BENGALURU: Consider the Karnataka Forest Department’s plan to introduce safaris in Bannerghatta National Park (BNP), along with Karnataka state tourism department, shelved. Reason: The carrying capacity study undertaken in the trial phase has not yielded desired results. Also, the behaviour of animals is not as the departments expected along with the rising instances of man- animal conflict.
The departments came up with the plan last year, as BNP houses a healthy population of herbivores, sloth bears, leopards, reptiles and even a lone male wild tiger. “The trial safari runs turned out to be a patrolling exercise instead. The carrying capacity study needs to be undertaken, even if it is for the first time. The animals’ behaviour here is quite different. They are very shy and in some cases they are also aggressive,” a forest department official told TNIE.
Terming it a very primitive trial run, the department and all stakeholders have started afresh. The baseline trips, analysis of the safari and the disturbance to wildlife needs to be studied again. “It could be a coincidence, but it was also seen that the presence of humans inside the park, only made them move further away and even come out of forest areas, which only leads to more conflict. The staffers, hence, got busy in handling rescue operations and the safari plan got sidelined,” the official said.
However, some staffers said that after the carrying capacity studies are undertaken again, the safari cannot start. Soon after the safari plan was announced, it had drawn a lot of criticism. Many conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts had objected to the plan stating that when there was a safari in Bengaluru Bannerghatta Biological Park, then there was no need to start one in BNP. They also stated that BNP was smaller as compared to other forest patches including Nagarahole and Bandipur. Forest staffers, however, defended their decision, stating that the plan was introduced because many people were unable to go out of Bengaluru to see wildlife and that it would help many students learn.