COVID 19: India shuts down all national parks and sanctuaries

COVID 19: India shuts down all national parks and sanctuaries

India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has ordered shutdown of all the national parks and sanctuaries in the country as the country battles an immensely ravaging wave of COVID-19. All tiger reserves will also be shut down under the new orders until further notice. The Ministry has also urged forest officials and wildlife wardens to take adequate steps to curtail any transmission of the virus from humans to animals and vice-versa.

It has been reported that a number of lions have died due to the virus, prompting the Ministry to take this step. Adequate measures are thus being taken to protect the wildlife from any such further transmission. An order regarding the same was signed by Deputy Inspector General of Forest (Wildlife) Rakesh Kumar Jagenia, wherein all Chief Wildlife Wardens of states and various union territories have been informed about ways to contain and manage any transmission of COVID-19, as well as to reduce any human-wildlife interaction.

The said order states that, “There are reports of transmission from both symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers (human beings) of the disease and COVID-19 affected persons may or may not exhibit symptoms, field functionaries must be COVID-19 negative when they are deputed for duty and should follow COVID appropriate behavior such as maintaining social distancing, wearing of masks, proper screening, regular sanitization etc.”

Reportedly, Rapid Task Forces will also be constituted with emphasis on essential services for emergency treatment of animals as well as their safe release into their natural habitat. Wildlife wardens have also been asked to stick to the regulations laid down by the Home Ministry and monitor the movement of villages around India’s national parks and sanctuaries.

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