As the second, and much severe, wave of Covid-19 sears through Indian cities and towns, nature must be heaving a sigh of relief. No more tourist pressures on sanctuaries or national parks (as many of these have been shut down already), no more encroachments and daily trespasses in our fragile forests, more breathing space to the wildlife: or so the purist at heart would like to believe.
Of course, the purist would be wide off the mark, if not altogether wrong, as he normally is. Nothing can live in isolation, especially not the kind of nature which we have “cultivated” assiduously over the decades.
The protective cloak thrown over the forests by stringent laws, buttressed by Supreme Court interventions that led to stricter governance of tiger reserves and sanctuaries, has resulted in unforeseen repercussions.
While on one hand, more controls over the forests have resulted in significant increase in the number of tigers and other wildlife—a welcome sign undoubtedly—it has also made the future of forests and their denizens heavily dependent on human intervention.
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