Conservationists Win Legal Battle in Bhadra Tiger Reserve

Tigers and gaur in Bhadra
Sudhir Shivaram
The FAC's report to the CEC of the Supreme Court mentioned potential adverse impacts of these projects on endangered wild animals of Bhadra including tiger, leopard, wild dog and gaur.

In a tough legal battle conservationists, succeeded in stalling two projects that would have upset the ecologically fragile eco-system buffering the Bhadra Tiger Reserve in Chikmagalur district.

One was a 124 windmill project to be set-up by Karnataka Renewal Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) subleased to BB Hills Wind Farm Development for a period of 30-years on the Bababudangiri Hills and the other was a resort-cum-spa, promoted by Bangalore-based Brigade Hospitality Services, in collaboration with the Singapore-based Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, in Arishinaguppe village, Chikmagalur.

Both the sites are just 8 km from the boundary of core critical tiger habitat notified by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and within the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) proposed for Bhadra Tiger Reserve. The conservationists had approached the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court, which sought an inspection and expert opinion from the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC). The committee felt such ill-planned projects would cause severe fragmentation of the habitat, besides leading to man–animal conflict.

The campaign and its victory demonstrates how local civil society groups can help save critical tiger habitats from reckless development projects, said Mr. HC Poornesha, Conservation Officer, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) — India Programme.

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