Mission Lantana

  • A special drive to uproot the invasive lantana bushes in the famous Sajjangarh wildlife sanctuary in Rajasthan’s Udaipur district has helped in ecological restoration of grasslands and saved biodiversity. 
  • The month-and-a-half-long campaign was accompanied by the plantation of native species on the cleared patches of land.
  • Lantana camara, a thicket forming shrub, has covered vast tracts of land in the sanctuary, stopping the natural light and nutrition for flora and fauna.
  • The toxic substance in its foliage and ripe berries affected the animals, while its expansion stopped the natural growth of grass and other shrubs. 
  • With the herbivores not getting sufficient forage, the prey base for carnivorous animals was declining, leading to ecological disturbances in the food chain.
  • The “mission lantana” was taken up last month at the instance of a senior woman police officer who noticed an unease among the herds of spotted deer with the gradual shrinking of their natural habitat.
  • The drive involved collective efforts and ‘shram daan’ (voluntary physical work) by the forest officials, police personnel, wildlife lovers, representatives of voluntary groups and local villagers.