Wildfires have engulfed a vast chunk of the Simlipal Tiger Reserve in Odisha. Local media reports say that it has been more than 10 days since the fire broke out in the biosphere reserves located in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district. The State Forest Department has been unable to bring the situation under control.
UNESCO had added this national park to its list of Biosphere Reserves in May 2009.
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Meanwhile, the fire is spreading from one part to another. So far it has gutted eight out of the 21 ranges of the Similipal forest division. Reports say that the fire has spread to Anandapur, Khandachira and Balinal hills under Podadiha Forest Range in the southern part of the reserve. The flames have also engulfed Mituani and Kendumundi forests under Thakurmunda range of the reserve.
“The jungle is burning and we are helpless. Many medicinal plants have been reduced to ashes. Many wildlife species, including endangered and scarce ones, have perished in the wildfire,” a local told Odisha TV.
The UNESCO page says that the reserve lies within two biogeographical regions: the Mahanadian east coastal region of the Oriental realm and the Chhotanagpur biotic province of the Deccan peninsular zone…