Prerna Singh Bindra has been at the forefront of the battle to conserve India’s wildlife for over a decade. She was a member  of India’s National Board for Wildlife and its core Standing Committee (2010-13). She has also served on Uttarakhand’s State Board for Wildlife. Prerna’s primary focus is protecting wildlife habitats and critically endangered species.  She is a widely published author with over 1,500 pieces on nature and wildlife. She also does travelogues and occasional humour pieces. Prerna’s book The Vanishing: India’s Wildlife Crisis published by Penguin India was released in June 2017.

The Vanishing

Every year, our planet loses over 150 species of plants and animals, and India is very much in the midst of this mass ‘sixth extinction’. We are losing species in our backyard—where are the once ubiquitous sparrows, or the fireflies that lit up our nights? And in the forests, iconic species like the great Indian bustards are down to a hundred, while flamingoes are poised to be wiped off the map of India.

The Vanishing takes an unflinching look at the unacknowledged crisis that India’s wildlife faces, bringing to fore the ecocide that the country’s growth story is leaving in its wake—laying to waste its forests, endangering its wildlife, even tigers whose increasing numbers shield the real story of how development projects are tearing their habitat to shreds.

 

“The Vanishing is a riveting account of one of the greatest threats of our time-the deliberate annihilation of our natural world and with it our access to clean air, sufficient food and potable water.”
India Today
Buy The Vanishing

My Writings

What India wants: “We must cease to perceive environment & forest laws as hurdles’

Protected Areas—barely 4.5% of our land—are the last refuges for our endangered wildlife, and cannot be fragmented any further. They’re strictly no-go, and sacrosanct. Additionally, important wildlife habitats and corridors must be brought under the umbrella of Eco-Sensitive Zones, particularly in view of the escalating human-wildlife conflict nationwide.

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Manas: Nobody’s tiger reserve…

Manas, today, again stands at breaking point. Two days ago, with the outbreak of violence in the region, over 5,000 villagers surrounded and mobbed the Bansbari Range Office causing extensive damage and compelling Forest staff to fire in self-defence. Another camp in the national park, Narayangudi, has been burnt and destroyed and park vehicles have been targeted too. Vehicles of conservation NGOs working the region were also attacked. It is reported that there is a move to withdraw all arms from forest staff in Manas NP. If this is done, how will they defend themselves and the wildlife of Manas in the face of such threats?

It is critical to strengthen the security by putting in paramilitary forces till situations improve and normal patrolling inside Manas can be facilitated. Equally, the forest staff and management of Manas must be supported and strengthened.

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Ecologically (In)sensitive Areas

What has dictated ESZs instead, are interests other than ecological. Taking note of this, members of the NBWL’s Standing Committee, pointed out in a meeting that “the methodology of selection of many ESZs appears to be arbitrary, and at times, influenced by factors other than ecological” and pressed for “a careful oversight mechanism.” Yet, the process has been opaque, with negligible involvement of ecologists, conservationists or scientists outside of the government either at the state or at the centre.

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