The new Malemahadeshwara wildlife sanctuary carved out of 1,224 of the Kollegal range forest will provide an impetus to the conservation of wildlife in the area, especially for tigers and elephants. The State Government had officially made the declaration about the sanctuary at the fifth meeting of the Karnataka Wildlife Board held on December 15, 2012. A total of 906.18 sq. km had been declared as the sanctuary area under Section 26A (I) (B) of the Wildlife Conservation Act ,1972 (Amendment 2006), on May 7, 2013.

The newly carved sanctuary borders both Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and BRT Tiger Reserve Forest in the district. It will help the Forest Department personnel to ensure better conservation and monitoring of wildlife and prevent vested interests from carrying out illegal activities.

There were 11 anti-poaching camps in the erstwhile Kollegal range forest and 18 in the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. The declaration had been welcomed by the NGOs and environmentalists who had persistently demanded sanctuary status to the forest.

Tiger presence

The region has a high density of wild elephants. According to the 2010 census, it was estimated to have more than 600 wild elephants. There were reports of sighting of tigers. It may be recalled that the forest officials found the remains of a tiger near Udutore Halla in Hanur range of the forest in September 2012. The Yedeyarahalli-Doddasampige Elephant Corridor falls in the new sanctuary limits. The then Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who presided over the fifth meeting of the Karnataka Wildlife Board, gave permission to grant the sanctuary status and this was widely welcomed by NGOs and environmentalists. The new sanctuary is a home for many wildlife animals especially dholes, Mahasir fish and Malabar squirrel.

V. Paneesha

Malemahadeshwara wildlife sanctuary carved out of the Kollegal range forest