Thousands of trees were illegally cut down in the Corbett Tiger Reserve by the Uttarakhand government for the implementation of a safari project.
- A survey by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) revealed that 6,093 trees were illegally cut down in the Corbett Tiger Reserve for the Pakhro tiger safari project.
- Only 163 trees were permitted to be cleared for this safari project.
- The FSI launched the survey after a complaint was filed by an environmental activist to the National Tiger Conservation Authority alleging that thousands of trees were being felled in and around the project areas.
- The Uttarakhand Forest Department has not accepted the findings made by the recently released FSI report and is seeking clarification on the timeline and the source of the satellite images and method for calculating the number of felled trees.
- Apart from the FSI, the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change also found irregularities in the project’s implementation. They were set up investigating committees to probe these irregularities.
- Earlier, the Central Empowered Committee has asked the state government to submit its views on the findings of the different committees investigating the illegal clearing of forest areas and construction activities in the Corbett Tiger Reserve and the Kalagarh forest.
- It has also urged the state government to specify the reason behind the forest land being diverted for a tiger safari in Pakhro range, though it is not a site-specific activity.
About Corbett Tiger Reserve
Corbett National Park and the neighbouring Sonanadi together make up the Corbett Tiger Reserve. It is famed for hosting the world’s highest density of tiger population. It houses 230 tigers, with 14 tigers per 100 sq km. The Corbett National Park was established as Hailey National Park in 1936 and was later renamed in honour of the famous naturalist Jim Corbett, who played a major role in the establishment of this national park. It was the first national park to come under Project Tiger.