Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Places in news: Lemru Elephant Reserve


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Lemru Elephant Reserve

Mains level: Man-Animal Conflict

The proposed Lemru Elephant Reserve in Chhattisgarh, in the pipeline for 20 years, has become the subject of yet another controversy over the reduction of its size.

Lemru Elephant Reserve

  • The proposal for the reserve, in Korba district, was passed unanimously by the Assembly in 2005 and got central approval in 2007.
  • Lemru is one of two elephant reserves planned to prevent human-animal conflict in the region, with elephants moving into Chhattisgarh from Odisha and Jharkhand.
  • Its area was then proposed to be 450 sq km.

Why does the government want to reduce the size of the reserve?

  • The area proposed under the reserve is part of the Hasdeo Aranya forests, a very diverse biozone that is also rich in coal deposits.
  • Of 22 coal blocks in the area, seven have already been allotted with mines running in three, and in the process of being established in the other four.
  • Under the ‘No-Go Area’ policy from the UPA area, the entire area was considered out of bounds for mines, but in 2020, five coal blocks from the region were put on the auction list.

Why is the reserve important?

  • North Chhattisgarh alone is home to over 240 elephants.
  • Elephants in Chhattisgarh are relatively new; they started moving into undivided Madhya Pradesh in 1990.
  • Since these animals were relatively new, the human-animal conflict started once elephants started straying into inhabited areas, looking for food.

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