Drought forcing animals out of interior forests

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Pampa witnesses acute water scarcity despite KSEB releasing water from Kullar dam

The Pampa river is facing acute water scarcity in the foothills of Sabarimala despite the Kerala State Electricity Board periodically releasing water from its Kullar dam in the upstream forest reaches.

But the KSEB is not in a position to release huge quantities of water from its dams into the Pampa during the summer months.

Pilgrims find it difficult to have their customary holy dip in the river prior to trekking to Sabarimala owing to the low water level, which is ankle-deep on many stretches.

The drought in the forest interiors is forcing wild animals to stray into human habitations in the forest fringes of Sabarimala, Ranni, and Konni.

A tiger was spotted in the forests behind the Ayyappa Seva Sanghom camp on the banks of the Pampa on Friday night. There were also reports of leopards and elephants straying out of the forests at Pampa, Plappally, and Sabarimala in search of food and water.

No attack reported

Forest officials attribute this to the acute water scarcity and shortage of food inside the forests during the summer months. However, no wild animal attack on humans has been reported.

The changes in the forest ecosystem owing to climate change and excessive human intervention have been identified as the major factors forcing wild animals to stray into human habitations, where they can pick cattle and dogs as easy prey.

The pressure on the forest fringes due to cultivation and an increase in wildlife population is another factor.

The mushrooming of granite quarries along the forest borders has also contributed to the situation. Unscrupulous quarrying has reportedly led to depletion of the groundwater table in the region.

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