Forest department ready to tackle drought

BANGALORE: With 123 taluks across the state reeling under severe drought, big animals have been affected as they need to travel longer distances in search of water and food. Nearly 40 pe

Published: 19th April 2012 03:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 07:37 PM   |  A+A-

BANGALORE: With 123 taluks across the state reeling under severe drought, big animals have been affected as they need to travel longer distances in search of water and food.

Nearly 40 per cent of the water holes have gone dry in national parks, sanctuaries and reserve forests of the state.

Speaking to Express, Chief Wildlife Warden B K Singh said, “We are prepared and no emergency measures are required. However, some supplementary measures will be taken up when water tankers will be deployed to meet the need of reptiles and mammals in these areas.”

Villages bordering national parks and reserve forests have seen an increase in incidents of animals entering farm lands, killing cattle, destroying crops and sometimes attacking villagers.

Bigger mammals moved into villages in Mandya, Mysore, Kodagu, Hassan and other districts. Bears, elephants and leopards have been straying into sugarcane, paddy or ragi fields.

Singh said as these regions were high- conflict zones, it was not surprising that many animals were sighted at villages near elephant corridor zone.

However, during the drought animals may survive or perish as it is a “process of natural culling” and should not be interfered with, feel conservationists.

Nearly 8-10 villages in Malavalli taluk in Mandya have reported sightings of sloth bears, leopards and pachyderms. Kempayanadoddi near Dalwayikodihalli in Halagur hobli on the fringes of Muthathi Reserve Forest, has recently reported increasing incidents of leopards and sloth bears straying into farm lands.

Ramaprasad, the a farm owner, told Express that a leopard attacked their guard dog.

“This is the second such attack. Since there is power supply only for 3-4 hours daily in our village, big animals enter farm houses,” he added.

Every year, these villages have been spotting mammals coming in search of food and water.

Surrounded by the hill ranges of Basavanbetta, the forest area has 15-20 bears and nearly five leopards, which often stray into human settlements.

“The forest department has started solar fencing in the Talakad region. We hope this fencing will be extended up to Malvalli region,” said a farmer.

Previously elephant forays were very high in these villages but in the last one year, it is not so bad, said Mahadeva. “There is a need for digging elephant trenches all along these villages to protect both the animals and human settlements,” said Ramaprasad.

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