'Make people aware of forests'

 P Ravi Kumar, additional chief secretary, Department of Environment, Forests and Ecology, on Tuesday told the department officials to make people aware of forests and their importance.

He was speaking after releasing a special postal cover as part of the International Forest Day programme here. “At present, people look at forests as a hindrance. They know that the forest is home to various wildlife species, but only a limited area is accessible.

People also think that the forest is only meant for safaris. But there is much more to forests which they should be made aware of. Forest cover is being reduced. The agricultural land and urban areas are increasing, which is leading to conflicts,” he said.

 Charles Lobo, chief post master general, Karnataka Circle, said the postal department releases a special stamp dedicated to wildlife during every wildlife week celebrations. Karnataka has over 60 permanent special cancelations. Among them, 10 are exclusive to wildlife like of Nagarahole, Bandipur, black bucks, sloth bears of Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary and Kokkarebellur.

K S Sugara, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), said  safety of the ground staff is paramount. Citing the case of Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary where the staffers shot down a poacher on March 19 and nabbed one more the next day, he said that the staff came to meet him on Monday.

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