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Friday, January 15, 2010

The sorry state of Corbett National Park of India

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Reports of hunting and poaching are not new for national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Nearly all the national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserves are facing dangers of hunting and poaching in India. Improper management, carelessness and connections of authorities or employees with bad elements are reported to be old practices now. What has emerged as so far “not much talked about and too much dangerous practice” is the use of these parks as centers of amusement, social celebrations, frequent dance programmes, other practices of merry making, establishments of restaurants, party centres etc. Astonished? Here is a report –

The Corbett National Park has been regarded as India’s best reserve but a study that has been commissioned by the Union Ministry of Tourism itself reveals that the park is surrounded by a number of resorts and up to 70 per cent of these resorts remain always booked as venues for weddings, social celebrations, rain dances ( … don’t know how many types of dances are known to humans on earth), parties, bike races (… hundreds of people die every day in bike- accidents, … bikes that are driven by unlicensed college goers … trying to enjoy the experience of flying in aeroplanes on Indian roads without any sense of left or right … hence bikers don’t need any special track for bike races, … wonder why do they go there … ), and Zorbing etc. activities. It is observed that people joining or organizing these activities often don’t have interest or love for wildlife. The number of resorts established along the border line of the park is due to increase further this year. It is important to mention that the national park has a ceiling of a maximum 600 visitors per day.

Another study reveals that resorts located around the park keep “bright lights on” through the whole nights. Even the resorts don’t adopt proper waste management practices and often tend to burn solid waste emitting harmful gases and smoke around the park and frightening wild animals inside. If we talk of pollution inside the park, it is important to note that out of 77 vehicles owned by the park 26 vehicles have been reported to run on diesel.

Two animal corridors join Rajaji national park with the Corbett but the resorts located around the park have fenced or erected walls around them, thus closing the animal corridor. The villagers displaced by the Tehri dam project have also obstructed the corridor by establishing settlements there.

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