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Trucks Banned from Sanctuaries in Jharkhand at Night

5th August, 2004

The High Court of Jharkhand recently passed an order banning bauxite-loaded trucks from driving through Palamau Tiger Reserve, Palamau Wildlife Sanctuary and Betla National Park at night.

The order couldn’t have come at a better time. Mortality records maintained by the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) reveal that from 1997 to 2002, vehicles have killed at least 24 leopards, 5 tigers and 50 animals of various other species. These numbers only represent animals that were discovered and recorded. Countless other mortalities go undocumented.

The Jharkhand controversy started in September 2002, when the state’s Chief Conservator of Forests prohibited trucks loaded with bauxite or any other major mineral from plying in the Betla Wildlife Sanctuary at night. Immediately, the president of the Palamau Pramandal Khan Mazdoor Sangh (Labour Union) filed a petition contesting the ban, claiming it had adversely affected their livelihoods. He also claimed that the ban would only benefit the Peoples War Group and other extremist organisations in the area.

However, the Advocate General of Jharkhand, arguing for the Forest Department, proved conclusively that the noisy, smoke spewing trucks were a threat to the local wildlife and environment. He also pointed out that an alternative route for the trucks existed, and proved that there had been a rapid decline in the wildlife population along the disputed route.

The petition was dismissed, and trucks will no longer be allowed to drive through the area at night.

“We need many more such pro-wildlife judgements,” says Sudhir Mishra, Advocate of the Supreme Court of India and Principal Legal Advisor to WPSI. “Now that the Jharkhand High Court has set a precedent, this order can be quoted by conservationists fighting similar court battles over roads in other parts of India.”



 

 

 

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TIGER DEATHS IN 2014
 Mortality                 20
 Poaching &             
 Seizures                    4
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       Total                   24

TIGER DEATHS IN 2013
 Mortality                  38
 Poaching &              42
 Seizures                   
___________________
       Total                    80


TIGER POACHING 1994-2013

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LEOPARD DEATHS IN 2014
 Mortality                 63
 Poaching &             41
 Seizures             
___________________
       Total                  104
     

LEOPARD DEATHS IN 2013
 Mortality               217
 Poaching &           110
 Seizures             
___________________
       Total                 327


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