Tourists flock Bandipur as lakes fill to the brim

Tourists flock Bandipur as lakes fill to the brim

Nearly half of the 570 lakes in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR) have filled up following clearance of weeds on the feeder channels that link the water bodies inside the 872 sq-km national park. Forest officials say the move will help beat the summer heat and ensure sufficient water for animals. 

In September and October last year, the anti-poaching staff cleared weeds that had come up on the natural feeder channel streams connecting one lake to the other. The forest area received good rainfall in September-end and early November, filling up 240 water bodies. As many as 45 out of the 54 water bodies in the tourism zone have been rejuvenated, BTR Director B B Mallesh told Deccan Herald. 

Mallesh said it was one of the natural rainwater harvesting methods in the rain shadow areas as the region received limited rainfall during the northeast monsoon. Through this method, water from upstream flew downstream naturally through the feeder channels, filling up half of the lakes. 

The BTR didn’t undertake any new construction and carried out only minor repairs. The anti-poaching camp staffers cleared the weeds and improved the feeder channels, working one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, the official said. 

According to him, it was the first-of-its-kind experiment in the tiger reserve. If it proves successful during the summer, the forest department will implement it in all reserves in Karnataka. The national park had faced water scarcity during the last summer and had to bring in tankers to fill up the lakes in tourist spots. 

Now that the lakes are brimming, tourism has got a boost. With more animal sightings, more tourists are arriving, according to Mallesh. In November-December alone, the forest department earned around Rs 80 lakh from tourism. 

As per the latest tiger census report, Karnataka has the highest tiger population at 406, up from 300 in 2010. In Karnataka, Bandipur has the highest number of tigers at 105. 

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