Controlled fire in Bandipur

Controlled fire in Bandipur

30 January 2008

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Bangalore, India — There’s a fire in Bandipur Tiger Reserve and the forest department started it. But they don’t seem to be too bothered. Reason: they say it’s ‘early burning’ or ‘controlled burning.’

Huge tracts of Bandipur Tiger Reserve at Gopalaswamy Betta, Maddur Range and Moyar range are being burned and this could adversely affect flora and fauna. “These so-called ground fires will kill slow-moving reptiles, insects and young ones of animals such as tigers, leopard cubs and wild dogs.

The fire also affects small carnivores such as leopard cat, rusty spotted cat and civet kittens. These mammals hide their young ones in tree cavities and such shelters get burned during a fire,” said a wildlife expert.

Repeated fire will encourage the growth of hardy species such as Indian laburnum, Anjan, Axle wood is detrimental to sensitive species such as figs, which provide food to birds and small mammals.

State PCCF (wildlife) Indu Bhooshan Srivatsav told TOI the forest department started the controlled burning and this will not cause major damage. “This is a regular practice, where tracts are set on fire to create a fire line and prevent summer fire,” said Srivatsav.

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