Jungle Lodges and Resorts of the Department of Tourism will throw open its latest property, nestled at the foothills of the Western Ghats in the Sahyadri ranges, near Belgaum, to the public soon

After promoting wildlife safaris in Mysore district, particularly Nagarahole and Bandipur, for nearly three decades, the Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR) of the Department of Tourism is now seeking to draw tourists from within the country and abroad to a sanctuary of an endemic and endangered bat species at Bhimgad near Belgaum.

The latest property of Jungle Lodges and Resorts is nestled at the foothills of the Western Ghats in the Sahyadri ranges and 15 km from there is the “Bhimgad Sahyadri Adventure Camp”.

Soon to be opened to the public, this verdant property, perched on a small hill amid natural vegetation and adjoining the Belgaum golf club, is expected to be a boon to wildlife enthusiasts.

Managing Director of Jungle Lodges P. Anur Reddy told The Hindu here on Tuesday that a unique feature of the jungle camp will be to expose wildlife lovers to the habitat of the highly endangered and endemic bat species, the Wroughton’s free-tailed bat.

“This is the only place that this bat species is found in India and has to be carefully protected. The only other habitat for this bat is in Brazil,” he said.

The other bat species is the tomb bat, also found in West Bengal. The Baripada Caves near Belgaum house these unique species. The Wayanad laughingthrush, the Great Indian hornbill, the Nilgiri wood pigeon and the white-bellied blue flycatcher are some of the other endemic endangered bird species found in the area where well-planned cottages are being readied.

The Belgaum golf course adjoins JLR’s property and this will help attract avid golfers.

Mr. Anur Reddy said that JLR’s in-house naturalists will ensure that nature interpretation and awareness education become part of the daily routine for the tourists. Nature walk, short treks, bird watching will be part of the schedule.

Apart from this, tourists will be taken on a drive to the Bhimgad Bat Sanctuary, with an area of 138 sq km, to view wildlife in its natural surroundings. These Western Ghats forests are home to a wide variety of birds, butterflies, insects and mammals and, of course, the free-tailed bats. Chances of spotting deer as well as wildcats are a possibility.

He said that the Belgaum Fort is an extraordinary structure on the hill visible from the camp. A trip to this historic fort is expected to revive memories of a bygone era.