BENGALURU: Forest Minister Umesh Vishwanath Katti on Saturday said the state government, forest department, farmers and citizens must work together to increase the green cover in Karnataka from the existing 21 per cent to 33 per cent.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 67th Wildlife Week, he said, tree cover will be enhanced in private areas by encouraging and incentivizing farmers.
The Forest Minister said afforestation should not be limited to government lands only. Adequate tree cover is needed even in fields and farm lands as its linked with agricultural productivity also.
Emphasizing on the theme of this year's wildlife week -- Conserve Freshwater Fauna for Pure Water -- forest department officials present on the occasion asked the government to lay emphasis on protection of aquatic life, especially endemic species as their health and rich fauna is an indicator of pure water, which is being lost in today's times.
The wildlife week walk was flagged off by Governor Thaawar Chand Gehlot. He also released a special stamp on the critically endangered Hump-Backed Mahaseer, which the forest department is working on breeding and conserving.
As part of the week long observations, plantation and awareness drives were held in tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries across Karnataka.
The staffers interacted with locals explaining to them the importance of conservation and their involvement in protection.
A cycling event was also flagged off from Bengaluru to Bandipur on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanathi and wildlife week. The cyclists will ride through Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary to create awareness on forest conservation. Also along the buffers of the forest areas, cleanliness drives were also held.
A heritage car rally will also be held on October 3 as a part of the celebrations.