Animal-friendly Ridge with no barbed fences
- Experts said such initiatives will ensure that the only continuous green space in the national capital is preserved.
To make the Delhi Ridge safer for animals and birds, the city’s forest department is going to implement a detailed plan to ban the use of barbed wires and concertina fencing, which could potentially injure animals, senior forest department officials said.
They said with the onset of summer, the department is also working on increasing the availability of water through natural channels in the Ridge for animals.
A senior forest department official said district-level teams have been working towards minimising the use of barbed wires and concertina coils within the Ridge area. “The use of such potentially harmful items will be minimised so that animals, are not accidentally trapped and get injured. The wires will remain on the main boundary walls but inside the Ridge, they will be removed,” the official said.
While instances of any major injuries to animals have not been reported from any part of the Ridge in the recent years, in July last year, a leopard died from his injuries in Coimbatore after getting trapped in a barbed wire. He sustained grave injuries to his stomach, neck.
Delhi’s Ridge is home to several animal species, including Indian crested porcupine, Bengal fox, Nilgai, Golden jackal and blackbuck among others. There have also been sightings of leopards in Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary and Yamuna Biodiversity Park.
The forest department first floated the proposal to reduce the use of potentially hazardous material inside the Ridge in 2020. The matter was also put up for discussion before the Ridge Management Board (RMB) in September last year. The meeting was, however, cancelled as the file for the appointment of two of the independent members to the RMB was stuck with the environment minister.
On Friday, during the first meeting of the board with the newly appointed independent RMB members, this proposal was discussed and was cleared. The RMB is a body headed by the chief secretary of Delhi, by the directions of the Supreme Court, for the preservation of the city’s ‘green lungs’.
Currently, apart from having barbed wires and concertina coils in the fences, these items are used in various portions of the Ridge to demarcate sections and to stop encroachers from entering the protected areas of forest. For instance, in the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, wires are used to stop residents from nearby residential colonies such as Sangam Vihar, from trespassing into the Ridge.
With the onset of summer, when temperatures in Delhi soar, the forest department is working towards increasing the availability of water in the forest area through natural means. Officials said that water holes could be provided around areas with maximum animal habitation so that they do not have to solely depend of the natural springs.
Experts said such initiatives will ensure that the only continuous green space in the national capital is preserved.
Vimlendu Jha, executive director of environment NGO Swechha and the former member for the RMB, said, “All efforts for the preservation of the Ridge and its occupants are welcome. Depending on the nature of these water holes, it can also help recharge the groundwater. The focus should be on minimising the intervention of humans and man-made material that could potentially harm animals.”