Bir Shikargarh Wildlife Sanctuary is being established over an area of 767 hectares and notice was issued on 28th July 2011 to invite objections/suggestions to the draft notification by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The area included is situated in the foothills of Morni along the Kaushalya river and has thick Khair forests and plantations of eucalyptus and teak.The area forms the habitat of the leopard,cheetal, sambar,langur, hyaena, fox, jackal,mongoose, porcupine etc. An area of 3 KM around the sanctuary shall form the eco-sensitive zone and shall have restrictions on change in land use etc. The eco-sensitive zone shall include areas of some 50 odd villages including Chandimandir, Burj Kotian, Mallah, Tibbi, Haripur etc.
The wildlife sanctuary status shall, however, need to be followed up with some active intervention to protect the wildlife found in this pocket forest at the foot of the Morni and Himachal hills. Interaction with researchers at the Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre located on the fringe of the sanctuary revealed that the forest was populated with packs of wild dogs who attacked and hunted the cheetal and sambars that occasionally came down from the hills. The dog packs can successfully bring down large sambar stags by attacking as a team. Deers are also lost to road accidents on the road that cuts through the sanctuary. The state transport buses can be seen being driven at break-neck speeds through the empty forest road. The blaring pressure horns are a nuisance to the animals and humans alike. Leopard has been spotted and photographed in this area. The forest is also very rich in bird life. Bee-hives are found in abundance.
The notification may put an end to the speculation about the future of the stone crushers operating along the Kaushalya river bed in Burj Kotian-Chandimandir Area. The Hon’ble Supreme Court vide its order dated 27-2-12 in SLP (C) NO. 19628-19629 of 2009-Deepak Kumar etc.(Petitioners) Versus State of Haryana and Others etc.(Respondents) has directed that prior clearance of MoEF is needed for grant of leases for minor minerals by States/UTs. It is unlikely that any such clearance shall be granted by MoEF for mining in areas falling in the Eco-Sensitive Zone of Bir Shikargarh Wildlife Sanctuary. Thus the 500 acre odd area of Burj-Kotian and Chandimandir that witnessed rapacious mining for sand and stone along the river bed of Kaushalya until the intervention of High Court (and later the Apex Court) shall finally be spared further damage to its fragile ecology. The Forest Department should consider plantation in this area to restore the forest cover that has been destroyed by the mining activity.