Raigad District Collector Nidhi Chaudhary has decided to reopen the Karnala sanctuary which was closed due to Covid-19. This is good news for trekkers, who will now be able to trek to Karnala Fort once again. Although the tourists will be able to visit this place following the rules of Covid-19, they will have access from 7 am to 4 pm. It has been made mandatory to wear a mask while entering the sanctuary and also while moving around the area. Trekkers and tourists are relieved by this news as the monsoon is the best time for trekking and being around greenery.

Karnala Sanctuary has always been a tourist attraction. A large number of tourists come here from the Mumbai suburbs, in which trekkers play a major role. Trekkers will only be allowed to enter till 1 pm and will have to be back by 4 pm. Many migratory species of birds are found in the Karnala sanctuary area near Panvel.

According to an official, on Saturday, a total of 309 and on Saturday, 973 people visited the bird sanctuary. “We ensure that visitors must adhere to the COVID protocol and wear facemasks and maintain social distancing inside the sanctuary. They are not allowed to touch or feed the birds and the animals”, said another official, adding that action will be taken against violators.

Leafbird, small Sunbird, Gray Cormorant, Peacock, Green Pigeon etc. are the common birds seen throughout the year. Birds and animals like seagulls, rabbits, owls, and migratory birds are mostly seen during the winters. The fort had a distinct identity during the reign of Shivaji Maharaj. Many people even visit the area for its historical importance. The district collector has also given permission for food and accommodation while reopening the sanctuary, which will once again provide employment opportunities to the locals.

Speaking to the forest officer Pradeep Chavan said, “This is a great news for all the birdwatchers, enthusiasts, and for trekkers. People will be allowed in the area from 7 am and can be there till 4 pm. It is mandatory for people to wear a mask in the sanctuary. Body temperature will be checked during the entry. Even trekkers need to wear a mask while entering the Karnala Fort trek area.”