Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Union setting ministry has revealed the ultimate notification for the buffer space round Maharashtra’s 351.16 sq km Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary in Kolhapur district. The closing eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of the sanctuary now can have an space of 250.6 sq km unfold throughout 200 m to six.01 km in opposition to the initially proposed 230.6 sq km within the draft notification of 2019. The 20 sq km accounts for a 9% improve within the protected space.

The notification was revealed on October 15 and made public on Wednesday.

There are 41 villages within the notified ESZ in Kolhapur and Vaibhavwadi Sindhudurg districts. “The minimum extent of the ESZ (200 meters) was due to the non-availability of forest land near Kurli village of Sindhudurg district. However, we have managed to protect much more area than in our draft notification towards the western end of sanctuary. With this, over 70% of existing area is protected around the sanctuary,” stated V Clement Ben, chief conservator of forest (Kolhapur).

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Located in the direction of the southern hills of the Sahyadri vary of the Western Ghats within the catchment areas of Shahu Sagar and Laxmi Sagar reservoirs, the sanctuary is house to 264 fowl species (migratory and resident), 47 species of mammals, about 59 species of reptiles, 20 species of amphibians and 66 species of butterflies throughout the blended panorama of semi-evergreen, evergreen and tropical deciduous forests.

Important wildlife there contains the leopard cat, frequent palm civet, frequent mongoose, Indian wild canine, sloth bear, Indian big squirrel, elephants, gaurs, tigers, and leopards.

“The extremely close vicinity of RWS [Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary] to human habitation and ongoing developmental activities necessitates the requirement of proper safeguards and control over such activities. It is necessary to conserve and protect the area, the extent, and boundaries … from an ecological, environmental and biodiversity point of view and to prohibit industries or class of industries and their operations,” the ministry stated in its closing notification.

Establishing an ESZ round a wildlife space helps preserve the ecosystem since solely agriculture, small scale industries, and minor infrastructure work are permitted in an ESZ. Mining and crimson class industries are prohibited.

“The final notification enhances protection for this zone. Now the deemed ESZ of 10 km will cease to exist. This will help in the execution of development projects in a smooth manner outside the notified area while stressing the importance of stringent measures in the notified area. It will overall strengthen wildlife conservation and ensure mining and pollution-causing industries are prohibited in the notified ESZ,” stated Ben.

Activist Satyajit Chavan stated, “This is a welcome decision as peripheral areas around the sanctuary were being eyed by the mining lobby. We hope other areas such as the Dodamarg-Sawantwadi corridor will also get similar protection.”

Similar to different ESZ notifications, an inventory of prohibited, regulated, and promoted actions have been listed within the closing notification. It has known as for the preparation of a zonal grasp plan inside two years from the date of publication for the safety of the ESZ. An ESZ monitoring committee headed by the Kolhapur district collector has additionally been constituted. “The monitoring committee will ensure proper enforcement of allowed, regulated, or prohibited activities in the ESZ,” stated a Union setting ministry official, requesting anonymity.

In December 2018, the Supreme Court directed the ministry to declare ESZs round 21 nationwide parks and wildlife sanctuaries with out buffer zones.

“We have finalised the ESZs around almost all sanctuaries and national parks. We now aim to propose more protected areas including conservation and community reserves,” the ministry official stated.

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