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Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

India
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Civil unrest
  • Crop production
  • Human resources
  • Illegal activities
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Land conversion
  • Water infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Forced evacuation of Park staff;
  • Poaching and logging;
  • Illegal cultivation;
  • Slow release of funds;
  • Invasive species;
  • Uncontrolled infrastructure development by local tourism groups;
  • Attempts by paramilitary group Sashastra Seema Bal to set up base camps in the property.
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2014

Total amount provided to the property: as of 2008, the property is benefiting from the UNF funded World Heritage India programme. Project interventions include: enhancing management effectiveness and building staff capacity; increasing the involvement of local communities in the management of the property and promoting their sustainable development; and raising awareness through communication and advocacy.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 2 (from 1997-1997)
Total amount approved : 165,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2014**

1992: IUCN mission; 1997: UNESCO mission; February 2002: IUCN monitoring mission; April 2005, February 2008, January 2011: World Heritage Centre / IUCN reactive monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

On 11 February 2014, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, a summary of which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/338/documents/. The State Party reports the following:

  • The delay in release of funds has been addressed. Tourism revenue is made directly available to park management by the Manas Tiger Conservation Foundation, which also has the option of requesting loans to expedite management activities;
  • A wide range of wildlife and ecological monitoring and research activities have taken place in the property;
  • A total of 24 rhinos were reintroduced so far, and 9 rhino calves were born since 2012. 7 rhinos (nearly 30%) were poached since 2011, of which 5 in 2013 alone. Several emergency measures have been taken, including intensified patrolling and engagement of additional law enforcement personnel;
  • A detailed and comprehensive protocol for the translocation of Eastern Swamp Deer was developed and is attached to the State Party report. The State Party anticipates that after final verification by the Government of India, the translocation programme may commence in 2014;
  • A tourism strategy was developed as part of the 2013-2023 Tiger Conservation Plan for Manas Tiger Reserve, of which the property forms the core zone. The strategy is attached to the State Party report, and includes guidelines for tourism numbers and activities, as requested by the Committee in Decision 36 COM 7B.10;
  • While the property was inscribed as a 391 square kilometres Wildlife Sanctuary, it is being managed as a national park, which covers 520 square kilometres, and the State Party requests that the Committee ratify the whole national park as constituting the property. On 28 February 2014, the World Heritage Centre requested the State Party to clarify whether this constitutes a request for a minor boundary modification of the property. No response was received at the time of preparing this document. The State Party also notes that efforts are underway to extend the national park with 36,000 ha of reserved forest.
  • It further notes the ongoing Indo-Bhutanese cooperation on transboundary conservation issues, and recalls that the State Party of Bhutan has included the Royal Manas National Park on its Tentative List. At the time of writing this report, no further information was provided by the State Party of Bhutan on the proposed Mangdechhu hydro-electric dam project.

The World Heritage Centre received information from IUCN on 3 March 2014, regarding new encroachment on the property in its eastern Bhuyanpara range, as well as in parts of the Manas Beki river system. An article on the subject has also been published in the newspaper Assam Tribune. The World Heritage Centre, on 27 March 2014, wrote to the State Party to verify this information. At the time of the finalization of this report, no reply has yet been received from the State Party. 

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

The information from the State Party that the delay in fund release has been addressed is well noted. The State Party may be requested to continue reporting on this situation in future reports to the Committee, in order to demonstrate that current progress is being maintained.

The development of a tourism strategy with provisions for tourism activities and maximum tourist numbers allowed at any given time in the Manas Tiger Reserve is also noted, as well as the development of a translocation protocol for Eastern Swamp Deer, and its anticipated implementation in 2014.

There is however some serious concern about the reported poaching of rhinoceros, and reports in the media that this has been linked to renewed activities by insurgent groups and a deteriorating security situation in the property. It should be recalled that at the time of its inscription on the World Heritage List, the State Party estimated there were 100 rhinos in the property. In 1992, the Committee inscribed the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger due to damage caused by the invasion of the property by militants. By 1997 the number of rhinos was reduced to 39, and by 2001, rhinos had been extirpated from the property. At its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), the Committee noted that the recovering Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property was still fragile; this fragility is considered to be sharply highlighted by reported increase in poaching. It is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to ensure that forest guards are adequately equipped and trained to protect the property against poachers and maintain regular patrolling, in order to secure the recovering populations of rhino and other wildlife, and to ensure that the anticipated translocation of Eastern Swamp Deer can be carried out effectively.

