Manas sanctuary no longer a world heritage site ‘in danger’June 22nd, 2011 - 12:47 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) The Unesco Tuesday removed the “in danger” tag from Assam’s famed Manas National Park, a World Heritage site, reflecting the revival of the formerly beleaguered sanctuary home to tigers, elephants and the one horned rhinoceroses.
The Manas sanctuary, a national park, a tiger reserve, an elephant and a biosphere reserve, was listed as a World Heritage site in 1985.
In 1992, it was declared a World Heritage site in Danger due to severe damages to the ecosystem during the civil unrest of the 1980s and early 1990s.
The decision to remove the ‘in danger’ tag was announced during the ongoing 35th Session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) in Paris, the NGO Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) said in a statement from Paris.
“India scores a winning goal for Manas,” said Jagdish Kishwan, additional director general (wildlife) of the environment and forests ministry.
“Inscription of a site in the List of World Heritage in Danger has two sides to it. One, it draws global attention to the problems faced by the site, which is beneficial; the second, it indicates a pending threat that the site could be deleted as a World Heritage completely if appropriate measures are not taken to restore it,” said Vivek Menon, regional director south Asia of the NGO International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and a member of the Indian delegation to the session.
Till date, the WHC has deleted two sites from the World Heritage List altogether. These include the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman, delisted in 2007, and Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany, in 2009.
“Fortunately for Manas, this fate was averted, thanks to the local people, the government and the forest department authorities. IFAW-WTI is proud to have been of assistance and to have pioneered numerous conservation activities here under the initiative ‘Bringing Manas Back’ to its former glory,” Menon, who is also executive director of WTI, added.
The decision on the World Heritage status of Manas was an outcome of voting by 22 member countries to the World Heritage Committee. An independent review on the status was done by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) to apprise the committee on the present situation in Manas.
The turnaround in Manas’ fate came about in early 2000s. The political situation in the area began improving and culminated in the creation of the Autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council under the Bodo Accord (February 2003).
Since then, there have been concerted efforts by the government and local people assisted by committed NGOs and individuals to revive Manas.
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