Sunday 28 August 2011

Uttar Pradesh’s first elephant reserve for conservation of elephants in UP & Uttarakhand forests

Written by Anil Singh

With human settlements and infrastructure i.e. roads, rail lines etc increasingly encroaching elephant habitats in most parts of the country; the announcement of the Uttar Pradesh Government to set up state’s first elephant reserves is a welcome step.

According to a senior forest official posted at Saharanpur, district of Uttar Pradesh, the state forest department has already started work on the state's first elephant reserve, which is proposed to be established in the state’s Saharanpur and Bijnore districts.

The department has already started the 'habitat management' for elephants in the identified districts. The habitat management work will involve restoration of elephant habitat by way of plantation fo vegetation best suited for food and shelter needs of elephants in wild.

The reserve which will be a result of a centrally sponsored 'Project Elephant' scheme and basically aims at conservation and management of habitat for elephants and restoring the elephant corridors in the state; acknowledging the elephants’ need of a bigger area to move and the reserve through habitat management; will aim to revive the elephant corridors (traditional paths of elephant movement).

Besides, the corridors will also allow an easy movement of elephant population between UP and Uttarakhand forest areas and check man- elephant conflict. Notably, elephant habitat in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have been shrinking due to setting up of human settlements under planned development on traditional elephant corridors. This has resulted in increased incidents of elephant human conflict.

More about the new First Elephant reserve in UttarPradesh:

The notification issued by the state government in September 2009 has delineated the area for the reserve in Saharanpur and Bijnore districts under Project Elephant of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). The reserve will also develop and ecologically restore corridors and migratory routes of elephants spanning over 744.096 sq km of forest land. It will extend over Shivalik forest division in Saharanpur and Bijnore and Najibabad forest divisions in Bijnore. The reserve will have some 309 sq km of its area lying under Shivalik division and the rest under Bijnore.

Mohand, Shakumbari and Barkala ranges in Shivalik and Amangarh, Kauria, Sahanpur, Rajgarh, Barahapur and Sahuwala ranges in Bijnore and Najibabad have been declared as the area for elephant reserve in the notification.

The Centre has already released funds for the reserve and has also taken up works like providing solar fencing in Najibabad.

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