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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Maharashtra first state to release its own Wildlife Action Plan

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray released the plan in the State Wildlife Board meeting on Tuesday. The plan will be a guiding document for an action plan for wildlife conservation for the next decade.

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai |
October 12, 2021 10:04:50 pm
The new plan will be implemented over the next 10 years. (File)

Maharashtra on Tuesday became the first state to release its own Wildlife Action plan (2021-30). The new plan, which will be implemented over the next 10 years, recognises concerns about climate change impacts on wildlife, coastal ecosystems, marine biodiversity, flora and fauna.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray released the plan in the State Wildlife Board meeting on Tuesday. The plan will be a guiding document for an action plan for wildlife conservation for the next decade.

The plan has suggested integrating climate change adaption in wildlife conservation. “To develop a Climate Action Plan for the Coastal Region of the state in sync with the ‘State Climate Change Action Plan’ with special emphasis on ‘Climate Change Adaptation’ (CCA) and ‘Disaster Risk Reduction (DDR)’,” the plan states.

It adds, “Take up studies on effects of climate change on flora and fauna; climate adaptation and mitigation, carbon credits and other related research on climate change.”

The plan focuses on 12 areas— Conservation of the species, Control of Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade, Mitigation of Human-Wildlife Conflict and Rescue, Wildlife Health Management, Conservation of Inland Aquatic System, Conservation of Coastal and Marine Ecosystems, Management of Tourism in Wildlife Areas, Conservation Awareness and Outreach, People’s participation, Strengthening Research and Monitoring, Ensuring Sustained Funding for Wildlife Sector and Integrating State Wildlife Action Plan with other Sectoral Programmes and Strengthening and Enhancing Protected Area Network in Maharashtra State.

“Coastal ecosystems are extremely vulnerable to climate change and the spread of invasive species. It is therefore imperative to investigate, quantify and monitor the impacts of climate change on marine biodiversity and its possible relationship with invasive species,” states the document.

The plan lists down the current scenario under each of the 12 chapters, initiatives taken, action required in the next decade, the priority projects and also assigns a time frame to the completion of the project.

While the National Wildlife Action Plan provides a broad overview, the state action plan provides specific priority actions required for the conservation of wildlife in the state. On the need for the plan, an official said, “This structure will enable the field official as well as decision-makers to formulate various priority projects on a variety of subject areas for the varied duration and assist in financing the proposed projects for wildlife conservation in the state.”

The plan has also integrated wildlife concerns in other sectors of the state government that are involved in infrastructure development, and rural development, agriculture, tourism and tribal development have been highlighted.

The plan will be implemented in a timely manner by setting up a committee of concerned government departments, governmental organisations in the area and non-governmental organisations. Environment minister Aditya Thackeray suggested that a monitoring committee should be set up to see whether the implementation of this plan is going well.

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