Decision to create ‘Lemru Elephant Reserve’ hailed

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Decision to create ‘Lemru Elephant Reserve’ hailed

Saturday, 17 August 2019 | Staff Reporter | RAIPUR

The announcement of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel to create the long-pending Lemru Elephant Reserve in Korba got thumbs up from the wildlife experts and residents of state.

Chief Minister in his ‘Independence Day’ speech on Thursday while outlining lack of proper habitat for elephants as one of the chief reasons for human-elephant conflict had announced to turn Lemru forest into an elephant reserve.

“Lemru Elephant Reserve of the state will be one-of-its-kind elephant reserve in the world, which will not only serve as   permanent habitat for wild elephants but also prevent damage caused by the movement of elephants. It will contribute towards saving wild life and preserving of biodiversity in the region,” the Chief Minister had stated in his speech.

Lemru (450 sq km) forest in Korba district had became a bone of contention after the erstwhile BJP government in the state avoided notifying it as an elephant reserve though the Central government had asked them to do so. Interestingly, the proposal to declare Lemru as an elephant reserve was sent to the central government during the first tenure of Raman Singh as Chief Minister. After approval from central government the state government developed cold feet and did not notify it as an elephant reserve. Later it was declared a no-go area.

Elephant expert from Surguja, Amalendu Mishra who has been watching the growth of wild elephants for the past three decades says that the decision is worth welcoming.

“This will certainly help in mitigating the human-elephant conflict as the rich forests will definitely provide safe and rich habitat for the pachyderms,” he said.

According to Mishra, Dharamjaigarh, which is the hotbed of human-elephant    conflict, registering over a dozen of deaths this year, will be easy to manage now.

He informed that in 2009 he had also met with the then Union Minister for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh requesting him to look into the Lemru issue.

Ajay Tirki a resident of Korba expressing happiness over the decision opined that wild elephants have equal rights on the earth as any human does and so people must think and act for their betterment as peaceful    co-existence is the only way    forward.

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