Several elephant habitats and forest corridors used by wildlife fall outside sanctuaries and parks
Elephant reserves and wildlife corridors in the country might soon get legal protection. The Union minister of state for environment and forests, Jayanthi Natarajan has announced that the Wildlife Protection Act will be amended for this purpose. She was speaking at the sixth meeting of the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) on September 6.
At present, several elephant habitats and forest corridors used by wildlife fall outside the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. They have been identified for conservation purpose but have no legal protection. Prerna Bindra, a non-official member of the board, had raised the matter in the meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. She said infrastructure and other development projects proposed near elephant reserves and wildlife corridors should be scrutinised by the standing committee of NBWL like in the case of national parks and sanctuaries.
While the ministry agreed to the proposal, not much was discussed on the contentious issue of allowing tourism in the core areas of the tiger reserves. The matter was brought into the agenda of the meeting by tiger expert Valmik Thapar who has publicly opposed the ban on tiger tourism. Natarajan, however, played safe saying the issue was sub judice. She said the ministry had constituted a committee to review its eco-tourism guidelines as per the court's order. Similarly, not much was discussed on the issue of lion translocation and cheetah re-introduction as these matters are under the consideration of the Supreme court.
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