HUBBALLI: The Karnataka Forest Department has authorised patrolling boats for the Kali Tiger Reserve in Dandeli. The large part of the tiger reserve abuts Kali river and backwaters of Supa and Kodasalli dams and with new boats the foresters can keep a tight vigil in these areas.
Presently two motor boats have been given to the foresters at Kumbarwada wildlife range of Kali Tiger Reserve and the foresters.
Besides Kali Tiger Reserve, the boat patrolling is carried out in Kabini part of Nagarhole Tiger Reserve in Mysuru. The foresters noted that several areas that are part of Kali Tiger Reserve are not accessible if not through the waterway.
During monsoons several areas get marooned and reaching there becomes a difficult task. With the new boats, these areas could be kept under watch even during monsoons.
A senior forest officer from the Kali Tiger Reserve said that the boats cost Rs 4.88 lakh each and are currently making rounds in Supa dam backwaters.
"During 2019 poaching and tree cutting cases were reported in some parts of Kumbarwada division which has backwaters abutting. We wanted to keep an eye on the illegal activities such as attempts to hunt down great Indian gaurs and unnecessary timber lifting," the officer said.
"We also have specific information about some gangs from Dandeli operating in backwaters and they sneak through areas which are not protected or in the area of Kali Tiger Reserve. They come in small boats and get down in the forest areas to hunt gaurs and other animals. Hence the boat patrolling plan was mooted. The boat will have four forest guards, arms, binoculars and GPS instruments," the officer explained.
"Its a good move by the forest department," said a wildlife activist from Joida. "There have been several instances of poaching and attempts from the lockdown period. The patrolling in Kali river will bring fear among the poaching gangs and even during monsoon the foresters can reach the areas with the help of boats.
As the foresters get busy fighting the forest fires, several people try to indulge in sand mining and poaching, Hence such acts must be curbed by strengthening the protection measures," the activist suggested.