Govt to push for world heritage status for Western Ghatshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/govt-to-push-for-world-heritage-status-for-western-ghats/

Govt to push for world heritage status for Western Ghats

Pitching for declaring Western Ghats as the world heritage site — part of which is in Pune district — the state government will present its case before an evaluation team of the International Union for Conservation of Nature on Wednesday.

Pitching for declaring Western Ghats as the world heritage site — part of which is in Pune district — the state government will present its case before an evaluation team of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Wednesday. The government will argue that the mountain range be given this recognition as it not only grows over 1,500 varieties of flowers but was also home to large species of wild animals.

The IUCN team will meet the state forest officials,NGOs and experts dealing with conservation issues in the city on Wednesday before it holds field visits. Experts said the meeting assumes significance as rivers from the Western Ghat mountain ranges feed Pune dams such as Khadakwasla and Varasgaon.

Conservator of forests widlife,M K Rao,said,“A two-member evaluation team of the IUCN will meet the officials who will present the case for declaring Western Ghats as world heritage site. We had filed an application three years ago before the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to declare it a world heritage site because of its rich flora and fauna.” Rao said the Western Ghats were a “hot spot” in terms of biodiversity as they grow over 1,500 plant species. “Western Ghats are very rich in bio-diversity. Besides 70 mamals,350 birds,80 butterflies,it is also home to large number of reptiles and amphibious animals. It grows some 1,600 endemic flower plants,” said the wildlife conservator.

The UNESCO recognition will not only help put the Western Ghats on the world heritage map,but also help the state get funds to take “in-situ conservation measures for preservation of flora and fauna”. Wildlife expert and the former director of Wildlife Institute of India,V B Sawarkar,said,“The Western Ghat ecology holds great importance for Pune as well. Besides the Bhimshanker wildlife sanctuary,the mountain ranges of Lonavala also form a part of it.”