Friday, June 22, 2012

India- $30 Million Loan Sought for Wildlife Protection

Tiger cub

It has been recently announced that India's environment ministry has made a bid to seek U.S $30 million from the World Bank to investigate poaching in around 600 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The action could mean making the nation's wildlife laws agreeable with the bank's norms. The Environment and Social Management Framework (ESMF) for the proposed project made known by the ministry talks about the need to review appropriate environmental and land acquisition legislation accede with the World Bank's environmental and social safeguard policies. India is inquiring a loan of U.S $30 million from the World Bank acquire a comprehensive international and natural approach to investigating poaching. It is said that Bangladesh and Nepal have taken matching funds from the bank to acquire a similar approach. The World Bank is stressing on complete wildlife protection for South Asia, which counts for 13-15 % of the world's biodiversity and is a lucrative target for the illegal wildlife trade. Within the region, Nepal has become a core for the illicit trade bound for China. Burma is another important route for transporting the illegal contraband to Laos and Vietnam, which are two major global transit centers for the trade. The ministry is also seeking funds to intensifying measures for wildlife protection across India's national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, many of which share borders with neighboring countries. The loan is likely to be used for cross-border landscape management approach between the countries, relocation of people living in parks and sanctuaries to create pure areas of wildlife, and satellite-based monitoring approach. In addition to that, the funds would also be used to bolster the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, establishing of Virtual Regional Center of Excellence (VRCE) for wildlife conservation, and research projects in wildlife conservation.

I sure hope that the World Bank will provide India with the loan, in order to combat the wildlife crimes plaguing its natural ecosystems and strengthening its protection measures. Poaching and wildlife trade is on the rise in South Asia, as numerous animals fall victim in the murderous hands of poachers and other operators of such illicit activities. Among the victims include tigers, elephants, snow leopards, Indian leopards, rhinos, pangolins, brown bears, and several species of deer and reptiles. The perpetrators are also known to target marine animals such as sea horses and corals. Based on the numbers, it is absolutely crucial to conduct measurements against the ongoing threats of poaching and the wildlife trade in South Asia. However, the article clearly dictates that the funding could affect the implementation of environmental laws such as the Environment Protection Act of 1986, the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy of 2007, and the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. This could probably mean that some actions implemented as part of India's wildlife protection effort could be met with problems regarding issues such as the relocation of people from a wildlife area to some other place. I also hope that India will prepare for such situations, and take the initiative in solving such problems while focusing on the efforts of helping save and protect the wildlife. An ideal example of human relocation done in recent times is the one that had been carried out in Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, as part of the Asiatic Lion Reintroduction Project. During that time, hundreds of local indigenous Sahariya people were encouraged to settle on the fringes of the wildlife sanctuary where the land is parched and infertile. Although there has not been any report of lions being brought into the sanctuary lately, many resettled members of the Sahariya tribe have been living in dire poverty despite the implementation of measures in providing them with basic necessities such as access to roads, schools, and a hospital. I hope that any effort in relocating people will not result in a similar situation like the Sahariya people. The goal is to have both people and animals to live in peace equally.

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