THE nonchalance of salt manufacturers
as well as the government is causing
destruction to the wild ass sanctuary in
the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. The
Kutch is also home to the near-extinct
Great Indian Bustard, the caracal and
the desert cat.
The Kutch wild ass belongs to the Asiatic wild ass family and is found occasionally in Ladakh. It can tolerate extreme fluctuations in temperature, from the biting cold of Ladakh at 16,000 feet to the searing heat of the Kutch at 45 C. There were around 5,000 salt manufacturers in and near the site in 1973, when the area was declared a sanctuary. The number has unfortunately increased by 500 per cent. Prakriti Mandal, a group formed by local environmentalists to save the sanctuary vehemently opposes this increase. Nearly 2,000 trucks engaged in carrying salt are seen destroying the sanctuary land day in and day out.
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