Bandipur Tiger Reserveto divide safari crowd

Bandipur Tiger Reserveto divide safari crowd

The forest department would put up an additional checkpost at Melkamanahalli in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR) to divide the safari crowd and cut down rapidly piling garbage.

Serving and retired forest officials have confirmed that the litter lures many Bonnet macaques, langurs and wild boars. "So, we've decided to create an additional safari ticket booking counter at Melkamanahalli," BTR director Ambali Madhav said, adding that the move will also reduce the wild boar menace in the area.

The new counter will open in the next three months and would cater to those coming from Bengaluru and Mysuru for safari tours in the tiger reserve. The department is creating certain basic amenities like water, washrooms, sitting areas and offices.

The existing safari counter will be the pick-up point for those staying at the guest house, while tourists from Tamil Nadu will also be handled out of here.

BTR follows the example of the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, which shifted its safari counter from the guest house area to the check post in early 2017.

Noted environmentalist and retired forest officer S G Neginhal witnessed the wild boar menace during his recent visit to BTR as part of a documentary tour. He asked the staffers to tranquilise the boars and leave them back in the deep forest.

"Boar activities are increasing near the guest house area," Neginhal said. "I stayed in the Gajendra guest house and saw a wild boar dragging away a load of rice from inside the quarters."

He said boars have lost fear of human beings and are getting too close for comfort. There are photographic evidences of boars carting away fawns, Bonnet macaques and young langurs. At this rate, Neginhal feared, they would even carry away infants and toddlers from the open rooms.

He asked officials to take the help of pig catchers in Bengaluru and Mysuru to put the boars back in the deep forest. Officials are also concerned that the excess growth of lantana around the guest houses provides an ideal cover for boars to hide and breed.

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