The Wildlife Society of Orissa was formed in August, 1994.
It is headed by its President Dr. B.C. Mishra Ex-professor of Surgery. Mr. K.C. Mohapatra, Engineer is the Vice-President and Mr.Biswajit Mohanty is the Secretary. Mr. Ranjit Pattnaik is Director of Education and Awareness activity of the Society.All office bearers hold honorary posts.
We are registered under the S.R. Act,1860 and recognized by the Central Pollution Control Board for pollution control activities.
The policy decisions and action plans are made by the Executive Committee. The Secretary handles the day to day functions.The Society’s primary objective is conservation of forest and wildlife of the state of Orissa, apart from pollution control activities.The Society works in co-operation with the state Forest Department.
The following activities are conducted by the Society:
- Collection of poaching and trade intelligence regarding wildlife products like skins,ivory,body parts and live species.
- Lobbying with the state government for changes in the forest and wildlife laws and to ensure their strict implementation .
- Carrying out mass awareness and education campaigns among local communities for habitat and wildlife protection.
- Legal action for various matters of public interest concerning conservation issues related to violation of forest, wildlife and environmental laws.
- Providing legal protection to various forest staff who face false complaint cases
- Intervention in cases of wildlife offenders in trial courts to ensure their conviction
- Local partner of Operation Kachhapa launched by WPSI, New Delhi which is a special project for protection of the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles, thousands of which die due to illegal mechanized fishing on the Orissa coast.
- Documentation of important wildlife habitats and endangered species of the state through field surveys.
- Monitoring pollution hotspots in the state and lobbying for enforcement of environmental laws.
1. The first major seizure of 21 leopard skins in Orissa in April,1996 was done after we collected trade intelligence and carried out a sting operation in collaboration with the Forest, Customs and the Police.
2. The Society regularly briefs the media about various issues concerning forest, wildlife and environment. The local media carries stories or TV interviews on wildlife regularly.
3. Paid ex grattia compensation to the family of Shri Shyam Sundar Singh, forest guard killed while protecting sea turtlesin 2003. Family of Shri Indramani Bhatt, forest guard was also compensated in 2004.
4. The Society has a strong legal program for protection of sanctuaries, wildlife and prosecution of offenders.The following cases were filed:
i) PIL filed for disposal of seized timber, ivory, vehicles by forest department, to prevent damage. Court ordered that all such items should be auctioned (except the ivory) pending disposal of the case.
ii) PIL for final notification of more than 10,000 sq.kms reserved forest lands in the state which are pending as proposed notifications.
iii) PIL regarding illegal diversion of elephant corridors for coal mining by Mahanadi coal without seeking clearance from the Central Government.
iv) PIL regarding curbing noise pollution in the twin cities.
v) PIL for ensuring protection of animals and environment and eviction of encroachers from Nandan Kanan Zoological Park. Several hotels and encroachers were evicted following court orders.
vi) Intervention petition supporting issue of transit permits for sal leaf plates. The High Court dismissed the application demanding abolition of permit. The sal leaf traders appealed to the Supreme Court and we have also filed intervention opposing them.The future of Simlipal Tiger Reserve is at stake if uncontrolled collection of sal leaves is allowed.
vii) PIL filed in High Court (jointly with WPSI) praying for protection of Bhittarkanika mangroves, sea turtles and demolition of illegal shrimp farms. Interim orders have ensured demolition of prawn farms.
viii) I.A. filed in Supreme Court in 2002 for closing down sawmills operating in violation of the Orissa Sawmills and Sawpits Control Act, 1991. Orders led to closure of 25 sawmills in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
ix) Application filed in Supreme Court's Central Empowered Committee (CEC)in 2004 against violation of forest laws by Vedanta Alumina Ltd. Prayer also made not to allow mining at the wildlife rich Niyamgiri hill in Kalahandi district. CEC recommended revocation of environmental clearance and not to allow mining at Niyamgiri. Final orders awaited.
x) PIL filed in Delhi High Court in 2000 for formation of National Environment Tribunal under the Act of 1995. Notice issued to Centre. This Tribunal would be a forum for affected parties to file for claims in case of accidental discharge of effluents by industries.
xi) Intervention in more than ten criminal trial proceedings of accused under the Wildlife Protection Act,1972.This resulted in denial of bail for substantial periods and acted as a deterrent for repetition of offences.
Awards / Citations received :
1. Appointed as a member of the National Board for Wildlife in June,2007.
2. Certificate of Appreciation from PETA ( People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) for exceptional work in the diligent pursuit of an end to illegal transport and cruel slaughter in India.
3. Wildlife Service Award, 2001 by the Sanctuary Asia – ABN Amro Bank for wildlife conservation.
4. Ford Conservation and Environment Grant,2001 in recognition of the valuable contribution towards environmental protection and conservation .
5.Invited in 2002 as an international visitor by the US Government for an education program on "Global Environmental Issues".Learnt about wise environment and wildlife management.
Contact: [email protected]