Forest Departments closes Wildlife sanctuaries

People urged villagers not to enter the areas for firewood collection and fishing

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, the Forests Department has decided to close all wildlife sanctuaries, eco-tourism projects and national parks in the State.

To prevent public gatherings during the second wave of Ccronavirus, all deer parks, bird sanctuaries and eco-tourism parks have been closed from Saturday, officials said.

Papikonda National Park, Sri Venkateswara Park and Rajiv Gandhi Park and the Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS), Coringa, Krishna, Rollapadu, Rajiv Gandhi, Nelapattu, Pulicat, Kaundinya, Sri Venkateswara, Atapaka Bird Sanctuaries, Hamsaladeevi and other sanctuaries and tourism places have been closed.

“Following the directions of the Ministry of Forests and Environment, the decision has been taken to prevent the spread of the virus. We request the public to cooperate,” said Eluru Divisional Forest Officer (DFO-Wildlife Management) C. Selvam.

Instructions had been given to the Conservators, Assistant Conservators of Forests, Range Officers and other staff not to allow tourists into the sanctuaries. The Environment Education Centres and other facilities at the tourist sites had been closed, the DFO said.

“The decision has been taken to prevent man-animal and bird contact in sanctuaries and parks in wake of the COVID situation,” Mr. Selvam said.

Forest beat officers and guards would intensify patrolling in Papikonda National Park, Kolleru, Krishna, Atapaka and Coringa wildlife sanctuaries to prevent entry of locals to protect the animals and the migratory birds. “We request the villagers not to enter into the sanctuaries and other prohibited areas on the pretext of firewood collection and fishing and cause any harm to the animals and the winged visitors,” Mr. Selvam said.

Asked if any animals or birds contracted COVID in the protected areas, the DFO said no such cases were reported so far.

Meanwhile, the forest staff have close the gates at Hamsaladeevi and Atapaka Bird Sanctuary in Krishna district.

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