Centre approves Srivilliputhur-Megamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu

The fifth Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu will be encompassing the Meghamalai and Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary.

Tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu
Tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu

The Union government has permitted the development of fifth Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu. It will be encompassing the Meghamalai and Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary.

The environmental activists, for nearly a decade now, have been seeking a Tiger Reserve linking these two sanctuaries, adjoining Kerala’s Periyar Tiger Reserve and then to connect it with the Tirunelveli Wildlife Sanctuary, and then to Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve for making it a contagious corridor where the tigers can thrive.

The proposal of the Forest Department was to declare 1.48 hectares of land that will be encompassing Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary, Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Tirunelveli Wildlife Sanctuary as the fifth Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu.

The confirmation came from the senior wildlife official who informed that the National Tiger Conservation Authority has given its approval to the new Tiger Reserve. After the notification from the Central Government, the Tamil Nadu government will be notifying its fifth Tiger Reserve.

What will be the significance?

With the creation of Kalakkad Mundanthurai and Periyar Tiger Reserves, the water needs of various Southern Districts have mostly been taken care of.

According to T.S. Subramaniya Raja of Wildlife Association of Rajapalayam, with the formation of new Srivilliputhur-Megamalai Tiger Reserve, the forests will be better protected and streams and rivers will start flowing again.

The proposal by the Forest Department also mentions that the new Tiger Reserve will not only lead to the wildlife protection of the flagship species of the country but will also result in the rejuvenation of Vaigai river by protecting its origins in these forests.

Why the expansion of sanctuary was suggested?

As per the report by the Salim Ali Centre for ornithology and Natural History- SACON which recommended the Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary expansion, indirect and direct evidence of the tigers were mainly restricted to the Western Plateau of the landscape.

The report also noted that the area has also experienced the severe interruption of the local residents for the purpose of cattle grazing which has also led to the increased chances of spreading diseases from cattle to wild animals.

The scientists of SACON cautioned that this can also become a serious issue for the prey base of tigers. 14 tigers have been regularly noticed by the forest officials in both the wildlife sanctuaries.

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