Conservation experts have called for new ideas about animal corridors as a solution to conservation challenges for large mammals such as tigers, leopards, black bears, deer and elephants.
Dipankar Ghosh and Jimmy Borah of World Wildlife Fund conducted a workshop as part of an ongoing Student Conference on Conservation Science at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Jimmy said, “Corridors are natural paths for animal populations to move about between forest areas for purposes of colonisation, migration, mating and genetic interchange.”
“Unplanned development near these areas has led to degradation and fragmentation of corridors. A seven-storey building was built as part of eco-tourism in the Kosi river corridor near Assam,” he added.
The experts observed that animal conservation efforts face issues like loss of habitat, genetic interchange, man-animal conflict, poaching and medicinal plants. On the Kosi corridor, that facilitates connectivity between Corbett and Ramnagar areas, the Ramnagar-Ranikhet highway, hotels, eco-tourism, Indian Medical Pharma Company and Ghariya Chemical factory are the main threats, they said.
Dipankar said, “Policy issues must be resolved soon. Some kind of sensitisation is required to influence decisions of government and other bodies.” He went on to add, “There was a National Highway being built near an animal corridor in the Northeast of the country, and we requested for animal passes to be made on the sides of the road that were 20 metres wide. They made passes that were only eight feet wide.”