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Forest department aims to regulate wildlife photography

Bosky Khanna, Aug 17, 2014, Bangalore: DHNS: 2:09 IST
To control the hordes of amateur wildlife photographers who frequently throng the forests looking to take that unforgettable snap, the forest department will introduce dedicated premium beats in tourism areas for those wanting to capture the wild­life through their lenses.

Exclusive jeeps will take photographers about 30 minutes prior to the scheduled safari. Shutterbugs will have to pay a special fee of at least Rs 500 for the camera, besides the safari charges.

This will also be introduced in semi-wildlife tourism areas like Ranganathittu. Here, boating will start an hour early in the morning and evening. Photographers will have to pay an additional fee of Rs 500 plus for the camera apart from boating charges. If everything goes according to the plan, the scheme will start on October 1. “The aim is to regulate tourism and check the photographers’ menace,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Vinay Lutra told Deccan Herald.

The proposal was sent to the government a month and a half ago and clearance is awaited.
A study conducted by the forest department showed that Bangalore is the hub of wildlife photographers and forests in the State bear the brunt of their enthusiasm to capture wildlife pictures.

“There is a huge interest among Bangaloreans for wildlife photography. Many of them visit the forests only to take photographs. But now it will be regulated. The premium beats are being created to control the carrying capacity in forest areas,” Lutra added.

The maximum rush for wildlife photography is seen at Bandipur and Nagarhole Tiger Reserves. Most amateur photographers are aged 25-30 years and belong to engineering and IT professions. This is because they have a lot of money and time at their disposal.

Pankaj Singh, Lead PR and Social Manager at Light Art Academy, said: “Wildlife photography is the new craze, after portraits. For one, people have purchasing power to buy cameras and travel.

Then, social networking sites like Facebook spur such activities. People want to take photographs and share them online. Many take inspiration from photographs posted by others on FB. There are over 1,000 such photographers in Bangalore alone.”

B S Shashidhar, president of Karnataka Photographers’ Association, said that many people get hooked to wildlife photography “only for fun and not as a serious career option”.

With the availability of advanced cameras, the interest is only heightened. But they do not realise that wildlife photography is a serious subject and requires a lot of patience. This regulation will help channelise such an activity.”

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