Bihar would soon have its first nature safari at Rajgir in Nalanda district, around 110 km southeast of Patna. It will come up near a wildlife safari, which too is coming up at the same place.
A senior official in the environment and forest department said the state government has given permission to develop the nature safari over 500 hectares. In the first phase of the work, the department will restore and enrich the identified area to be developed as nature safari.
The work entails soil and moisture conservation work, rejuvenation of streams and other water bodies, rehabilitation of vegetation according to the site potential and also identification, demarcation and cordoning of habitats of small fauna. Also, construction of entry and exit gates would be done in this phase.
The project also entails work related to the facilities that have to be developed for visitors who will come to the nature safari. Construction of walking trains, observation towers, relaxation sheds, trek routes, butterfly areas and developing some temporary stay facilities like tents are some of the works which would be carried out for convenience of the visitors.
The official said: “We stand for doing minimum construction work in the nature safari so that visitors can have a real feel of nature. As there is minimal construction work, the project would not involve cost of more than Rs 10 crore.”
He said the work on this project was expected to start in the coming fiscal (2018-19) and the department intends to start this facility by 2018-end.
One of the major advantages of the location of this nature safari is that it is located outside the reserve forest area and is in the foothills of the Jethian Hill which is adjacent to the Rajgir forest reserve.
Also, the nature safari would fall in the eco-sensitive zone of the upcoming wildlife safari and hence the department will have the freedom to develop it from an eco-tourism point of view.
The wildlife safari is being carved out of the existing forest area and will be spread across 191 hectares. The safari will be divided into five broad zones to keep lions, tigers, leopards, bears and herbivores in addition to an aviary zone. It is being set up at a cost of Rs 60 crore and is expected to become functional by the end of 2019.
Unlike zoos, where animals are kept in enclosures and cages allowing visitors to move around openly, in a safari wild animals are allowed to roam free in their natural habitat and visitors are allowed to watch them by visiting the place in secured environment-friendly vehicles.