Squirrel to Bhimashankar for four new nature trails

Updated: Dec 24, 2016, 16:18 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav |

Wildlife sanctuary and forest department introduce number of new trails to promote state animal Giant Indian Squirrel and create awareness about wildlife conservation

Bhimashankar is home to the Giant Indian Squirrel. Pic/Adwait Jadhav
Bhimashankar is home to the Giant Indian Squirrel. Pic/Adwait Jadhav

Good news is in store for trekkers and tourists visiting the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary in Pune to see Maharashtra’s state animal, the Giant Indian Squirrel. The state Forest Department (FD) has started nature trails to promote the animal and create awareness about the role of locals, nature lovers and the department in wildlife conservation. Sunil Limaye, chief conservator of forests, Pune (Wildlife) said, “The Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary is not only home to the Giant Indian Squirrel but also has a rich biodiversity, and we want nature lovers to visit the sanctuary and explore the same. Four nature trails have been organised wherein naturalists will accompany groups and inform them about the biodiversity found here.” As per a past survey conducted by the Zoological Society of India, the 130 square-km sanctuary is home to 529 species of animals, including 19 endemic species of Indian birds.

These trails are not just aiding the sanctuary, but will help the locals too. “We are involving the local villagers in the trail since we want them to benefit from the trails as well. The revenue generated from the trails is being shared with villagers that provide food to the people coming for them,” added Limaye.

Trailing the trail
At the start of the trail, the group is given an introductory lecture by a naturalist, after which participants are taken through the designated route and given details regarding wildlife species, including birds, reptiles and other animals spotted along the way. The participants later get a breakfast break and at the end of the trek, they are served authentic rural food prepared by the villagers, which is then followed by an interactive session.

2,145
Number of Giant Indian Squirrels in the state

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