Between forest fires and prolonged dry spells, animals living in and around Karnataka’s Bandipur National Park have been having a difficult time lately. Not only are the animals thirsty, but the heat and fire have left the land burnt and dry, causing high stress levels among the animals.
In an effort to relieve the animals, the forest department has installed solar-powered pumps in parts of the forest reserve.
Elephants at Bandipur National park. Image source: Wikipedia
Seven of the region’s driest areas have been chosen for the solar pump projects, including Hediyala, Omkara, Maddur and Kundkere (the site of a recent fire, said to be among the worst in recent years).
Installed close to water bodies, the solar pumps serve to boost the wells which in turn supply water straight into the watering holes. Little wonder than that each of these ponds draws large herds of animals in quest for water.
Speaking to The Hindu, B.G. Hosmath, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) said that the solar project was conceptualised around October 2016, when over half of the region’s 370 watering holes had dried up. While the Forest Department has funded most of the wells, WWF-India stepped in to install two of the wells.
“It is a great sight to see animals congregate around waterholes despite the severity of the drought, which indicates that the intervention has really paid off,” he said.
The solar-powered water holes are drawing a variety of animals, including the region’s famous tigers and elephants, as well as deer and sambars to the water. The dipping groundwater level has made it challenging for the wells to be installed all over the parks. But the abundance of animals around the park has been of significant help, alleviating thirst and anxiety.
In addition to Bandipur, similar pumps have also been installed in Antharsanthe, Metikuppe and Veeranahosahalli in Nagarhole National Park.
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