Sanctuary For Saltwater Crocodiles In The Andaman And Nicobar Islands Will Be Reduced By 60%

For representational purpose
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For representational purpose (Photo/newindianexpress)

Highlights

  • The proposal to lower the perimeter of the Salt Water Crocodile Sanctuary in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by roughly 60% was confirmed by the National Board for Wildlife's Standing Committee.
  • While examining, it was noted that the actual area, according to the boundary description, was only 22.21 square kilometres, not the 100 square kilometres stated in the notification.

The proposal to lower the perimeter of the Salt Water Crocodile Sanctuary in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by roughly 60% was confirmed by the National Board for Wildlife's Standing Committee.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands government testified before the National Board of Wildlife that the initial sanctuary limit, which ran off the coast of the Bay of Bengal and down the west coast of South Andaman Island, was based on estimates.

The sanctuary, which was established in 1981, covers 100 square kilometres and is next to the famed Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. The sanctuary limit has since been modified to 41.716 square kilometres.

While examining, it was noted that the actual area, according to the boundary description, was only 22.21 square kilometres, not the 100 square kilometres stated in the notification.

The State Board for Wildlife of Andaman and Nicobar Islands made the decision to reconsider the sanctuary's boundaries by including an area of 19.97 square kilometres of territorial waters with a luxuriant growth of Stag Horn and Table Horn Coral and associated marine biodiversity with the sanctuary.

It was also proposed that the 'Salt Water Crocodile Sanctuary' be renamed the 'Lohabarrack Wildlife Sanctuary.' The Chief Wildlife Warden, the Andaman and Nicobar Board for Wildlife, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Administration have all recommended the proposal.

The proposal was discussed and agreed to propose it at the 63rd meeting of the NBWL on June 11, which has been chaired by Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar, pertaining to the condition that the Andaman and Nicobar Island administration publish a subsurface review to the Union environment ministry in regard of the old boundaries within 30 days.

The Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun's proposal that the Forest Department, Andaman and Nicobar administration establish a Management Plan for long-term preservation of crocodiles as well as other affiliated marine life of the sanctuary since it has been recognised as one of the critical crocodile habitats of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

In terms of renaming the sanctuary, the NBWL stated that the Andaman and Nicobar administration was free to do so.

Meanwhile, the wildlife conservationists, on the other hand, have criticised the idea of reducing the crocodile sanctuary area, claiming that it would lead to a rise in the human-crocodile conflict in the area.

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