Watchtowers in Asola Wildlife Sanctuary to detect fires and poaching – The New Indian Express
Express press service
NEW DELHI: The Delhi Forest Department plans to build a network of watchtowers in the Asola Wildlife Sanctuary. Watchtowers are essential for the management of any forest area, mainly to detect fires, trespassing, poaching as well as to study the movement of animals in the forest corridor.
According to forestry officials, the plan is in its initial phase and a proposal is being prepared to be sent to Environment Minister Gopal Rai for approval. “At the moment we are looking for suitable locations, which could give a wider view of the sanctuary and adjacent areas. Initially, we will opt for a tower which will be followed by others over time,” said a senior official.
There have been attempts to build watchtowers in Asola in the past, but the structures could not be maintained due to trespassing and damaged parts or stolen parts, officials said.
“The 35-foot tower will be made of steel, therefore fire resistant. Although the need for a tower has always existed, it has been prompted by improved vegetation in the sanctuary over the past two years.
An increase in vegetation can lead to a dry spell between April and the last week of June, which increases the possibility of fires during this period. It is therefore crucial to have a high point to control,” the official said.
In addition, it must serve several purposes such as the detection of any danger to animals or visitors, poaching, intrusion into the area and the level of water points, among others. “We plan to create a network of watchtowers to improve overall management,” said the forest manager.
Vegetation improvement has been possible through habitat restoration efforts, strengthening the boundaries of the sanctuary so as not to allow the intrusion and cultivation of native varieties in the area. The Asola Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of 32.71 km2 south of Delhi Ridge of Aravalli on the Delhi-Haryana border. Located in South Delhi and northern parts of Faridabad and Gurugram districts in Haryana, the sanctuary forms part of the Aravalli Northern Leopard Wildlife Corridor, which stretches from Sariska National Park in Rajasthan to Delhi Ridge.