The Ministry of Environment and Forests has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court last week reconstituting the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) after the apex court had earlier stayed all the decisions of the standing Committee.
In the affidavit the government has retained the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation and added four NGOs — World Wildlife Fund for Nature-India, New Delhi, Aranyak, Guwahati, Nature Conservation Society, Jharkhand and the Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
The ten eminent conservationists are apart from Prof. R. Sukumar, who was on the standing committee of the Board appointed in July, as also H.S. Singh, a retired Gujarat forest officer, V.B. Sawarkar, former head of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) , S.S. Bisht, a retired IFS officer from Bengal and former director, Project elephant, Dr. P.S. Esa, a veterinarian with the Department of Wildlife, Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), P.R. Sinha, who recently retired as Director of WII, Dr. R.J. Rao, Rector of Jiwaji University, Gwalior, and previously with WII, — he did his PhD on the ecology of aquatic animals in the Chambal River, Dr. Madan Mohan Pant, a retired IFS officer (U.P. Cadre) and a natural resources economist, in which he holds a doctorate, Rajendra P. Kerkar, environmentalist from Goa — he focuses on water purification and protection of the Western Ghats and Lav Kumar Khachar from the royal family of Jasan in Saurashtra, Gujarat, where he is involved with nature education camps in the Hingolgadh Nature Education Sanctuary. A well-known conservationist he has spent his life spreading awareness about nature, especially on ornithology and Gir Forest. He is a member of the Gujarat State Wildlife Board.
A former Board member said that all wildlife experts who spent decades of their life for saving wildlife have been kept away from the Board. Only retired forest officers and some from Gujarat have found a place.