Green Minute News
The draft Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) for Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary has been notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests recently. This sanctuary is a core critical tiger habitat spread across the Western Ghats. The last date for public suggestions and objections on the ESZ is August 14, 2020.
This tiger reserve is situated in Chikkamagaluru, Tarikere and N R Pura taluks of Chikkamagaluru district and Bhadravati and Shivamogga taluks of Shivamogga district. The ESZ area is 740.56 square kilometre while the extent varies from one to 12.5 kms around the boundary of the Sanctuary.
With the process of notifying the ESZ getting delayed for various reasons, this draft notification issued on June 15th is in supersession of the earlier draft notification issued in August 2019. Welcoming the draft ESZ, activists say the finalization of this notification will ensure the existence of a buffer zone through local area committees and further, prohibit and regulate many harmful and hazardous activities around the protected area.
The ESZ areas will encompass 57 villages and therefore, see a range of activities either prohibited or regulated or promoted. Commercial mining, stone quarrying and crushing units, setting up of major hydroelectric projects, wood-based industry, saw mills, polluting industries etc will be prohibited. Added to this, any construction on steep hill slopes or slopes with a high degree of erosion will not be permitted.
Bhadra has seen rampant spread of resorts and hotels in the last two decades. With no new hotels or resorts permitted within one kilometre from the boundary of the sanctuary, activists now hope this rule will be implemented faithfully. Welcoming the draft notification, G Veeresh, honorary wildlife warden said, “The draft ESZ has been notified after the earlier notification lapsed. The buffer zone will provide the necessary protection to the prime tiger habitat as also the rare, endangered and threatened species of Bhadra.”
UNIQUE BHADRA HABITAT
Spanning across 500.16 square kilometres, the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary includes the backwaters of the Bhadra Reservoir. Expanding the sanctuary in 2010, another additional area of 8 sq. kms was added after 418 families relocated outside the wildlife sanctuary.
With more than 40 mammals and many a RET species found here, the sanctuary is home to tigers, leopards, elephants, sloth bear, gaur, wild dogs, spotted deer, sambar and otters. King Cobra and Marsh Crocodile are also found here. With 264-winged species found here, the important ones are Malabar Pied hornbill, Great Pied Hornbill and Malabar Grey Hornbill which are endemic to the Western Ghats.