SUV driver blamed for BBP safari lion's aggression, removed

SUV driver blamed for BBP safari lion's aggression, removed
The mystery behind the aggressive behaviour of a lion at the sight of a particular SUV in the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) safari in September is solved. With a similar incident involving a lion and lioness reported last week, officials on Monday learnt that it was the SUV driver who was provoking the big cats to act aggressively.

BBP executive director B Santosh Kumar told DH that after an enquiry revealed safari driver Ramesh’s role, he was immediately removed from safari duty and put on night duty in the zoo.

An enquiry has also been ordered against the range forest officer and other staff for not bringing the matter to the notice of the higher-ups immediately. Kumar said it was Ramesh who was driving the SUV on September 6, 2016, when six-year-old lion Dharma pounced on the safari car.

The management has also learnt that drivers, in order to earn some extra cash and to draw more tourists to SUV safaris, are provoking animals to give tourists a thrill, an official pointed out.

The park management is planning to remove special SUVs from the safari and increase the number of buses in the herbivore, carnivore and bear safaris. “These high-end cars were introduced after some tourists demanded special private safaris. But animals are stressed due to the increased number of cars,” Kumar added.

The BBP has two SUVs, six jeeps, three AC buses and 22 KSTDC buses which are used to ferry tourists to the safari. Each vehicle is permitted to make six trips a day. The total number of safari trips varies from day to day, Kumar said.
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