The Indian government has discovered that the best way to protect their national reserves from human traffic is to scare people away with ghost stories. Locals who have been slashing forests and slaughtering wildlife will keep away from those areas if ghostly legends surround them.

The Arunachal Pradesh government preys on the Nishi tribe?s traditional fear of demonic eels in order to save Bek Senyik, a marshy lake that sustains a key bio-diversity zone in one of their districts.

The Meghalays government has created a spirit called ?ryngkiew? that is the savior of the Pdah Kyndeng Phud Umngei, a sacred forest that contains a cave filled with bats.

Nagaland, which has been denuded by the lumber industry, also has government agencies and environmentalists creating mythical monsters to keep future foresters away. In Assam, ecologists have asked local ?dainis? or witches to do the job.

?We have documented instances of people claiming to be at the receiving end of evil spirits,? says Arunachal Pradesh Education Minister Dera Natung. ?We are publishing booklets to dissuade people from fishing in Bek Senyik or disturbing the forests.?

Natung admits that perhaps the government shouldn?t rely on superstition in the age of science, but says, ?We see no reason to complain if it provides a certain degree of immunity to the endangered lake.?

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