Forest dept to increase bamboo cover at Nagarahole

May 21, 2018

Mysuru: Against a backdrop of increasing cases of human-animal conflict, particularly involving elephants, in villages bordering the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, forest authorities have decided to increase bamboo cover across the forest area. The availability of bamboo within the forest will, officials believe, provide sufficient food for the elephants thereby reducing instances of straying into villages in search of food.
Known to consume nearly 200kg a day, grass, including bamboo, constitutes 40% of their fodder. With the Bandipur and Nagarahole reserves cumulatively accounting for 1,500 elephants, forest officials are stepping up efforts to prevent cases of the gentle giants straying into human habitats.

Forest officers at Nagarahole said that bamboo that had been cultivated across a large area died after flowering in 2012. “After that, elephants faced a shortage of bamboo in the forest, leading to them raiding the bordering villages where they fed on crops and bamboo,” an officer said.

Forest deprtment personnel said that they had sown nearly three tonnes of bamboo seeds in the forest. “Since there were no bamboo left in the forest, the Hunsur wildlife division and the Forest Research Institute procured the seeds from Dandeli in Uttara Kannada district. In keeping with advice from experts, the seeds have been sown on the banks of streams, near lakes, ponds and tanks,” officials said.

To prevent other wild animals from treading on, and destroying the bamboo seeds, officers have covered the area where they have been sown with lantana.

Director of the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve R Ravishankar said, “After about 40 years, bamboos dies after flowering. Bamboo is a vital part of the elephants’ diet, and a shortage of it will reduce their nutritional intake. We have taken up this initiative to increase bamboo cover in the area considering all these factors.”