Preserve the Nature and Nature preserves you.
Maithreya has serious concerns about massive plantation of fast growing monatomic species and upcoming projects planned in konehalli Amrithmahal Grassland/Kaval area by LR&IC (A), particularly as such development is proceeding in the absence of reliable data on the environmental implications.
Maithreya is a small community of Tiptur, Tumkur dist, dedicated to nature protection and spread the environment awareness. Its members are from diverse culture and background with the concern for all pervading destruction’s happening in the environment.
A study is conducted under the leadership Matithreya with the help of the principle investigators and volunteers across the state at Konehalli. A preliminary and rapid biodiversity assessment was conducted from June 27th to June 30th 2009, to gather information about the present diversity of flora and fauna of the area.
The study results consisting of around 76 species of birds, 278 species of flora (out of which 30% are introduced) and 48 species of butterflies confirms the healthy semi-arid Grassland habitat.
Regarding the Blackbucks inhabit the sector-1 and sector-11 and surrounding area and sighting are very common in south of sector-1 (Mudalakavalu). The usual heard size found wear 5no,10no,28no, and two heard with the size more than 60noz with male and few younger and fawns.
Blackbuck is an antelope species of Indian subcontinent has been classified as endangered species by IUCN since 2003.The Blackbuck is the only living species of genus Antelope. Its population is confined to areas like Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajastan,Haryana, Gujarat Andrapradesh Tamilnadu and Karnataka. In Karnataka Bayamangala formerly known as Maidenahalli is the notified protected area of Blackbuck conservation. Even Ranebennur Blackbuck sanctuary was declared sanctuary to protect Black bucks.
The study reveals the following concerns:
Before human disturbance and the wide spread introduction of non native Species, native grasses commonly grew on the LR&IC(A), Konehalli farm , earlier known as Bidarammanagudi kavalu with the unique eco-system , unfortunately non native species test the 60% of LR&IC(A). Konehalli farm and their natural distribution has affected the ecosystem by losing biodiversity, species extinction and ecosystem services.
The Konehalli farm is interspersed with thorn forest. Over-utilization and misuse of these common grazing lands has led to their degradation. In the past grass covered areas were considered to be the common property of a village community. However due to ever increasing population this grassland is being converted into agricultural lands through the development of dams and canals. Ecologists estimate that more that 43% of the Indian subcontinent is in the process of changing from grassland to desert.
The human activity like sand and stone mining, wood logging, and illicit grazing by surrounding villagers is going on continuously.
Since Blackbuck usually move around in sector -1, now the land also used for the purposes like Construction of Piggery shed at sector-1 may cause danger to Blackbuck life usually move around in sector -1 in future due to high probability of infection by pigs of the research station.
The practice like massive Silviculture – “conversion to uniform” systems in sector -I and sector – II is shrinking vital space of the blackbuck, native grass and plants species further.
Illicit grazing activity by surrounding villagers in the LRIC campus (mainly in sector-I and sector-II) has lead most of the semi-arid grassland to semi arid shrubs land, the chance to recover as the grassland will be minimized and native grass may go extinct in this area. More ever the probable chance of infection by domestic animals while grazing in the campus to the blackbucks is high.
Unauthorized hectic human activities like stone mining at sector-III, especially in the prime habitat removal of stones and water from watersheds at sector –I, sand mining at three important water basins (which used to be only water resource to the wildlife including blackbuck and wildbores), were found incessantly. This will put an immense pressure on wildlife and they may be pushed outside the campus which certainly would lead to their extinct due to encounter with humans and stray dogs. Poaching and wildfire fire by shepherds are the greatest threat to the wildlife in this grassland. Wildfire in the last summer has burnt 90% of sector-II and 30% of sector-I.
The Heigh bex Fence unnecessarily built at corridor Konehalli Amrithmahl Grassland is the greatest threat to blackbuck and wild life. When we contacted Mr. Manohar one of the members of the NGO shared the following recommendations:
The steps must take immediately to remove the high tension fencing to preserve wild life especially blackbucks and its young ones in the area. Distribution of grazing lands, forest and other wastelands to landless should be stopped. There should be active cooperation and coordination among the Department of Animal Husbandry, forest, agriculture and horticulture while implementing schemes like Social forest, Sylvipasture system and development of grassland and grass reserves.
Development of Common pool resources like community pasture or Gomal Lands or waste and problem soils should be taken up with active participation of the villagers. As result, human and livestock pressure on kavals can be reduced drastically. Controlled removal of thorns and shrubs from the Kaval may be granted to the farmers with licenses on payment basis.
Introduce the rotational grazing to maintain patches of habitat and promote the concept of fewer but better quality livestock at Kavals. Educate surrounding villagers not to use pesticides and other Agro-chemicals so that Kavals are kept safe from pesticides.
Improve enforcement of hunting legislation, by developing an anti-poaching task-force, regular patrolling of kavals in order to check White-stone & Sand mining and logging.
Re-demarcate the boundaries of Kavals to produce different zones to support Livestock research activity, develop areas to support native cattle and rest of semi-arid grassland constituents (Vegetation, Mammals, Birds, Insects, etc) and take proper and at most care to avoid any infection or harmful chemical passing out through the site of Piggery, which would endanger the wildlife.
The presence of over 200 Blackbucks on and surrounding site of LRIC is a strong indicator that this Grassland is more than important to this species. A comprehensive study of the significance of native grass species and its vital role as a fodder to the Amritmahal cattle has to be made.
It’s a call for envoirmentalist to join hands with the NGO, works towards the preservation of wild life. It is very simple write a letter to The Head- Associate Professor, Or Vice- Chancellor, LRIC (A), Konehalli, Tiptur Taluk, Tumkur, Karnataka. Or you can mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com