INDIA - Palakkad: The district already reeling under severe drought situation is now faced with an additional problem of wildfire resulting in destruction of forests and its flora and fauna.
The dried-up brooks, vanishing fodder and parched soil have forced wild animals, including elephants, to enter the nearby human settlements in search of water and food. This has resulted in increasing number of incidents of man-animal conflict.
The lack of drinking water and occasional forest fire have forced the wild animals to enter the nearby agriculture fields and human settlements in different parts of the district, the forest department officials here said.
Already large tracts of forests in Nelliampathy range, Attapadi hills, Walayar, Malampuzha etc., were lost due to forest fire.
In Nelliampathy forest range, the forest department has initiated steps to create fire line in large areas to prevent forest fire. More local people were taken on daily wages for creating fire lines in Nemmara forest division.
The department has also taken various steps to strengthen the mechanism to check forest fire by constructing fire lines, strengthening patrolling in all vulnerable areas, appointing additional forest watchers in Silent Valley National Park, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, Nelliampathy and Attapadi hills, the officials said.
Meanwhile, project coordinator (south) of Wildlife Protection Society of India S Guruvayurappan demanded the forest department to impose ban on eco-tourism and entry of visitors to Silent Valley National Park, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, Siruvani and other forest areas from February.
He has also demanded to equip vana samrakshana samithis and eco-development committees to be vigilant to prevent and control forest fires.