Thursday, October 14, 2010

Khanapur forest area to be declared elephant reserve

Source: Times of India
BELGAUM: As many as 64,643 hectares of forest area, covering 161 villages in Khanapur taluk in the district, will be declared as an elephant corridor and notified as Elephant Reserve, where there is a regular movements of elephants. This corridor will come under Dandeli Elephant Reserve, which covers Belgaum, Karwar, Dharwad and Haveri districts.

The move has come up to conserve elephants and avert human-elephant conflicts in these districts. Once the corridor area is notified, all forest area covering the corridor will be upgraded to reserve forest from the present protected forest. Besides this, the forest area will get additional importance on the forests map. Elephants will get maximum protection from the department and farmers will be compensated for damage of their crops.

Recently, the principle chief conservator of forest wildlife, B K Singh visited Khanapur and inspected the elephants' route. He instructed the conservators of forests of Belgaum, Dharwad and Canara circles to send a comprehensive proposal to the Union ministry of environment and forests regarding the matter.

Following his instructions, the forest department has identified an elephant corridor, based on studies done during the last 10 years. They took into account the number of crop damage incidents and elephant attacks on humans, while identifying the corridor.

Speaking to `The Times of India' deputy conservator of forests of Belgaum division, Girish Hosur said: "Generally, elephants appear in the Belgaum forest division during October and November, as they have plenty of paddy and sugarcane crops, during these harvesting months."

Hosur said elephants have a good memory and never forget their routes for at least 12 years after passing thorough a place with good amount of food. He said the Belgaum division has the fixed a migratory path for the elephants. The herd of elephants, which arrive from Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and Haliyal forest divisions will enter into the Chandagad forests of Maharashtra via Khanapur forests.

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