Harike wildlife sanctuary to be developed as Eco – Tourism Hub

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Central Government grants approval for re-introduction of ‘Ghariyal’ in the sanctuary

birdsNewZNew (Chandigarh) : The Punjab Government has mooted a project to develop Harike wildlife sanctuary as hub of eco-tourism. Recently a new bird species, Jordan’s Sind Babbler has been discovered in Harike wetland.

Stating this, a spokesperson of the Government said that the present eco-tourism plan is the initiative of State Government of Punjab to allow the visitors to have access in the sanctuary area and create awareness among them about the natural resources of the Sanctuary without disturbing the balance of the environment.

The main objective of developing eco-tourism in the Sanctuary is to promote awareness about wetland and wildlife conservation amongst the visitors through education and interpretation and to generate livelihood opportunities for people in the periphery of the Sanctuary. According to the spokesperson this project shall be environmentally sensitive, ecologically sustainable.

Divulging further details, the spokesperson said that the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India has recently granted approval for re-introduction of Gharial in the sanctuary. Preliminary works are going on to carry forward Gharial re-introduction programme.

He also informed that proposed project site has tremendous potential for eco-tourism due to international status of wetland and due to its location on the confluence of Beas and Satluj rivers with the abundance of wild life and migratory birds. It is the only site where Indus River Dolphin and Jordan’s Sind Babbler are found in India and the endangered species like Smooth Indian Otters are also present here. Also , it will be an educative venture for the younger generation which will not only get a practical exposure of ecology but will also get sensitised towards conservation of nature. This activity will be made more attractive and re-creative by establishing watch towers, animal watch cabins, Interpretation centre, nature trail in the bank of rivers, Eco rides, boating and water trail in rivers etc .

The spokesperson further said that local youth and local entrepreneurs along the border villages of Harike Wildlife Sanctuary would be encouraged to utilize eco-tourism as employment and Income generating activity. Besides this, Refreshment places, swings, sports and Island stay shall be introduced in the phased and regulated manner which may lead to economic upliftment of the local community in this otherwise backward area.