Website by AQEEL FAROOQI  



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Problems of identification of camera-trapped tigers
Indian Wildlife - challenges in the new millennium
The greying of India
On the road to extinction
A Tribute to Rumbha - the elephant  
State development project threatens state bird - Sarus
Shahtoosh ban gains momentum worldwide
The road to disaster
Killing nilgais in the name of crop protection
Warring NGO's may spell doom for the tiger
Where have all the sparrows gone?
Cuckoos that fly out of crows' nests
Corbett park woes continue to mount
A question on post mortem examinations in the wild
Is it time to 'cry wolf' again?
Lifting of US sanctions may boost wildlife conservation
Migratory waterfowl may be hit by war in Afghanistan
UP wetlands to provide improved habitat to waterfowl
Anthrax as a potent wildlife killer
Man-elephant conflict takes heavy toll
Demoiselle cranes fly to safety in India
How long lasting are conservation victories
Fake tiger skins : a knotty disguise
Who cares for the wild here anyway?
A tribute to Charger - the long living tiger
Draining of wetlands threatening wildlife
Wildlife management needs rapid response units
Dudhwa loses another tiger
Indian Wildlife Board meets after five years

 WILDLIFE WINDOW | Aqeel Farooqi

Hindustan Times, Lucknow | September 25, 2001


Lifting of US sanctions may boost wildlife conservation in India

NOTWITHSTANDING THE immense human tragedy witnessed in the collapse of the WTC towers, it can be said that the speedy global realignments that occurred in its aftermath, were directly responsible for creating the political expediency that steered US President Bush's decision of lifting economic sanctions against both India and Pakistan.

Speaking strictly from the point of view of wildlife conservation in India, this news may be cause for elation, since it broadens the prospect of increased US funding to state forest departments and Indian NGO’s that are actively involved in conservation projects related to the highly endangered species like the Indian tiger (Panthera tigris), the one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).

It may be recalled that the United States had taken the decision of imposing economic sanctions on India immediately after the nuclear tests in May 1998. Amongst many other financial assistance programmes that came under the purview of these sanctions, was the termination or suspension of US assistance to India for conservation projects related to the tiger and rhino under its Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994.

This Act is specifically aimed at providing financial resources for the conservation programs of various nations whose activities affect global rhinoceros and tiger populations. It was promulgated by the US Government in view of the fact that rhino and tiger populations throughout the world were under extreme threat of extinction, despite their being listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Constituted under this Act, the purpose of the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund is to augment the rhinoceros and tiger conservation by providing financial assistance to projects that are primarily aimed at habitat / ecosystem management, protected area / reserve management, enforcement of wildlife law, development of forensic skills, and achievement of sustainable development in buffer zones of tiger / rhinoceros habitats.

Considering that India still has a fair share of the population of both these species in its national parks and tiger reserves, US assistance was being provided to a number of state forest departments and other wildlife conservation agencies in the form of grants routed through the federal US Fish & Wildlife Service.

But, as a result of these sanctions coming into affect, financial assistance to India under the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund did suffer a temporary setback. Funding of ongoing projects had to be put on hold, while new project proposals submitted to the US Fish and Wildlife Service were stalled during the period during which the sanctions were in place.

Thankfully however, this period of uncertainty did not last long. In October 1999, an Amendment passed by the US Senate provided waiver authority to President Clinton to suspend some of the sanctions against both India and Pakistan. Using the powers vested in him through this Amendment, President Clinton indefinitely waived a number of economic sanctions against both countries, but what was heartening from the point of view of wildlife conservation in India, was the fact that it also included the restoration of financial assistance to the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund, as well as to the Asian Elephant Conservation Fund.

During the past five years, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has been instrumental in providing financial assistance to 19 projects involving tiger and rhino conservation in India. Additionally, it has also invited project proposals of up to 30,000 dollars each, to be funded during the current fiscal year. This is probably just the kind of opportunity required by the state forest departments and conservation NGO’s to take advantage of this offer and prepare project proposals that augment the financial resources for their on-going conservation activities in various protected areas across the country