When: October, 2017
Where: Jhalana Forest Reserve, Jaipur, Rajasthan
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Jhalana Forest Reserve in Jaipur will spearhead ‘Project Leopard’, a first of its kind conservation effort in the world to be launched across eight conservation reserves and sanctuaries across Rajasthan. With that the Jhalana reserve will be upgraded with a multi-crore budget including an outer periphery wall and designated as a Leopard Reserve. The blue print of the project is ready with the forest department and would be launched in the first week of October that also happens to be the `Wildlife Week’. Besides that, the project spread across 1,926.80 square km of sanctuaries in the state, aims at mitigating human-leopard conflicts and conserving the leopard population.
Boosting wildlife tourism across Rajasthan, the project Leopard will run in eight sanctuaries; Jaisamand Sanctuary in Udaipur, Bassi Sanctuary in Chittorgarh, Shergarh Sanctuary in Baran, Kumbhalgarh Sanc tuary-Raoli Todgarh Sanctuary (stretched from Ajmer to Udaipur), Mount Abu Sanctuary-Sundamata Conservation Reserve, Jhalana Aamagarh Conservation Reserve, Jaipur, Jawai Conservation Reserve, Pali and Khetri Bansyal Conservation Reserve, Jhunjhunu.
As for the funding apart from dovetailing with existing government schemes, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds, cess on near by tourism infrastructure, and funds generated from charging of surcharge entry fee to these areas will be utilized for funding of the project. “The project will enhance the protection of leopards and the habitats they frequent resulting in better natural prey density and less dependence on livestock. In the first five years, aim will be to restore habitats and increase leopard numbers to 1500. By taking appropriate measure, leopards will be prevented from straying into human dominated landscapes and this will in turn minimize the negative impact of blue bull and wild boar populations. Project Leopard will enhance the potential of wildlife tourism and generate revenue for the local communities. This will boost the habitats in the 8 selected sites and motivate the forest and wildlife staff. Van Dhan Yojna will dovetail into this project in order to reduce conflict as this is a primary objective of the Yojna” reads the project proposal.