BENGALURU: On the eve of the World Environment Day, the state Forest Department and the Biodiversity Board resolved to declare five places as heritage sites. Mundigekere, a small lake at Sonda in Sirsi, Uttar Kannada, tops the list. A resolution to declare it as a heritage site was passed by the local panchayat three months ago.
The water body, around 20 km from Sirsi town, is already recognised as a bird sanctuary. On Thursday, a team of the board and Forest Department officials inspected the lake and decided to declare it as a heritage site under the Karnataka Biodiversity Act.
Board chairman Ananth Hegde Ashisara told TNIE, “We, along with the pontiff of Sonda Mutt and panchayat members visited the lake and discussed the matter at length. It is also decided to protect 10 more lakes in the same chain.” The Board members are also working on declaring Zooribetta in Koppal, Siddarabetta in Tumakuru and the hillocks of Ramanagara and Chikkamagalur as heritage sites. “The places have been chosen following proposals from the local administration and surveys conducted by the board. Each place was assessed by the team before the decision was taken.
We have given the opportunity to the local administrations to take up protection measures until the sites are officially declared as heritage sites,” Hegde added. The state already has four heritage sites — Ambaragudda in Shivamogga, Gandhi Krishi Vignana Kendra in Bengaluru, Nallur tamarind grove in Devanahalli and Hogrekan in Chikkamagaluru. “We are working on declaring 10 more reserves as heritage sites,” Hegde said adding, “We are looking for places with endemic and endangered biodiversity which need urgent protection.
The forest department is also working towards the protection of Karwar coast where the endangered humpback whale is found. “The Union government has sanctioned `1 crore and the project is being prepared to create a marine park. The Forest Department is also monitoring the biodiversity in Karwar and Honnavar,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (wildlife) Ajai Misra said.