Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 February 2020 | 12(3): 15405–15406


ISSN 0974-7907 (Online) | ISSN 0974-7893 (Print) 



#5791 | Received 14 February 2020  |  Date of publication: 26 February 2020 (online & print)




The State of Wildlife and Protected Areas in Maharashtra: News and Information from the Protected Area Update 1996-2015


Reviewed by L.A.K. Singh


Puspaswini, Friends Colony, 1830- Mahatab Road, Old Town, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 751002, India.




With about 7,000 stories and news reports, the Protected Area Update (PAU) constitutes a huge and valuable database. For nearly 25 years, and in over 140 issues, edited by Pankaj Sekhsaria, we have been getting brief access to happenings in different Indian states about aspects related to administration, legal aspects, management, conservation, people & research in wildlife, protected areas, and nature conservation.

The book in hand is about the state of Maharashtra.  It is with news and information compiled and edited from PUCs  published during 1996–2015. The earlier such compilation was in 2013 covering PAU news about northeastern India during 1996–2011. Congratulations to the editor and his team for the purpose addressed and output delivered through this well designed, neatly laid-out publication on Maharashtra, from the house of the famous Duleep Matthai Nature Conservation Trust.

The editorial notes and brief introduction about the protected area network in Maharashtra with a selected list of relevant references set a well-toned beginning, providing the minimum required details for global readership.

The Melghat Tiger Reserve (year 1973) of Maharashtra is one of the first nine tiger reserves of the country.  The growth of tiger reserves to six numbers by 2014 and the concept of having interstate Pench Tiger Reserve holds the state in respect. Also, the state has a list of six other national parks, 38 wildlife sanctuaries, and two conservation reserves. Pages of the book offer chronological news from these areas, thoughtfully aided by an Index.

The Index-entries will be useful for lobbyists, conservationists, wildlife managers and governments which, before taking their own decision, seek examples in wildlife management practices or decisions from other parts of the country.  Certain entries in the Index need rectifications or omits after page-matching.  Although a book on Maharashtra, it does mention about a few other states like Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttarakhand.  A state like Odisha not appearing in this list indicates the future need to have better news-networking and translations of news from local other state languages for primary entry in PAUs.  Some of the acronyms also need a place at page ii. 

Out of three subject sections, the first section takes us year after year, through selected news and information from 34 areas covering wildlife sanctuaries, bird sanctuaries, conservation reserves, tiger reserves, national parks, eco-sensitive zones, and prime wetlands of importance in Maharashtra State.  It also provides information about special research projects, like that on the Forest Owlets, the references to CAMPA, the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act (FRA 2006), developments about the Coastal Regulation Zone, Environment Protection Act, Biological Diversity Act, National Tiger Conservation Authority, decisions of the judiciary, decisions by the National Board for Wildlife, road expansion, staff deployment, garbage management, village relocation, mining, sacred groves, actions related to Great Indian Bustard, wild Water Buffalo, leopard problem, etc.  It is a news treat.

Section-2 on ‘Analysis and Perspectives’ of five important aspects give access to research results and is thought provoking. ‘Tribal Rights and Tiger Reserves’ under the Wildlife (Protection) Act is still a topic of debate and challenge for wildlife manager of any Wildlife Protected Area. 

Media contents in newspapers often constitute primary source of information as ‘data’ for verification, inclusion and analysis while writing an article or taking a managerial decision or process a research plan.  Many a times, wildlife research have to start from such pieces of data obtained from the public direct or through local newspaper, which the modern and international scientific community may not like to bring under wildlife scientometrics (Singh 2015).  On the other side, wrong reporting may also bring an end to facts hidden behind a report, as it had happened in 1930s for ‘black tigers’ (page-ii in: Singh 1999).

When I came to stay in Similipal Tiger Reserve for the next 16 years from 1987 after return from Government of India, it was after a gap of 80 months away from most of the fields in Odisha and with terrestrial wildlife.  I resumed with newspaper items on man-wildlife interface, and developed my personal collection on bits of happenings from different parts of Odisha.  Some items were understandably spiced-up by reporters, and needed to be accepted with editing; but there were the others that possessed ‘something to accept about locations and the problem’.  Around the same time, in an all-India scene, typed and mimeographed ‘Environmental Abstracts’, based on compilation of various news items were in circulation.

That was the click about location-wise importance of wildlife news.  From 1990s PA Updates have presented professional compilation of news items focusing protected area locations.  With Kalpavriksh-tag and support from Duleep Matthai Nature Conservation Trust, Pankaj Sekhsaria has obviously clipped off a lot and used selected items in the compiled-book on Maharashtra.

Pankaj Sekhsaria, well known for his research and books on the Andamans, with experience of more than two decades, has very thoughtfully added Section-3 to provide a complete issue of PAU (Vol. XXV, No. 4, August 2019, no.140).  It gives ready reference to the original style and content of PAU issues.

It is interesting to search about the chronological news pertaining to any particular protected area in Maharashtra. Overall, the PA Update compilation in book format provides a good reference point and shows the need to have similar compilations for other states.  Professionals as well as general readers, interested in or searching for happenings about wildlife conservation, will find the style and contents engaging.  These could be the starting point for some research studies.



ISBN: 978-81-923269-3-1 (First print 2019).

Edited by Pankaj Sekhsaria

Published by the Duleep Matthai Nature Conservation Trust, Kalpavriksh, and Rainfed Books. 

Pages: xii+235pp, 100 line-drawings; Price Rs. 400/-






Singh, L.A.K. (1999). Born Black: The Melanistic Tiger in India. WWF-India, New Delhi, viii+66pp.

Singh, L.A.K. (2015). A scientometric analysis of the trends of information dissemination on ‘true albino’ and ‘white’ mammals. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 111(3): 216–220.