Lemru Elephant Reserve (LER)
Recently, the Government of Chhattisgarh has allocated the Lemru Elephant Reserve area to Recently, the Chhattisgarh government has proposed to reduce the Lemru Elephant Reserve area from 1,995 sq km to 450 sq km. Due to this controversy has arisen over the issue of Lemru Elephant Sanctuary.
- It is to be known that Lemru Elephant Sanctuary is to be established in Chhattisgarh. For this it was proposed in the year 2005, and approved by the central government in the year 2007.
- In the year 2007, the central government gave permission for the creation of the Lemru Elephant Reserve with a forest area of 450sq km and in the year 2019 the state government decided to expand this area to 1,995sq km.
- This sanctuary is located in Korba district of Chhattisgarh.
- The sanctuary’s goal is to prevent ‘human-wildlife conflict’ and reduce property destruction as elephants move from Odisha and Jharkhand to Chhattisgarh in the region.
- Earlier in October 2020, the Reserve (Protected Area/Reserve) was notified by the State Government under Section 36A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA).
- There is a special provision in Section 36A of the Act which empowers the Union Government to process notification in case of areas belonging to the center of land to be notified as protected area or reserve area.
- It may be noted that elephant reserves are not sanctioned under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA).
Reasons for Reducing Reserve Area:
- The proposed area under the reserve is a part of the Hasdeo Arand forests, a more diverse bio-zone that is also rich in coal deposits.
- The government says that, if the area of the proposed reserve is not reduced, many coal mines located in it will become unusable.
- Seven of the 22 coal mines or blocks in this area have already been allotted, while 3 are under mining and another 4 are in the process of being excavated.
Importance of Reserve:
- North Chhattisgarh alone is home to more than 240 More than 150 elephants have died in the state in the last 20 years, out of which 16 elephants died between June and October 2020.
- Elephants found in Chhattisgarh are relatively new. Elephants started roaming in undivided Madhya Pradesh in the year
- Whereas in Madhya Pradesh there was a policy to curb the movement of elephants coming from Jharkhand. After the formation of Chhattisgarh, due to the lack of a formal policy, elephants were allowed to be used as a corridor in the northern and central parts of the state.
- Since these animals were relatively new, the human-animal conflict began when elephants wandered the inhabited areas in search of food.
Other Protected Areas in Chhattisgarh:
- Achanakmar Tiger Reserve.
- Indravati Tiger Reserve.
- Sitanadi-Udanti Tiger Reserve.
- Kanger Valley National Park.
- Badalkhol Tamor Pingla Elephant Sanctuary.
About the Elephant
An elephant is a keystone species. A total of three subspecies of elephants are found in the Asian continent – Indian, Sumatran, and Sri Lankan. The number and range of Indian elephants are extremely wide.
Conservation Status of Indian Elephants:
Elephants have been kept in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule-I. Apart from this, it has been kept in the “Endangered” category under the IUCN Red List.
India’s initiatives for conservation of elephants:
- GajYatra: This is a nationwide campaign started for the protection of elephants. It was launched in the year 2017 on the occasion of World Elephant Day.
- Project Elephant: It is a centrally run scheme. It was started in the year
- Seed Bombs: Recently, Odisha’s Athagarh Forest Division has started using ‘seed balls’ inside various reserve forest areas to enrich the food reserves for wild elephants to prevent human-elephant conflict.
International Initiative for Conservation of Elephants:
Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants -MIKE
It is run by the Conference of the Parties (COP) of CITES. It was started in the year 2003 in South Asia with the following objectives –
- Measuring the level and trend of elephant poaching.
- To determine the change in these trends over time.
Source – The Hindu