New Reserves and Wildlife Sanctuaries of Maharashtra

Maharashtra State Board for Wildlife (MSBWL) recently approved 12 new conservation reserves and 3 wildlife sanctuaries, for boosting wildlife conservation movement and environment protection movement.

Key Facts

  • These protected areas (PAs) will have an area of around 1,000 sq km. In this, an area of 692.74 sq km will be for conservation reserves while an area of 303 sq km will be for wildlife sanctuaries.
  • Approval was given for notification of following conservation reserves:
  1. Chivatibavari and Alaldari in Dhule
  2. Kalwan, Muragad, Triambakeshwar and Igatpuri in Nashik
  3. Raigad and Roha in Raigad district
  4. Bhor in Pune
  5. Dare Khurd (Mahadare) in Satara
  6. Masai plateau in Kolhapur and
  7. Mogarkasa in Nagpur.
  • With this approval, state will also get 3 new wildlife sanctuaries:
  1. Extension of the Lonar wildlife sanctuary
  2. Kolamarka in Gadchiroli- This region is affected by presence of Left-wing extremists. It has endangered Asiatic Wild buffaloes. In 2013, it was notified as conservation reserve.
  3. Muktai Bhawani in Jalgaon

Why is consent of wildlife board required?

  • According to the provisions of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, consent of wildlife board is required, in order to notify any fresh protected areas in the state.
  • Till date, 15 conservation reserves were notified in Maharashtra. With the addition of 12 new conservation reserves, the number will increase to 27.

Challenges in notifying area

Whenever an area is notified as a wildlife sanctuary, it leads to opposition from stakeholders and local residents because it becomes an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ), in which no developmental activities are allowed. However, no restrictions involve with the conservation reserves. They connect existing Protected Areas such as sanctuaries and national parks and act as wildlife migration corridors.

Cost of the project

It is a Rs 1,595 crore project and will be undertaken by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).

National Parks in Maharashtra

Maharashtra has six national parks, besides 15 conservation reserves and 50 sanctuaries. It has six tiger projects, namely, Melghat, Pench, Tadoba-Andhari, Navegaon-Nagzira, Bor and Sahyadri. According to ‘Status of Tigers in India, 2018’ report, which is published by National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA), estimated number of tigers in the state was 312 as opposed to 190 in 2014.

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