India: K M Chinappa has been a Karnataka forest defender for 30 years

In today’s Real Heroes, we meet K M Chinappa, who for the last 35 years has been fighting to save a forest in Karnataka. Some say that if the forest and its wildlife has survived, it is because of Chinappa, a forest ranger by profession, this man has continued to serve nature even after his retirement. For three decades, he fought to save a forest.

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His presence kept the poachers at bay. His grit revived an ecosystem
doomed to extinction. He may be an ex-ranger, but the forest of
Nagarhole is his first love. And to the denizens of the forest, this
ex-ranger is the Real Hero, ever alert. The story of K M Chinappa is
the extraordinary story of a 35-year long struggle against poachers,
miners and encroachers, all for his first love, the forests of
Nagarhole. When Chinappa was posted at Nagarhole National Park as a
forest ranger in 1970, there were more people than animals in the

Cultivation was rampant on the forest grasslands, and the
people inside would invite poachers to protect their crops. In 1972, a
poacher named Parari Thimma entered the scene. No one knew who he was
or where he was. He carried his operations in the cover of darkness.
Known tuskers, huge beautiful elephants, he killed and he took their
ivory. I took this as a challenge.

For one year, Chinappa tracked and chased him. Finally I heard gunshots, around midnight. I followed the torchlight and I shot at him. After that he did not come back. People say he is no more, but I do not know what happened to him. That was just the beginning. Under Chinapa’s watchful eye, poaching declined steeply and cultivation on the forest land was stopped.

Slowly, the spotted deer and sambar returned. I used to think that in thirty
years, there would be no Nagarhole, that everything would be gone. But today, it is one the most beautiful forests. And it will live for at least another hundred years.

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