Caught taking selfies in nationwide parks? You can be fined Rs 1,000

MYSURU: All protected forest areas of the state, including national parks and tiger reserves, have been notified as no-selfie zones and a Rs 1,000 fine will be imposed per violation. A decision on this was taken by the forest department following complaints that people who travel on roads inside deep forest areas stop their vehicles to take selfies.
Punati Sridhar, PCCF, said: “There have been complaints that commuters stop vehicles in the forest and t ake selfies. We had banned it earlier and now I‘ve directed all conservators of forest to put up signage warning against selfies. I‘ve also directed them to depute staff on two-wheelers to patrol against selfie-takers. A Rs 1,000 fine will be imposed against those who violate the rule.”

He added: “The department wanted to launch an effective forest patrol against the habits of travellers for a long time. But, due to several reasons, including diversion of staff for other work, we couldn‘t implement it effectively. I‘ve directed officers to depute dedicated staff to patrol and install signage.”

According to sources, there have been many complaints from major reserve forest areas of the state, including , which connects with and has high density of people stopping vehicles in the forest and taking selfies with wild animals. “A few people who travel in two- and four-wheelers take selfies in deep forests which can be dangerous. Many stop vehicles near wild animals to capture them in the frame. This irritates the animals and at times, they could even attack people. The issue had been raised several times. Now, the department has prepared an action plan which includes a fine on rule violators,” said an officer who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Wildlife lovers and activists welcomed the decision. “Taking selfies in forests is a nuisance. But no one was bothered about it all these days. The department has taken the right decision by banning selfies inside forests,” said , an activist from , adding, “The department must initiate legal action against repeat offenders.”

According to sources, there have been many complaints from all major reserve forest areas of the state, including Bandipur Tiger Reserve, which connects Karnataka with Kerala and has high vehicle density of people stopping vehicles in the forest and taking selfies with wild animals.

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