|State Allows Destruction of Critical Tiger and Elephant Corridor
September 18, 2009
narrow patch of forest across the Gola river near Lalkuan, Dist.
Nainital, Uttarakhand - the only critical corridor for movement of
tigers and elephants between the Terai Central and Terai East Forest
Divisions has recently been completely blocked by infrastructure
development. With the destruction of this vital corridor 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 zones. The destruction of this corridor
has affected free movement of wild elephants, thereby, increasing crop
damage and human killing on both sides of the corridor.
a time of growing awareness, this has come as a severe setback in
maintaining integrity of habitat of free-ranging tigers and elephants
in Uttarakhand. This corridor was identified by the Wildlife Institute
of India, Dehradun, in 2003. Subsequently this corridor featured
prominently in a book titled ‘Right of Passage’ published by Wildlife
Trust of India in 2005 which was endorsed by the Chief Wildlife Warden
of Uttarakhand and Project Elephant Directorate, Ministry of
Environment and Forests (MoEF). However, ignoring all this scientific
rationale, the Uttarakhand Forest Department allowed large scale
infrastructure development in this corridor. Encroachment in this area
has further aggravated the problem.
Concerned by the loss
of this corridor in the Terai Arc Landscape, the MoEF, Government of
India, convened an urgent meeting with the stakeholders on the 16
September 2009 to discuss the status of this problem.
follow-up meeting between The Corbett Foundation, Wildlife Protection
Society of India, Wildlife Trust of India and WWF-India was held on 18
September 2009 at the Secretariat of WWF-India in New Delhi to decide a
way forward for addressing this critical issue. They unanimously
decided that this issue will have to be tackled with a great sense of
urgency. Representatives of the above-mentioned four NGOs plan to join
a team from the MoEF for a site visit with the Uttarakhand Forest
Department to assess the ground situation. Once the site visit is done,
the team will come up with a joint report on the mitigation measures.
WPSI, Ms. Belinda Wright – 98111 90690
TCF, Mr. Kedar Gore – 98202 31239
WTI, Dr. Anil Kumar Singh – 98972 37498
WWF, Dr. Dipankar Ghose – 99686 61133