The Forest department event to be held on December 9 and 10 was proposed to include a Walkathon, a Cyclothon, a half marathon, and “Jungle on Wheels” throughout 16 km. NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday restrained a proposed event 'Walk with Wildlife' at Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary in the southern Ridge by the forest department, noting the protected surroundings are to be worked out very delicately and minutely to ensure a good balance between eco-tourism and the protection of wildlife.
"Admittedly, sanctuaries are made for the preservation and protection of wildlife in their natural habitat. It is given that animals and humans must co-exist, but lately, man has been encroaching on the habitat of wildlife," Justice Jasmeet Singh said while restraining the event "till further orders." The event to be held on December 9 and 10 was proposed to include a Walkathon, a Cyclothon, a half marathon, and “Jungle on Wheels” throughout 16 km. It was argued by the forest department that the activity would be undertaken to promote awareness and appreciation of the Sanctuary amongst the residents of Delhi-NCR.
The high court, however, noted that the event is expecting at least 100 participants for the event but there is nothing on record to show any arrangement for the same. "There is no plan/arrangement for the disposal of waste including human waste. There is no arrangement put forth for the prevention of loud noise created by the organizing of such a mass event," the single-bench judge held. The Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary was made on a stretch of 32.71 sq. km, the court noted referring to the forest department that many kinds of species/animals are there in the Sanctuary, ranging from reptiles, herbivores, and carnivores. "In addition to the flora and fauna, there are about 7-8 leopards, however, it is admitted that neither the animals are tagged nor is the area isolated," noted Justice Singh. It was also highlighted in the order that there is no separate, exclusive, core area of the sanctuary where the movements of leopards and other animals such as pythons, and hyenas are confined to. Referring to media reports, the high court said, "There has been a recent spotting of a leopard in the Sainik Farm area which was strayed from the sanctuary and three people have been attacked." "This is worrisome," the court added. Denying permission for the event, the high court held that" it not only endangers the lives of citizens who will be willing to participate in the event but also the lives of the animals existing in the wildlife sanctuary" as there is no arrangement for safety and security. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)