Mysore: The Bandipur National Park (BNP) is seeing hundreds of elephants leaving it for neighbouring forests with almost 70 per cent of its water bodies having dried up under unprecedented drought conditions even before the onset of summer.
Although, an expert team of senior forest officials and experts toured BNP and the Nagarhole National Park recently to explore ways to fight the drought in the tiger reserves, not much action has been taken to improve the situation as yet.
CCF (Project Elephant), Ajai Mishra, admits "the situation in BNP is worrisome, " as 200 of its 282 lakes have dried up since February, including the Bandipur Lake, Athanikatte and Subbarayankatte..
"The scanty rain of the last two or three years has led to a severe water shortage in the forest area, but the department has decided not to intervene in nature beyond a point.
We are closely monitoring the situation and are consulting wildlife experts," he says, adding that it is near impossible to stop the migration of elephants as the department cannot provide them water manually.
“We have, however, taken certain steps like digging a few waterholes and covering them with non-toxic synthetic sheets filled with water to meet the needs of the smaller animals, including tigers. It’s natural for elephants to migrate during a drought as they have adapted to such conditions for centuries,” the officer maintains.
While acknowledging that the drought this year is unprecedented, he claims the situation in Nagarhole is manageable as the tiger reserve has received some rain recently and has good sources of water like the Kabini backwaters to fall back on.