The preservation of wild life is the crucial issue for saving the bio diversity and the ecological balance on our planet. Originally, it should be stated that the allover efforts of governments, world organizations and separate personalities are rather highly-valuable, nevertheless, these efforts should be ten times higher and more powerful in order to resist all the factors which promote the destroying of wild life and decrease of the natural spaces for wild animals. (Wild-india.com, 2009)
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This paper is aimed at describing the efforts for preserving the wild life in the Manas Sanctuary. The general information will be given, touching upon the general aims of creating this sanctuary. Then, the human activity will be regarded in two dimensions: threatening behavior and intrusion, and efforts of preserving the wild life and the area of wild life dwelling.
The general information that should be given relates its geographical location and the main aims of creating this sanctuary. Manas National Park, or as it is also called the Manas Wildlife sanctuary is the natural site, the main aim of which is the preservation of natural wild life. It is a Project Tiger Reserve, an Elephant Reserve and a Biosphere Reserve in Assam, India. The location of this reserve is near the Himalayan foothills, and a part of the territory is extended to Bhutan. The park is well known for its rare and endangered endemic wildlife like the Assam Roofed Turtle, Hispid Hare, Golden Langur and Pygmy Hog. (Incredibleindia.org, 2004)
The history of the Sanctuary is rather rich and interesting. The creation of the park was declared on October 1, 1928 for the preservation of the forests. Its territory was 360 sq.km. 1973 was featured with the creation of Manas Tiger reserve, as the disappearing population of tigers worried the ecologists seriously. Previously to this, the park was also used as the hunting reserve for the royal family. UNESCO decided to protect the territory only in December 1985. In 1992, UNESCO declared it as a world heritage site in danger due to heavy poaching and terrorist activities. In 25 February 2008 the area was increased to 950 sq.km.
Flora and Fauna of Manas Sanctuary is rather diverse, and some species are regarded to be disappearing. In the light of this fact, the issue of preservation the natural biodiversity appears to be rather crucial.
As it is stated on Manas Tiger Reserve web project (2007): “The animal population of Manas is very excitingly diverse and excitement is the key world while exploring the park. Some of the more fierce or potentially aggressive creatures it harbours within it’s confines are Tigers, Elephants, Rhinos, Wild Buffaloes, Leopards, Clouded Leopards and the amazingly beautiful and rare Black Panthers.” The other animals that may be found in this park are Assamese Macaques, Hog Deer, Sambar and Chital, Smooth Indian Otters, Barking Deer, Capped Langurs, Golden Langurs, Sloth Bears, Swamp Deer, Hoolock Gibbons. In total, the sanctuary counts 55 species of mammals, 380 species of birds, 50 reptiles and 3 species of amphibians. 31 species of mammals are threatened, thus, the creation and maintenance of the Sanctuary is rather crucial for the preservation of biodiversity. (Manas Tiger Reserve, 2007)
According to Sharma (2009) flora of the park is the mixed forest with small glades of grass where deer can be seen grazing in huge numbers. The following fact should be stated: “The Burma Monsoon Forests of Manas lie on the borders between the Indo-Gangetic and Indo-Malayan biogeographical realms and is part of the Brahmaputra Valley Biogeographic Province. The combination of Sub-Himalayan Bhabar Terai formation with riverine succession leading up to Sub-Himalayan mountain forest makes it one of the richest biodiversity areas in the world.”
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In total, up to 543 species of plants have been recorded within the territory of the park.
The fact is that, any human activity is minimized in the region at the moment. Since the territory had been announced as a reserve, the deforestation was banned. Later, any hunting was also prohibited, as some mammals, living within the territory of the Sanctuary became threatened of disappearing.
Nowadays, only illegal activity may harm the wild life of the park, as officially, only tourists are allowed to attend the territory of the Sanctuary. The fact is that, there is only one village on the territory of the park, up 56 are around this territory, and lots of these villages depend on the park, thus, the dwellers are interested in preserving this sanctuary and the species of wildlife, which attract tourists from all over the world.
The tourist activity also entails some actions, aimed at preserving the wild life. Tourists make charity for preserving the nature, curing animals, defending the territory from poachers etc. Moreover, the mouth-to-mouth advertising is the best way to attract attention towards this problem.
