‘Squatting’ jumbo herd halts Bannerghatta trekking
By Shyam Sundar Vattam / ENS - BANGALORE
09th August 2012 08:11 AM
Overstaying jumbos have forced forest officials to temporarily suspend trekking in the Bannerghatta Biological Park.
They plan to allow trekking only after the pachyderms return to their original habitat.
Uddige Bande (3.5 km), Hajjamane Kallu (3 km) and Mirza Hill (1.5 km) are trekking routes identified by officials in Bannerghatta forests and are frequented by youths from Bangalore.
Cyclists from the city too take the Harohalli-Anekal and Ragihalli Roads through the 112 sq km forests during weekends and holidays.
The Forest Department allows trekking on these routes under protection from forest guards and watchers.
Elephants regularly visit these places as they are part of the elephant corridor but seldom stay for more than two months.
However, this time, due to availability of water and foliage here, around 80 elephants from neighbouring forests have been staying here for more than 8-10 months.
The Bannerghatta National Park also connects the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and Tamil Nadu forests.
During a visit, forest officials found this big herd camping in the area where Bangalore techie Satvik Shastri was recently trampled to death while he trekking with two friends.
Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bannerghatta National Park, Devaraj told Express that they have found a high density of elephants close to trekking routes.
“We feel human lives will be threatened if we allow trekking in this area. So, we have decided to temporarily suspend trekking till the pachyderms vacate that area,” Devaraj said.
The DCF said after the Satvik incident, the department has posted men at many places to keep a watch on those trying to enter the forests without permission. People are allowed to use only the tar road that passes through the Bannerghatta National Park and not the mud road. They will not be allowed to stop vehicles on the forest road.
The department has been firmly dealing with those who try to be too adventurous and adequate number of signs have been placed warning people not to risk entering the forests without permission, he said.
Sathvik’s body was found in the Bannerghatta forests after he had gone missing. He and his friends had entered the Bannerghatta forests on motorcycles.
According to forest officials, the three had entered the forests without the knowledge of the Forest Department.
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