Wildlife at risk as wetlands in forests are going dry

Wildlife at risk as wetlands in forests are going dry

A severe drought in the district has caused an acute water scarcity in the forest areas here as the 373 lakes have dried up. Officials say that the 318 lakes/tanks have no water while the remaining too would dry up soon.

Officials fear that due to scarcity of water, animals may start straying into human habitats while there is also a high risk of a outbreak of diseases. Ensuring sufficient water inside forests will reduce the risks, said an official.

The authorities have sunk 10 borewells in the forests and are drawing water using solar pumps. According to an official, there is a need for another 15 borewells to fill up tanks. On an average Rs 8 lakh is required to drill a borewell and set up a solar water pumping system, an official said.

The forest authorities, meanwhile, have taken up several initiatives for conservation of water. A few check dams have been built across the rivulets and several tanks are being rejuvenated. The forest authorities also aim to plant 76,200 saplings.

During the Karnataka Development Programme (KDP) progress review meeting on Wednesday Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that the government was planning to drill 100 borewells in forests across Mysuru region and that a high-level meeting would soon be convened for the purpose.

Mysuru forest division comprises Mysuru, Nanjangud, HD Kote and T Narasipur taluks and forest area of 16,160.573 hectares. Major forest regions are Arabithittu Wildlife Sanctuary, part of Nagarahole Tiger Reserve — Veeranahosahalli, Antarasante, Metikuppe and D B Kuppe Wildlife Range — and part of Bandipur Tiger Reserve — Hediyala Range, Moleyuru Range, N Begur Range, Gundre Range, A M Gudi Range and Nagu Sanctuary.

Fire lines
Due to the dry spell, the Forest department is striving to prevent wildfire by creating fire lines. Every year accidental fire which catches grass, spreads to forests and thus fire lines are being created to control fire. This year, authorities have started demarcating fire lines much earlier as grass in the forest has already dried up.
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