FORESTS & ENVIRONMENT DEPARTMENT
(Government of Gujarat)
 
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Wildlife Conservation in Gujarat
 
 
 
In Gujarat, the Forest Department has all along been responsible for the conservation and protection of wildlife. In the past due to nadequate resources and the scant attention paid to this very important field, wildlife conservation was almost a forgotten subject. However, after the State separated from the Greater bi-lingual State of Bombay in the year 1960, Government became alive to the problem of conservation and propagation of wildlife in the State and allocated increasingly more and more funds for carrying out various developmental activities. To begin with, the areas rich in wildlife including avifauna, both local and migratory, were identified. These were then constituted into sanctuaries and national parks. Originally, six sanctuaries and two national parks were formed. Then, as more and more attention was paid to the preservation of wildlife, in 1983/84, the number was increased to 11 sanctuaries and 4 national parks. Today, Gujarat has 20 sanctuaries and 4 national parks together covering an area of 16902.38 sq.km., out of which national parks cover 479.67 sq.km.
Gujarat has also the distinction of creating the country's first Marine National Park and Sanctuary over an area of 457.92 sq.km. in the Gulf of Kutch near Jamnagar. Today, this Sanctuary has become a marine -life - watchers' paradise and thousands of students and other visitors come to this place every year to acquaint themselves with the marvels of marine life. A museum has also been started at Jamnagar so that people can acquaint themselves with the marine life better and thus help the department in better conservation and propagation of wildlife whether it be marine, avian or mammalian.
The staff of the Forest Department has done an excellent job of educating the common man in the field of wildlife conservation and environmental awareness. With this end in view, the GEER Foundation has been established (An outcome of the Seminar on "Approaches to Conservation Strategy in Gujarat” held in Satan in the year 1981 which had proud distinction of being inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India, Smt. Indira Gandhi. This Foundation, the first of its kind, established for environmental research and education, is located at Indroda in Gandhinagar. It conducts studies, seminars, research and organises camps for school and college going children to give them the basic grounding and knowledge in the field of environment conservation and wildlife. To date, 2900 camps have been held all over the State under the auspices of GEER Foundation and other territorial and local Conservators of Forests wherein 1.85 lakh students and 3500 teachers have been trained. The students are imparted 2 to 4 days training and thereafter given certificate. The staff also takes a very active interest and organises various clubs and nature-lovers bodies to voluntarily help in the conservation of environment and Wildlife. It is a matter of great pride that in Junagadh district alone (as on 1/7/1991) there ware 200 such clubs working and in Jamanagar over 25.



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