Residents of fringe villages to be involved in a big way
The sanctuary possesses rich flora and fauna
Watchtowers, rest houses, bamboo huts renovated
BHUBANESWAR: The Chandaka-Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary has hit the headlines for all the wrong things recently. But, here is some good news too. Sanctuary managers are all set to take up eco tourism in a big way by involving the residents of fringe villages and thereby reducing their dependency on the forest.
“Our effort will be to change the mindset of tourists. The sanctuary should not be known only for its elephants and forests. People should also enjoy its beauty, which is yet to be made presentable,” sanctuary Divisional Forest Officer Akshaya Patnaik has said.
Urbanisation has already taken its toll on the sanctuary, with as many as 25 elephant deaths being recorded during the last 25 years and 17 people falling prey to pachyderms. A calf and an adult elephant perished in the last two months.
The 194 square km sanctuary near the capital city represents the north-eastern limits of the Eastern Ghats. This is now an isolated forest, which once formed part of the Eastern Ghats forest and Central Indian Elephant range. The sanctuary houses some 67 elephants. It also possesses rich flora and fauna that could really surprise many.
Moreover, the sanctuary division has renovated the watchtowers, rest houses and bamboo huts with provisions of solar lights for the benefit of tourists who are willing to spend a night inside the sanctuary.
“The time between October and January is the best for tourists to visit the sanctuary. In no other sanctuary can one watch wild elephants and other animals so closely as in Chandaka,” says the DFO.
Animals spotted inside the sanctuary include elephants, spotted deer, wild dog, bear, hyena, sloth bear, pangolin, barking deer and common langoors.
Moreover, nine reservoirs that attract migratory birds are spectacular sights to watch. Some 82 species and more than 30,000 birds visit the place annually.
If people in peripheral villages could be involved in tourism activities, their dependency on forest will reduce. This augurs wells for the sanctuary, he says.