The Forest Department recently seized ten vehicles involved in off-roading within the forest limits. According to reports, these vehicles were illegally entering the forest reserve and participating in an off-road race.
The incident took place in Hanabalu Hobali Accharadi village in Sakelshpur, Hassan district. During the monsoon, numerous youngsters and tourists from Bengaluru and nearby areas visit this location. Forest officials took action against SUV owners who ventured into the forest area around Moorkanny Gudda.
Several online videos depict these SUVs engaged in off-roading on natural tracks within the forest area. The Sakaleshpura Range Forest Officer, SL Shilpa, and her team detained 15 tourists from Bengaluru. They had been repeatedly warned, but an estate owner still took them for an off-roading adventure in the reserve forest area near Achanahalli. The forest department booked them under the Karnataka Forest Act-1963.
Notices were previously served to resort and homestay owners, advising them against bringing tourists or motorists into such protected areas. Unfortunately, some of them disregarded these warnings, leading to disturbances in wildlife movement and damage to flora. The locals alerted the forest department about the trespassing and off-roading activities.
Action based on information from the locals
The forest department took action based on information provided by the locals. The police reported that many resort owners misinform tourists about the forests, leading them to venture into protected areas. Apart from seizing the vehicles, the forest department has registered a case against those who engaged in off-roading within the forests.
Off-roading activities pose a threat to the environment and wildlife, and their occurrence in protected regions is particularly concerning. The forest department’s actions are a step in the right direction, and it is hoped that such cases will decrease in the future.
Tourist problems across the country
Tourists causing trouble is a recurring problem in various regions. For instance, in Goa, multiple tourists have been arrested for driving on the beaches, yet some continue to engage in such behavior. To deter such activities, stricter punishments are necessary to set an example for others. The forest department should consider taking appropriate actions against the culprits involved in off-roading to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.