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Daily Category  (Environment)

Conservation Lesson From Solega Tribes

CONTEXT:

  • The ability of the Solega to adapt their own activities to mitigate conflict with wild animals make them ideal partners for conservationists in the fight to preserve local biodiversity, and protect endangered species.

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SOLEGA COMMUNITY:

  • The Solega are a small community of around 30,000 people who

    • Traditionally practiced a hunter-gatherer lifestyle

    • Live along with small-scale agriculture

    • Now live in small hamlets all over the Biligiriranga (BR) Hills, from the high-altitude evergreen forest to the lowland scrub forests

  • They are known for wildlife conservation because of their traditional knowledge and practices.

  • Most of the animals in the region are worshiped by the community.

    • The tiger is seen as Lord Madeswara’s animal

    • Pandeswara is the elephant god

    • The Gaur belongs to Lord Karappa,

    • The sambar is the animal of Lord Kadodeya Muttaraya

  • During the village festival, they even worship the leaves, flowers and fruits they collect for the rituals.

    • The Solega community has learnt to live in harmony with the wildlife.

    • They have a great sense of smell and hearing and can understand if a wild animal is approaching.

    • Recently, to capture a tiger in the Bandipur-Nagarhole region, the forest officials took help from Solega community as they are born gifted to talk with nature.

    • Even birds play important roles and the calls of certain birds are considered to be portents.

    • The Solega also respond to the birds with their own vocal signal.

ISSUES WITH TRIBES:

  • One invasive plant species, the lantana, has upset the tribes.

    • The community believes that the invasion happened because there was a ban on their traditional leaf-litter fire practices.

    • Every year, the tribes set very low and slow-moving fires to the leaf litter in the forest in the month of January and February.

    • This was before various laws were enacted by the government and the area was declared as protected.

    • There is a lot of sadness in the community about what the forest used to look like, how it is now, and how it has affected the wellbeing of not just their own community but also the wildlife.

    • Lantana overgrowth has caused a lack of many types of grass which are primary food sources for many herbivores including elephants.

COMMUNITY EFFORTS TO SAVE TIGERS:

  • The number of big cats that doubled between 2011 and 2015 has proved that indigenous tribes like Soligas can co-exist peacefully with wildlife.

  • In consultation with various organisations, recently the Soligas chalked out detailed area-specific plans for tiger conservation in BR Hills, an ecologically important area of over 500 sq. km that acts as a crucial link between the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats.

  • The community conservation plan suggests practical measures for both the forest officials and Soligas to jointly work on issues such as

    • Spread of lantana

    • Forest fires

    • Poaching

    • Quarrying

    • Timber smuggling

TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE:

  • Solega community’s language contains a lot of information about their traditional ecological knowledge.

  • The ability of the Solega, like other indigenous communities in India, to adapt their own activities to mitigate conflict with wild animals,

    • Along with their extensive traditional knowledge on various aspects of forest ecology and animal behaviour, make them ideal partners for conservationists in the fight to preserve local biodiversity, and protect endangered species

  • Their presence in the forests of the B. R. Hills should not be viewed as aberrant, problematic or contrary to conservation goals,

    • But as a distinct advantage, given that they have already lived for generations as stewards of the forest

BILIGIRIRANGA HILLS

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  • It is a hill range situated in south-western Karnataka, at its border with Tamil Nadu (Erode District) in South India.

  • The area is called Biligiri Ranganatha Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary or simply BRT Wildlife Sanctuary. 

  • It is a protected reserve under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

  • Being close to the Eastern Ghats as well as the Western Ghats, the sanctuary has floral and faunal associations with both regions.

  • The site was declared a tiger reserve in January 2011 by the Karnataka government, a few months after approval from India's National Tiger Conservation Authority.

SOURCE: Indian Express

E-Waste Generation

CONTEXT:

  • In 2017-18, India generated 7, 08, 445 tonnes of e-waste and 7, 71, 215 tonnes in 2018-19 – an increase of 8.86 per cent.