India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was on Sunday nominated as Uttarakhand’s first honorary wildlife warden as part of the hill state’s tiger conservation campaign.
An announcement to this effect was made by Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank following a meeting with the cricketer, an official release said.
Nishank also declared Dhoni as the brand ambassador of the save tiger campaign in the state which houses two major national parks – Jim Corbett and Rajaji, which are natural habitats for tigers.
Later Dhoni welcomed the move and thanked Chief Minister in this regard. “I am lending my support to the Aircel-NDTV ‘Save our Tigers’ campaign.
“Uttarakhand has some of the best forests in India. I have come specially to Dehradun to request the Chief Minister to do whatever is in his capacity to ensure a safe environment for tigers and to commend him on the work done on the tiger protection,” Dhoni said.
“I look forward to the corridor of Corbett-Rajaji being widened and strengthened at the earliest. I am delighted to accept the honorary wildlife warden post which has been offered to me by the Uttarakhand Chief Minister,” he added.
Earlier, Dhoni handed over a charter of demands ‘tiger agenda’ listing steps which should be taken for the protection of the tigers especially in Jim Corbett National Park of the state.
The tiger agenda has demanded that vast area of Jim Corbett Park, Ramnagar and Terai forests should be brought under the jurisdiction of a single Field Director.
Besides, the encroachments along the banks of Gola and Kosi rivers in Ramnagar and border areas of Jim Corbett and Rajaji Parks should be removed in order to protect wildlife.
The agenda has also demanded to rehabilitate villagers of Khand village on the periphery of Rajaji Park to elsewhere and raising a special tiger protection force in the state.
During the meeting, Nishank apprised Dhoni of various steps taken by the state government for protection of wildlife and particularly tigers. He said according to the latest statistics, there are 200 tigers in the state including 164 in Corbett National Park alone.
Stating that density of tigers in Corbett National Park is just double against the national average, Nishank said there is one tiger found in an area of five square kilometre in Corbett Park.
Besides, Nishank said the mortality rate of tigers in Uttarakhand is half as compared to the national average.
Regarding setting up of special tiger protection force, the Chief Minister said that the state government has already issued a notification in this regard.