The injustice meted out to Karnataka in the sharing of Cauvery river water has had an adverse effect on the wildlife of the State too, with denizens of the forest having to suffer.

Since maximum volume of water was released from the Kabini and Nugu reservoirs to Tamil Nadu last month, they have gone dry now, when summer has just started. If the reservoirs were well stocked, the moisture of the backwaters would have been enough to feed the herbivores like deer, bison, antelopes and even elephants.

In Bandipur Reserve Forest, where the drought situation has gone from bad to worse, a large number of animals are migrating towards the backwaters of Kabini and Nugu, according to Conservator of Forests H.C. Kantharaju.

An elephant that went in search of water to the Kabini reservoir four days ago, got partially buried in the slush and died, as it could not get out. The carcass was lifted using a crane, said the CF.

“Presently, we are filling up some of the watering holes and tanks in the forest on a daily basis using two tanker-lorries and four tractors. There are 282 tanks in the forest, all of which are almost dry. Though we cannot supply water to all of them, we are doing it at random, in the ratio of 1:10 tanks. Each tanker, having a capacity of 16,000 litres, makes four trips a day and the tractors, with a capacity of 4,000 litres each, make five trips a day on an average. All put together, at least 2,08,000 litres of water is poured into the tanks every day,” said Kantharaju and added, “We have also placed rubber sheets filled with water at some points and some shallow cisterns (concrete rings with closed bottom) as watering holes for the smaller animals.”

The CF said that though there was no restriction to build concrete tanks as watering holes within the reserve forests in other States, such a rule existed in Karnataka because the State is facing such a situation for the first time. “Normally, there will be ample summer showers during February and March to replenish the water bodies and cause sprouting of greenery. But this year, rainfall has been delayed,” said the CF. “The drought situation in Nagarahole region is not that severe now as five ranges of the National Park have received good rains recently,” he said and hoped the rain Gods showed mercy and blessed the flora and fauna.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore