Theme 4: Wildlife--Oral Sessions

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Community-based Ecotourism (CBET) is an emerging concept. It is being discussed as an important tool for economically benefiting communities that have a feature that fulfils a tourist’s desire for uniqueness. Ecotourism is potentially important for communities reside nearby protected areas. Here, an attempt has been made to evaluate ecotourism initiatives in Nameri National Park, steps that have been introduced by the Assam (Bhorelli) Angling and Conservation Association (ABACA). This association began naturebased tourism ventures in 1956, bringing benefits to the local populace in terms of income, improved infrastructure, employment opportunities and exposure. The community’s capacity to facilitate resourcerelated conflicts has improved following support from development institutions along with facilities provided by the organization. An expanding livelihood base and sustainable biodiversity management measures are reducing locally the vulnerability of resources and man-animal conflicts. The present research is based on data collected using semi-structured interviews, updated using information gathered during successive local meetings. A process of triangulation was followed whereby key informants and focus groups were interviewed and different sites (e.g., homestead, ecocamp, village market, river bank and in the forest) visited. A snowball sampling procedure was used to collect information. Interview questions touched on livelihood options, wildlife conservation and tourist resource management. The evidence collected confirms that the numbers of wildlife (including charismatic species) in the park have either remained stable or increased. The number of White Winged Wood Duck (Cairina scutulata), a critically endangered avian species, now stands at 424, having risen from low numbers at the time of project inception in 1981. Elephant, bird species and bush-loving wildlife have more than doubled following an increase in plant biomass plus anti-poaching campaigns spearheaded by community members who reside near the park. This paper confirms the concept of community-based ecotourism as a means of promoting sustainable management initiatives and producing benefits for communities that live on the fringe of Nameri National Park.

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Ecotourism as a Means of Sustaining Livelihood, Wildlife Management and Biodiversity Conservation-A Case in Nameri National Park of Assam: India

Community-based Ecotourism (CBET) is an emerging concept. It is being discussed as an important tool for economically benefiting communities that have a feature that fulfils a tourist’s desire for uniqueness. Ecotourism is potentially important for communities reside nearby protected areas. Here, an attempt has been made to evaluate ecotourism initiatives in Nameri National Park, steps that have been introduced by the Assam (Bhorelli) Angling and Conservation Association (ABACA). This association began naturebased tourism ventures in 1956, bringing benefits to the local populace in terms of income, improved infrastructure, employment opportunities and exposure. The community’s capacity to facilitate resourcerelated conflicts has improved following support from development institutions along with facilities provided by the organization. An expanding livelihood base and sustainable biodiversity management measures are reducing locally the vulnerability of resources and man-animal conflicts. The present research is based on data collected using semi-structured interviews, updated using information gathered during successive local meetings. A process of triangulation was followed whereby key informants and focus groups were interviewed and different sites (e.g., homestead, ecocamp, village market, river bank and in the forest) visited. A snowball sampling procedure was used to collect information. Interview questions touched on livelihood options, wildlife conservation and tourist resource management. The evidence collected confirms that the numbers of wildlife (including charismatic species) in the park have either remained stable or increased. The number of White Winged Wood Duck (Cairina scutulata), a critically endangered avian species, now stands at 424, having risen from low numbers at the time of project inception in 1981. Elephant, bird species and bush-loving wildlife have more than doubled following an increase in plant biomass plus anti-poaching campaigns spearheaded by community members who reside near the park. This paper confirms the concept of community-based ecotourism as a means of promoting sustainable management initiatives and producing benefits for communities that live on the fringe of Nameri National Park.