Wildlife Habitats Under Threat

By Misha Raichandani, Grade VII, Ekya JP Nagar

This is a very important and widely discussed topic. Let me bring it into consideration with an example. The famous “Sanjay Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary” is located on the outskirts of Mumbai. This sanctuary, that is a habitat to a wide variety of flora and fauna, is under great threat owing to its proximity to a growing city like Mumbai. It has faced a number of similar problems to those faced by natural parks elsewhere in the world involving disputes between human and natural interests

Mumbai is an expanding city, with greenery reducing every day. It is home to the Indian Film Industry. This results in a lot of people living there. Added to the large population are the cars and factories causing noise and air pollution. The animals in the sanctuary might get distracted with an environment such as this. Animals might find ways to escape and can come in close contact with the people. This, in turn, will create a lot of panic due to animal-human conflict. And indeed! the number of reported incidents of predators attacking humans has increased over the last few decades.

Here are some of the most experienced threats to Sanjay Gandhi wildlife park that are seen throughout other sanctuaries also:-

  • The lack of space in Mumbai has pushed residential colonies right up to the park boundary. This boundary is poorly fenced and has often allowed wild animals into human habitations.
  • In June 2004, leopards were responsible for the deaths of 20 humans within the span of a week. August 2015 saw four leopard attacks in Thane city. In one incident, a leopard and her cub dragged a one-year-old Rottweiler off. The leopard threat still continues in and around Thane district today with repeated sightings as well as attacks.
  • Sanjay Gandhi national park has played home to many poachers in the recent years. In many cases, these animals had been poisoned, and claws or other valuable body parts were cut off and sold.
  • During the summer and any time before the monsoon, fires burn in the park, at least once every two weeks. This has resulted in the loss of rare trees and loss of habitat for wild animals.

Sanjay Gandhi Wildlife Park is home to the leopards (image from Pexel.com)

It disappoints me to see events like this happening in our own country. People should really be caring and empathizing towards the poor animals. How can we forget that they too are living beings and need the same basic comforts as us Strict action should be taken by the government? Even us, the citizens should help out by protesting and arranging marches. Saving these habitats is one of the only ways to make peace between us and nature.

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