Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Safari rides enthuse one and all at Bannerghatta

Safari rides enthuse one and all at Bannerghatta

The Hindu

Rs. 20-crore master plan formulated to improve the national park

# The pothole-ridden road from Bangalore provides a bumpy ride to the park
# Once there, visitors have to wait for long to buy tickets for the safari ride
# The park is open from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and the safari from 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
# For schoolchildren, the park is the favourite picnic spot

BANGALORE: The citizens of the concrete jungle that Bangalore has been turned into, who throng the Bannerghatta Biological Park to behold the denizens of the wild, no longer consider the visit a pleasure on a day of leisure. The ordeal begins even as one lands there after the bumpy ride on the pothole-ridden road. One is confronted by the long and winding queues to buy tickets. The queues grow longer during weekends and holidays.

There are only three computerised booths to issue tickets. Visitors have to wait for long for the much-longed "grand safari ride". No doubt the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation is operating 15 vehicles, including four hired Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses for the safari. Each vehicle carries 30 persons.

The park officials say that only a few BMTC buses operate between the Kempe Gowda (Majestic) bus stand and the park during the evenings. The officials have appealed to the BMTC to ply more buses during evenings.

A Rs. 20-crore master plan has been formulated to improve the park and offer better amenities to visitors. The Tourism and the Forest departments will jointly implement the project.

The project includes laying roads and enclosures, acquiring vehicles and modernisation of offices. Tenders have been called for for implementing the works.

However, the inconveniences notwithstanding, the tiger and lion safaris enthuse the young and the old alike.

An average of 10,000 people visit the park on Saturdays and Sundays in the pursuit of recreation. For schoolchildren, the park is the favourite picnic spot. It offers an excellent opportunity for extracurricular education for children. Nature parks such as the one in Bannerghatta inculcate among children a love for nature and wildlife.

Established in 1971 as a National Park, it spreads over 730 hectares of land. The Government brought the park under the administrative wing of the Zoo Authority in 2003. This has helped in intensive and focussed management to the park, the park officials say.

The park is conserving the rich forestry and endangered species of wildlife, through the active involvement of the citizens.

Wild animals such as lion, tiger, leopard, gaur, elephant, fox, wild boar, bear, sambar, spotted deer, langur are attracting everyone.

There are six lions, 32 tigers and 24 bears in the park. Of course, there is much more to the park than the dry statistics of the animals it shelters.

It is no doubt a dry forest and thorny scrub, with patches of moist deciduous forests along the streams. Tree species, including bamboos, are common in the park.

The zoo has a hospital with experienced veterinarians to treat the animals. A laboratory has also been set up within the zoo campus exclusively to support wildlife.

Butterfly park

A butterfly park, that is likely to draw more visitors, is being planned at the park.

The park is open from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and the safari from 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.

The discerning among the visitors, who naturally are elders, return home gratified that a natural park exists close to the city.

But for the foresight of those who envisaged the park, it would probably have been "developed" by now as many of our laws and also many in politics, government service and outside are uncomfortable with open spaces.

They are not satisfied unless every bit of open space is comprehensively "developed". But for Bannerghatta, the children should have been taken to the Mysore zoo to have a glimpse of the denizens of the wild.


At Friday, February 15, 2008 at 9:58:00 AM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apart from the safari we should also appreciate the officials for the way the Rescue camp for animals which have been captured from circuses are taken care of. The rescue camp houses Big cats like the lion and tigers, bears which have been tormented by ciruses across the world. A real feather in the hat for the authorities. Wish them all the best to keep up the good work


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