As for the matters of some threatening intrusions, it should be stated that poachers and terrorists are the most serious danger for the wild life at the moment. Poaching had become a real threat to the park, so the sanctuary authorities as well as the ecologists had risen a serious question on the matter of conserving the territory and arranging a guard in order to prevent any attendance of the territory by people.
In order to prevent poaching and attract the attention of the world community towards this problem, the administration of the park arranged a special jeep safari, which was called Manas-100. It also included the exploration of forest trails, elephant rides, visits to Hornbill Point and a Bengal Florican survey. Surely, killing of the animals was prohibited, and safari was held with the help of photo and video equipment. Wild-india.com project also emphasizes the following: “The activities lined up in the nearby villages include treks, functions showcasing folk culture and an introduction to traditional weaving and methods of distilling country liquor. A docu-film has been made and a London-based photographer has volunteered to do the promotion brochures. It will be the first time that tourists will be able to enter eastern Manas.”
Governmental and International Levels
Another way to protect the wild life and avoid poaching is to pass the control to government or international community. In the case of Manas Wild Life Sanctuary this control is performed by UNESCO, and all the actions are directed towards the decrease of poaching levels, as well as the restoration of animal populations. Thus, UNSCO is seriously worried with the destiny of disappearing Indian Tigers, thus, act #338 of UNESCO states that all the disappearing species are under protection of the international community, thus, killing of the animals is banned and seriously punished.
As for the governmental level, it should be stated that the Green Army was arranged for protecting the territories of the park from illegal intervention. Some of the participants of this Green Army killed up to 30 poachers. Anuradha Sharma Lakhotia the author of indianjungles.com blog describes an interesting fact of his trip to Manas: “I talked to Babulal Oraon, a forest guard who accompanied us. His commitment to the forest has grown over the years. The sanctuary became his turf, to be defended at all costs. “Militants killed everything in this park. The militants were well-armed and flushed wi th money, the guards had rustic, non-functional guns. Still, they fought back. Babulal’s battle is particularly laudatory. In his career he has had over a hundred encounters and killed 32 poachers. He has been wounded often himself, and narrowly escaped death. For years, he faced a death threat and remembers gratefully the unknown face who risked his life to save him.” (Anuradha, 2005)
One of the most important documents is the World Heritage List of UNESCO. This list entails all the places in the world that require protection of the international community and should be preserved as ecological, historical or cultural value of the humanity. Originally, the status of an object under UNESCO protection is rather serious, and illegal activity is pursued on the international level.
Another document is the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Manas Wild life Sanctuary is also included in this list, and all the countries-participants to this convention apply all the efforts possible for protecting the wild life and natural heritage of the world. The fact is that, the mission acknowledges the huge efforts made in the past few years to re-built the park infrastructure and concludes that these can probably be completed in the next one to two years if the necessary funding is available.
Finally, it is necessary to mention that the preservation of the wildlife in various corners of the world is the crucial and very important for the preservation of biodiversity of the planet and keeping the ecological balance. The Manas Wild Life Sanctuary is one of the numerous natural reserves which was aimed at preserving unique flora and fauna of the particular world region. Moreover, it is one of the numerous sites which faces essential problems and challenges, linked with poaching and killing of the disappearing species.
On the other hand the world community and the government of India makes their best to protect the wild life of this site. Thus, UNESCO proclaimed in 1985 that Manas reserve is under protection of the World Heritage List, while Indian Government decided to arrange the Green Army. Park administration, in its turn, aims to attract the international community and tourists’ attention towards the problems of poaching by arranging safaris and other actions.
Anuradha S. (2005) Bodos give up the gun to conserve and promote wildlife sanctuary. Web.
Incredibleindia.org (2004) Manas Wildlife Sanctuary. Web.
Manas Tiger Reserve (2007) Project Tiger Reserves in India. Web.
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Pruitt, N.L, & Underwood, L.S(2006) Bioinquiry: Making connections in biology (3rd ed.) Hoboken, NJ:John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Sharma, J. (2009) Wildlife Times – Glimpses of our Natural World. Web.
Wild-india.com (2009) Manas Wildlife Sanctuary. Web.