Periyar tiger reserve wins NTCA award

Camera trap image of a tiger in the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala. Photo:Special Arrangement

Camera trap image of a tiger in the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala. Photo:Special Arrangement  

For involving local people in managing the habitat

The Periyar Tiger Reserve, spread over 925 sq.km. in Kerala, bagged the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) biennial award on Tuesday for encouraging local public participation in managing the reserve.

There are 75 communities living around the reserve, including tribal people who are dependent on eco-development programmes, said field director of the reserve Amit Mallick on Tuesday. The reserve set up the Periyar Foundation in 2006 which was a model for other reserves in biodiversity conservation and community participation in managing natural resources.

After this, the Wildlife Protection Act was amended so that each reserve would set up a Foundation, he told The Hindu. Earlier, the India Eco-Development project (IEDP), which was started in the reserve in December 1996, continued up to June 2004. The community-based eco-tourism activities helped visitors and there were night scouting programmes with the help of expert trackers as well. Tourism was supplemented by pepper growing and marketing which was a value addition.

Now self-help groups were involved in honey processing and other income-generating activities, Dr. Mallick said. Of the 75 eco development committees, 15 were tribal and each had about 150 to 200 members. There were 19 different eco-tourism programmes apart from village eco-development programmes like bee-keeping.

The committees also played a major role during the Sabarimala pilgrimage which involved a 23-km trek in the dense forests. Small shops were set up along the way and people helped in regulating the pilgrims and in waste management, removing 40 to 50 tonnes each season.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 1:58:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/periyar-tiger-reserve-wins-award-for-involving-local-communities/article6805527.ece

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