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BRT wildlife sanctuary to have safaris

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Sights: Elephant herds will be the major attraction at the sanctuary.
Sights: Elephant herds will be the major attraction at the sanctuary.

Muralidhara Khajane

The sanctuary is home to several species of wildlife

MYSORE: The Biligiri Rangana Temple Hills wildlife sanctuary (BRT) is all set to attract wildlife lovers. Chamarajanagar Wildlife Division has drawn up plans to make the sanctuary more tourist-friendly, by providing facilities such as elephant and vehicle safaris so that tourists can glimpse the rich flora and fauna of the region.

Situated between the Western and Eastern Ghats, the BRT Hills wildlife sanctuary is spread over 540 sq.km., with deciduous and shola forests. The river Cauvery flows south-east, and at Kollegal it takes an abrupt turn towards the north and again turns back to its initial course. It has the wonderful blend of the Biligiri Rangaswamy and Male Mahadeshwara ranges. The sanctuary is home to several species of wildlife.

The major wildlife attractions are the gaur and the chital. This sanctuary is an important wildlife corridor between Western and the Eastern Ghats, linking the largest population of Asian elephants and tigers in southern India. According to Bishwajit Mishra, Divisional Forest Officer, Chamarajanagar Range, there are 570 elephants and 32 tigers, besides other animals. The forest area, which was earlier known as Chamarajanagar Range, was named as BRT Wildlife Sanctuary in 1992.

Eco-tourism thrust

Chamarajanagar Wildlife Division has envisaged a project to boost eco-tourism in the BRT Hills wildlife sanctuary. According to Mr. Bishwajit, a detailed proposal on promoting eco-tourism was sent to the government a few months ago and the green signal was given for it.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Mishra said that in view of the rich flora and fauna in Kyatarayana Gudi (popularly known as K.Gudi) forest area, it has been decided to promote eco-tourism there. Vehicles will be procured to conduct tourist safaris. “Vehicles will be procured at the earliest and pressed into service,” he said.

Information centre

It has also been decided to open a Tourist Information Centre for tourists, and work on the centre will commence soon.

Signage would be fitted on the roadsides to help tourists to their destinations.

“A website is also being planned to provide information to nature lovers and adventure and eco-tourists,” he added.

Plans are also afoot to educate schoolchildren, students, the public and farmers on the urgent to need to conserve wildlife through nature camps.

“We will be conducting 15 nature camps in the next few months,” he said. It has also been decided to involve the 8,000 odd Soliga tribal people, living in 57 Podus (habitats) of BRT Hills wildlife sanctuary, in developing the sanctuary. They will be offered employment, he added.

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