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State Allows Destruction of Critical Tiger and Elephant Corridor 



September 18, 2009

The 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.  

At 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.

A 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.  


Contacts:

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



 

 

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