Raghava M.

Elephant corridor connecting two important forests to be widened

Shrinking of the corridor affecting movement

of elephants

BANGALORE: Herds of elephants move through narrow passages in the jungle and this poses a potential danger of man-animal conflict. To enable the pachyderms move freely, the elephant corridor connecting two important forests in the Biligiri Ranga Temple Sanctuary and Kollegal forests is to be widened with the assistance of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).

Even as the elephant corridors across the State are shrinking due to human intervention, the WTI has purchased 25.37 acres of land to widen the corridor. The narrow elephant corridor connecting Edayarahalli State forest and Doddasampige forest in the BRT Sanctuary had shrunk over the years owing to allotment of land for cultivation and development. The land purchased by WTI will be handed over to the Forest Department on Thursday, and it is the second such initiative in the State.

“This stretch of land near Budipadaga tribal settlement had narrowed the passage for the movement of elephants between the two forest areas,” R. Raju, Deputy Conservator of Forests, BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, told The Hindu. Over the years, these lands were allotted to different people, and some of the allotted land was being cultivated, he added.

“Though man-animal conflict is not reported in the area, the shrinking corridor was affecting the movement of elephants. This part of the forest boasts of a very good elephant population and the movement of elephants in this corridor is not restricted to any particular season,” Mr. Raju said.

According to WTI, the area is home for around 1,000 elephants, and widening of the corridor would allow the elephants to pass through the area for feeding and breeding unhindered. It will also ensure that the habitat is protected from human settlement and future development.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) I.B. Srivasatava said, “The trust has purchased 25.37 acres of dry deciduous land. The Forest Department will allow natural vegetation in the area and make it a part of the sanctuary.”

Mr. Srivastava said this is the second elephant corridor that is being widened by acquiring private lands. Similar exercise was undertaken at Bandipur National Park recently.

He said the department was working with non-government organisations for widening two more elephant corridors.