Telangana forest department proposes UoH conservation zone

The Indian Express , Thursday, April 12, 2018
Correspondent : V Nilesh
HYDERABAD: Finally, the State forest department has taken the first step towards conservation of wildlife at University of Hyderabad. Hunted by stray dogs or poachers, the population of animals has been dwindling steadily over the years. They are also at the risk of falling into ditches at under-construction sites and getting trapped in cages meant for stray dogs.

Forest department officials have told Express that they have mapped about 500 acres within the university campus that can be locked down and maintained as a ‘conservation zone’. On Wednesday, the forest department sent letter to Chief Conservator of Forests, Rangareddy, on the proposed conservation zone and to impress upon university authorities on its necessity.

The conservation zone proposed by forest department is replete with vegetation, wildlife, and has three lakes - Buffallo lake, Peacock lake and Mermaid lake. Senior officials say these lakes can act as a source of water for wildlife. According to the proposal, the conservation zone should not have any human interference. The area was zeroed-down using GIS mapping and after field surveys conducted inside the campus by forest department’s anti-poaching staff.

Will university act on it?

Scepticism is rife among even among forest department officials whether the university would show interest and take adequate steps. “If the university accepts the proposal, then they will have to construct a fence around the area. It should be built in such a manner that stray dogs cannot breach it,” said a senior forest official.

“Measures will also have to be taken at entry/exit points to ensure that dogs or cattle cannot get in. The forest department is ready to provide technical support in implementing the measures. It is the responsibility of the university to protect wild animals that thrive in its campus. If the university fails in protecting its wildlife, it is actually violation of wildlife protection law. As the university took no action till now, we decided to step in,” he added. This year itself, around 4-5 spotted deer have been reported dead inside the campus spread over about 1,785 acres. Most of them were attacked by stray dogs.

‘Sewage water from gated community being let out into UoH tank’

Hyderabad: UoH will have to take another important step if it is serious about conserving its wildlife — ensure sewage from surrounding areas does not pollute university lakes. On Wednesday, Jillapalli Ravi, a university student who started campus-based wildlife protection group Wild Lens, shared pictures of pipelines entering from nearby residential gated community into the campus and letting out sewage water into a tank in the south campus of university. “While the gated community claims that sewage water being let out is treated, it is used by wild animals on campus to quench their thirst. If it is treated sewage water, then they can use it in their gardens to water the plants, why let it out in the university”, said Ravi. Earlier too, there have been such allegations of pollution of Peacock lake in university campus by polluted water flowing into the campus from Gachibowli indoor stadium.


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