Bengaluru: Bangaloreans have reason to celebrate as the latest All-India Tiger Estimation 2022 census has reported the presence of two tigers within the confines of Bannerghatta National Park (BNP), located in the city’s limits.
This exciting discovery potentially makes Bengaluru the only state capital in the country with a tiger population in its vicinity. While wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists had spotted a lone tiger near Bannerghatta back in 2015 and 2016, there were few reports of tiger sightings around Bengaluru thereafter.
Bannerghatta National Park, which was established in 1970 and declared a national park in 1974, spans an impressive area of 261 sqkm and borders Tamil Nadu. The forest area also connects to the adjacent Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and MM Hills and BRT Tiger Reserve in Ramanagara, Mandya, and Chamarajanagar districts.
The park is divided into three wildlife ranges: Bannerghatta, Anekal, and Harohalli. Within this dry deciduous forest, the recent census has confirmed the presence of two tigers. Additionally, a portion of the park was carved out in 2002 to create the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP), which houses a safari, butterfly park, and zoo.
Forest department officials are delighted with the tiger presence outside designated reserves.
They consider it unique for an urban metropolis like Bengaluru to have a promising tiger population in its vicinity, making it stand out among other state capitals.
To document the tiger presence within Bannerghatta, forest officials set up a total of 80 camera traps. The efforts yielded a remarkable 34 tiger captures, including the two individual tigers.
The discovery of the tigers further strengthens the demand of conservationists for the final notification of the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of Bannerghatta. These conservationists have been fighting against the unregulated growth of granite quarries, stone crushers, and other activities that negatively impact the forest cover. They are now hopeful that the presence of tigers will prompt authorities to focus on conservation activities around Bannerghatta to safeguard this critical wildlife habitat.