Jammu: Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today stressed on further strengthening of wildlife sanctuaries and reserves in the State so that the rare wildlife species, for which Jammu & Kashmir is known world over, are protected adequately and these places become good attractions for adventure lovers.
Chairing the fourth meeting of Jammu & Kashmir State Board for Wildlife here today, the Chief Minister underscored the need for protection and conservation of world famed Hangul, Markhor, Musk Deer and other rare species which have given the State a place of pride not only in India but also in the world. She said the biodiversity of the State is so rich that almost half of the mountain fauna of the world is found in Jammu and Kashmir only and asked the Department for taking concrete steps for the conservation and protection of the same.
Minister for Forests, Lal Singh was also present in the meeting.
Mehbooba Mufti also stressed on ensuring a natural environment in these sanctuaries and reserves rather than pushing the modern day necessities deep inside to provide the wild animals an ambience in which they don’t feel scared or threatened. She said nowadays we see more and more human-animal conflicts and the reason for that is that we have interfered in the life cycle and food chain of wild animals. She appreciated the decision of the Forest Minister to plant 30 % fruit trees in forest areas so that the wild animals don’t have to come down to civilian areas in search of food.
Asking the experts to ponder over these issues, the Chief Minister, who is also the chairperson of the board, said what is required is that the human intervention in the life of wild animals should be minimized to a possible extent. She said where ever required the wild environment at these protected reserves be given further stabilization in its own way rather than using the modern day concrete methods for that.
Mehbooba Mufti complimented the Department for bagging the top slot in a survey conducted by a national media house and hoped the officers and activists together would work for conservation of flora and fauna in the State. She also advised rationalization of manpower among the sister wings of the Department to meet the shortcoming of staff.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister also released Census Report for Hangul in the State.
Earlier briefing the Chief Minister about the activities of the Wildlife Department and the board, the Minister said J&K boasts of a rich and varied wildlife fauna. He said around 16000 square kilometres of area in the State has been earmarked as protected by the Department. He said there are five National Parks, 15 Wildlife Sanctuaries and 37 Conservation Reserves spread on this area.
Mr. Lal Singh said increase in the wildlife would consequentially give boost to tourism activities in the State. He said the State is known for some of the rare wildlife species including Musk Deer, Hangul, Tibetian Antelope, Ibex etc and stressed on their conservation.
Legislators, Mohammad Yousuf Bhat and Charanjit Singh Khalsa, Chief Secretary, B. R. Sharma, Commissioner-Secretary, Forests, Mohammad Afzal Bhat, Commissioner-Secretary, Social Welfare, Additional Director General of Police, V. K. Singh, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, representatives from Wildlife Trust of India, WWF-India, Wildlife Institute of India, Botanical and Zoological Surveys of India, several heads of Departments, Wildlife activists and members of the board were present in the meeting. (KNS)