Can solar water pumps help save Karnataka forests?
This year has possibly been the worst when it comes to the forests in Karnataka. Forest fires and the death of a dozen tigers already have raised enough panic, ensuring that people are left wondering how to deal with these situations and not let them worsen. With Wildlife Board members stating that nearly 80% of the waterholes around Bandipur, Nagarhole and Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple wildlife sanctuaries are dry, there is a big threat to both the flora and fauna in the area. Wildlife Board member Joseph Hoover suggests that solar water pumps are the best way forward to avert problems before they blow up into bigger issues. “This is a critical time and we are losing animals by the hundreds. With waterholes in these areas drying up, animals are straying to different places in search of water. This leads to man-animal conflicts, as well as animal-animal conflicts. Animals like tigers, leopards and elephants are at the risk of being killed for straying too far beyond the forest lands. And if there are a few forest waterholes, then they end up attracting all animals, leading to the death of the weaker animals. Solar water pumps are the best way forward to ensure that water bodies stay replenished,” says Joseph.
Citing examples of how man-made water bodies ensure that animals have enough water to drink from in wildlife destinations like Tadoba and Bandhavgarh, Joseph says that one of the best ways is to ensure that socially-responsible citizens and organizations contribute to set up more water pumps. “Setting up these solar water pumps costs anywhere between `5 lakh and `8 lakh. But this is the need of the hour, as 85% of the 373 tanks in Bandipur have run dry. We have recently set up nine solar water pump sets, but that’s not enough to cater to the entire belt. We require at least another 100 over the next year to ensure that the animal population doesn’t fall drastically. We have lost 12 tigers this year alone, which is very serious,” he says. While replenishing water bodies has to be top priority, Joseph also urges authorities to press more rapid intervention vehicles into service in these forests at least by next summer to fight fires effectively.
Source: Times Of India
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