM ANY ANTHROPOGENIC DISTURBANCES WHATSOEVER". Keep the people away from their space and watch them thriving the best ever practice to ensure it's preservation and protection. Stringent wildlife patrolling and making the lives of the guardian's of the forest (a forest watcher, a fire watcher, an anti poaching watcher, and a forest guard) will ensure a very healthy population. WE ARE ONLY TRYING TO SLOW DOWN THE PROCESS OF THE ELEMINATION OF THE FAST DIMINISHING WILDLIFE OF INDIA WE ARE DOING NOTHING PRACTICALLY NOTHING TO STOP IT. I say rather than spending huge amounts of money in research it would be a lot better if we concentrate more on protecting the PA's and making sure it's guarded to the tooth. Once a Forest Ranger said "we will give the Tiger another chance to live another decade to live" mark his words, he is forced to say this because the apathy of the Guardians of the Forest is the worst and is in a pathetic state and there are absolutely no signs of taking this seriously. Appreciate it.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Siddhartha Kr Gogoi
    flickr.com/photos/wildsunny
    "There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in
    which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before."

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default

    Change of name is the first step. That will bring back the focus. However, work needs to be done, else name change will act like repainting the outside walls of a crumbling house. I repeat, mere repackaging won't help. There is a long list of action points that needs to be actioned after the name change.

    Ecotourism is seen as a panacea of all ills afflicting our wilderness places. Unfortunately, it is not.

    Our wilderness areas and wildlife need inviolate places. Our flora and fauna will bounce back if the villages inside our wilderness areas are relocated. Relocation is a time consuming process where one needs to understand the issues of the villagers to relocate them in a humane manner. Unfortunately, our forest officials have neither the willingness to walk the extra mile, nor the ingenuity to circumvent issues. They want to take short cuts and Eco Tourism concept came across as a great help to them.

    Our officials have jumped onto the ecotourism bandwagaon on the pretext that the villagers can be weaned away from consuming and depleting our forest resources as they would find economic opportunites due to ecotourism. Unfortunately, it is a muddleheaded idea. In this age, where a television, car and other materialistic things are taken as basic need (and not want), ecotourism can't fulfill their ambitions. There have been a few cases tom-tomed as ecotourism success. However, if you look deeper, then you will realise the dark underbelly.

    Our forest officials today are more busy in managing the tourists than their primary duty of patrolling our forests and taking steps for ecologically sound management practices. For eg. once I saw two rangers managing the infamous tiger show in Bandhavgarh.

    Research is important to understand various facets of our wildlife. I am quoting an interview given by George Schaller to Data Quest magazine.

    "George Schaller, a globally renowned field biologist, and known as the greatest naturalist of the 20th century, sums up the issue beautifully. "Field biologists, such as Karanth and Chundawat, can use technology in the form of satellite radio-collars, camera-traps, DNA analysis of scats and other techniques to determine population size, movement patterns, and other aspects. That provides extremely valuable information. Such knowledge is essential for conservation but it is not conservation. Conservation, in the final analysis, is culture, economics and politics," he mentions. "

    So I agree that Scientific analysis is required. However, Conservation doesn't end there.

    To conclude: Renaming of National Parks into National Wildlife Preserves is a first step in revamping our forest department. There is a host of actions that needs to be done including but not limited to relocation of villages to create inviolate spaces, protection of wild places, prosecution of poachers, recreating corridors between various protected areas etc.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

  8. #8

    Default

    sir!
    you hv explained soooooooo beautifully! i really find it obnoxious when in the name of tiger tourism -circus goes on & on!!!!& org like TOFT springs up!!

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