The state forest department proposes to declare 11 areas in Kolhapur, Nagpur, Amravati, Satara and Sindhudurg districts as conservation reserves during a meeting with the State Board for Wildlife on Friday.
Of this, Munia and Mogarkasa are in Nagpur; Mahendri in Amravati; Chandgad, Gaganbawda, Bhudargad, Vishalgad and Panhalgad in Kolhapur; Jor-Jambhali and Mayani in Satara and Amboli-Dodamarg in Sindhudurg.
All the areas witness tiger movement.
Meanwhile, Wardha MP Ramdas Tadas had in September written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to declare Mahendri in Amravati as a sanctuary instead of a conservation reserve. Mahendri reserve forest connects Melghat, Pench and Satpuda tiger reserves and has witnessed the presenceof the big cats.
According to the Union environment ministry, conservation reserves are protected areas that act as buffer zones or connectors and migration corridors between established national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserved and protected forests. These protected areas were first introduced in the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act, 2002, because of reduced protection in and around existing or proposed protected areas as a result of private ownership of land and change in land use.
If all the 11 proposed conservation reserves are approved by the State Board of Wildlife, Maharashtra will have 19 conservation reserves.
Currently, there are 92 conservation reserves across the country.
In June, the state government had declared 29.53 sq km area, comprising 10 villages in Dodamarg taluka at Sindhudurg, as the Tillari Conservation Reserve. It was the first notified conservation reserve along the Konkan coast.
As opposed to a forest reserve, national parks and sanctuaries, conservation reserves do not have eco-sensitive zones around it. However, any developmental or agricultural activity within the reserve needs approval from the state and central wildlife board.
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