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Nagarahole National Park

Mahesh Bhat

Unsung

Unsung
Bangalore, India

In 1967, Chinnappa joined the Nagarhole National Park as a forester. The park was in ruins. Hunting had taken its toll. There were hardly any deer left, forget tigers and other big game. To cultivate rice, villagers had encroached on the swamps – the beloved play-ground of the elephants. Tribesmen lived in clusters deep within the park to collect forest produce, ranging from honey to berries. Livestock herders grazed their cattle on the park’s grasslands. Hunters preyed on animals and birds. Poachers hunted tigers for their skin; elephants for their tusks. Timber logging was a thriving mafia business. Sandalwood smugglers roamed with abandon. The destroyers of Nagarhole’s environment used a range of weapons – hunters shotguns, tribesmen used snares and livestock herders used poison. Wild life protection laws were weak and the Forest Department concentrated on logging, misguidedly uprooting the diversity of natural vegetation to replace them with the monocultures of teak. Rued Chinnappa: “If this devastation continued, I was dead certain that there would be no wild life left in Nagarhole in 30 years.”

Details

  • Title: Nagarahole National Park
  • Creator: Mahesh Bhat
  • Location: Coorg, Karnataka
  • Subject Keywords: K M Chinnappa
  • Type: Photograph
  • Creator Biography: Mahesh Bhat is a photographer, educator and farmer

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