Conflicted Planet: Manas National Park and Tiger Reserve, Assam
This is a unique chance to hear about one of the most fascinating but relatively unknown parks in the world, the ManasNational Park and Tiger Reserve in India’s north east.
The park in Assam has the widest biodiversity, including rhinos and tigers, of all India’s parks but storm-clouds are gathering in the region – again.
India’s north-east region has always simmered in a crucible of ethnic tensions that have involved violence in fluctuating degrees to which have now been added growing regional geo-political problems, especially with neighbours, Myanmar and China.
For her work in Manas park as well as to conservation in India generally, Dr Sonali Ghosh, deputy director of Manas park, has been awarded the Marjan-Marsh Award.
This award is given annually to a person for conspicuous conservation work in areas of conflict, and is supported by the Marsh Christian Trust in conjunction with the Marjan Centre for the Study of Conflict and Conservation within the Department of War Studies at King’s College, London.
In the past Manas park has experienced great destruction from ethnic violence that had seemed to have been politically settled; however, the situation has recently taken a turn for the worse, the ethnic tensions roused by India’s elections next year as well as land grabs in the park by local elites and an expanding population.
Along with this ominous ‘back to the future’ warning-sign, poaching and illegal timber felling are on the increase in Manas, which this year has seen a number of its small rhino population being poached for the first time in some years.
With its combination of internal and external pressures, Manas is a microcosm of the urgent problems faced by many areas containing great biodiversity where security for both humans and biodiversity alike is weak.
Dr Sonali Ghosh will talk about her work in Manas, past and present, at the award ceremony on November 26th at King’s College, London.
Venue: The Pyramid Room, King’s College. Location: 4th floor. Main Strand campus. Time: 6pm; it is free and open to the public. There will be ample seating so please do bring a friend.
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