Centre Approves Tamil Nadu’s Srivilliputhur–Megamalai Tiger Reserve
The Central government approved the creation of a 5th tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu. This tiger reserve will enclose the Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel and Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuaries.
- Many environmental activists have been seeking a tiger reserve linking these two sanctuaries for almost a decade.
- The activists are also seeking to connect this tiger reserve with the Tirunelveli Wildlife Sanctuary, and then to Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve to make it a contiguous corridor where the tigers can thrive.
- The proposal of the Forest Department was to declare 1.48 lakh hectares of land encompassing Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary, Tirunelveli Wildlife Sanctuary, and Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary as the fifth tiger reserve of Tamil Nadu.
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has approved the new tiger reserve.
- The new tiger reserve will not only help in wildlife protection but will also result in the rejuvenation of the Vaigai River by protecting the river’s origins in these forests.
- With the creation of Kalakkad Mundanthurai and Periyar Tiger Reserves, the water needs of several southern districts have been met.
- With the new Megamalai-Srivilliputhur Tiger Reserve, the forests will be better protected and the rivers and streams will start flowing again.
As per a report by the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) direct and indirect evidence of tigers were mostly restricted to the western plateau of the landscape. The report recommended the expansion of Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary. Forest officials have spotted 14 tigers regularly in both the wildlife sanctuaries.