Mushrooming resorts a new threat to wildlife: Expert

Illegal hunting, trade in animal products a serious problem.

Bengaluru: While ‘World Wildlife Day’ was observed on Thursday across the globe with the theme ‘The future of wildlife is in our hands,’ wildlife conservationists point out that fragmentation of wildlife habitats and illegal poaching pose a serious threats that continue to affect wildlife in the country. The point out that the latest threat was the mushrooming of resorts in the name of eco-tourism, and many have nothing ecological about it. The need of the hour is that the centre should adopting wildlife protection policies with state governments working on its implementation.

“The present policies are not favorable in terms of consolidation of habitats, which is an urgent requirement for wildlife and biodiversity to thrive. Furthermore Central government needs to come up with favourable polices to address these threats in terms of funding state governments for acquisition of critical parcels of lands, which are ecologically viable to maintain landscape connectivity and reduce the impact of fragmentation, and also to facilitate voluntary resettlement of people from within protected areas, many of whom want to move out,” said Praveen Bhargav, Trustee, Wildlife First.

Illegal hunting continues to be a very serious threat. We must not get carried away by small successes that we had in few important reserves across the country whether its tigers, elephants, rhinoceros, lion tailed macaques or whole lot of other species. The illegal hunting and trade poses a very serious threat and for this the only solution is strong law enforcement 24 hours - 365 days.

For protection of wildlife, we do not need extremely high-tech solutions. We only require basic, but very effective multi-layered protection mechanism which comprises foot patrol, mobile patrolling including intelligence based patrols, check posts on highways, and anti-poaching camps at strategic locations, along with training of the staff and their welfare and not forgetting the prosecution of perpetrators of wildlife crime,” Bhargav asserted.

“The threat of mushrooming holiday resorts which is penetrating some of our protected areas and eco-sensitive areas like Western ghats needs to be controlled and regulated strictly as our wildlife habitats are far too small for the kind of high-end vehicle-borne safari tourism that are being promoted,” Bhargav said.

“Fundamentally, the threat posed by development projects must be addressed through extremely good scientific knowledge, data and technical solutions that exist. One of the major threats is linear intrusions in the form of highways, railway lines, power lines, canals and so forth which are fragmenting wildlife habitat and biodiversity rich areas like Western Ghats. For this there are various scientific solutions in terms of properly designed science specific overpasses, underpasses, canopy connectivity nets, tunnels, bridge designs, underground power cables, all these are not unfortunately at the moment being used as substantial mitigation measures where avoidance is not possible,” Bhargav stated.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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