JLR safaris in Kabini to come down, forest dept to get more vehicles

It has also been proposed to reduce the number of JLR safari vehicles in Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
Safari jeep going close to a tiger couple in Kabini Reserve
Safari jeep going close to a tiger couple in Kabini ReservePhoto | Express

BENGALURU: The most sought after niche safari in the state, offered by Jungle Lodges and Resorts in Kabini, Antarsanthe range of Nagarhole Tiger Reserve will be soon be reduced, under the new proposed tiger reserve conservation plan.

The Karnataka forest department has sent a new tiger conservation area management plan to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), in which it has proposed to reshuffle the number of trips that department vehicles and JLR vehicles will make.

The new draft proposes to increase the number of vehicles in NTR from 36 to 45, of which 29 vehicles are proposed for JLR and 16 for the forest department. At present, JLR ferries 36 vehicles and the forest department has 9.

It has also been proposed to reduce the number of JLR safari vehicles in Bandipur Tiger Reserve. After adding two more vehicles and increasing the tally of vehicles to 31, the draft proposes to allot 12 to JLR and 19 to the forest department. Earlier, the division was 14 and 17, respectively.

The tiger conservation area management plan of tiger reserves expired in March 2024. To continue with eco- tourism and other works, including conservation, a dedicated plan is needed and has to be approved by NTCA.

“So far, we have sent the project plan of BTR and NTR. Drafts of the other tiger reserves -- Kali, BRT and Bhadra -- are still being finalised. The carrying capacity of each tiger reserve is being revised based on multiple factors, including footfall, number of vehicles plying, animal population, routes, areas opened for tourism, fragility of the forests and geographical area. In the new proposal, the department is keen on revising the boundaries of buffer zones based on climatic changes and instances of man-animal conflict,” a senior forest department official told TNIE.

The official added that Supreme Court orders, NTCA guidelines and other wildlife acts have been kept in mind while drafting the new proposal.

On whether the increase in number of vehicles adds pressure to the eco-system and stress levels of animals, the official added that the number of vehicles will be divided uniformly.

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