Kenneth Anderson Nature Society (KANS)
April 2010: An unknown author once said, “If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” One cannot help but reflect on these words when reading about the Kenneth Anderson Nature Society (KANS).
Started in honour of reformed hunter Kenneth Anderson, the Society has grown from one whose name irked conservationists on account of the gory past of its namesake, into a hallmark of conservation activities.
For years a Kenneth Anderson fan club had existed on the Internet until, in 2008, its followers decided to translate their passion into concrete action. Anderson’s nail-biting tales had taken them through the dense forests of the Melagiri and Baramahal districts, now known as the Hosur Forest Division in Tamil Nadu, and it seemed apt that this be their area of focus.
This forested region has been a victim of unplanned development and has seen an unprecedented loss of wildlife. Strategically located between the Eastern and Western Ghats, it is frequented by migrating elephants and is also an important water catchment area. Recognising its potential as a biodiversity hotspot, KANS’ first step was to conduct a survey of the area to list species found and to identify the socio-economic threats they faced. Armed with this information, KANS’ members set about restoring the area to its former glory.
Among the various threats facing the region, KANS identified the alarming number of vehicular deaths as a top priority. To tackle this, they initiated a Roadkill Awareness Programme in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and a Road Safety Awareness Programme in the Nagarahole National Park. The awareness programme is run on weekends by KANS members Soumyajit Nandy and Rakesh Gupta. Volunteers spend two days at the Kekkanahalla Checkpost at Bandipur National Park educating travellers on safety regulations which they should follow while driving through the park. The programme has been running for the last nine months and has been hugely successful with a sharp decline in the number of roadkills.
Under the Road Safety Awareness Programme in Nagarahole, KANS volunteers painted about 25-30 speed breakers within the park so that users could easily identify wildlife sensitive zones. The programme was run with help and advice from Sanjay Gubbi, Assistant Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and Yatish Kumar, DFO, Nagarahole National Park.
Forest Departments in India are more often than not, starved of funds and grossly understaffed. The Tamil Nadu Forest Department is no exception. On New Year’s Eve, KANS decide to show their appreciation for India’s silent sentinels by distributing uniform kits, complete with sweaters, footwear, caps and accessories to 46 temporary watchers in the Denkanikotta Forest Range.
India’s forests are a working and cost-effective mitigation tool against climate change but her dwindling forested areas and wildlife receive little respect from her countrymen. Appalled by the way visitors behave within national parks, the organisation, in association with WCS and the Karnataka Forest Department, initiated the Safari Visitors Awareness Campaign in Nagarahole National Park. KANS members volunteered to accompany tour buses as they entered the forest, instructing passengers on the dos and don’ts of travelling within the park and teaching them about lesser-known species of animals. Their programme has reached out to over a 1,000 people since its inception.
KANS also organised a medical camp in the remote village of Kodakerai, around 50 km. from Hosur conducting free check-ups and distributing medicines.
Among other future endeavours, KANS is starting an Otter Conservation Project in the Biligundlu Reserve Forest along the banks of the Cauvery river. The area is an ideal habitat for several IUCN red-listed species such as the four-horned antelope and grizzled giant squirrel and also sustains a sizeable population of smooth-coated otters which are under threat due to fishing and cattle grazing.
KANS needs your help in protecting these fragile ecosystems which are so vital to our country.
To lend your support, visit
or write to:
Kenneth Anderson Nature Society
C/o Hari Somashekar,
Founder Member & Director of Publicity and Awareness,
1205, Anriya Dwellington,
Dollar’s Colony, RMV 2nd Stage,
Bangalore – 560094.
Mohan and Chandrasekhar,
No.8, JD Plaza,
Opposite TNEB, Rayakotta Road,
Hosur, Tamil Nadu – 635109.