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Reckless Tourists Junk Food In Forests
July 03, 2011
Reckless Tourists Junk Food In Forests

Whoever thought ''Cheetah bhi peetha hain'' ad campaign by a soft drink giant a few years ago was far-fetched, think twice. It is literally coming true in Bandipur with tourists feeding wild animals with junk food. And apparently, the animals are lovin’ it. 


03 July 2011

Subhash Chandra N S, Bangalore:

The junk food culture has been spreading alarmingly in the forest on the National Highway 67 that connects two tiger reserves –– Bandipur and Madhumalai, with the Forest Department turning a blind eye, says Shankar, a member of Himagiri Conservation Society, Gundlupet.

Suresh, who frequents the tiger reserves, says one can see chitals and macaques being fed junk food by tourists who stop by the forest areas.

“I was surprised to see animals rush towards tourists when they stop their vehicles. They seem so accustomed to people and come to them looking for food. The animals have no fear. Besides, they eat the leftovers in the discarded food packets and cans,” he said.

Menace unchecked

The Forest Department, which is equipped with a vehicle exclusively to patrol along the highway and penalise the offenders, has not been effective in preventing the menace of junk food.

Wildlife enthusiast Vijay Mohan shared with Deccan Herald the pictures of tourists who spent quite a while in the forest areas on the stretch of highways and played games, with utter disregard for rules of forest.

He said when the violation of rules was brought to the notice of Hanumanthappa, the deputy conservator of forests, Bandipur, he expressed helplessness. According to Hanumanthappa, the density of vehicle on the highway has increased, but the department has shortage of staff to maintain strict vigilance. 


When Deccan Herald contacted, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden B K Singh said he was not aware of any such incident.

He said while passing through the stretch, the people should realise that they are in the tiger reserve. “Stopping or indulging in teasing or cajoling animals or feeding them amounts to the violation of the Wildlife Protection Act. It is the responsibility of the department to initiate action. I will look into the matter,” he said.