New Delhi: The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) is all set to identify a new range of endangered species, including the snow leopard, clouded leopard, red panda, rhinoceros, vultures and Great Indian Bustards, for greater conservation efforts in the next five years, ThePrint has learnt.
In its five-year plan to be presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi shortly, the wildlife division of the MoEF is likely to propose a range of new steps including the conservation of these species and their habitats, launching a new eco-tourism policy, intensification of marine conservation and launching a national project on the evaluation of ecosystem services.
According to sources in the ministry, the government is also expected to draft a specific policy on man-animal conflict and ways to address it.
“The Minister (Prakash Javadekar) wants the ministry to come up with a specific policy in this regard… But it is at a very nascent stage, so it wouldn’t be presented to the PM just yet,” said an official in the ministry who didn’t wish to be identified.
While the government has already seen some success as far as conservation of lions, tigers and elephants is concerned, it now wants to bring more endangered species within its fold.
“This would also include the conservation of their habitats, and ensure involvement of locals in the concerned areas,” the official said. “One of our focus areas would be North-Eastern states.”
In addition, the government will seek to enhance steps in bio-diversity conservation in the marine areas.
“The government is planning to issue a policy on Marine turtle conservation… And other marine species which we would issue conservation policies on priority are Dungongs, Dolphins and Arabian sea humpback whales,” the official added.
New eco-tourism policy
In a bid to address the lacuna in policies regarding eco-tourism, the government had drafted a new one last year. The policy is expected to lay down rules for tourism in protected areas such as national parks, conservation reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, etc.
The Modi government will now seek to launch the policy, which will entail the demarcation of sensitive areas used for wildlife breeding and other inviolate areas from the tourism areas.
It is also expected to push for the creation of transboundary national park sanctuaries between India and Bhutan and India and Sri Lanka.
As reported by ThePrint earlier, an MoU for a similar agreement with Nepal is all set to be signed by the two governments.
“The concept of transboundary cooperation with regard to wildlife sanctuaries and national parks would be a game-changer in reducing wildlife crimes, enhance tourism and improve bilateral ties,” the environment ministry official said.
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