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Giving wildlife a fighting chance: The new face of conservation in India

Some of India's top wildlife biologists and ecologists believe that the Forest Rights Act gives both tribals and wildlife a fighting chance

The Soliga people have lived with, shaped and used the forests of the Biligiriranga Hill, Karnataka for generations before it was locked down as a sanctuary
The Soliga people have lived with, shaped and used the forests of the Biligiriranga Hill, Karnataka for generations before it was locked down as a sanctuary

No outsider is allowed to visit the 30 families of Gombegallu hamlet in Kollegal tehsil of Chamarajnagar, Karnataka, without the written permission of the authorities. Their village is an enclosure — called the Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple (BRT) Tiger Reserve. Consequently, they do not enjoy the rights that other citizens in the country take for granted. Basic services and facilities like water, electricity, healthcare, childcare, roads — all require special permissions and depend on the authorities’ discretion. Even in a medical emergency an ambulance cannot ...