We are proud to report that WCS has been very active on land purchase efforts in the past few months. In March, after much negotiation, WCS was successful in purchasing the lands of the three families that live in Naifed village, which is located in Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve. These families – the first to ever voluntarily relocate out of Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve – moved out immediately, and with assistance from WCS they have found new homes outside of the Tiger Reserve. Their houses (see photo above of one of the houses) have since been demolished and the lands have been handed over to the Government of India. These lands are now incorporated into Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve and are reverting back to a wild state.
The purchase of these lands in Naifed by WCS achieved something we very much hoped for, and which was the key aim of our efforts in Dandeli-Anshi: catalyzing the movement of other families out of the Tiger Reserve through the Government of India’s voluntary relocation mechanism. In April, after seeing the positive results for the families in Naifed, 30 families scattered across four villages in Dandeli-Anshi requested and received voluntary relocation funds from the Government of India to move out. These families are now 100% on the track to voluntary resettlement and they are scheduled to do their final house demolitions and move out of the Tiger Reserve in September, after the summer monsoons.
There are about 2,000 families living in Dandeli-Anshi and we believe it will require a long-term commitment by WCS for their voluntary relocation. However, we are confident that these 30 families are just the first of many who will voluntarily move out of Dandeli-Anshi, now that they have seen it done successfully. We know this because WCS has applied the same approach before with great success in Nagarahole National Park, where the very first relocation efforts in the early 2000s of just a few families resulted in the resettlement of over 400 families outside the park during the subsequent ten years, freeing up large areas for tigers and elephants to return. With your help, we have been able to move the first families out of Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve – a critical first step in the process.
In addition to efforts in Dandeli-Anshi, WCS also continued land purchase efforts in Kudremukh National Park. In contrast to Dandeli-Anshi (where the primary aim was to catalyze others to move out), lands were purchased in Kudremukh to ensure that large, critical regions of Kudremukh were freed from human enclosures. In particular, there is a small cluster of just a few houses in an enclosure called the “SK Border.” Only two families live in SK Border, which is the only human enclosure in a region that is otherwise tens of square kilometers of forested lands (home to tigers, elephants, and many other endangered species). In March, one of the two families sold their land and demolished their house and moved out, followed by the second family in April. The lands of SK Border have since been handed over to Kudremukh National Park.
It has been a very productive few months and we hope you enjoyed this good news from Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve and Kudremukh National Park. From all of us at WCS, thank you for your contribution to saving wildlife and supporting local communities in India. We couldn’t do it without your help!
Top photo: One of the houses in Naifed village that was demolished after the families voluntarily moved out.
Bottom photo: The cluster of houses that make up SK Border. In April 2014 they were all demolished.
Photo credits: WCS.