Sanctuary status for Uttarakhand's Nandhaur get Centre's push
New Delhi, Monday 13th February 2012

Wildlife sanctuary status for Uttarakhand's ecologically sensitive Nandhaur area, which is home to Asian elephants, leopards, tigers and sloth bears, is being actively pursued by the Centre. The government's move came after environmentalists raised apprehension that development in the state may put Nandhaur landscape's eco-system at risk. They also argued that protection of the large swathes of undisturbed forests, which have virtually no habitation, is crucial. Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan has assured a recent meeting of the Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) that she would write to the Uttarakhand Chief Minister to notify around 850 sq km of Nandhaur landscape as a sanctuary as early as possible. "Nandhaur area is a very good habitat for tigers and if protected, it can become as successful as Corbett National Park," NBWL Standing Committee member A J T Johnsingh says. Another member Prerna Bindra informed the Committee that the Forest Advisory Committee had given approval of mining in some cases, and one of the stipulated conditions for diversion of forest land in the said case, was that the Nandhaur Valley be declared a sanctuary. In his proposal to the state government, DFO in Haldwani Amit Verma said that the Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary will create major habitat for tiger and increase the protection of the area against poaching and habitat destruction. The Nandhaur landscape is very rich area in terms of biodiversity as there are more than 100 species of trees, 30 species of shrubs and 20 species of climbers and grasses. It is also home to about 25 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 15 species of reptiles and 20 species of fishes.