Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bandipur Roadkills campaign - 21/22 Feb 2009

The team reached the Kekanahalla Check Post around 10.00 AM on Saturday morning, before reaching the check post the team picked up two trespassers walking on the forest road without the knowledge of the unforeseen dangers. They were picked up and dropped in Bandipur Reception Center; they were also educated about the consequences. In between Bandipur and Kekanahalla we found few patches of land being burnt out due to forest fire.

After reaching the forest check post at Kekanahalla the team started distributing the pamphlets carried by Mr. Soumyajit and Mr. Rakesh Gupta, we also explained the vehicle drivers about the need for wild life conservation, Do’s and Don’ts while driving in the forest range. About 80% of the people the team stopped showed interest in the conservation of wild life, and approximately 10% of the drivers neglected and the rest 10% bluntly replied that they knew every thing and they were regular travelers. However, the team ensured that every vehicle passing through the check post were stopped and the sound systems in the vehicle were switched off and requested to drive their vehicle at a maximum of 40 km/hr speed. These activities continued till 7.15 PM and in that time span approximately 850 vehicles passed through this check post.

After the dinner around 9.30 PM the team set out for a patrolling in two cars up to Gudalur. On the way we sighted two groups of Gaurs and few spotted deer and Sambar deer. This went up to 1.00 AM midnight. (Note: Mr. Soumyajit and Mr. Rajesh spotted Leopard in the bush which others could not). We also noticed forest fire was blazing on top of a hill, on the way to Mangla village.

On day two we set out for a safari ride around 6.50 AM we found many fresh tracks of Tiger and Leopard, its seems to be lot of activities that has happened the previous night, we also visited one of the Anti Poaching Camp (APC) and spoke to the Watchers, we understood from them that there was a need for drinking water and sanitary facility, we also observed a dried well, which on pumped could not let out anything other that hot air. If this is the situation for the watchers, imagine for the wild animals it is really pathetic, tears welled in our eyes without our knowledge. We could see nothing but the burned vegetation. The green has turned into black ash, water holes had dried up expect for very few still left with some amount of water. I hope this could provide some life to the wild animals till the next monsoon.

With this pain we came out to Pugmark, Jungle Lodges and Resorts for breakfast. Then the team moved towards Gopalswamy Hills, the way was very painful, the destruction of the forest fire was un-imaginable as it has washed away the heritage of the green lands. From the top of the hill deep in the valley we could see fire erupting like a volcano, the smoke was reaching the sky looking like a bridge between the land and the sky. The fire was very huge and was spreading quickly. We could see it was burning away the landscape within hours. We felt helpless and could do nothing against it, and kept watching. The fire was spreading from both the sides destroying the valley. We could also spotted two small patches of smokes just starting up the fire on the other side of the hill. The Forest Guards in Gopalswamy Hill didn’t seem to be much interested in that, we were not sure whether he had informed the department about the fire. Also we could not understand their intentions, like whether he was deliberately neglecting or felt the same helpless like what we felt.

On the hill, we understood that there were been movement of wild life prior to the destruction of the forest fire. We were able to trace foot prints and scats of gaur, elephant, deer, leopard and tiger.

At last we decided to leave the hill around 1.00 PM with the heart full of nothing but the pain.

However this camp was successful in bringing in awareness of Wild life Conservation among the public passing through the sanctuary. Photographs of the forest fire have been taken as a proof.

Team : Soumyajit, Rakesh Gupta, Harish, Ananth, Vasanth, Satish Pari, Dr Rajesh, Bala, Dr Paul, Tarun Paul, Divyan Paul and Prince Rahul.

Number of vehicles/pamphlets distributed: 825

Pics at 5th Bandipur Campaign

Harish Kumar S
Kenneth Anderson Nature Society



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