There are five National Parks, 14 Wildlife Sanctuaries and 35 Wildlife Conservation reserves extended over an area of about 16,000 Sq km in Jammu and Kashmir, the Minister for Forests, Environment and Ecology, said Bali Bhagat.
Bhagat, during the launch Wildlife Week, said forests and wildlife play vital role in maintaining environment balance. “Protecting environment is most important issue. A change in environment is happening due to degradation and depletion of forests. The survival of man is dependent on forests and wildlife,” he states.
Asking the authorities of Wildlife Department to take concrete measures for containing man-animal conflicts, Bali underscored the need for sensitizing the people, living near the forests, about the precautions needed to be taken whenever there is any such conflict.
Referring to retrieval of encroached forest land, the Minister said that 9,000 kanals of forest land has been retrieved so far from the encroachers, adding that efforts afoot to retrieve the rest of the land. “The fencing of forest areas is being done with missionary zeal to avoid the future encroachment of forests,” he said.
The theme of the Wildlife Week this year is “Living with Wildlife”. Minister of State for Forest Abdul Majeed Padder appealed the stakeholders to make the state green and safe haven for its rich biodiversity. He asked the concerned for preparing more projects for conservation and preservation of wildlife and wetlands. “Laying barbed wires along the forests can also be helpful in saving the lives of wild animals,” he stated.
Chairman, National Society for protection of Water Resources, Wetlands and Forests Nazir Benazir called for constituting eco-development Committees, Environment club and Honourary wildlife Wardens, saying that these would go a long way in conservation and preservation of wildlife, forests and wetlands.
The Ministers distributed prizes among the winners of inter-school essay and painting competitions; while the students presented colorful cultural programme and skits on conservation of wildlife, man-animal conflict which was highly applauded by the audiences.