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‘Religion and conservation must go hand in hand’ writes Indian conservation biologist

August 26, 2014:

Human activity in natural parks puts endangered tiger populations at risk

Inspired by the work of ARC and the Green Pilgrimage Network in partnership with ATREE (the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment), Indian conservationist Mr Dharmendra Khandal has written a column for the Financial Chronicle, an influential publication widely read among the Indian business community.

Mr Khandal is a conservation biologist with Tiger Watch, an NGO that promotes the well-being of wildlife in the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan. The reserve became a member of the Green Pilgrimage Network at a special event which Mr Khandal attended in Rishikesh, Utterakhand in 2013.

Pilgrims and picnickers

Monkeys eat harmful plastic litter around the Ganesh Temple in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
Under the title ‘Religion and conservation must go hand in hand’ the article identifies the environmental impact caused to wildlife habitats when thousands of pilgrims visit temples or shrines in natural parks. This longstanding problem has been made much worse by the growing numbers of picnickers also visiting these conservation areas and adding to the littering, pollution and noise intrusion that badly affects local species (including endangered tigers).

Though the author is well aware of the challenges facing Ranthambore and other reserves in tackling these problems he sees this kind of partnership between faith-based organisations and environmental scientists as the right way to tackle them, concluding: “With awareness and assistance we may be able to bring about positive change.”

Useful links

Financial Chronicle article

PDF copy of Financial Chronicle article

Article about previous blog by Mr Khandal

Green Pilgrimage Network website

GPN meeting in Rishikesh, December 2013

ATREE website

Tiger Watch website

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