Govt forgets Gundia is part of elephant reserve

A notification dated November 11, 2002 (GO: FEE 231 FWL 2000) has declared it as an elephant reserve with approval from Government of India on March 26, 2002,( 7-2/00 (PE).

Accordingly, the ecologically-sensitive region with several endemic species of flora and fauna has been recommended to be protected under Gajah-2010 - the elephant task force report, which has recommended elephant be declared as a heritage animal. The Mysore Elephant Reserve, which spreads across 6724.87 sq km covers seven districts of Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Chamarajnagar, Mandya, Mysore, Kodagu and Hassan, covering forest stretches of Bandipur, Nagarhole, Brahamagiri and Pushpagiri.

“The Bisele Reserve Forest, is a part Mysore Elephant Reserve, and is also a catchment area of Gundia,” said Dr T V Ramachandra, Senior Scientist Energy and Wetland research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

Confirming this, another notification mentions that Arani Village survey no 1 measuring 2548.17 hectares and Baazimane survey no 1 measuring 476.42 hectares and survey no 2 measuring 110.93 hectares totally measuring 3,135.52 hectares had been the part of elephant reserve as per the notification. Both the villages form a part of Bisele range.

However, a senior forest official declared his ignorance of the existence of this notification and denied that Gundia was part of an elephant reserve. According to a report prepared by the IISc, the place is a prominent elephant migratory path which connects Mudumalai National Park, Nagarhole, Bandipur, Brahmagiri, Mutthodi, Anechaukur, Thithimathi, Dubare, Somwarpet, Brahmagiri, Bisele range forest, Kaginhare, Charmadi, Kemphole and Mudigere.

Tiger sightings have aslo been reported from the place and two incidents of cattle lifting have been recorded from Mekkirmane in Shettur hobli and Yedakumari both in Yelsur range. Pug marks measuring 16 cubic centimetres (cc) and 15 cc have been documented by Yelsur range forest officer Satish. H N Kumara, well-known primatologist during his study (2002- 2005) has found that the place is a crucial lion-tailed macaque region.

Several arboreals like Travancore flying squirrel (petinomys fuscocapillus), which was believed to be non-existent in Karnataka has been reported in 2005. This rare endangered species believed to be extinct was rediscovered in Kerala in 1989 after a gap of 70 years.

Nilgiri Marten (Martes gwatkinsii), the largest Indian mustelids, an endemic species to Western ghats is frequently sighted here along with malbar slender lorris.

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