Indian government recently approved a new tiger reserve .Srivilliputhur Megamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu is the latest addition. It’s 51st tiger reserve in the country & 5th in the state of Tamil Nadu. The 50th tiger reserve was Kamlang , which was the first & only tiger reserve of Arunachal Pradesh, & was approved 6 years ago.
The land encompassing the Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary (spread across the districts of Theni and Madurai) and Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary, which adjoins Kerala’s Periyar Tiger Reserve and Tirunelveli’s Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve is declared as the 51st tiger reserve of the country.
This land is habitat of 63 mammal species & 323 bird species.
Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary hosts ungulates (hoofed mammals), spotted deers, Indian gaurs, wild boars and other carnivores.Srivilliputhur on the other hand, is habitat of grizzled giant squirrels, flying squirrels, leopards, Nilgiri tahrs, jungle cats, Sambars, elephants and many species of birds, including the lion-tailed macaque.
This new tiger reserve is spread over 1,016,57 sq km (core area – 641.86 sq km, buffer area – 374.70 sq km) with the potential to provide much needed habitat for tigers dispersing from neighbouring Periyar Tiger Reserve & Anamalai Tiger Reserve.
This new tiger reserve will act as a boost in direction of restoration of the health of forests & wildlife.
As a tiger reserve, illegal entry into the area becomes a punishable offence, with five years of imprisonment & it also gets a better team of dedicated officers , researchers & guards.
Conservationists believe that by declaring the Meghamalai Srivilliputhur Tiger reserve, there are great chances for the Vaigai River rejuvenation.
As per latest estimation , the number of tigers in India is 2,967 (range 2,603 to 3,346). And the largest tiger reserve of the country is Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve which covers 5 districts of the states of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana.