Forest department to tap CSR funds to support tigers, ecology

Forest department to tap CSR funds to support tigers, ecology

Forest department to tap CSR funds to support tigers, ecology

The Forest and Environment Minister B Ramanath Rai on Friday said that forest department would invite companies to invest in ‘Support The Tiger’ programme, which was aimed at channelising corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds for forest conservation.

“Under the new Companies Act, it is mandatory for companies to spend two per cent of their profits on corporate social responsibilities and we want to them to invest in forest and wildlife for better conservation.

Karnataka has witnessed tremendous corporate growth but none have realised the importance of natural wealth,” Rai told mediapersons after inaugurating a day-long workshop ‘Support the Tiger,’ organised by State forest department and Karnataka Eco-Tourism Development Board.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Vinay Luthra said that a charter of desirables had been prepared which companies would have to follow and choose from like providing fire fighting equipments, vehicles, camera-traps, health check-up, improving anti-poaching camps, corridor construction, printing literature and maintaining patrol roads.

Tiger-centric tourism

Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee said: “We want to curb people’s desire to take photos of tigers, check tiger-centric tourism and encourage micro-photography rather than macro-photography. There are many who visit forests only to take photographs and show-off. This needs to be regulated because photographers have turned owls blind and agitated elephants leading to mock attacks while trying to click the right frame. We want serious, conservation-oriented people visiting forest who can keep aside their camera and watch animals.”

Many tourists visit forests mainly to see tigers. But we want them to enjoy forests and take responsibility of conserving them. With the CSR funds, we will not build roads or improve infrastructure, he added.

“We want controlled tourism. Companies will not be allowed to influence forest officials and conservation,” Mukherjee said.

Environment and Ecology Secretary Madan Gopal said that taking photographs disturbs ecology.

“We do not want this to happen any more. We want to ensure there is responsible tourism which is absent in forests of Karnataka like Bandipur, Nagarhole, Dandeli and Bhadra. Community conservation will be encouraged and corporates will be asked to concentrate here,” said Mukherjee.