Dec 02, 2011 at 11:45am IST

State notifies Bhimgad as wildlife sanctuary

BELGAUM: The state government has come out with the final notification of Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary in Khanapur taluk giving recognition to the efforts of
Belgaum forest division on Thursday.
It may be recalled here that a draft notification in this regard was issued on February 3, 2010 declaring its intention to conserve eco-sensitive Bhimgad region. Finally, a notification has been issued declaring 19,042.58 hectare forests of Khanapur taluk as Bhimgad sanctuary.  During the final notification, the area has been increased from 13,167.18 to 19,042.58 hectare keeping in view the rich biodiversity and eco-morphological importance of the area.
Barapede caves of Bhimgad are the only breeding places for the critically endangered Wroughton’s free-tailed bats. The caves in Bhimgad region are known to have other endangered bats like Theobalds tomb bats.
Speaking to Express, Deputy Conservator of Forests Girish Hosur, who had proposed for Bhimgad Sanctuary, said that the final notification gives strong legal protection to the entire area with rich evergreen and semi evergreen forests.
According to him, although Wroughton’s free tailed bats and Theobalds tomb bats are important endemic and endangered species of the region, Bhimgad and surrounding forests have rich biodiversity.
Hosur said that the area has a rich fauna with tigers, leopards, Indian Gaur, wild dogs, bears, sambars, barking deers, Four Horned Anletopel and other mammals. He said that the Bhimgad region has good reptile and bird population too. The King Cobra is a prominent species of snake there. Therefore, the notification was necessary for the strong protection of the entire area,  he said.
By declaration of this region the entire Mahadai valley is protected against any illegal or commercial activities like mining, said Hosur. He said that presently those forests are very protected by vigilant staff in cooperation with local people. But the sanctuary status gives long term protection for the entire region, he added.
It was a long term demand of nature lovers of Belgaum and the surrounding areas to declare Bhimgad as a protected area. The movement for the same which was started in late 1980’s, has yielded results now.