COIMBATORE: Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Forests, Supriya Sahu on Monday issued an order reconstituting the State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) for effective implementation of wildlife projects and scientific management of protected areas.
Chief Minister MK Stalin will be the board’s chairperson and Forests Minister K Ramachandran will be the vice-chairperson. The members include MLAs N Eramakrishnan (Cumbam), T Udayasuriyan (Sankarapuram) and IP Senthil Kumar (Palani); Station commander, Indian Army, Chennai, and DGP, apart from conservationists, biologists and environmentalists, including members of the scheduled tribe community across the State. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden will be the member secretary of the board. The tenure of the board will be two years under section 6 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Term of the previous board ended in November 2021.
The board will formulate policies to protect and conserve wildlife and specified plants, apart selecting and managing areas to be declared as protected areas. The members will also play a vital role in addressing the needs of the tribal community and other forest dwellers.
Speaking to TNIE, Supriya Sahu said, “The government has embarked on an ambitious wildlife conservation plan, including setting up Rescue, Treatment and Rehabilitation Centres (RTRCs), crime control bureau, marine elite force, modernisation of forest force and massive digitisation of forest resources. The role of the SBWL becomes crucial in guiding and supervising the entire change.
K Kalidass, founder of Coimbatore-based NGO Osai, who had served as member of SBWL between 2013 and 2016, said he would suggest the State government to take steps to reduce the deaths caused due to wild animals, especially in western Tamil Nadu.
“Along with the officials of Tamil Nadu Forest Department and environmentalists, we need strong support from the public as their involvement is necessary for protecting wildlife and forests,” he said S Bharathidasan, founder of Arulagam, an NGO working to conserve vultures in Tamil Nadu, said, “I would suggest the board to formulate a policy to leave carcasses of wild elephants inside the forest (after removing their tusks) for the vultures to feed on.