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From A Home For Big Cats, To Elephant Sanctuary, Now To An Island Of Despair

18/05/2022 at 7:03 AM

By D N Singh

When we celebrate nature and its inmates as a family on earth, it should be inclusive of all that we live with. The universal family concept is half done without the multitude of species in the wild who create the base of symbiosis. Man alone cannot exist. 

Not to go far let’s take a look at the Chandaka Elephant Sanctuary, barely 20 kilometers away from the capital city Bhubaneswar, a gorgeous combo of concrete monstrosity and rapid urbanization.

Time has undergone change rapidly so. Accordingly, the geographic surroundings and the characteristics of Chandaka Elephant Sanctuary.

Its history may be dated back to 1982 but this splendid forest was more known as a home for the big cats like tigers and leopards. And the last tiger of this spectacular habitat breathed its last in 1967.

Besides big cats, this home for the wilders enjoyed an abundance of other en numbers of species worthy of mention.

However, after the declaration of the Chandaka-Dampada Wildlife Sanctuary, there was a shift in focus and the entire concentration was on the elephants. Then home to more than 72 wild elephants reigning over the 175.79 square kilometers of the sanctuary limits.

For quite some time Chandaka Sanctuary was known for its isolation and virginity with sufficient forest, water bodies, aquifers, and all that was required for the majestic animal like the elephant.

An animal is known for its migratory instincts they used to take to the natural corridors to go out and come back.

But things underwent a transformation and the human greed slowly inched closer to the sanctuary. Even inside the sanctuary, the footfalls of human ingress were accorded more priority than wildlife management.

The fodders like bamboo, mango, jackfruit, and so on were replaced by sal and other fast-growing plantations making it a paradigm shift from what elephants could have been comfortable with.

Visitors became the focus and the simultaneous logistical developments like bungalows and rest sheds inside the sanctuary.

In which race, the flagship inmates like elephants were given a short-shrift. This obviously resulted in the forced migration of more elephants from within taking to the by then honey-combed corridors by the developmental activities. As a result, there were increasing instances of man-animal conflict and the subsequent disarray in the whole scenario of conservation.

Water bodies shrunk and despite sufficient allocations of funds, the efforts, mostly bureaucratically driven, suffered from misplaced priority. The gigantic herbivores faced a dismal state of survival.

About the Author:

DN Singh is a Bhubaneswar-based senior journalist.


This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com

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