The high court of Uttarakhand has put stay on denotification of the only elephant reserve of the Uttarakhand called the Shivalik Elephant Reserve.
This order was passed by the Chief Justice R.S. Chauhan and Justice Lokpal Singh after a PIL was filed by the environmental activist Reenu Phul. Before that, on January 4, 2021, another division bench had passed a notice to the Centre, state government and state wildlife board over the decision to denotify the elephant reserve.
The state wildlife board had decided to denotify the reserve in November 2020. The board had argued that this move will provide ways for the developmental work in an area that spans over 4,500 sq km.
This is a notified elephant reserve under the ‘Project Elephant’. The reserve was notified under the project in 2002. The Kansora-Barkot Elephant Corridor is located near to this reserve. This place is considered to comprise of one of the highest densities of elephants in India.
The project was launched by the Government of India in the year 1992. It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. The scheme serves the objectives such as: Protecting elephants, their habitat & corridors; addressing the issues of man-animal conflict and Welfare of captive elephants.
The scientific name of the elephant is Elephas maximus. The elephants are found in the central and southern Western Ghats, North-east India, eastern India and northern India. It is also found in parts of southern peninsular India. The Elephant Census of 2017 states that the Karnataka has the highest population of Indian elephants. It has been listed under the “Endangered” list of IUCN Red List. The elephant is protected under the Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and the Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES).