Trekking ban in Kudremukh to prevent KFD, forest fire

Trekking ban in Kudremukh to prevent KFD, forest fire

Kudremukh Wildlife Division (KWD) has swung into action and banned trekking to scenic places and waterfalls within its jurisdiction after reports from Virus Diagnostic Lab (VDL) in Shivamogga confirmed that dead monkeys were infected by Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) virus.

The decision to ban trekking is also a step to prevent the outbreak of forest fires.

Kudremukh Wildlife Division Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) Rudran P said signage in Kannada and English banning visitors have been erected at the entrance on all trekking routes and paths leading to waterfalls.

“Depending on the situation, the ban might continue till monsoon,” he said.

Conventionally, the trekking routes are closed during summer in order to protect the forest and grassland from fire accidents. The forest fire destroys a vast track of fauna and flora. There were instances of a spark from a cigarette butt or campfire causing large scale devastation in the past, the forest official recollected.

Many youths particularly IT professionals are engaged in trekking during weekends in order to get away from the hustle and bustle of the urban life.

Hebri Range Forest Officer (RFO) Vani said in Hebri range, the entry to Koodlutheertha, Jomlutheertha, Onake Abbi Falls, Narasimha Parvatha, Barkana Falls and Jogigundi have been banned from January 21. The signboards about the ban on the entry of visitors also was installed near Agumbe Ghat.

According to environmentalist and an avid trekker Dinesh Holla, most-sought after trekking spots and waterfalls within KWD were Mala Falls, Anegundi Falls, Krishnagiri, Bhagavathi Nature Camp, Gangamoola, Attikudige, Bolle Falls, Phantom Hill, Joisaragundi, Nellibeedu, Bainekonda, Kudremukh  Peak, Ontigudda, Mavinasasi Falls, Elaneeru and Gangadikallu.

“A majority of the forest fires are man-made. Poachers are known to trigger forest fires while cooking their catch during their illegal stay in forest. The forest department should compile a list of dedicated nature lovers and then permit them to go on trekking. Many trekkers visit for just enjoyment and merry making,” the environmentalist lamented.

Dakshina Kannada district  DCF V Karikalan told DH, “Mangaluru range has only one trekking route in Kumaraparvatha. As no incidents of Kyasanur Forest Disease virus were detected in the range, there is no ban against trekking in place. If we come across any incident of KFD virus, then we may have to follow suit and impose restrictions on trekking.”

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