BENGALURU: Within a span of 20 days, two groups of hunters/poachers have been arrested thanks to strict patrolling carried out by Forest Authorities on the Mysuru-Virajpet highway that passes through Nagarhole National Park. Authorities have enforced strict surveillance and the installation of speed humps at regular intervals on the highway to protect wildlife.
On Monday night, three people were arrested for illegally entering the Devamachi section of the Anechowkur wildlife range. Two SBLR guns, eight live cartridges, a vehicle and other items were seized. The accused - Khaleed alias Mohammad (58), Shanu alias Amirjan (39) and Jiyaad alias Khaleed (23) – all hailing from Ambatti in Virajpet taluk, are in custody.
Preliminary probe revealed that they were habitual offenders and were into poaching deer for meat. Further, authorities found that two more people, Muneer alias Abubakar (38) and Jiyad alias Musa (36), both from Hebbale village, Virajpet were also involved in the case. Both of them have been absconding and a probe is on. Earlier, on 25 July, three people from Ponnampet were held for attempting to kill a spotted deer in the Hebbala area.
Nagarhole Director Narayanswami enforced strict night patrolling on the highway. Presently, three teams patrol this highway during the night. Each team consists of a deputy RFO, two guards, two watchers and a driver. They put in all their effort to drive away any wild jumbos that strayed into coffee estates in Virajpet and also to protect the camp elephants from Mathigodu. The boundary area is sensitive and every point of the highway has to be checked, said Shivanand Ningani, RFO Anechowkur Range and Special Tiger Protection Force.
Ningani adds, “We are doing our best as the monsoon months are particularly risky with herbivores straying onto the highway and attracting poachers. Each team has to patrol an area of 15 km. 22 speed humps have been installed on a length of 11 km to reduce vehicular speed.” With local people in possession of licenced guns and people from Kerala also using this road frequently, there are a lot of poaching incidents taking place in the absence of any night traffic ban.
Kallahalla range attached to Nagarhole National Park
MYSURU: The Kallahalla Range near Ponnampet through which state highway 90 connecting Mysuru to parts of Kodagu and Kerala has been attached to the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve. The road is currently the lifeline of those travelling between Karnataka and northern parts of Kerala through the Anechowkur gate since roads through Bandipur and Nagarhole have night traffic ban and is regularly used by transport buses that run between the states. Kallahalla range was earlier classified as reserve forest under Thithimathi area. However, with the order from the Centre, the range will come under the Nagarhole Rajiv Gandhi National Park.
With the change in status, many fear that night traffic regulations will come into force on this road as well and in which case vehicles bound to north Kerala will have to take a longer detour. “If restrictions come into force on this road, we will have to take a detour through Kushalnagar which will be an additional 70 km. Usually a majority does not prefer the Maldare road which is shorter,” said Anfeer, a frequent traveller on the route. However, sources in the forest department clarified that there is no proposal to bring a night traffic ban along the stretch since it is the most favoured alternative road.