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Askot wildlife sanctuary declared eco-sensitive zone

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    21st Dec, 2021

Context

Askot Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh has been finally declared as an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ).

About

About Askot Wildlife Sanctuary

  • The Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary, established in 1986, was established to protect the endangered Musk Deer and its habitat.
  • The sanctuary area is known as ‘Green Paradise on the Earth’.
  • It is located in Askot, a small hamlet in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district.
  • In the sanctuary there are 2600 plants, 250 birds and 37 mammal species like snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan tahr, blue sheep, serow besides musk deer. 
    • Among the fauna are species like loong, monal, kalij pheasant and cheer pheasant.
  • The sanctuary also has rare varieties of 2,600 Himalayan herbs and 250 varieties of birds and 37 varieties of reptiles.  

Area reduction

  • The Sanctuary area has been reduced—a stretch of 146 square kilometers along which over 111 villages are located has been kept out of the ESZ ambit with an aim to make the flagship species habitat safe from human interference.
  • The sanctuary area is now limited from original area 599.93 square kilometers to only 454.65 square km giving a comparatively little area for the fauna to move around.

Issues/Challenges

Because of the presence of the villages, it had been witnessing:

  • increased human encroachment as well as human animal conflicts
  • biotic interference

Significance of the development

  • The notification will help control excessive grazing, lopping, fire incidence, unscientific exploitation of land, mining and other activities associated with development in the Askot Wildlife Sanctuary”.

What Are Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ)?

  • Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) is a buffer or transition zone around highly-protected areas such as National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas.
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