Aug 12, 2009
We would like to thank Errol Pais, Coffee Planter, Providence Estate, Siddapur , Coorg, for the help rendered in the success of this trip
We recently spent two weeks in the wild trekking the National and Reserve forests comprising of Kabini Reserve Forest and the Rajiv Gandhi National Park (Nagarahole). We also had the opportunity to trek a part of the Bramagiri Wild life Sanctuary and the Maldare Reserve forests of Coorg. We also devoted time to visit many bird sanctuaries like Ranganthittu, Karanji, kokkarekera and other places.
Mammals in the Park include tiger, leopard, sloth bear, dhole or Asiatic wild dog, striped hyena, golden jackal, leopard cat, jungle cat, rusty spotted cat, elephant gaur, sambar, chital or spotted dear, four horned antelope, wild pig, grey langur, bonnet macaque, common palm civet, small Indian civet, common mongoose, ruddy mongoose, smooth Indian otter, Slender Loris, black naped hare, porcupine, Indian pangolin, Indian giant squirrel, giant flying squirrel and threatened palm squirrel. Reptiles like the marsh crocodile are also quite common.
The need to write this article is based on the premise that
- As global citizens, each of us has a responsibility in protecting and caring for wild life habitats
- We need to inspire and educate the youth about the threats facing wildlife habitats.
- Despite being recognized worldwide as biodiversity hotspots, relatively little is known about India’s diminishing rain forests.
- To help people realize that Wildlife sanctuaries and National parks are the only remaining places on planet earth that will enable endangered species like the leopard, elephant , wild dog , tiger and many other forms of life thrive in the wild.
- More and more people with disposable incomes are willing to invest their time and money in visiting wildlife sanctuaries and game reserves with the sole intention of learning more about forests and wildlife.
- Citizens are conscious of the fact that wildlife sanctuaries are our only hope in preserving wildlife, when compared to animals in captivity-zoos.
- Environmental education has gained momentum and more students are opting for this stream.
Karnataka with its high mountain ranges and low lying plains has one of the most beautiful landscapes. The State is blessed with stunning biodiversity in terms of harboring rare and endangered wildlife species. The various forest ranges are largely responsible for the onset of monsoons and the birth of many rivers. One needs to distinguish that not all forests are the same. Depending on the terrain, the forests are classified as scrub forest, moist deciduous forest, semi evergreen forest, evergreen forests and dry deciduous forest. Correspondingly, each forest type harbors a specific assemblage of wild life. About 100 mammal species, including about 6000 elephants and 300 tigers, 73 reptiles and 58 amphibians have been recorded in Karnataka.
The PROTECTED AREA NETWORK in Karnataka includes five National Parks, and twenty one wildlife Sanctuaries, covering an area of 6320 square kms. Or 3.3 % of the State’s geographical area. Of these two protected areas, Bandipur and Bhadra, enjoy an additional status of Tiger Reserves. Rajiv Gandhi National Park (Nagarahole) has been declared an extension of Bandipur Tiger Reserve. The Central Government has pro actively formed a national policy and has mandated that every State should bring at least 4.5 % of its area under the PROTECTED ARE NETWORK. This means Karnataka would require an additional land of 2300 square km to bring it under the protected area.
According to the Karnataka Government Forest Information, Karnataka forests harbors 25 percent of the elephant population of India, 10% of the Tiger population. The state has 5 National Parks and 21 Sanctuaries comprising about 17.3% of total forest area as protected area for wildlife and biodiversity. The state ranks 4th among all the states and union territories in respect of area under tree cover.
HIGHLIGHTS OF KARNATAKA FORESTS
- Most of the dense forests are located along Western Ghats region of Karnataka.
- 60% of the Western Ghats are located in Karnataka State.
- Karnataka State has a recorded forest area of 43,356.45 Sq. Km which is 22.60% of the total geographical area of the State.
- The land actually covered by forest is 33,238.47 Sq. Km which constitutes 17.33% of the total geographical area.
Dense Forest (40% and above crown density) is 28,144 Sq. Km; Open Forest (10% to 40%) and Scrub Forest (less than 10% density) is 15,212 Sq. Km; and Mangrove forest is 3 Sq.Kms and rest of the forest land is not covered by forest.
- Home of world-famous sandal and rosewood trees.
Tiger Elephant Panther Bear Wild bear Deer Bison Sambar Fox
395 6185 817 2324 15760 25850 8484 4998 957
*Source: Wildlife census of 1997-98
WHAT IS EXPECTED FROM THE FOREST DEPARTMENT IN PROMOTING ECOTOURISIM
- Affordable accommodation , cleanliness and hygiene
- Well qualified guides with Masters qualification in wildlife management
- Friendly staff and raised platform vehicles with adequate safety measures to view wildlife.
- Raised towers near water holes to spot wildlife
- Nature camps, especially tailored for school kids and those attending college.
- Involvement of Lecturers, Professors and model citizens in anti poaching camps organized by the forest Department.
- We have suggested a list of recommendations, and would be happy if readers could modify, suggest or bring forth a new level of thinking in terms of policy initiatives.
Officials at the helm of affairs should understand that protection of forests and its wealth in terms of flora and fauna cannot be achieved without the active participation of responsible law abiding citizens.
We should redouble our efforts in protecting wild life from the threats of illegal wildlife trade and loss of habitat. We must admit to the fact that due to deficiencies in planning and inadequate allocation of funds; wildlife population is declining. In many of the game sanctuaries and reserves, protection measures are weak due to the absence of measures to combat poaching, archaic communication net work, inadequate arms and ammunitions & poor intelligence network.
The very slow disposal of cases related to wildlife crimes sends a wrong signal to the rich and powerful.
Another very important reason contributing towards dwindling wild life is tree logging, creation of dams inside pristine forests, special economic zones, river diversion etc where wild life gets displaced and there is no contiguous corridor for migration.
Many tribal’s still live inside sanctuaries. We need to find a way to satisfy their legitimate livelihood needs. But it is equally vital to ensure that such livelihood needs do not come at the cost of the wild animals.
Educating the rural youth in particular, especially children; can play an important role in reducing animal human conflict.
On a global scale, nearly 525 million hectares of land worldwide has been designated as Nature parks, Wildlife refuges and National reserves. The danger from our point of view is that the management of these game sanctuaries and biosphere reserves is based on political outlook rather than ecological considerations. It is high time that conservationists change their strategy in protecting wildlife. The natural biogeographical zones of an entire ecosystem, with its associated land, water, air and wildlife resources must be managed as a unit if we are to preserve the integrity of these ecologically sensitive hotspots.
Let’s recall the words of wisdom of the Red Indian Chief Seattle” What is man without the beasts? If the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected “.
We also need to realize that wildlife cannot be safeguarded without mankind’s determined sacrifice to protect them for fear of living in a world of darkness.
Archives - Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira :
- Coffee Forests - a Gateway to Wild Life
- Bird Paradise of Western Ghats
- Amazing Slender Loris..
- Coffee - The Amazing Elixir for Young and Old
- Butterflies - The Flying Jewels of the Western Ghats
- The Fascinating World of Mushrooms
- Rare Aquatic Bird Species of Western Ghats
- Human - Elephant Conflict