Published on: December 07, 2023 at 17:50 IST
The Delhi High Court emphasized the need for meticulous planning in organizing safaris and public entries in wildlife sanctuaries to strike a delicate balance between promoting eco-tourism and safeguarding wildlife.
Justice Jasmeet Singh, presiding over the case, acknowledged the essential role of sanctuaries in preserving wildlife in their natural habitat but raised concerns about increasing human encroachment on these habitats.
The court’s comments came as it restrained the city’s forest department from conducting a “Walkathon” and “Cyclothon” event proposed to be held inside the Asola Bhati Wildlife Sanctuary until further notice. Justice Singh expressed reservations about the lack of arrangements for waste disposal, including human waste, and the absence of plans to mitigate the noise generated by such mass events.
Highlighting the intricate nature of activities like safaris and public entries into sanctuaries, the court stressed the need for intrinsic planning to ensure a harmonious coexistence between eco-tourism and wildlife protection.
Justice Singh specifically mentioned the delicate balance required to prevent adverse impacts on the habitat and well-being of wildlife.
The court also voiced concern over a recent incident involving a leopard spotted in the Sainik Farm area adjoining the Asola Sanctuary. Expressing dissatisfaction with the forest officers’ failure to locate the stray leopard, the court noted three reported attacks on people, deeming the situation worrisome.
Characterizing the proposed event as a “misadventure,” the court criticized the lack of knowledge regarding the location and movement of animals within the sanctuary.
It pointed out that the permission for the event was granted mechanically, without a thorough analysis of potential threats to both humans and wildlife.
Justice Singh concluded by stating that conducting a walkathon and cyclothon in reserved and notified forest land poses a danger to both participants and the sanctuary’s animal inhabitants.
Citing the absence of safety and security arrangements for the public, the court restrained the forest department from proceeding with the event until further orders, scheduling a hearing for December 15.