Good news for the tiger population in the southern part of India. The Centre gave its approval for the 51st tiger reserve in the Southern State of Tamil Nadu. The state gets the fifth reserve that comes up in Meghamalai and Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuaries.
The 1.48 lakh hectares of the forest is already home to about 63 mammal species and 323 bird species. The last time a tiger reserve was notified was six years ago in Kamlang. Arunachal Pradesh.
DECADES OF DEMAND
Environmental activists were for nearly a decade seeking the tiger reserve adjoining the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala and connecting it with the Tirunelveli Wildlife Sanctuary and Kalakkad Mundanthurai Reserve. They demanded the sanctuary as it gave a contiguous corridor for the big cats.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) approved the 51st reserve. It was about seven years ago that the plan for naming the region as a tiger reserve started. The officials collected pugmarks and did several analysis of the region. However, the DNA samples and scat samples taken between 2017 and 2018 that confirmed the presence of 14 tigers in the region.
AREA OF SPREAD
The new Sanctuary spreads across the districts of Theni and Madhurai districts in Tamil Nadu and the Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary lies along Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala. The proclamation of the Reserve will also give life to the Vaigai River as it originates from these forests. Environmentalists and forest officials believe that the new Reserve along with the other sanctuaries in the Western Ghats would help in the protection of forests and rivers in the region. They hope that the rivers will get life and water will soon begin to flow in the streams originating from here.
Kalakkad and Mundanthurai are Tamil Nadu’s first Tiger reserve. They were established between 1988 and 1989. Anamalai and Mudumalai came next in 2008 and 2009. The state’s fourth reserve is Sathyamangalam. This was formed between 2013 and 2014.