India // Sikkim //

River dams and roaming bears

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Industrialization and the construction of dams and numerous hydroelectric projects on Sikkim’s rivers has brought pressure on the state’s diminishing indigenous population especially in Dzongu, the heartland of the Lepchas, threatening their lifestyle and heritage. Although the voice of their protest is now all but lost, the destruction of habitat and the extraordinary strain on the state’s fragile road system is self-evident. For more information, visit whttp://www.weepingsikkim.blogspot.com.

The loss of forest cover has also brought out black bears wandering into villages and towns, including the outskirts of Gangtok, foraging for food. Attacks are not uncommon and the State’s only response seems to be to kill the unfortunate intruders rather than relocate them and protect their habitat.

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