Not many would imagine that a mere 1 and a half hour’s journey from one of the world’s largest growing cities would take someone to the abode of Kenneth Anderson’s Jungles. The first time I stumbled upon a Kenneth Anderson’s book was around 4 years ago and since then I always had an urge to explore the Jungles where Scotchie as called by his friends used to prefer the solitude in the jungles and was at his best. Off Hosur town not too far away from Denkanikotta is the Aiyur Forest Reserve which is home to some of the magnificent animals found in India. This forest used to have a very good population of wild animals but slowly and gradually a lot has been wiped out and if the concerned authorities do not act fast the few remaining denizens of the forest will be gone forever.
Of all the trips I have undertaken to Aiyur I’ve observed a couple of activities that are very frequent and on the rise. The Sami Eri waterhole which is not very far from the Aiyur checkpost is a life source for so many wild animals in Aiyur however the people who go for fishing in the large waterhole keeps at bay the thirst of the wild animals. The number of people who come for fishing is growing day by day and hardly anything has been done to check this keeping in mind the importance of preserving this unique habitat.
Gunshots too are frequently heard echoing the forest and I used to wonder which animal would have met it’s end that day. In all my visits to Aiyur I’ve heard more gunshots than ever and have hardly come across any wild animals not to mention about the rampant grazing that takes place in the heart of the forest. One would scan the forest with strained eyes hoping to see a wild animal on this bend or the other only to find a cow or a buffalo grazing peacefully rest assured that there is absolutely nothing to worry about as there are no predators in these forests.
The forest is also home to the rare Egyptian Vulture which is an Endangered Species and is on a decreasing trend. It nests on ledges on Cliffs, crags and rocky outcrops and there are hardly a few thousand pairs in India still hanging on somehow and probably the day is not far when it’s status will change to the feared Critically Endangered (CR) to the worst status of Extinct in the Wild (EW). The Devarubetta Peak in these forests is home to Egyptian Vultures and this is just one of the many important reasons why the Government should declare or notify this Forest as a Wildlife Sanctuary from it’s present status of a Reserve Forest and along with the up gradation of it’s status the protection will also increase thereby ensuring that the habitat is safe and secure. Kenneth Anderson mentioned about the devastating effects of human pressure on these Forests long ago and every word of it has come true. But probably someday, that miracle day, through the corner of your eyes you might catch a sparkle, a glimpse of the black stripes striding majestically.
Attached is a picture of just one of the few anthropogenic pressures that these forests face everyday.