Tamil Nadu is set to get its fifth tiger reserve spread over one lakh hectares land under the Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary. This will be the 51st tiger reserve in the country.
The Centre approved the creation of the tiger reserve after receiving a letter from the Tamil Nadu government on January 7 and the state is expected to notify the same as soon as the central government does, according to reports in The Hindu and The News Minute.
A new tiger reserve has been a long-time demand of the environmentalists with an eye to improve water management and tiger population in the area. Besides, it will also be buffer for the tigers in Periyar reserve in Kerala.
Further, according to conservationists, the declaration of the new tiger reserve may also help rejuvenation of the Vaigai river.
Fourteen tigers have so far been identified in Meghamalai and Srivilliputhur sanctuaries following scat analysis between 2017 and 2018. Meghamalai is home to a large population of hoofed animals, spotted deers, Indian gaurs, etc. while Sriviliputhur has Nilgiri tahrs, Sambars, elephants, and bird species among others.
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The first tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu – Kalakkad Mundanthurai – was formed around 1988-89, which was followed by Anamalai and Mudumalai in 2008 and 2009. The fourth reserve – Sathyamangalam – was created around 2013-14.