Ancestral land of Soliga tribe restored: “Government realizes that tribal peoples are the best conservationists” – Karnataka

Sacred grove photo © >>
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“We have a special responsibility to document, monitor and conserve our most precious asset” – Kamaljit S. Bawa in “Our biodiversity, our life, our future” >>

Survival on 2 November 2011 (the organization working for tribal peoples’ rights worldwide)

Indian tribe secures unprecedented rights to tiger reserve

In a landmark victory, a tribe in India has for the first time had their right to use their ancestral land recognized – even though it is inside a tiger reserve.

In 1974 members of the Soliga tribe were evicted from their homes in the Biligirirangan Hills, Karnataka state, by a local government intent on protecting the state’s wildlife.

But now the Soliga’s right to collect, use and sell forest produce from within the Rangaswami Temple Sanctuary reserve has been formally confirmed. […]

The Soligas are now working on a proposal to manage the tiger reserve jointly with the Karnataka state authorities, using their traditional knowledge.

About 20,000 Soligas live in Karnataka state, and have been inextricably linked to the Biligirirangan Hills for generations.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The Indian government is beginning to realize that tribal peoples are the best conservationists, by far. If only the rest of the world could catch on. Evicting tribespeople from their ancestral land in the name of ‘conservation’ is not only illegal and destroys them, it also spells disaster for the local environment and wildlife.’ […]

Source: Indian tribe secures unprecedented rights to tiger reserve – Survival International
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