Ten years after the ‘danger’ status was removed from the Manas National Park in Assam, the persistent occurrence of wildlife crime, including tiger poaching and the confiscation of tiger parts, remains a concern, according to a UN body.
The latest World Heritage Committee report noted with concern that poaching and other wildlife crime still persists within the property of Manas sanctuary, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and requested the government to continue implementing anti-poaching measures and scaling up such efforts, wherever possible and necessary.
According to the analysis and conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the government’s continued efforts to protect the property from poaching are welcomed, particularly the reporting of zero rhino poaching since 2017 and the continued rhino population growth, including through translocations.
The report reiterated its concern that agricultural encroachment remains a serious threat to the integrity of the property, despite the government’s actions, and also requests the state party to strengthen its efforts to identify long-term solutions to address this issue and respect the social, economic and cultural rights of indigenous people and local communities and improve their livelihoods, in line with the 2015 policy document on the Integration of a Sustainable Development Perspective into the Processes of the World Heritage Convention;
Manas was put on the World Heritage List in 1985 and between 1992-2011 it was on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The UN body also commended the governments of India and Bhutan for their enhanced cooperation to better protect flagship species moving across national boundaries between the property and the adjacent Royal Manas National Park, and further requests them to strengthen their cooperation.
However, it deeply regrets that despite its repeated requests since 2012, the government of Bhutan has not provided information on the status of the Mangdechhu hydroelectric project nor submitted a copy of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) to address the project’s potentially significant impact on the property’s outstanding universal value (OUV).