KOLKATA: In a move to ensure privacy to the animals in the forests, the West Bengal forest department has banned entry of photographers and tourists to the forests of the state during the breeding season of monsoon.
While the rule was already in place in north Bengal, it was recently extended to forests of south Bengal as well and will be implemented from July 16 after photographers began thronging the south Bengal forests when denied entry into the north Bengal forests. While north Bengal has several tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, south Bengal has dense mangrove forest Sundarbans near the Indo-Bangladesh border and Ajodhya Hill forest at the confluence of Gangetic plains with the Chotanagpur plateau in Purulia district.
The move was extended to the south Bengal forests after forest officials found that photographers were disturbing the breeding of migrant Hooded Pitta birds that fly down from the sub-Himalayan regions of north Bengal every monsoon for breeding in the south Bengal forests.
"Tourists can't visit the forests of north Bengal during the monsoon due to the already existing ban there. Hence, many of them flock the forests of south Bengal. Among them, some photographers venture deep to click photographs which disturbs the breeding animals. This move is aimed to curb that menace," West Bengal Chief Wildlife Warden Ravi Kant Sinha said. Accordingly, the state administration will also sharpen vigil in the forests to photography of the animals during the breeding season and appropriate fines may soon be implemented for violating the rule, sources revealed.