Similipal tiger reserve keeps burning

As Similipal Tiger Reserve continues to burn, experts say ‘knee-jerk reaction not enough’

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From the forest fires in Odisha’s Similipal Tiger Reserve that have been raging for more than a week to the glacier breach in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district to the constantly worsening air quality in north India, the environmental crisis caused by human disregard or interference is more obvious than ever.

According to experts, the blaze through Similipal Tiger Reserve’s 21 ranges and eight forests, is a culmination of dry weather and intentional human interference. Nearly 90% of forest fires, they say, are started by humans. The fire poses an extreme threat to not just Similipal’s wildlife but also to thousands of rare medicinal plants. It is also the only known habitat of black tigers. 

While the government is yet to ascertain the cause of the blaze, locals said that the wildfire is an annual phenomenon but the intensity of it is higher this year. “The fire is man-made. It is lit by people using dry leaves for collecting forest produces like sal seeds, mahua flowers, and firewood, besides smuggling timbers and poaching,” a local volunteer claimed.

The full article was published by Rebuplic World on March 8, 2021.