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Monday, March 5, 2012

4 new areas notified as sanctuaries

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Mar 5, 2012, 02.33AM IST NAGPUR: In a big boost for wildlife, and tigers in particular, the state government has notified four new sanctuaries by adding around 350 sq km to the existing 8,100 sq km under the protected area (PA) network. The notifications were issued on February 27 and 28, and March 1, 2012. The areas that have been notified include Umarzari adjoining Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary (152.81 sq km); Navegaon sanctuary around Navegaon National Park (133.88) and new Bor sanctuary around existing Bor Wildlife Sanctuary (61.1 sq km). The notification will pave the way for declaring Navegaon-Nagzira as a tiger reserve and Bor as part of the Pench Tiger Reserve. The state has also renotified 2 sq km area of Nannaj sanctuary, which was the best potential area for Great Indian Bustards (GIBs). When the 8,496.44 sq km bustard sanctuary was denotified to 1,222.61 sq km, the 2 sq km area was also included in it. However, now it has again been notified. Official sources said to compensate the reduction in area of Nannaj sanctuary in Solapur district, the government has come up with four new areas as sanctuaries. Wildlife experts like Kishor Rithe, Bittu Sahgal and Debi Goenka have welcomed the move but said the move is inadequate to actually compensate the loss of protected area. They claimed that it was decided that area to be deleted from Nannaj sanctuary would be compensated by notifying equal area as sanctuaries in Maharashtra. "The GIB sanctuary area was reduced from 8,496.44 sq km to 1,222.61 sq km, whereas government has only declared approximately 350 sq km area as new sanctuaries. Hence, the efforts are not enough," Rithe, who is also member of the National Wildlife Board (NBWL), said. "As per the National Wildlife Action Plan, India should reserve 10% area under wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. After Nannaj denotification, the area in the state has drastically decreased from 4.97% to 2.6% i.e. from 15,332.49 sq km to 8,058.66 sq km - a sharp drop of 60.55%. The government needs to bring more areas under the PA network," said Debi Goenka. "There are three potential areas; Kopela-Kolamarka (Gadchiroli), Umred-Karangla (Nagpur) and some good grassland areas in Marathwada, which can be declared as sanctuaries," said conservationist Bittu Sahgal. According to official sources, Bor sanctuary will be extended to 120.39 sq km. It will include existing sanctuary area of 61 sq km area and adjoining 60.70 sq km (12.24 sq km from Nagpur and 48.46 sq km from Wardha). The 120.39 sq km Bor will be 'satellite' core of 257.23 sq km Pench along with 172.86 sq km Mansinghdeo sanctuary. If entire area of these three PAs is clubbed, Pench will become 550.47 sq km. As per the latest (2010-11) tiger estimation report of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), there are 24 tigers in Pench-Bor landscape. Looking into these tiger-rich areas, former environment minister Jairam Ramesh during his city visit on September 13, 2010, had made it clear that Navegaon-Nagzira and Bor would be declared as tiger reserves.

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