Uttarakhand’s Wildlife is a Little Safer, Thanks to a High Court Ruling

All the state’s national parks to get additional 10km safe zone. | By NGT Staff  
The new ruling disallows new construction or roads in the safe zone, allowing more space for endangered species like the tiger. Photo: Dhritimian Mukherjee

Uttarakhand is home to thriving wildlife and spectacular landscape, not least at India’s oldest national park, Corbett. A new ruling by the Uttarakhand High Court grants extra protection to the state’s natural heritage. The court ordered an additional 10km eco-sensitive zone around Corbett and other protected areas in the state within the next few months, so as to check forest fires. No new construction or roads will be permitted in this zone, the court directed.

The Uttarakhand court ruling is a pragmatic move, naturalist Shardul Bajikar said, adding that it is in line with previous recommendations from the National Board of Wildlife for national parks and sanctuaries in the country.

The move is of course great news for the parks and nature lovers. The forest at Jim Corbett National Park is a wonderfully diverse landscape, changing with season, terrain, and time of day. Corbett’s big cats get the most love from visitors, but the national park is also a great place to fall in love with the jungle itself, its riverine vegetation, and spectacular grasslands.

For the trumpet call of elephants and a chorus of birdcall, visit Rajaji National Park. The park isn’t as lush as Corbett, but ranges from deciduous trees to terai grassland. While there are tigers here, also look out for Himalayan black bear, Egyptian vulture and the rare great pied hornbill. For a quieter nature getaway, pick the Binsar Forest Retreat inside the Binsar Wildife Sanctuary; it has cosy cottages, long walking trails, and memorable sundown views.

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