1 Tahrcountry Musings: Is protection in Eravikulam National Park slipping down?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Is protection in Eravikulam National Park slipping down?

I am quite dismayed by the happenings in Eravikulam National Park. There have been reports of unauthorized trekking inside the park. To give substance to this allegation, there was a post in the tripAdvisor by a foreigner claiming to have scaled the Anamudi peak inside the park, and that too, immediately after the birth season of endangered Nilgiri tahr. The link to the post was sent to me by James Zachariah, the former warden of the park. I immediately sent the link to the present warden. The reply I received was that trekking in Anamudi area is prohibited as it is in the core area of the park. I forthwith drew his attention to the fact that a foreigner and several others have claimed to have scaled the peak. I am yet to receive a reply from the warden

I had suggested in a discussion with some forest officials and environmentalists that the warden should immediately write to the tripAdvisor people. An advisory from the warden should have found a place on their website. This is the first thing that I would have done and if there was a delay I would have hauled them over the coals for their lapses. I would have made this news about lapse go viral severely impacting the image of tripAdvisor.

I had also suggested that the warden should put an advisory on the website of Eravikulam National Park. This is yet to materialize. Copy of this advisory should have gone to the tourism department website also.

Times have indeed changed with the newgen people taking over the reins of administration.  Eravikulam had always been managed by men keen about wildlife, men who did not see the job as something that rakes in salary at the end of the month. It was an avocation for them, men who put the welfare of Eravikulam above their personal needs and desires. The postings were invariably done by the chief and the warden was given a free hand. This is how the name of Eravikulam spread worldwide. Even before the rest of the country had even thought about it Eravikulam National Park was a plastic free litter free park. A close link was maintained with High Range Wildlife and Environment Association (HRWEPA). This has also gone in to limbo now.  During the days of men like Mr MRP Lappin, the link between the department and the association was very strong. HRWEPA used to keep hawks eye over Eravikualm, and if they found anything amiss word was immediately passed on to the wildlife warden. I pine for the good old days when there was no political interference in the postings and administration of Eravikulam National Park. All the interferences were very effectively stonewalled. HRWEPA also should take part of the blame. They should not rest on past laurels. I have grave misgivings about the future of Eravikulam National Park


Anand V.V said...

You are spot on target Mohanji. Eravikulam authorities are more concerned about raking in tourism money than protecting the environment. Gone are the days when wardens used to go on boundary hikes camping in the forest for days altogether. We need men who love wildlife and outdoor life. Thanks for the post.

Rajan Jacob said...

Illegal trekking cannot happen without the complicity of staff of Eravikulam. This malaise needs strong medicine. The story of how you bashed up a forester for an unauthorized trek to Eravikualm is still doing the rounds in Munnar. They say after this administration of strong medicine there were no incidents during your tenure. I hear the forester was also suspended for one year.

Sanjeev.K.K said...

Yes, spot on target Alembath. The younger gen has to realise the importance of sacrifices of the past masters. Wildlife job is not a 10 to 5 job. It requires dedication. I find fault with HRWEPA also. In their mad race for profits the wildlife conservation has taken a back seat. They talk a lot, but does precious little for protecting Eravikulam. As you said they should not rest on past laurels.

Sajan Peter said...

The old days will never return. It is a fast paced life where material benefits accruing, overshadows genuine love for nature

Philip.K.J said...

One up the arse to whoever was responsible in the department. Here is a stiff one up the arse of HRWEPA also.