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Cycling posing threat to flora, fauna in Turahalli forest
Bosky Khanna, Nov 28, 2016, Bengaluru, DHNS 1:20 IST
Dept working on plan to curb people's entry into reserve forest
Wildlife conservationists want the state government to protect the Turahalli reserve forest from the influx of eco-tourists, cyclists and walkers. The forest patch, located 20 km from Bengaluru off Kanakapura Road, is already under pressure from urbanisation.
The forest patch, once popular with bird watchers, butterfly watchers and trekkers, now attracts cyclists in droves. Cyclists are particularly drawn to its undulating hillocks. Riding them down, they often run over small animals and plants, environmentalist M B Krishna said, calling for strict regulation of people’s entry into the forest.
He sought curbs on walkers and cyclists, and gave the example of Lalbagh where people are not permitted to walk on lawns, and there are dedicated pathways. In Turahalli, Krishna said, there are many instances of cyclists running frogs over. Krishna said a social media campaign was under way to educate cyclists on the dos and don’ts while visiting Turahalli and other forest patches.
The Turahalli reserve forest is criss-crossed by NICE Road, connecting Tumakuru Road to Hosur Road. On one side towards Kanakapura Road is the Turahalli minor forest spread across 597 acres and on the other side is the Turahalli state forest spread across 500 acres towards Mysuru Road. Almost 13 acres of the minor forest has been encroached upon while around 10 acres of the state forest has been lost to land-grabbers. The forest and revenue departments have undertaken a survey to identify the encroached land.
The Turahalli forest was once home to leopards and sloth bears. But now leopards are seldom sighted despite the forest being connected to the BM Kaval reserve forest and the Bannerghatta National Park.
Dipika Bajpai, Deputy Conservator of Forests, acknowledged that animal death cases had come to her notice and said that the forest department was working towards regulating people’s entry into the forest. She also said the department had written several times to the state government and the deputy commissioner of Bengaluru Urban on the need to protect the Turahalli and Kadugodi reserve forests.