Lions' abode gets eco zone cover
The Times Of India
Ahmedabad: The ministry of environment, forest and climate change has notified an area up to a maximum radius of 17.9 km from the current boundary of Asiatic lionsanctuaries in Gujarat as Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ).
Sources in the department said that the ESZ has been notified in consultation with the Gujarat forest department, and it will ease the movement of lions along the natural corridor.
In view of the sensitive nature of the movement of Asiatic lions, the Gujarat forest department decided to have the maximum - 17.9 km radius from sanctuary boundary as ESZ.
"17.9 kilometres from the boundary of the Mitiyala Wildlife Sanctuary, 16.3 km from the boundary of the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and up to 14.98 km from the Paniya Wildlife Sanctuary of Gujarat, has been notified as Eco-Sensitive Zone," states the notification.
The ESZ has been created along the river flowing in the area. In the case of Nalsarovar and other sanctuaries the department had fixed an ESZ ranging from 2 km to 10 km. But in case of Gir Sanctuary, the area has been extended to a maximum of 17.9 km.
The ESZ notification will put an end to setting up of industries in the area, curb illegal mining and will regulate the haphazard and unregulated construction activity.
CCF Junagadh, AP Singh, said, "The ESZ will not cause any issue for the farmers; they would be able to carry on their activities without any hindrance. However, the ESZ will bring about an end to illegal and commercial mining in the area." An official close to the development said there are 523 lions spread across an area of around 22,000 sq km. He said that the entire area where lions are mostly present will now come under ESZ area. This is because the ESZ range for Mityala, Paniya and Girnar Sanctuaries will also play a part.
The notification, while declaring the ESZ area stated that important corridors for the Asiatic lion include the Paniya Shetrunjay Hill Zone and the banks of the river Shetrunji. It mentioned that the reserve forest as well as protected forest patches act as important corridors, while the hilly undulating forests and grassland from Mitiyala Sanctuary to Hippavadli and Shetrunji Hills are also used by animals as effective corridors. The Gir-Girnar corridor of hilly terrain between Gir and Girnar Pass is also used by lions.