Chandigarh, July 9 (UNI) An Elephant Rehabilitation and Research Centre will be set up at Ban Santour in Yamunanagar district of Haryana over an area of 50 acres.
Stating this here today, Minister of State for Forests and Environment Kiran Choudhry said another 400 acres land would be kept reserved for movement and exercise of elephants.
To begin with, she said, the Centre would be run as an elephant camp after obtaining the required permissions from the Supreme Court and Central Zoo Authority (CZA).
Later, it would be run as a full-fledged rehabilitation, rescue and research centre and would be opened to public.
Domestic elephants which were illegally kept would be sent to this centre, she added.
Ms Choudhry said that initially a sum of Rs 90 lakh would be provided by the Central government for setting up this Centre. The Centre which was first of its kind in the country would not be like a zoo but it would serve as natural habitat to the elephants.
'Mahauts' would be engaged to protect and train the elephants.
The recurring expenditure would also be borne out by the Centre, she added.
''Ban Santor is a Protected forest area in Yamunagar district very close to Sal forest of Kalesar and Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary.
This area is undulating and is a natural home of elephants.
Elephants come to this area from nearby Uttrakhand State on a regular basis,'' the Minister said.
Ms Choudhry said that due to the excessive pressure of development, forests were under great pressure and natural habitats of wild animals were shrinking.
Fauna and Flora would have to be preserved at all costs. The elephant Rehabilitation and Research Centre would go a long way in generating awareness among people about the real threat to wildlife and also rehabilitate illegally kept domestic elephants, she added.
An agreement to this effect had been signed between Haryana Government and Wildlife SOS (Non Government Organisation).
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