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INTRODUCTION

Punjab is one of the smaller states of India with total geographical area of 50,362 sq. Km (19,445 square miles). The state is bordered by the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh to the north and northeast, Haryana to the south and southeast, and Rajasthan to the southwest; by the Indian union territories of Chandigarh to the east and Jammu and Kashmir to the north. It shares an international border by Punjab, a province of Pakistan to the west. The state is divided into 23 districts. It has approximately 12,858 revenue villages and 237 urban settlements. Punjabi, written in the Gurmukhi script, is the most widely spoken and the official language of the state. The main ethnic groups are the Punjabis, with Sikhs and Hindus as the dominant religious groups. The state capital is Chandigarh, a union territory and also the capital of the neighbouring state of Haryana. The five tributary rivers of the Indus River from which the region took its name are the Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Jhelum rivers (in order from east to west). After the partition of India in 1947, only 3 of the 5 rivers, the Sutlej, Ravi and Beas rivers flows in Indian Punjab, while other two rivers became part of Punjab, Pakistan

The climate of the State is typically subtropical with hot summers and cold winters. The average rainfall is around 530 mm in the plains and 900 mm in the sub-montane region in the northern part of the state. The soil in the plains is mainly alluvial and is suitable for cultivation. The sub mountainous hill rangers have highly credible soils and support sparse vegetation. Owing to the unbroken gentle slope, the area has good natural drainage in the plains.

The Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation comprises of two wings of the department namely forest wing and wildlife wing. As far as forest is concerned, forest wing is responsible for protection of forest areas in the state of Punjab by implementing Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900. Indian Forest Act, 1927, Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and others acts and rules framed thereunder from time to time by Government of India and by State Government. The legally notified area under Forests in Punjab is 3058 sq. kms which is about 6.1% of the total geographical area. About half of the forest area is notified as Reserved/Protected Forest, while balance is being managed under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900.

The Wildlife Wing is responsible for the protection, conservation and management of wildlife both in nature as well as in captivity. The protection works include detection of wildlife offences and their prosecution in the courts and enforcement of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The wildlife conservation and management activities involve rehabilitation of various species of wildlife to their natural habitat, management of Zoos and Mini Zoos (Deer Parks), protection of rare and threatened species of birds and animals alongwith management and development of protected areas in the state.

. There are total 14 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 4 Community Reserves, 2 Wetlands, 1 Zoo (Mahendra Chaudhry Zoological Park), 1 Tiger Safari at Ludhiana and 3 Mini Zoos in the state which are managed by the Wildlife Wing of the State.