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Maharashtra Gets 12 New Conservation Reserves & 3 Wildlife Sanctuaries: 18th State Wildlife Board Meeting

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Maharashtra gets 12 new conservation reserves and 3 wildlife sanctuaries

The 18th Maharashtra State Board for Wildlife (MSBWL) meeting chaired by Chief Minister (CM) of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray, approved 12 new conservation reserves covering an area of ~692.74 square (sq) kilometres (Km) and 3 wildlife sanctuaries covering an area of ~ 303 sq km. 

  • The total area under these protected areas(PAs) is around ~1000 sq km, which is twice the size of Mumbai city’s (~482 sq km).
  • During the meeting, the board also approved the  10 endangered wildlife habitats.
  • The board has also approved a 4.5 km elevated corridor from Hotel Fountain on Ghobunder road to Gaimukh.


According to the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, the consent of the wildlife board is mandatory to notify any fresh PAs in the state.

Wildlife Sanctuaries:

The 3 Wildlife Sanctuaries of Maharashtra are, the extension of the Lonar wildlife sanctuary (0.8694 sq km), Kolamarka in Gadchiroli (180.72 sq km) and Muktai Bhawani in Jalgaon (122.74 sq km).

  • Kolamarka, affected by the presence of Left-wing extremists, has endangered Asiatic wild buffaloes (Bubalusarnee). This region was notified under the conservation reserve in 2013.

The 12 new conservation reserves are, 

DistrictsConservation ReservesArea(sq Km)
SataraDare Khurd (Mahadare)1.07
KolhapurMasai pathar5.34

The 10 critical wildlife habitats are,

Critical Wildlife HabitatsArea(sq Km)
New Bor(Navi Bor)60.69
extended Bor16
Lonar wildlife sanctuary3.65
Gugamal national park361.28
Yedshi Ramlinghat wildlife sanctuary22.37
Naigaon-Mayur wildlife sanctuary29.90
Deulgaon-Rehkuri blackbuck sanctuary2.17

  • The 10 critical wildlife habitats will be inviolate areas within the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries for conservation.
  • Maharashtra has become the first Indian State to declare critical wildlife habitats with the Naigaon Peacock Sanctuary in Beed district and the Yedshi-Ramling Wildlife Sanctuary in Osmanabad district. With this, the state becomes one of the 10 such identified habitats.
  • The linear projects like the construction of roads and railway lines will be prohibited in critical wildlife habitats.

Key Points:

i.Notifying a region as a wildlife sanctuary makes the region an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ), which leads to opposition from local residents and stakeholders because development activities are prohibited in ESZs.

ii.The conservation reserves, which connect the existing PAs and act as a wildlife migration corridor, do not involve such restrictions.

iii.Any form of development activities or agricultural activities in a conservation reserve must get prior approval from the state and national boards for wildlife.

iv.So far, 15 conservation reserves have been notified in Maharashtra. With new additions, the total number of conservation reserves in Maharashtra will become 27.

Nature Reserve of Maharashtra:

i.At present, Maharashtra houses 6 National Parks, 52 sanctuaries and 27 conservation reserves.

ii.The state also has 6 tiger projects, Melghat, Tadoba-Andhari, Pench, Sahyadri, Navegaon-Nagzira and Bor.

iii.According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) ‘Status of Tigers in India, 2018’ report, there are around 312 tigers in the state, which was around 190 in 2014.

About Maharashtra:

Governor– Bhagat Singh Koshyari
Capital– Mumbai
Stadium– Wankhede Stadium; D Y Patil Sports Stadium; Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Indoor Stadium