BENGALURU: Battered by meat-poaching and hunting, the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary has finally been named an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ). The protection has been given to about 600sqkm and an extent varying from one to 14.5km around the boundary of the sanctuary.
As many as 107 revenue and forest villages spread across 3,879 hectares will come under the notified zone. Activities like mining, stone quarrying and running of crushing units, saw mills, brick kilns and setting up of industries and rearing of livestock will be prohibited.
The ESZ includes 72 revenue villages across three taluks in as many districts, namely Kollegal in Chamrajnagar district, Malavalli in Mandya and Kanakpura in Ramanagara. These villages also encompass Sathegal Jagir forest and Ikkadahalli gudda abutting Hanur forests.
It will also include 35 forest villages in the outer boundary of the sanctuary. Moreover, the two reserve forests abutting the sanctuary in Ramanagara district will also become a part of this zone.
Wildlife activists hailed the decision. Now flying over the sanctuary has been ignored while plying of hot air balloons in the area is in the regulated list.
Wildlife activist Shankar, Sahyadri Shrunga said: “There were some activities in prohibited list in the draft but are now only regulated. Referring to many regulated/prohibited activities, it says ‘as per applicable laws’ but there are no applicable laws for many of them. The Committee had suggested prohibition of all new commercial hotel and resorts, but the final notification is lenient in this regard. There are several resorts in this sanctuary, many illegal. This (notification) will lead to an increase in setting up of infrastructure. Since this sanctuary is struggling with poaching, these resorts might become hubs for illegal wild meat trading.”However, forest officials disagreed, insisting that poaching had been controlled to a large extent and with the ESZ tag, it will be curtailed further.