Kolar leaf-nosed bat habitat a conservation reserve

Kolar leaf-nosed bat. Photo courtesy: Dr. Bhargavi Srinivasulu and T A Shah
A one-kilometre radius of the area around the hillock has been declared as “Safe Zone”.

Rediscovered four years ago in the caves of Hanumanahalli Betta in Mulbagal taluk of Kolar district, the endangered Hipposiderid bats, also known as Kolar leaf-nosed bats, were threatened by quarrying. The state government on Wednesday declared the area a Conservation Reserve.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy cleared this proposal at the 11th meeting of the State Wildlife Board. Though the state government had banned mining and quarrying at the hillock in 2014, the bats were fast dwindling, prompting conservationists to exert pressure on the government to declare the region a protected area.

A top official of the Karnataka Forest Department, who was part of the meeting, told DH, “According to reports, the hillock is the only habitat of these species of bats in the world. According to the IUCN list, the bats were on the endangered list of animals and it was our duty to protect those species for future generations,” the official explained.

A one-kilometre radius of the area around the hillock has been declared as “Safe Zone”.

The bats, which were considered extinct, were retraced by researchers from Osmania University and Biodiversity Research and Conservation Society.

A move to declare 40,000 acres of reserve forest in Bukkapatna in Tumakuru as Wildlife Sanctuary and merge 15 sq km of Muneshwara Reserve Forests with Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary was also cleared.

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