Reports received by IUCN of new encroachment in the Bhuyanpara Range within the property are also noted. It is recommended that the Committee express its concern about the current situation, recalling the situation that prevailed at the time of the property’s inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1992. A further deterioration of the security situation, associated with the reported surge in poaching and concerns regarding encroachment could create the conditions to re-inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines.

In addition, the proposed Mangdechhu hydro-electric project in Bhutan, and its potential impacts on the property, remains a concern. The Committee should reiterate its request to the State Party of Bhutan to submit a copy of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of this project as per decision 36 COM 7B.10.

Furthermore, given the multiple conservation issues affecting the property, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to the property in order to assess its state of conservation, in particular in relation to the reported illegal activities related to a deteriorating security situation in the property, the associated poaching and reported encroachment, and to assess whether the property is faced with ascertained or potential danger as defined in Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7B.65
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India) (N 338)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.10 taken at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Welcomes the information provided by the State Party that the delay in fund release has been addressed, and recommends that the State Party provide updates of the financial situation of the property in future reports to the Committee;
  4. Notes with appreciation the positive results achieved up to 2013 with the reintroduction of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros, as well as the development of a comprehensive Eastern Swamp Deer Translocation Protocol, the implementation of which is anticipated to commence in 2014;
  5. Notes with serious concern the reported recent poaching of nearly one third of the recovering rhino population, which is a sharp reminder of the fragility of the property’s recovering Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and urges the State Party to ensure that forest guards are adequately equipped and trained to protect the property against poachers and maintain effective patrolling, in order to secure the recovering populations of rhino and other wildlife, and to ensure that the anticipated translocation of Eastern Swamp Deer can be carried out effectively;
  6. Requests the State Party to take urgent measures to address the reported new encroachment at Bhuyanpara Range within the property, and rehabilitate degraded areas;
  7. Also notes with utmost concern the reported deterioration of the security situation in the property, and considers that a further deterioration of the security situation, associated with the reported surge in poaching and concerns regarding encroachment could create the conditions to re-inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  8. Reiterates its request to the State Party of Bhutan to submit a copy of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Mangdechhu hydro-electric project as per Decision 36 COM 7B.10, including an assessment of potential impacts on the property’s OUV and cumulative impacts in relation to the existing Kurichu dam, in conformity with IUCN’s World Heritage advice note on Environmental Assessment;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, a detailed report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property, on the implementation of the above and updates of the financial situation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.
Draft Decision:   38 COM 7B.65

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.10 taken at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Welcomes the information provided by the State Party that the delay in fund release has been addressed, and recommends that the State Party provide updates of the financial situation of the property in future reports to the Committee;

4.  Notes with appreciation the positive results achieved up to 2013 with the reintroduction of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros, as well as the development of a comprehensive Eastern Swamp Deer Translocation Protocol, the implementation of which is anticipated to commence in 2014;

5.  Notes with serious concern the reported recent poaching of nearly one third of the recovering rhino population, which is a sharp reminder of the fragility of the property’s recovering Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and urges the State Party to ensure that forest guards are adequately equipped and trained to protect the property against poachers and maintain effective patrolling, in order to secure the recovering populations of rhino and other wildlife, and to ensure that the anticipated translocation of Eastern Swamp Deer can be carried out effectively;

6.  Requests the State Party to take urgent measures to address the reported new encroachment at Bhuyanpara Range within the property, and rehabilitate degraded areas;

7.  Also notes with utmost concern the reported deterioration of the security situation in the property, and considers that a further deterioration of the security situation, associated with the reported surge in poaching and concerns regarding encroachment could create the conditions to re-inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

8.  Reiterates its request to the State Party of Bhutan to submit a copy of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Mangdechhu hydro-electric project as per Decision 36 COM 7B.10, including an assessment of potential impacts on the property’s OUV and cumulative impacts in relation to the existing Kurichu dam, in conformity with IUCN’s World Heritage advice note on Environmental Assessment;

9.  Also requests the State Party of India to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to the property, in order to assess its state of conservation, in particular in relation to the reported illegal activities related to the deteriorating security situation, and to assess whether the property is faced with ascertained or potential danger as defined in paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines; 

10.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, a detailed report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property, on the implementation of the above and updates of the financial situation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.

Report year: 2014
India
Date of Inscription: 1985
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(ix)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1992-2011
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2014) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 38COM (2014)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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