Karnataka may soon see private wildlife reserves

Karnataka may soon have its own private wildlife reserves around Bandipur/Nagarhole/BRT or Kali/Bhimgad or Bhadra Tiger Reserves.

Published: 20th June 2018 02:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th June 2018 09:40 AM   |  A+A-

​A ​private forest conservancy around a resort | G Veeresh

BENGALURU: Karnataka may soon have its own private wildlife reserves around Bandipur/Nagarhole/BRT or Kali/Bhimgad or Bhadra Tiger Reserves. While forest officials explain that this is to give more space to wildlife in a shrinking area and reduce man-animal conflicts, wildlife activists have decried the idea saying this is nothing but providing a back-door entry to resort owners and realtors owning land on the fringes of protected areas.

In this regard, the draft rules, which have been formulated, is being taken up for discussion and finalization in the coming week. The rues for setting up of ‘private wildlife reserves’ have been framed under the purview of Section 39 of Karnataka Forest Rules, 1963 and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

The Karnataka Private Conservancy Rules, 2018 will allow individuals or consortium of people owning land (minimum 100 acres) around or along protected areas (PA) to form ‘Wildlife Private Conservancy’. However, 5% of this area can be utilised for construction of buildings (resorts/hotels/homestays) for the purpose of eco-tourism/co-activities while rest of the area will be reserved for conservation of flora and fauna.

All forest, wildlife and environment laws and rules will be applicable in these private reserves. However, in the event of any damage/attacks caused by wildlife to life and property in these reserves, neither the owner, employees nor their guests will be entitled to any compensation or ex-gratia payment.

Private reserve management

For the management of private wildlife reserves, a management committee will be formed which will be responsible for conserving, maintaining and managing the reserve. This committee will, in turn, advise the chief wildlife warden on all such issues. The committee will comprise three members — owner of the private wildlife reserve, a wildlife conservationist and the jurisdictional forest officer not below the rank of an RFO.Regulating its own procedures and its quorum, the management committee shall prepare its own management plan (as per MoEF guidelines) and also select/appoint its chief executive.

Mixed reaction

Even as there is a mixed opinion on the issue of permitting private conservancies in the state, the forest department has called for wide-ranging discussions on June 25. Forest officials, former PCCFs, State Wildlife Board members, wildlife experts/organizations, resort owners have been invited to discuss the draft rules.

Forest officials, preferring anonymity, say although the idea may be good, implementation will be extremely tough. “Since space is shrinking for wildlife year after year, they are spilling over to human habitations. And this may help in increasing the habitat for wildlife but management of such private reserves will be very tough, adhering to three important laws,” an official said.

Type Of Land For Inclusion
Agriculture, horticulture, plantation crop lands and other landscape areas can be brought under private conservancy and declared as ‘private forests.’

Dos And Don’ts
Entry to reserves will need permit
Permit not exceeding 15 days
Entrance fee to be fixed by committee
Any breach in conditions liable for punishment
Forest officer will take action on offences
No compensation/payment for wildlife attacks
No night safari/flashlights permitted
Owner responsible for wildlife protection
Jurisdictional forest officer to have free access
No grazing, dairy, poultry, piggery activities, etc.

Stay up to date on all the latest The Sunday Standard news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp