NTCA recommends declaring Nugu as a core critical area of Bandipur

November 22, 2023 07:42 pm | Updated 08:12 pm IST - MYSURU

NTCA has recommended the notification of Nugu landscape as core critical area of Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

NTCA has recommended the notification of Nugu landscape as core critical area of Bandipur Tiger Reserve. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has recommended to the authorities that the Nugu Wildlife Sanctuary abutting the Bandipur Tiger Reserve be declared as a core critical tiger habitat.

This followed a site visit by Assistant Inspector General of Forests, NTCA, Ms. Harini Venugopal. The visit followed a slew of issues raised by conservation activist Giridhar Kulkarni pertaining to Bandipur.

Ms. Venugopal said in her report dated November 17, 2023, that taking into consideration the ecological significance of Nugu Wildlife Sanctuary which is inviolate and ideal habitat for tigers and elephants, the State government of Karnataka may consider proposing and notifying the entire sanctuary area as Core/Critical Tiger Habitat of Bandipur Tiger Reserve as per the prevailing norms in the interest of long-term conservation of wildlife, its habitats and ecological corridors.

Nugu is spread over 30.32 sq km and was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary by the State and is situated in H.D. Kote taluk of Mysuru district. The backwaters of Nugu dam forms the part of the Nugu Wildlife Sanctuary and lies on the western side of the sanctuary.

The report noted that on the southwest side, the Nugu forest area borders Alaganchi State Forest which comes under Bandipur National Park and is situated just north of Bandipur, the flora of the two areas is similar, except that the Nugu area was still recovering from earlier degradation.

As per the NTCA report, much of the northwestern part of the sanctuary is occupied by the Nugu reservoir. The sanctuary’s landscape includes scrub forests, cultivation areas near the reservoir, and adjacent degraded dry deciduous forests. It is a relatively small but ecologically significant area that supports a diverse range of flora and fauna, the report added.

It also pointed out that the Nugu Wildlife Sanctuary is also part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and the sanctuary supports a very high-density of elephant population which has significant proportion of adult tuskers apart from harbouring tiger, leopard, wild dog, striped hyena, sloth bear, gaur, sambhar, chital, and four-horned antelope. In addition, the sanctuary also harbours two important riverine wildlife species, - smooth coated otter, and marsh crocodile, as per the NTCA report.

Mr. Kulkarni had also sought a ban on fishing within the limits of Nugu reservoir as it was part of the sanctuary and a buffer area of Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

The NTCA official recommended that in view of the ecological significance of Nugu, the State government may take steps to stop fishing as per the provisions of various conservation and wildlife acts inside Nugu Wildlife Sanctuary which is also part of the notified buffer area of Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

Though a letter urging the Fisheries Department to cancel the licenses was written by the Forest Department there has been no response so far, according to the NTCA.

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