Country's first Elephant Rehabilitation Center launched

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Yamunanagar, Dec 28 (UNI) The first 'Elephant Rehabilitation Centre' of the country was launched at Bansantoor village in Chhachhrouli here by Haryana minister for Forest and Environment minister Kiran Chaudhary today.

The centre sprawling over 50 acre land at a cost of Rs 90 lakh, was being set up on the pattern of a similar sanctuary in Thailand.

It would be ready by March 2008.

The minister, who also holds the tourism portfolio, also announced that Kalesar forests would be developed into a major eco-tourism centre and the department will spend Rs 3.5 crore on it.

A tourist center matching international standards would be set up with public-private partnership near Hathnikund barrage here, she said.

Later, addressing a press conference Ms Chaudhary said that injured, sick and rescued pachyderms will be kept at the Centre-sponsored elephant rehabilitation center.

The Bansantoor area is a natural habitat for elephants as it has ample growth of saal and bamboo. 50 acres of forest land has been earmarked for this purpose and depending upon the elephants to be rehabilitated, if more area is required, it will be made available.

Initially, five thatched sheds for elephants would be constructed and two elephants would be kept in each shed.

The minister informed that services of Delhi-based NGO 'Wildlife SOS' which has experitise in running rescue centers, would be utilized for Elephant Rehabilitation Centre at Bansantoor forest.

Wildlife SOS at present is running 4-5 Bear Rescue Centres providing shelter to about 425 bears across the country.

Mr J P L Srivastava, Director General of Forests, Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests said that Rs 50 lakh have already been released for this purpose by Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Dr Jagdish Kumar Rawat, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, said that a small water body would be constructed inside this Rehabilitation Centre for bathing elephants.

UNI

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