Environment & Biodiversity

In the news: Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary

Debrigarh, a wildlife sanctuary in Odisha’s Bargarh district, has reached a critical milestone by being fully human-free.

Geographic Location of the Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • The Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Bargarh district of Odisha, near the city of Sambalpur and adjacent to the Hirakud Dam.
  • Total Area: The sanctuary covers 346.91 km2 in total, offering enough of room for the protection of species and their natural habitats.
  • Flora & Fauna: There are about 40 species of mammals, 200 species of birds, 40 species of reptiles, 12 species of amphibians, 42 species of fishes, 39 species of odonates, 85 species of butterflies, and 38 species of spiders in the sanctuary.
  • Aquatic wildlife: A distinguishing aspect of the refuge is its support for both terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. The existence of the Hirakud reservoir adds to the sanctuary’s allure, drawing a large number of migratory ducks during the winter.
  • Medicinal flora: There are around 250 plant species in the sanctuary, many of which have ethnobotanical and medicinal value.

Benefits to Wildlife Conservation

  • Conflict Reduction: The relocation has resulted in a significant reduction in man-animal conflicts within the 353.81-square-kilometer Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary.
  • Tiger Incursion: A tiger from neighbouring Chhattisgarh recently crossed into Debrigarh, demonstrating the sanctuary’s inviolability.
  • Habitat preservation: Removing human settlements from vital wildlife sanctuaries ensures biodiversity preservation and protection.

Improved Living Conditions:

  • The transfer was required since the villages lacked access to basic facilities such as electricity, healthcare, and education.
  • Compensation: Each qualified household was compensated with 15 lahks for their voluntary move, ensuring their well-being in new settlements.
  • The relocation benefits both the people, who now have access to improved services, and the sanctuary, which is now free of human habitation.
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