NGT notice to Centre, UP govt on plea alleging threat to swamp deer in Hastinapur Sanctuary

A plea alleging threat to wildlife especially to the swamp deer due to human intervention in the Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary has prompted the National Green Tribunal to seek response from the Centre and UP government.

A bench headed by Acting NGT chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, National Board for Wildlife, National Biodiversity Authority, Uttar Pradesh government and UP State Biodiversity Board while seeking their reply before July 23.

The tribunal was hearing a plea field by advocate Gaurav Bansal seeking protection and restitution of the biodiversity and ecosystem of the Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary.

Bansal, in its petition has stated that recently the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has done a survey of the sanctuary which found that wildlife including swamp deer is fighting for its existence.

According to the plea, WII in its report has also stated that due to high human presence and forest fire, endangered species like swamp deer, hog deer and Gangetic grasslands were facing difficulties in survival.

“The applicant has learnt from the red list of threatened species generated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural resources published on January 10, 2015 that the population of swamp deer (Barasingha) is assessed as vulnerable because the estimated total population lies between 3,500 and 5,100 animals and also its protection status is not secure.

“It is pertinent to mention here that the report generated revealed the important fact that the species of swamp deer is assumed to decline by at least 10 per cent over 24 years due to habitat conversion and degradation,” the plea said.

Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 2,073 sq km along the banks of Ganga in five forest divisions –Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Meerut, Hapur and Amroha.

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