Open garbage dumps near protected areas in Uttarakhand: an emerging threat to Asian Elephants in the Shivalik Elephant Reserve

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Kanchan Puri
Ritesh Joshi
Vaibhav Singh


Waste dumping sites near protected areas are a growing issue, which may affect the activities and behaviour of wildlife, more than what we notice.  Here, we present two of our case studies, where Asian Elephants were found feeding at garbage dumps in Haridwar and Ramnagar forest divisions in the Shivalik Elephant Reserve in Uttarakhand State.  Since garbage dumps may spread bacterial infection and induce adverse changes in the health conditions of the elephant population, we draw the attention of planners to develop a plan of action for proper disposal of the garbage through these preliminary observations, without affecting protected areas and wildlife species, including elephants.  Moreover, collection of data on the presence of garbage dumps across the reserve and a study on the behavioural responses of scavenging and non-scavenging animals visiting the dumps would give us a better understanding of the level of impact of garbage dumps for disposal planning. It is to emphasize that garbage does not constitute a part of natural food for elephants. There are restrictions and guidelines in the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and Guidelines for Declaration of Eco-Sensitive Zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.


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