Tourists toy with animals, court danger in wildlife sanctuaries

Tourists toy with animals, court danger in wildlife sanctuaries
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Tourists visiting wildlife sanctuaries are inviting danger by alighting from their vehicles on highways in their bid to get a closer look at animals.

Chamarajanagara: Tourists visiting wildlife sanctuaries are inviting danger by alighting from their vehicles on highways in their bid to get a closer look at animals. Manysanctuaries and forestshave State, national highways passing through them.

In spite of warning signs, touriststake pictures of animals, selfies and evenfeed them.

Last week, a tourist escaped by a whisker from a wild elephant in Maddurforest range in Bandipura Tiger Reserve (BTR). Seeing the elephant, the tourist alightedthe car to take a picture. But the tusker

started rushing towards him.Luckily, the tourist managed to get into his vehicle just in time and escaped from sure death. The videoclip has gone viral on social media.

In Bandipura a tiger attempted to attack bike riders last year the

video of which had gone viral. A forest check-post employee said that whileopening the gate they instruct every vehicle driver not to stop in the forest but the warning goes unheeded. The BTR officials have set up sign boards along National Highway 67 and NH 766which connect Karnataka to Ootyin Tamil Nadu and SulthanBathey inKerala. The sign clearly cautions people against stopping or getting down from vehicles to take photos and feed animals.

But tourists often ignore the warnings out of bravado and take selfies with wild animals to post them on social media. When contacted, M M Hills wildlife sanctuary deputy conservator of forests V YeduKondalu told TheHans India that tourists stop vehicles and try to annoy the animals byloud screaming. "The behaviour of animals is unpredictable. They may turn violent any moment and cause harm to people," he said.

Humans are in great danger of being attacked by such wild animals as elephant, bison,tiger soon if they have just lost their young ones, he said. Vishnu, a wildlife lover, said that normally between March and June there will be a spurt in tourists in wildlife sanctuaries because of summer vacation. The forestdepartment should deploy beat vehicles on national highways to ensuresafety of people, he suggested and urged the forest department to ban feeding of animals as chemicals in some foodsmay adversely affect their health.

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