Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Finally, get ready for night safari at Bannerghatta Biological Park

Finally, get ready for night safari at Bannerghatta Biological Park

The Rs180-crore project to be implemented by Jungle Lodges and Resorts will be taken up in two phases. Battery-operated vehicles will be used to ensure that the animals' night life is not disturbed, Bosky Khanna reports

Bosky Khanna

Night safari project at the Bannerghatta National park will take off within weeks, tourism minister B Janardhana Reddy announced in Bangalore on Tuesday.
After holding a review meeting with the departmental officials, he told media that an ambitious Rs180 crore project will be launched to boost the long-pending proposal of introducing night safari in Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP). It will not only give a facelift to this tourist destination located 25km from the city centre, but also draw more tourists to the park.
Speaking to DNA, Vinay Luthra, managing director of Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR) said, "Sanctioning of the amount will certainly boost the long-pending proposal. Once the money comes, work will start within 15 days. We hope to complete the project soon."
The five-year-old pending proposal for the first night safari park in the state started taking shape after it figured in the last state budget to boost state tourism.
According to BBP director Milo Tago, the development of night safari by JLR would also help BBP as facilities and connectivity to the park will be improved.
The officials say that once night safari is introduced, tourists will no longer have to opt for far-off destinations to spend their weekends to enjoy their night life. They can spend their weekend amid wild animals under the sun and stars at BBP and relax at JLR guest house.
The detailed project report for the night safari has been sent to the government for approval.
Expertise from India Zoo Association, central and state zoo authorities has been sought for executing the project. JLR officials said the project would be completed within a year from the date of commencement of construction, spread across 116 acres of land in Puttankunte forest area, between BBP and national park, near bear safari.
The officials aim to create the park in two phases. In total, 47 animal species from across Karnataka's zoos will be housed here. Reviewing the city's climate and surroundings, native species are being housed. The decision on bringing exotic animals like black jaguars will be taken at a later stage. To reduce green house gas emission, visitors will tour in battery-operated vehicles instead of closed door mini vans of day safari. This will not disturb animals' night life. Light soothing as moonlight will be used for visitors to view the animals without upsetting them.
The state government is striving to complete this project which is similar to the ones in Noida and Chennai. JLR is adopting Ulu Ulu Singapore Safari model across 40 hectares. But there is a difference: While visitors in Singapore trek and dine in safari area, this is not allowed in BBP.
In the park in Singapore, the animals of the night Safari, ranging from Indian rhinoceros to tarsiers, are made visible by lighting that resembles moonlight. Although it is brighter than full moonlight by a few orders of magnitude, it is dim enough not to disturb nocturnal and crepuscular animals' behaviour. London-based lighting designer Simon Corder has created the lighting for the safari.
In the meantime, experts in the city said animal welfare should not be sacrificed for commercial interests. Introducing night safari will disturb animals' foraging, mating and resting time. It will be an invasion of their privacy. Adequate hiding places should be made especially for shy animals, they said


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