Staff Reporter

SBR included in WNBR

BHUBANESWAR: Here is good news for wildlife lovers in Orissa. Similipal Biosphere Reserve (SBR) has been included in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR), which would pave the way for more coordinated actions for conservation of flora and fauna.

The 21st session of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB-ICC) decided to add 22 new sites, including SBR to its existing recognized 531 biospheres across the globe.

Pointing out Similipal was a tiger reserve in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, which used to be the hunting ground of the Maharajah of Mayurbhanj, UNESCO said this tropical environment abounds with tigers, elephants, panthers, deer and numerous plant species, making it a living laboratory for environmental scientists.

“The area’s tribal inhabitants depend on agriculture, hunting and collection of forest products for their livelihood but additional sources of income are badly needed to alleviate their poverty,” it said.

Reacting to the development, Chief Conserver of Forest (Wildlife) S. S. Srivastava said the recognition would help strengthen conservation process. “The volume of fund which is provided for development of SBR may be increased. It will encourage the personnel involved in protection of the region.” The SBR was notified by India government way back in 1994. It comprises the entire Similipal sanctuary (core and buffer together), the adjoining Nato and Satkoshia Reserve Forests forming additional buffer and a belt of approximately 10 km width all around the entire buffer designated as the ‘transition zone’.

Total area

The total area of this SBR is 5569 sq km. There are also 65 villages within these two zones including four in the core zone. Similipal is the home to 94 species of orchids and about 3000 species of other plants.