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Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

India
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • Civil unrest
  • Crop production
  • Financial 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 to set up base camps in the property
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2015

Total amount provided to the property: as of 2008, the property benefited 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 2015
Requests approved: 2 (from 1997-1997)
Total amount approved : 165,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2015**

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 2015

On 28 January 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/338/documents/. Progress in addressing conservation issues previously identified by the Committee is reported as follows:

  • Funding is available from the Manas Tiger Conservation Foundation (MTCF) and 2014-2015 Central Government funds have been allocated to the property in a timely manner. However, it is noted that fund release by the State Government remains inadequate and untimely;
  • A detailed Rhino Conservation Plan (2014-2024) has been prepared for the management of the property’s rhino population and is pending approval by State Government. Translocation of Swamp Deer has commenced, with 19 deer currently staying in an enclosure in Manas prior to their release;
  • One rhino was poached in 2014. Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) patrolling has been introduced in the property to better monitor and control poaching. There are 343 frontline staff and 69 anti-poaching camps, and an increase of current staff levels has been proposed to Government;
  • The Rhino Conservation Plan includes an Action Plan to combat encroachment at Bhuyanpara, which, while stated to be temporary and without settlements, is noted to be a recurring problem since 1990. Proposed actions include eviction of encroachers and deployment of an Eco-Task Force in February-March 2015, and a long-term plan for establishing nurseries and plantations outside the park to reduce human pressure on the property;
  • In 2014, forest staff has carried out joint operations with the police and armed forces to secure the property, which has been repeatedly affected by civil strife. There have also been increased patrolling efforts and consultations with local communities to raise awareness and improve the relationship between the local population and the Forest Department. In addition, a high-level security committee for the protection of the property has been established, the members of which include senior police, civil and forest officials;
  • Further progress is reported in terms of transboundary cooperation, eco-development initiatives, integrated ecosystem-based monitoring (including of invasive species), and tourism management.

The State Party of Bhutan did not submit the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Mangdechhu hydro-electric project, including an assessment of potential impacts on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and cumulative impacts in relation to the existing Kurichu dam, requested by the Committee in 2012 (Decision 36 COM 7B.10).

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

The funding provided to the property by MTCF is welcome. However, this remains a small portion of the total required budget, and the property remains inadequately funded. Although the Central Government allocated funds to the property in June 2014, as of February 2015 these had not yet been released by the State Government. It is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to ensure that all allocated funds are available to the property in a timely manner, as this is crucial to adequately addressing the threats it faces.

Although poaching persists, there has been a marked improvement in controlling this threat in 2014 with the introduction of SMART patrolling. Nevertheless, the report of a rhino Population Viability Analysis by the IUCN Conservation Breeding Specialist Group carried out in 2015 indicates that unless poaching is eradicated, continued reintroduction of rhinos is unlikely to result in a viable population in Manas, and rhino could become locally extinct within 30 years. Similarly, while progress with the reintroduction of Eastern Swamp Deer is welcomed, poaching needs to be brought sufficiently under control to ensure that the captive deer can be safely released into the property. It is recommended that the State Party is encouraged to increase the number of frontline staff as proposed under the Tiger Conservation Plan, and to take appropriate actions to improve staff morale and ensure their adequate equipment to protect the property from heavily armed poachers and insurgent groups. The establishment of a high-level security committee and other actions taken to address the civil strife are welcomed.

The encroachment at Bhuyanpara is considered a high priority issue that needs to be urgently addressed. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to confirm the successful implementation of short-term actions foreseen in February-March 2015 to address this encroachment, and to report on progress achieved in reversing current and preventing further encroachment through the implementation of long-term measures to meet the needs of local communities and garner their support for the property. The Kokilabari Seed Farm is considered a positive example for meeting the needs of local communities and garnering their support for the property, which could be replicated elsewhere near the property.

