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Radhanagri Wildlife Sanctuary (RWS)

Radhanagri Wildlife Sanctuary (RWS)

Context:

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has notified 250.66 sq km around Maharashtra’s Radhanagri Wildlife Sanctuary (RWS).

Background:

  • In October 2018, the Supreme Court ordered a mining company to stop operations at Durgmanwadi (within 10 km of RWS) as it was allegedly operating within the ESZ limits of the sanctuary without a wildlife clearance. 
  • In December 2018, the SC directed the MoEFCC to declare ESZs around 21 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries without buffer zones. In 2019, areas around Tungareshwar and Tansa wildlife sanctuaries in the state were also notified as ESZ.

Details:

  • The notified area is home to elephants and tigers, as an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ). The zone is meant to act as a buffer and a “shock absorber” for protected areas.
    • The ESZ is supposed to act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to less protection.
    • The National Wildlife Action Plan 2002-2016 had identified them as “vital ecological corridor links” and stressed that they must be protected to prevent isolation of fragments of biodiversity.
  • Areas around Radhanagri Wildlife Sanctuary located towards the southern hills of the Sahyadri range of Western Ghats were being considered by the mining lobby.
  • New mining projects, stone quarrying, major hydroelectric projects, setting up of brick kilns, and other red industries are prohibited in the ESZ.
  • Organic farming, agriculture, small-scale industries, and minor infrastructure work are permitted.

Radhanagri Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • It is a wildlife sanctuary and natural World Heritage Site, located in Kolhapur district, Maharashtra.
  • The sanctuary is spread across 351.16 sq km known to serve as a corridor for tigers and elephants moving between three states — Goa, Karnataka, and Maharashtra.
  • It lies at the southern end of the Sahyadri hills in the Western Ghats.
  • It is notable as the first declared wildlife sanctuary in Maharashtra, notified in 1958, as Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary and is popularly known as the Bison Sanctuary.
  • RWS is home to 264 bird species (migratory and resident), 47 species of mammals, 59 species of reptiles, 20 species of amphibians, and 66 species of butterflies.
  • The Krishna River tributaries i.e. Bhogavati River, Dudhganga River, Tulshi River, Kallamma River and Dirba River flow through the sanctuary area.

Source: Indian Express