The Haryana government has decided to set up an elephant sanctuary on 450 acres of protected forest land at Ban Santour in Yamunanagar district. The work on this project—named Elephant Rehabilitation and Research Centre (ERRC), which will be developed on the lines of Thailand’s Elephant Nature Park Foundation—has already begun on a 50-acre patch of land.
The project would aim at rescuing, rehabilitating the illegally kept domestic elephants and providing them shelter in New Delhi.
While disclosing this in Delhi on Wednesday, the Minister of Forest, Environment, Tourism, Sports and Youth Affairs Haryana, Kiran Choudhry said that an agreement to this effect had been signed between the Government of Haryana and Wildlife SOS, a non government organisation, to establish and maintain ERRC, which is said to be the first of its kind in the country.
The minister said that due to the excessive pressure of development, forests were under great pressure and natural habitat of wild animals was shrinking. She said that the ERRC would be the first venture of its kind in the country and would go a long way in generating awareness among people about threat to wildlife and also rehabilitation of illegally kept domestic elephants.
The NGO Wildlife SOS that is already running a Bear rescue center at Agra for the last 12 years and at four other places in the country.
The co-founder of the NGO Kartick Satyanarayan, said that ERRC was being developed on the model adopted by Elephant Nature Park Foundation in Chang Mai.
“Apart from rescuing elephants from illegal domestic and commercial activity, the center would also device a training programme for the mahawats. We will also transfer technology from Thailand where special emphasis is given on training mahawats,” added Satyanarayan.