India creates network of wildlife sanctuaries


New Delhi : India has set up a network of 606 wildlife sanctuaries and national parks for efficient management of wildlife, Minister of State for Environment and Forests S. Regupathy said Wednesday.

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Addressing a function to celebrate Wildlife Week, Regupathy said: “For better management and protection of wildlife, a large network of 606 protected areas comprising 96 national parks and 510 wildlife sanctuaries has been created.”

“This covers an area of 15.59 million hectare,” he said.

The minister said that Project Tiger has been restructured and transformed into National Tiger Conservation Authority with wider mandate and powers.

He said his ministry was emphasising on expeditious settlement of rights of forest dwellers, improved habitat management and strengthening of enforcement infrastructure.

“Recently, the focus has been on eco-development and improvement of rural livelihood programmes that take care of the entire landscape,” he said, adding that people’s participation was crucial for implementation of policies and programmes.

He conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Conservation Awards to Mike Pandey for 2004 and to Himmat Singh Negi for 2005.

The government instituted the award to encourage people and institutions to contribute towards wildlife conservation.

India celebrates Wildlife Week in the first week of October.

Upholding the stellar role of people in conserving biodiversity, Meena Gupta, ministry of environment and forests secretary, said conservation movements like Chipko Movement in Uttarakhand and the Bishnoi’s wildlife conservation in Rajasthan were bright examples of it.