Metrolife: Going to Bandipur? No taking selfies

Thousands of people from Bengaluru take the Bandipur road every day for business and pleasure. It goes onward to picturesque tourist places in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The forest department has just banned selfies in protected forest areas. The authorities in Chamarajanagar district will slap a fine of Rs 1,000 on those caught taking pictures.

Stopping the vehicle or stepping out of it on the national highway running through the forest is considered trespassing. Forest protection laws apply.

Ambadi Madhav, conservator of forests and director of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, says elephants usually attack tourists who stop by. Mighty tuskers and female elephants with calves feel threatened by the presence of humans, and that puts human lives at risk.

Vijay Lal, deputy conservator of forests, Chamarajanagar, says, “We have not yet received written, detailed instructions from the head office but the rule is that vehicles can’t stop for pictures.”

Every day, on an average, 1,500 to 2,000 vehicles take the 30 km stretch of the Mysuru-Udhagamandalam (Ooty) road inside the forest.

A patrol is on duty to fine violators. CCTV cameras are installed only at the exit and entry points.

Jayaram, principal conservator of forests, says software helps the department catch those who stop and take pictures.

“It is installed at gates and monitors the time of entry and exit. If vehicles take more than the stipulated time, they will be fined,” he says. Rajkumar Devaraje Urs, honorary wildlife warden, Mysuru, discourages people from carrying mobile on safaris inside Bandipur.

“This brings about two problems. Since it is a mobile phone camera, people approach the animal closely. Secondly, people fight to get a proper angle. In turn, they disturb wildlife and disregard conservation.”

He says lockers must be provided for the phones at the starting point of the safari.

“Since only 22 or 23 vehicles are used for the Bandipur and Nagarhole safaris, they can be effectively monitored,” he says.

With this ban in place, officials aim to make the forest stretch safer for tourists and motorists.

 

Penalty

Rs 1,000 penalty for taking selfie in Bandipur

Why selfies are bad

Mobile phones have limited zooming, and people try to get closer to the animals.

As they clamour to get good angles, humans disturb and provoke wildlife.

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