Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Places in news: Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary

Mains level: Not Much


Central Idea

  • Debrigarh, a wildlife sanctuary in Odisha’s Bargarh district, has achieved a significant milestone by becoming completely free of any human settlement.

Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Geographic Position: The Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Bargarh district of Odisha, near the city of Sambalpur and adjacent to the Hirakud Dam.
  • Total Area: The sanctuary spans a total area of 346.91 km2, providing ample space for the preservation of wildlife and their natural habitats.
  • Flora and Fauna: The sanctuary boasts a diverse range of flora and fauna, including over 40 species of mammals, 200 species of birds, 40 species of reptiles, 12 species of amphibians, 42 species of fishes, 39 species of odonates, 85 species of butterflies, and 38 species of spiders.
  • Aquatic Biodiversity: The sanctuary’s unique feature is its support for both terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. The presence of the Hirakud reservoir contributes to the sanctuary’s appeal, attracting numerous migratory waterfowl during winter.
  • Medicinal flora: The sanctuary is home to over 250 plant species, many of which hold significant ethnobotanical and medicinal value.

Why in news?

  • Peaceful rehabilitation: Debrigarh stands out as one of the few wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha where human settlements have been completely removed.
  • Voluntary Relocation: The relocation of 400 families was carried out through a series of consultations, without the use of force.
  • Exceptional Cases: Debrigarh joins Nalabana Bird Sanctuary in Chilika Lake as an exceptional example of wildlife sanctuaries without permanent human settlements.

Positive Impact on Wildlife Conservation

  • Reduction in Conflict: The relocation has immediately resulted in a tangible drop in man-wildlife conflicts within the 353.81 sq. km Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary.
  • Tiger Incursion Example: The sanctuary’s inviolability was recently demonstrated when a tiger from neighboring Chhattisgarh crossed over into Debrigarh.
  • Preservation of Habitat: Removing human settlements from critical wildlife sanctuaries ensures the preservation and protection of biodiversity.

Benefits to Villagers and Sanctuary

  • Improved Living Conditions: The relocation was necessary as the villagers lacked access to basic facilities such as electricity, healthcare, and education.
  • Compensation: Each eligible family received ₹15 lahks as compensation for their voluntary relocation, ensuring their well-being in new settlements.
  • Win-Win Situation: The relocation serves the interests of both the villagers, who gain access to better facilities, and the sanctuary, which is now free from human settlements.

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