The Bijnor forest division has said that this has been done to “mitigate the possibility of infection among animals from humans as novel coronavirus is a zoonotic (spreading from non-humans to humans) disease”.
The state government has already declared COVID-19 a pandemic and all departments have been put on high alert.
Forest authorities have sealed forest areas, including tiger and elephant reserve areas, and banned the entry of public to the reserved forests.
Bijnor Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) M. Semmaran said, “Higher authorities have sounded alert in UP and directed us to stop public entry into forest area. Notably, similar directions have already been put into force by the Jim Corbett National Park. Amangarh Tiger Reserve (ATR) is the buffer zone of this part that falls within Uttar Pradesh jurisdiction in Bijnor.”
According to officials, Amangarh is home to 22 tigers, a hundred jumbos, leopards, and a large number of herbivores. There is no boundary between Amangarh and Corbett tiger reserve areas. Animals can frequent both areas without any barrier. Entry to Corbett park has already been barred.
According to officials, there are 25 villages located on the border areas of Amangarh tiger reserve. Villagers frequent the forest areas to pick up woods, fodder, leaves and some forest fruits.
Forest authorities have launched a campaign in these villages urging the people not to enter the forest area.
The forest staff has also been put on alert to look after the activities and movements of the villagers living in the neighbouring areas.
Deputy Director of Corbett National Park Chandra Shekhar Joshi said that tourist activities have been prohibited in the park from March 17 to March 31. All bookings have been cancelled.