Authorities and Yobin Communities Clash as Deforestation Spikes in Indian National Park

Environmental News from India:

  • Namdapha National Park is India’s third-largest national park and is home to thousands of species, including tigers, clouded leopards and an endemic species of flying squirrel that has only been observed once by scientists.
  • Satellite data show deforestation has increased in the park over the last two decades.
  • Members of an Indigenous group called the Yobin have been living in portions of the park for generations, but park authorities consider Yobin settlements to be “encroachments” and the main driver of deforestation and poaching in Namdapha National Park
  • In the last few months, authorities have destroyed at least eight Yobin settlements inside the park.

In the sprawling Himalayas, amidst snow-peaked mountains, is a vast swathe of evergreen forest home to majestic tigers, elusive clouded leopards, charismatic hornbills, mystical giant squirrels, enchanting butterflies and bizarre orchids. Comprising some 1,900 square kilometers (734 square miles) in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India, Namdapha National Park is India’s third-largest national park and is considered one of Asia’s last large wildernesses as well as a biodiversity hotspot that harbors more than 1,000 floral and some 1,400 faunal species.

Murali Krishna Chatakonda, a professor at the Amity Institute of Forestry and Wildlife, India, studies the diversity, ecology and conservation issues of small mammals in the park. “Namdapha is home to some of the unique species [like the] Namdapha gliding squirrel, white-bellied heron, western hoolock gibbon, tiger, marbled cat, clouded leopard, [and] red panda,” Chatakonda said.  “The list is pretty long.”

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Source: Mongabay

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