KARNATAKA

Fees at Tyaverekoppa safari increased

SHIMOGA, MARCH 3. Entry and other fees at the Tiger and Lion Safari at Tyaverekoppa on Sagar Road, about 10 km. from here, will be increased from Saturday.

The revised fees are (old rates in brackets): main entrance to the safari - adults Rs. 5 (Rs. 2), children Rs. 3 (Re. 1); vehicles - bus Rs. 50 (Rs. 10), car Rs. 15 (Rs. 5), motorcycles Rs. 10 (Rs. 2), and bicycle Rs. 2 (Re. 1); articles - camera Rs. 25 (Rs. 15), 16-mm camera Rs. 150 (Rs. 100), and video camera Rs. 150; safari entrance - adults Rs. 25 (Rs. 15), children Rs. 10 (Rs. 5); and foreigners Rs. 150 (Rs. 50).

G.A.N. Karkikar, Deputy Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Executive Director of the safari, told presspersons here on Wednesday that the fees had been revised according to the guidelines issued by the Zoo Authority of Karnataka. He hoped that the safari would become self-supporting with the revision of fees, which had been made inevitable by the increase in the maintenance cost. Zoos and safaris elsewhere in the State had also resorted to the increase.

Mr. Karkikar said the revenue from the safari, including the Rs. 1.77 lakh collected at the main entrance during 2002-2003, was Rs. 15.43 lakh. The total expenditure, including the salary of the maintenance staff, was Rs. 71.25 lakh. Included in this sum was the Rs. 35 lakh spent on feeding the animals.

He said the Zoo Authority of India released a maintenance grant of Rs. 56 lakh and the State Government sanctioned a grant-in-aid of Rs. 40 lakh to the safari during 2003-04. The fees had been increased as there was no regular flow of grants for maintenance.

On development works, he said enclosures were being constructed for lions and tigers at a cost of Rs. 1.5 crore according to the guidelines of the Zoo Authority of India. Looking after tigers was becoming too expensive as their number had gone up to 20.

Their blood samples had been sent to the Central for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, for gene mapping to ensure quality inbreeding and to sterilise the animals. Four tigers had been sent to the Pilikula Mini Zoo near Mangalore.

There was no problem in looking after the five lions, of which two were aged.

The safari, which was started in 1988 on 90 hectares of forest land, also had panthers, bears, pythons, and peacocks and other birds.

Mr. Karkikar said an elephant ride had been introduced for the public at the elephant camp at Sakrebylu on Tirthahalli Road, about 10 km. from here, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily. The Forest Department was looking after 20 elephants at the camp. The safari had been categorised as medium-sized by the Zoo Authority of India.