Daily News Analysis

Proposed Lemru Elephant Reserve in Chhattisgarh

12th July, 2021 ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

Context:

  • The state Forest and Environment Department asked the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) to make a presentation for decreasing the area of the proposed reserve from 1,995 sq km to 450 sq km.

 

Lemru Elephant Reserve

  • The proposed Lemru Elephant Reserve in Chhattisgarh, in the pipeline for 20 years, has become the subject of controversy.
  • The state Forest and Environment Department has asked the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) to make a presentation for decreasing the area of the proposed reserve from 1,995 sq km to 450 sq km.
  • This has run into opposition.

 

What is Lemru Elephant Reserve?

  • The proposal for the reserve, was passed unanimously by the Assembly in 2005 and got central approval in 2007.
  • Lemru is one of two elephant reserves planned to prevent human-animal conflict in the region, with elephants moving into Chhattisgarh from Odisha and Jharkhand.

 

Why does the government want to reduce the size of the reserve?

  • The area proposed under the reserve is part of the Hasdeo Aranya forests, a very diverse biozone that is also rich in coal
  • Of 22 coal blocks in the area, seven have already been allotted with mines running in three, and in the process of being established in the other four.
  • The biggest challenge in increasing the reserve area is that several coal mines would become unusable.

 

Why is the reserve important?

  • North Chhattisgarh alone is a home to over 240 elephants.
  • More than 150 elephants have died in the state over the last 20 years, including 16 between June and October 2020.
  • Elephants in Chhattisgarh are relatively new; they started moving into undivided Madhya Pradesh in 1990.
  • While MP had a policy of pushing back the animals coming from Jharkhand, after Chhattisgarh was formed, the lack of a formal policy allowed elephants to use as a corridor a route in the north and central parts of the state.
  • Since these animals were relatively new, human-animal conflict started once elephants started straying into inhabited areas, looking for food.

 

What happened to the other proposed elephant reserve?

  • Badalkhol Tamorpingla, the other elephant reserve measuring 1048.30 sq km, was notified in September 2011.
  • Tamorpingla wildlife sanctuary exists in the state but no work on the elephant reserve has begun.

 

About Asian Elephant:

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-a-proposed-elephant-reserve-in-chhattisgarh-and-its-reduced-area-7400025/