Fifty-five sandalwood trees have been stolen from the Bangalore University's Jnanabharathi campus in the past three years. Twenty-six of these trees were stolen in December 2017 alone.
The number of stolen trees is what the university has kept track of. The actual figure could be higher, according to RTI activist Veeraiya Hiremath.
The Jnanabharathi campus is spread over 1,100 acres. There are 340 sandalwood trees in its 300-acre Bio-Park 2.
T G Renukaprasad, the coordinator for bio-parks, said the counting of trees in Bio-Park 1 was still going on.
"The office for the bio-parks was set up only in 2016, so the data for the past 10 years is not available. We have information only about the theft of trees in 2016-17," Renukaprasad said.
In the first phase, the authorities finished counting Nilgiri (eucalyptus) trees. They are looking for volunteers to conduct the census of sandalwood trees. Drones are being used for the counting. The trees will be geotagged, too.
Renukaprasad said: "All this information will be documented soon. We have written to the ADGP, Forest Cell, about the theft of the trees. A team led by an inspector came and collected evidence from the CCTV footage."
He suggested that the university was neglecting the protection of trees on the campus. "Although sandalwood trees are often stolen, no steps have been taken to curb it," he said.