Three more forests declared Protected Areas in Punjab

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Chandigarh, Feb 4 (UNI) The Punjab government has declared three more areas -- Kathlaur-Kaushalyan Wildlife Sanctuary, Keshopur Chhamb Community Reserve and Lalwan Community Reserve -- as Protected Areas.

Forest and Wildlife Minister Tikshan Sud said that a notification to this effect was issued here today. "In a major step for protection and conservation of wildlife and biodiversity in Punjab, Kathlaur-Kaushalyan Wildlife Sanctuary which covers an area of 1550 acres in Gurdaspur District, Keshopur Chhamb Community Reserve of 799 acres also in Gurdaspur and Lalwan Community Reserve of 3167 acres in Hoshiarpur District, have been declared Protected Areas and added to already existing 11 Protected Areas in the state," he said.

He said that previously, there were 11 Protected Areas in Punjab namely, Bir Moti Bagh, Bir Bhunerhari, Bir Dosanjh, Bir Bhadson, Bir Mehas and Bir Gurdialpura in Patiala district, Bir Aishwan in Sangrur district, Harike and Abohar in Ferozepur district, Takhni Rehmapur in Hoshiarpur district and Jhajjar Bacholi in Ropar district which were declared wildlife sanctuaries under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

The total area of these sanctuaries was 31612.24 acres which comes to only 0.63 per cent of the total geographical area of the state. With three more Protected Areas in the state, there is an increase of 5515 acres in Protected Area Network of Punjab, Mr Sud added.

Stressing on the need for involving public at large in the campaign to increase forest cover in the state, the Forest Minister said the idea to declare Community Reserve was to solicit cooperation of the local people and their participation in protection and conservation of wildlife and biodiversity of the state.

"The Punjab government would soon constitute Community Reserve Management Committee and this committee would have the authority responsible for conservation and management of community reserves." Mr Sud hoped that joint efforts of the public and department of forests and wildlife would bring positive results for conserving wildlife in the state.

UNI PS VN1429

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