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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 256-262

Lessons from Two Local Extinctions: Sariska and Kailadevi (Ranthambhore) in Rajasthan, India

Leuser International Foundation, Jl. Bioteknologi, No. 2 USU Complex, Medan-20154, Sumatra Utara, Indonesia

Correspondence Address:
G Viswanatha Reddy
Leuser International Foundation, Jl. Bioteknologi, No. 2 USU Complex, Medan-20154, Sumatra Utara
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.49218

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The local extinction of the tiger (Panthera tigris) from the Sariska National Park (NP) in India triggered a series of reactions, actions and policy prescriptions. The Tiger Task Force of the Government of India considered this to be a failure of the state machinery in controlling poaching. The Government of Rajast­han adopted the viewpoint that people living within the sanctuary were responsible for the crisis and revived relocation plans to shift people from the NP. The non-governmental organisations' engaged in ecological sociology considered the state government's move to relocate people from within the sanct u­ary a knee jerk reaction and argued that relocation was not the most desired step to conserve the remain­ing wildlife. This chain reaction of various actors brought back the issue of people within NPs, their impact on wildlife and options for relocation to create inviolate spaces. Preceding the Sariska incident, tigers had also become locally extinct from the Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary (the buffer area of the Ran­thambhore Tiger Reserve), which has often been promoted as a successful model of participatory conser­vation. Kailadevi has people-initiated natural management institutions and additionally, through the World Bank funded India Eco-development Project, the government invested heavily to support these in­stit utions. Despite such favourable environs, this sanctuary could no longer sustain the tiger and its prey. In this response to the debate on relocation from protected areas, I revisit the issue of people within NPs, and the co-existence agenda for humans and wildlife. Using a scientific study conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India as the basis, I demonstrate that the Kailadevi case confirms the dictum that human pre­ssures even under well defined controlled mechanisms may be incompatible with wildlife conservation.

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