B2 (1997-2011)

B2 (1997-2011)

Monday, 3 January 2011

Manas Shows Signs of Recovery

A decade ago, Manas National Park in Assam, a natural world heritage site (WHS), was reeling from political turmoil which damaged habitat and wildlife. In 1992, UNESCO declared the park a heritage site in danger; seven years after it was inscribed in the WHS list.

The decline in violence following the 2003 agreement between the Indian government and Bodo leaders has benefited Manas. UNESCO has shown interest in removing it from the endangered list. But lack of reliable scientific data on the major wildlife populations has proved to be a hurdle. In the absence of such data, it was difficult to prepare heritage site management plan.

Our study conducted between 2006 and 2008 provided baseline information about the major wildlife populations. Using scientific techniques of population estimation, we found the presence of tigers in low abundance. But interestingly there was a marked improvement in signs that indicated tigers’ presence, like pugmarks. In the absence of previous estimates of the carnivore and prey base, we tried comparing tiger and prey densities of Manas with that of other tiger reserves.

After analysis, we found that while Manas still has the lowest abundance of both tiger and prey compared to other four tiger reserves, it has a fairly good prey population that can potentially sustain more tigers. The study was carried out in one range of the National Park; the park has three ranges.

Several organisations including the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWFIndia program), Aaranyak and ATREE/UNESCO are collaborating to provide technical support to government efforts at estimating wildlife population in Manas.

http://www.downtoearth.org.in/node/2761

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