Your trek inside the Karnala Bird Sanctuary at Panvel is set to get a lot more exciting. The Thane Wildlife Division has created a replica of the entire sanctuary showing the Karnala fort, interesting vantage points inside the sanctuary, trails as well as board with information on birds and plants at the sanctuary. Besides this, a nursery with “pot your own plant” activities, an information centre and a first-aid centre are being set up inside the sanctuary and will be inaugurated on Tuesday.
The 12.11 sq km sanctuary at Panvel has the Karnala fort at the centre and lies just off the Mumbai-Pune National highway to Goa. The sanctuary is home to over 146 species of resident and 37 species of migratory birds that visit during winter. Three rare birds such as Ashy Minivet, three-toed kingfisher and Malabar Trogon have been sighted here.
The replica of the sanctuary will illustrate the fort and interesting vantage points inside the sanctuary, from where visitors can see Matheran, 56 km away, and Patalganga river, some 16 km away.
“The sanctuary charges Rs 30 as entrance fee, but besides a board that read, “way to Karnala”, there were no guides or signages explaining best spots and time to sight birds or directions to the fort, trails or basic amenities inside the sanctuary.
To create value for money and make the sanctuary more interesting for people, we put up signages, interesting information about plants, birds and trails inside the sanctuary,” said Bharat Soni, founder of Go Green Nursery Pvt limited, who has partnered with the Thane wildlife division for this project as part of their corporate social responsibility.
Besides this, an information centre with displays on water and energy conservation, material on greenhouse effects and global warming as well as tips to “safeguard the planet” in English as well as Marathi has been set up. “People mainly come to the sanctuary to see the fort, but we wanted to teach people about nature, how to plant trees and wanted to make people more environmentally-conscious.We will educate the locals and involve them in teaching visitors. Those who cannot make the climb to the hill can now see the replica and know more about the fort and sanctuary without making the whole trip,” said Anwar Ahmed, chief conservator of forests, in charge of Karnala Bird Sanctuary.
To involve visitors in hands-on care for nature, a small nursery has been created near the two guesthouses inside the sanctuary. Besides having 80-90 varieties of medicinal plants, the nursery will have on sale aromatic varieties of plants and those for balcony gardens, terrace gardens, hanging gardens and well as fruit varieties. “We will teach visitors to pot plants and a short course on gardening. Now, malls have ‘make your cake and take it home’, we plan something similar with plants at our nursery,” added Soni.
At the first-aid centre, besides providing wheelchairs, stretches and basic aid, information of snake bites and anti-venom will be available.
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