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Madhya Pradesh signals NTCA order to close tiger reserves in red | India News


BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh government is in no mood to close any of its tiger reserves, sanctuaries and national parks to tourists.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on Tuesday called on all states to close tiger reserves, national parks and sanctuaries until new orders are issued citing Covid-19 infection as the reason behind the death of one. lioness inside a zoo in Chennai.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has decided to ask the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEFCC) to reconsider the NTCA order following objections raised by top wildlife and forest officials here, they said. the sources.
Chief Secretary (Forest Department) Ashok Barnwal told TOI that the state government has initiated correspondence to have the NTCA order revoked.
“Carrying out tourist activities in these areas would only create conflict situations between man and animals around national parks and tiger reserves. We are contacting the center to reconsider the NTCA order. Until then, tourism activities will continue, ”said the official.
Tourist activities resumed here on June 1 and were scheduled to continue until June 30. Hundreds of people have already booked their hotels and safaris in the Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench, Satpura and Panna tiger reserves.
Many senior forestry officials, including field directors, have opposed the NTCA order. They have made a representation to the government against this.
“We have been closed for a long time as a precautionary measure during the pandemic, but no longer without a logical reason. Just think of the people who depended solely on tourists, ”said an IFS official who wished not to be cited.
“None of the samples sent from the reserves have tested positive for COVID19 so far. Also, who gets close to tigers or any other animals during safaris? If the order is for the zoo, that’s fine. But it shouldn’t be applicable. in the wild, ”he says.
The NTCA order reads: “According to news reports, a lioness at Vandalur Zoo, Chennai is suspected to have died due to Covid-19 infection and several other lions from the same zoo have tested positive for SARS COV-2 “.
This latest case of zoo animals infected by Covid-19 indicates once again the high probability of disease transmission from affected humans to captive wild animals. Similar transmission can also occur in tiger reserves, says a letter from Rajendra G Garawad, deputy inspector general of forests (NTCA) to all states.
“In view of this, it is reiterated once again that to prevent the possible transmission of Covid-19 from humans to wild tigers and other wild animals, all Tiger Reserves under its jurisdiction must be closed for tourist activities until new orders, ”he wrote. adding “In addition, all other instructions issued in video transmissions cited in the reference must be followed in the letter and spirit and the measures taken in this regard can be communicated to this Authority as soon as possible.”

Times of India