Invasive species are a long-standing threat that remains a significant concern. This is confirmed by the survey report on endangered grassland fauna provided by the State Party, which notes that the spread of some invasive tree species, such as Bombax ceiba, may be promoted by regular grassland fires. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to undertake a detailed study on the use of fire for grassland management, to ensure that its application does not further promulgate invasive species. A study undertaken by Aaranyak and the Assam Forest Department since November 2013 may provide some insight, however, that study targets only two invasive species which may respond differently to fire.

It is further recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party of Bhutan to submit a copy of the Environmental Impact Assessment of the Mangdechhu dam.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7B.11
Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India) (N 338)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.65, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the progress achieved by the State Party, particularly to secure the property and to address civil strife in the area, such as the establishment of a high-level security committee, engagement with local communities, and increased patrolling, including the introduction of SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) patrolling, and notes with appreciation that these actions appear to have resulted in a decrease of poaching in 2014;
  4. Notes with concern the report by the IUCN Conservation Breeding Specialist Group indicating a high risk of local extinction of rhino within 30 years if poaching is not eradicated, and encourages the State Party to continue increasing its efforts to combat poaching in order to secure the property and its recovering Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), in particular the reintroduced rhino and eastern swamp deer populations, including by:
    1. Increasing the number of frontline staff at the property,
    2. Taking appropriate actions to boost forest staff morale, and
    3. Ensuring adequate equipment of forest staff to protect the property from heavily armed poachers and insurgent groups;
  5. Requests the State Party to confirm the successful implementation of proposed short-term actions to address the encroachment at Bhuyanpara Range, and to report on progress achieved in reversing current and preventing further encroachment through the implementation of long-term measures to meet the needs of local communities and garner their support for the property;
  6. Also requests the State Party to undertake a detailed study on the use of fire as a tool for grassland management, in order to ensure that its application does not result in the further spread of some invasive species, and to allocate adequate funding to control the long-standing threat of invasive species in the property;
  7. Also notes with concern that despite the successful operation of the Manas Tiger Conservation Foundation the property remains inadequately funded, as demonstrated by the slow release of funds by the State Government reported by the State Party, and strongly urges the State Party to ensure that adequate funding is available to the property in a timely manner, as this is crucial to the implementation of the abovementioned actions and to significantly address the threats to the property;
  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 Decisions 36 COM 7B.10 and 38 COM 7B.65, 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 December 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.
Draft Decision: 39 COM 7B.11

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.65, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the progress achieved by the State Party, particularly to secure the property and to address civil strife in the area, such as the establishment of a high-level security committee, engagement with local communities, and increased patrolling, including the introduction of SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) patrolling, and notes with appreciation that these actions appear to have resulted in a decrease of poaching in 2014;
  4. Notes with concern the report by the IUCN Conservation Breeding Specialist Group indicating a high risk of local extinction of rhino within 30 years if poaching is not eradicated, and encourages the State Party to continue increasing its efforts to combat poaching in order to secure the property and its recovering Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), in particular the reintroduced rhino and eastern swamp deer populations, including by:
    1. Increasing the number of frontline staff at the property,
    2. Taking appropriate actions to boost forest staff morale, and
    3. Ensuring adequate equipment of forest staff to protect the property from heavily armed poachers and insurgent groups;
  5. Requests the State Party to confirm the successful implementation of proposed short-term actions to address the encroachment at Bhuyanpara Range, and to report on progress achieved in reversing current and preventing further encroachment through the implementation of long-term measures to meet the needs of local communities and garner their support for the property;
  6. Also requests the State Party to undertake a detailed study on the use of fire as a tool for grassland management, in order to ensure that its application does not result in the further spread of some invasive species, and to allocate adequate funding to control the long-standing threat of invasive species in the property;
  7. Also notes with concern that despite the successful operation of the Manas Tiger Conservation Foundation the property remains inadequately funded, as demonstrated by the slow release of funds by the State Government reported by the State Party, and strongly urges the State Party to ensure that adequate funding is available to the property in a timely manner, as this is crucial to the implementation of the abovementioned actions and to significantly address the threats to the property;
  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 Decisions 36 COM 7B.10 and 38 COM 7B.65, 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 December 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.
Report year: 2015
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 (2015) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 39COM (2015)
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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