Nature camp turns into 'messy'

Bhadra Reserve Forest shelters 30 tigers

Nature camp turns into 'messy'

The nature camp at Mutthodi in Bhadra Reserve Forest limits which was opened by the Forest Department with an objective to raise awareness among the school and college students on nature and wildlife, has literally become a heaven for alcoholics now.

The core area in the forest has turned out to be a place for week-end fun for the tourists from outside. The Bhadra Reserve Forest which spreads over 492 sq km, covers forests in Chikmagalur, N R Pura, Tarikere and Bhadravathi taluks.

This forest shelters over 30 tigers and varieties of wild animals including elephants, leopards, wild boar, deer, python, king cobra etc. The essence of the forest which is a centre of bio-diversity is damaged by the tourists who party inside the forest and throw away the left overs, plastics and liquor bottles all over.

A heap of liquor bottles tell the sad tale of the forest. A look at the nature camp reveals that majority of the tourists who stay at the shelter houses, dormitories, cottages and tents here arrive only to enjoy.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Wildlife activist G Veeresh said that the concept of opening a nature camp in the core area of Bhadra Reserve Forest itself was unscientific. The nature camp was upgraded in 2007, at an estimated  cost of Rs one crore despite the opposition from environmentalists.

In the name of nature camp, several structures have mushroomed inside the forest. It includes, kitchen, tent base building, cottage, fencing around the nature camp, construction of steps to the lake that flows nearby. Such developments affect the wildlife in the long run. The Forest Department is committing a great blunder by allowing the tourists to have fun in the forest, he complained.

It could be recalled that the then Union Minister for Environment Jairam Ramesh used to proudly state that the rehabilitation programme taken up at Bhadra Tiger Reserve is the most successful programme in India. The former Bhadra Wildlife Protection Department Deputy Conservator of Forest

Gaonkar in fact had made several public announcements in the past stressing on the need to shift Mutthodi nature camp and the department offices from the core area of the forest to outer zone of the forest. He had also tried his best to do the same and had succeeded in putting an end to all kind of human activities that disturbed the wild animals.

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