Forest Departments closes nature reserves

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People told the villagers not to enter the firewood gathering and fishing areas

With COVID-19 cases increasing, the Ministry of Forestry has decided to close all nature reserves, ecotourism projects and national parks in the state.

To prevent public gatherings during the second wave of the Ccronavirus, all wildlife parks, bird sanctuaries and ecotourism parks were closed from Saturday.

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 protected areas and tourism areas have been closed .

“Following instructions from the Ministry of Forests and the Environment, it was decided to prevent the virus from spreading. We ask the public to cooperate, ”said C. Selvam, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO-Wildlife Management) of Eluru.

The conservators, assistant forest conservators, range officers, and other staff had been instructed not to allow tourists into the sanctuaries. The environmental education centers and other facilities at the tourist attractions have been closed, said the DFO.

“The decision was made to prevent human, animal and bird contact in protected areas and parks after the COVID situation,” said Selvam.

Forest felling officers and guards would intensify patrols in Papikonda National Park, in the Kolleru, Krishna, Atapaka and Coringa nature reserves to prevent the intrusion of locals to protect the animals and migratory birds. “We urge the villagers, under the pretext of gathering and fishing for firewood, not to enter the sanctuaries and other prohibited areas and harm the animals and the winged visitors,” said Selvam.

When asked whether animals or birds in the protected areas are sick with COVID, the DFO stated that no such cases have been reported so far.

In the meantime, forest workers have closed the gates of Hamsaladeevi and Atapaka Bird Sanctuary in Krishna District.

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