MYSORE: Heavy rains in the Western Ghats over the last couple of days have turned drought-hit tiger reserves and national parks in Nagarhole, Bandipur, B R Hills and Kollegal forest range safe for animals.
The rains have also brought relief to forest officials, who in the last few months had witnessed the worst forest fire in Nagarhole, Bandipur, parts of Biligiri Ranga Sanctuary and also in M M Hills region.
The Western Ghats received early summer showers in March end and the first week of April. However, as the pre-monsoon showers were delayed by 20 days, it affected the forest and rural areas.
Reports of elephant deaths due to starvation, scarcity of drinking water in Kowdahalli forest range, deer being spotted in villages in search of water, deer attacked by street dogs near Ajjaipura and other regions exposed the seriousness of drought in forest areas.
Forest guards and ground staff from anti-poaching camps engaged in dousing forest fires want to conserve rain water for wildlife till monsoon sets in.
The showers filled ponds, desilted tanks and dams built under National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme and other programmes.
Few weeks ago, a forest fire destroyed nearly 2,000 hectares in Nagarhole National Park, but now the small pools, roadside ponds and those inside the park are getting filled.
Tourists Are Welcome
The Sunkadakatte forest range covering Kabini backwater has been opened for tourists. However, the Nagarhole forest is not yet opened owing to the damage caused due to fire in the tourist zone.
DFO Vijayranjan Singh said that they have brought bamboo seeds from South Canara and it would be sown on the advice of experts. He said that the bamboo shoots will grow to its full size in five to seven years.
The Kollegal forest range that covers M M Hills, Kawdahalli with a lot of elephants, bison, deer, sambar and other mammals received heavy rains over last three days after a four-month drought.
DFO Javed Mumtaz said that the ten check dams and 13 desilted tanks will store water for the wildlife till the region receives regular monsoon showers.
“For the first time we will take up large scale plantation of saplings, bamboo seeds and other plants to improve vegetation,” he said.
The Biligiri Ranga Hills, which witnessed forest fire in Doddasampige, K Gudi, Byallur and other places, also received heavy rainfall.