Conservationist’s ‘research centre’ in Bandipur Tiger Reserve draws flak | Bengaluru - Hindustan Times
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Conservationist’s ‘research centre’ in Bandipur Tiger Reserve draws flak

ByCoovercolly Indresh
Sep 13, 2022 03:06 PM IST

Bandipur forest range director SR Natesh said a committee issued permission to Gubbi after verifying the ground realities and insisted that no environmental laws have been violated

Wildlife activists have criticised the authorities for permitting conservationist Sanjay Gubbi set up a “research centre” over four acres at Yelchetty in Bandipur Tiger Reserve’s Kundukere range, saying it is in the middle of an elephant corridor.

Gubbi said every farmer has the right to utilise 10% of farmland for construction purposes. (Sourced)
Gubbi said every farmer has the right to utilise 10% of farmland for construction purposes. (Sourced)

“On one hand, the forest department has been requesting philanthropists and corporates to help it re-establish elephant corridors. On the other, it is encouraging well-heeled individuals to fragment the Kaniyanapura elephant corridor. If the government of Karnataka allows these so-called conservationists to get away scot-free, it should also go easy on poachers and encroachers. It is a shame that..conservationists are working against the very essence of wildlife conservation,” said former State Wildlife Board member Joseph Hoover.

Gubbi said every farmer has the right to utilise 10% of farmland for construction purposes. “I too have done the same.”

Bandipur forest range director SR Natesh said a committee issued permission to Gubbi after verifying the ground realities and insisted that no environmental laws have been violated. “The permission is subject to certain terms and conditions [and to] ...only to construct a house and not for any other commercial activity.”

Hoover said the permission granted to Gubbu was lightning quick. He added Eco-sensitive Zone Monitoring Committee mostly approves such requests in months if not years. Hoover questioned the terms of approval given to Gubbi, the duration of research, and any other analysis.

Surendra Varma, an elephant researcher, said his team was driven out of Bandipur by “vested interests” who appear to be favouring Gubbi.

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