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IUCN to discuss two Indian sanctuaries

The world body will report on the conservation status of two world heritage sites - the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary and the Keoladeo National Park - at a meet in New Zealand.

india Updated: Jun 19, 2007 11:12 IST

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) is set to report on the conservation status of two world heritage sites in India - the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam and the Keoladeo National Park in Rajasthan - at a meet in New Zealand later this month.

The IUCN will discuss these two Indian world heritage sites at its 31st meeting at Christchurch to be held from June 23 to July 2, said IUCN spokesperson Sarah Halls.

The technical advisory body on natural world heritage sites is planning a mission to Manas in 2009 while a mission to Keoladeo is scheduled for 2008, Halls told IANS via email.

The Manas Wildlife Sanctuary was included as a world heritage site in its danger list in 1992 when National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) militants invaded it. Damage caused to the sanctuary was estimated at over $2 million.

The central and state governments and park authorities elaborated a $235 million rehabilitation plan that began to be implemented in 1997.

The Keoladeo National Park, a migratory area for aquatic birds from Afghanistan, China and Siberia, was included in UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1985. It was a former duck-hunting reserve of the erstwhile maharajas of Rajasthan. As many as 364 bird species, including the rare Siberian crane, have been spotted in the park.

The IUCN reports to the World Heritage Centre every year about the conservation status of certain world heritage sites under threat. Its assessments are derived from a variety of sources - IUCN members, indigenous peoples groups, the scientific community, IUCN commissions and concerned individuals and groups.

During the meet, the body will propose steps to be taken in the sites under threat. Of the 186 world heritage sites, 13 are currently on the danger list, threatened by civil unrest, illegal activities like poaching, mining and logging, inadequate funding or poor management.

The IUCN is also to recommend six new sites this year to be included in Unesco's World Heritage List. The body has carried out missions to 12 sites across the world but no Indian site was among them.