Ministry blow to tiger habitat
For the already shrinking wildlife habitat, the Environment and Forest ministry has served a deathblow by allowing an Indo-Tibetan Border Police camp in the middle of a forest, a vital corridor for movement of tigers and elephants in Nainital district of Uttrakhand, reports Chetan Chauhan.india Updated: Sep 19, 2009 01:03 IST
For the already shrinking wildlife habitat, the Environment and Forest ministry has served a deathblow by allowing an Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) camp in the middle of a forest, a vital corridor for movement of tigers and elephants in Nainital district of Uttrakhand, 300 km northeast of Delhi.
The forestland across Gola river in Lalkaun area, on which the camp has been allowed, connects 1,000 sq km of Central and East Terai forests, which has over 200 elephants and 100 tigers. Dehradun based Wildlife Institute of India in 2003 had categorised the corridor as critical for sustaining wildlife in area, one of the best habitats for tigers and elephants in India.
Two infrastructure projects —Indian Oil Corporation and a Railway depot — have already been built in middle of the corridor.
“Setting up of the camp has meant that entire forest in a kilometer area will be wiped out,” said Dr Anil Kumar Singh of Wildlife Trust of India. “The entire Terai Arc landscape stretching from Yamuna river near Saharanpur, in the West, to Bagmati river near Chitwan National Park in Nepal, in the East, has been divided into two.”
The ministry, entrusted with the job of protecting wildlife, approved the Uttrakhand Forest department’s proposal earlier this year to divert 36 hectares for forestland to ITBP. Project Elephant Directorate in the ministry had opposed it.
Locals learnt about the approval only recently when the construction started. On Friday, WTI, World Wildlife Fund, The Corbett Foundation and Wildlife Protection Society of India lodged a protest saying that the decision, if not reversed, will hamper growth of tiger and elephant population in the region.