BENGALURU: With temperatures soaring and reservoir levels going down, the summer is getting tougher for the wildlife too. However, there are no reports of animal deaths due to water scarcity, thanks to adequate water stocks for now, say forest officials and wildlife conservationists.
The wildlife includes a 6,000-strong elephant population, more than 400 tigers, thousands of leopards, sloth bears, blackbucks, gaurs and antelopes inhabiting various national parks, tiger reserves and zoological parks in the state.
Wildlife authorities said they hope to tide over the situation at least for a month as there are sufficient water holes and rivers and streams. With rains occurring for two-three days in some regions, the situation is not so bad, they added.
Though Ballari is sizzling above 40 degrees Celsius and citizens are getting drinking water once in 10-12 days, the situation seems better for the animals at the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary and the Gudekotte sanctuary. Takhat Singh Ranawat, Ballari DCF, said, “There is no water crisis and with Daroji having a TB canal in its interiors plus two lakes, the sloth bears, leopards and wild boars are not affected. Since Gudakotte, a new sanctuary, did not have water holes, we are constructing three water holes. We are managing the situation with the water available in Ramdurg Kere. No deaths of Blackbucks not been reported from any part of the district till date.
According to Kantharaju, Director, Nagarhole National Park, with perennial sources of water being available in the reservoirs, there is no cause for worry.
He said, “The four reservoirs -- Kabini, Taraka, Hebbala and Nagarhole -- still have water. At least for the next one month, the situation is not worrying.” He added, “Animals have to traverse a bit for drinking water. But since it rained for two-three days in Bandipur, there is no problem on that count. But for fodder needs, it has to rain in the next one month if we have to be in a comfortable situation.”
No animal deaths have been reported in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Kudremukh National Park that house tigers, leopards, leopard cats, langurs, macaques, barking deer, etc. According to wildlife activist G Veeresh, this is a region with three rivers, Bhadra, Tunga and Netravathi, and sufficient water is available here. With timely rains for two days recently, many a river stream and water holes in the three Western Ghats districts are holding sufficient water to tide over the situation.
Coming to the grassland regions of Tumakuru district, bounded by granite hills, and home to thousands of black bucks, foxes and other wildlife, the situation at the Jaymangali Blackbuck Conservation Reserve is comfortable as it has two borewells. Amarnath, Tumakuru Deputy Conservator of Forests, said, “If there had not been enough water, the animals would have come out of the reserve in search of food and water. But fortunately, it has not happened. Even in other protected areas, we have water holes with sufficient water to meet their immediate needs.”
The Bannerghata Biological Park (BBP) constituting a zoo, a rescue centre, a butterfly park and a lion and tiger safari, faces no problem for now. With five to six lakes and 19 borewells, the Park authorities are tapping water from two lakes and one or two borewells. According to BBP Executive Director Santosh Kumar, the elephant population which needs more water is based in an area with a low-level water tank with sufficient water. “As it is, the elephants move about and go to the forest and then return after fulfilling their water and food needs. We are in a position to meet the water needs of all our inmates, be it lions, tigers, elephants, bears, or birds, adequately,” he added.