29 October, 2020

No One Asked The Musk Deer

The Black Buck stops here. So do the river dolphin, the snow leopard and other kin of the wild, doomed to extinction as India Shining swamps their homes.

Bittu Sahgal / Sanctuary Photolibrary
No One Asked The Musk Deer
It doesn't seem like a good year ahead for wildlife in the country. On death row are unfortunate snow leopards, musk deer, black bucks, Gangetic river dolphins, Great Indian Bustards, clouded leopards, Himalayan tahr and many other critically endangered wildlife species endemic to India. Plans to denotify entire sections of three national parks and biodiversity hotspots—the Desert National Park near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, the lower Subansiri river valley in Arunachal Pradesh and the Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary in Pithoragarh, Uttaranchal—herald the merciless decimation of flora and fauna. The future of a fourth protected area, the Govind National Park in Uttarkashi, Uttaranchal, home to more than 150 rare species of Himalayan birds, hangs uncertain.

And if the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), a little-known statutory body chaired by PM, has its way, many Indian parks and sanctuaries might be well on their way to becoming denotified land—denotification of an area implying that it is no longer protected, and can be utilised for commercial development. Ever since the...


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