November 14, 2023 – In a groundbreaking initiative, the Pune Forest Department has unveiled a mesmerizing journey into the heart of Maharashtra’s untamed wilderness through the newly inaugurated Grassland Safaris in Pune and Solapur districts. This initiative, pioneered by Mayur Bothe, Assistant Conservator of Forests and the project head, has witnessed an impressive response, with over 120 visitors and 30 bookings within the first 20 days.
Embarking on the Safari
The Grassland Safari provides an unprecedented opportunity to traverse the sprawling 12.3 million-hectare grasslands, a vital component of Maharashtra’s biodiversity. Nestled in Kadbanwadi in Indapur tehsil and Shirsufal in Baramati tehsil, these regions showcase unique ecosystems, hosting a diverse array of wildlife, including hyenas, wolves, jackals, foxes, and a plethora of migratory and resident bird species.
Booking Details and Costs
As nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers flock to experience this unique venture, the Pune Forest Department has implemented an entry cost of Rs 1,500 for two-wheelers and Rs 2,000 for four-wheelers. Currently, visitors are exploring the safari in their private vehicles. Depending on the footfall, the department plans to introduce an in-house travel facility to enhance the overall experience.
Future Plans for Wildlife Exploration
Excitingly, the Forest Department has outlined future plans to broaden the horizons of wildlife exploration. Junnar is poised to witness a thrilling Leopard Safari, while Baramati gears up for an extensive Wildlife Safari. These upcoming ventures promise to deepen the connection between visitors and Maharashtra’s rich biodiversity.
Conservation at the Core
The Grassland Safari is not just a thrilling adventure but also a crucial step towards conservation. As Maharashtra grapples with a reduction in grassland area from 18 million hectares to the current 12.3 million hectares, this initiative aims to address challenges of mismanagement and shrinking grasslands. By offering an immersive experience, it seeks to foster an understanding of the significance of grassland conservation among its participants.
Booking Responsibly: A Call to Action
While the safari opens new doors to exploration, it comes with a responsibility. Conservationists and experts emphasize the need for visitors to be considerate and responsible. The fragile ecosystems, teeming with wildlife, require careful attention to minimize disturbances. Responsible travel involves creating positive wildlife experiences without compromising the natural state of these areas or promoting animal confinement.
As Maharashtra’s Grassland Safari beckons, it invites adventurers to tread lightly, embrace the wonders of nature, and contribute to the noble cause of wildlife conservation.