No cameras, mobiles, selfie sticks in safari areas of Bannerghatta

No cameras, mobiles, selfie sticks in safari areas of Bannerghatta

The Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) has decided to ban the use of cameras, mobile phones and selfie sticks in the safari areas of the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP).

The move comes in the wake of increasing number of untoward incidents. On Saturday, Anjaneya N, 35, a gatekeeper, was mauled to death by two 18-month-old white tigers, Jhansi and Vanya.

“We agree that people will not be happy with this idea. But it is for their own safety. We know instances where drivers and animal keepers are bribed by people to stop the bus or jeep on safari routes to take photographs. This strains the animals and leads to conflicts,” Chairperson of ZAK, Mallige Veeresh, told DH.

The ZAK is also planning to restrict the use of cars and jeeps for tourists, saying that they are meant for official purposes only.

“Tourists should move around in properly fenced safari buses. A stern warning has also been issued to BBP staff. Erring staffers, those coming drunk to duty, not properly clad in uniform and those accepting bribe will be immediately suspended,” she said.

Meanwhile, after visiting the enclosure where Anji died, ZAK has ordered for the change of enclosure gates.

“We have directed BBP to install double-security automated gates. The gates are designed in such a manner that it will one gate will open only when the other is locked. This will ensure minimal human error. Also, 15 CCTV cameras will be immediately installed near enclosures and strategic locations,” she said.

Executive Director of BBP, Santosh Kumar, said that officials saw a demonstration of these automatic gates by one designer. The BBP management had placed this proposal in March but it is still awaiting clearance. The state government and ZAK have now assured to make this a priority.

Also, Mallige said Dr Ramesh, noted veterinarian from Mysuru zoo, will train BBP staffers on zoo and animal management.

“This is the need of the hour. He will also help the BBP staff in increasing security measures,” she said.

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