Why are wildlife activists upset with Rajinikanth's 'Man vs Wild' episode
Bengaluru, Jan 29: Superstar Rajinikanth is all set to feature in an upcoming edition of ace adventurer Bear Grylls's 'Man vs Wild' show, for which the shooting has begun in Karnataka's Bandipur forest, noted for its tiger reserve and biodiversity. While the news has got the actor's fans excited, wildlife activists have expressed concern over the timing of the episode.
Activists fear that the crew's presence not only endangers animals but may ignite forest fires that could spread quickly due to the prevailing dry conditions.
"Like Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Corbett, superstar Rajinikanth is promoting the documentary inside the core habitat of Bandipur, which is home to an estimated 140 tigers. They could have filmed in the monsoons," Joseph Hoover, popular wildlife activist from Karnataka posted on Facebook on Tuesday.
"The beginning of the summer is a crucial time for the entire forest force. Everybody is working his but off to protect wildlife what little is left of our precious forest species, the activist wrote.
"Major forest fires in 2013, 2017 and 2019 have damaged around 8,000 hectares in the southern state, the last three uncontrollable fires have consumed as much as 8,000 hectares. But the decision-makers at the Ministry of the forest seem to have no clue of what prevails in our forests at the advent of summer," he further added.
Karnataka tops the list on forest fire
It may be recalled that the Forest Survey of India (FSI) has ranked Karnataka state as No. 1 in the number of forest fire cases in the year 2018. With 77 forest fires in the Karnataka tops the list, then follows Maharashtra with 34 cases.
In 2017, Karnataka reported 1,333 forest fires, a whopping 350% increase compared to 295 in 2015 and a 60% increase compared to 2016, when it was 831. This means Karnataka reported at least three forest fires every day, which experts say is quite high. Compared to the overall situation in India, the number seems insignificant: There were 35,888 forest fires in India in 2017, at the rate of 98 every day.
The FSI is a central government agency that monitors forest fires using satellite-based remote sensing technology.
What the forest officials say?
However, the forest department has said they have put a lot of conditions while permitting the shooting such as filming at own risk and not allowing the crew to use explosives and inflammable materials. Reportedly, only five people from the special tiger force were part of the shooting.
Rajinikanth is the second high profile figure to appear in Man Vs Wild after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.