Tamilnadu Wildlife Tourism
The Wildlife areas of Tamil Nadu State in South India cover an area of 3,305 Square Kilometers, constituting 2.54% of the geographic area and 15% of the 22,643 Square Kilometers recorded forest area. It ranks 14th among all the States and Union Territories of India in terms of total protected area for wildlife.
Creation and administration of Protected areas in South India originated with the Maharajas of the Southern Princely States private hunting grounds. The Mudumalai National Park, established in 1940, was the first modern Wildlife Sanctuary in South India. Most protected areas throughout its 30 Districts are under the stewardship of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (India) and the Tamil Nadu Forest Department.
Recognizing the value and need for conservation of the wildlife wealth of the State, Tamil Nadu Government enacted separate law for protection of our valuable animals (The Tamil Nadu Wild Elephants Preservation Act 1873 and The Wild Birds and Animals (Protection) Act,1912), much before enactment of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary was declared way back in 1936, which was the “first” Birds Sanctuary in India. A ‘Sanctuary for Tiger’ in Mundanthurai was declared in 1962 almost eleven years earlier than the launch of ‘Project Tiger’ in the country in 1973.
Anamalai Tiger Reserve
Anamalai Tiger Reserve, earlier known as Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park and previously as Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, is a protected area located in the Anaimalai Hills of Pollachi and Valparai taluks of Coimbatore District and Udumalaipettai taluk in Tiruppur District, Tamil Nadu. The Tamil Nadu Environment and Forests Department by a notification dated 27 June 2007, declared an extent of 958.59 Square Kilometers that encompassed the erstwhile Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, as Anamalai Tiger Reserve under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the Reserve presently includes a core area of 958.59 Square Kilometers and buffer / peripheral area of 521.28 Square Kilometers forming a total area of 1479.87 Square Kilometers.
By the middle of the year 1800, large tracts of Valparai plateau in the Anamalais were under intense tea or coffee plantations after deforestation of the natural forests. By 1866 two-thirds of the plantations were owned by Europeans and the remaining by Indians from coastal towns. Since most native inhabitants either refused to work or were inefficient workers, labour for plantations was brought from the plains of Tamil Nadu to clear forests and grow coffee. Some parts of the forest however were reserved for timber including large areas around Top Slip. This part of the Western Ghats, under the Bombay Presidency were exploited extensively for teak which was supplied to the Bombay Dockyard for shipbuilding and later for railroad ties.
In 1855, this area came under sustainable forest management for teak plantations by the pioneering efforts of Douglas Hamilton and Dr. H. F. Cleghorn of the new Tamil Nadu Forest Department. In the early 1900s, protection of the Karian Sholas was also ensured. The area was notified as Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary in 1974. of its unique habitats at 3 places Karian Shola, Grass hills, Manjampatti Valley were notified as a National Park in 1989. The 108 square kilometres National Park is the core area of the 958 square kilometres Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Project Tiger tiger reserve in 2008. The Park and the Sanctuary is under consideration by UNESCO as part of The Western Ghats World Heritage site. The Sanctuary and the Palni Hills in Dindigul District form the Anaimalai Conservation Area.
Mean annual rainfall is between 500 millimetres in the south western fringes and 4,500 millimetres on the north east. This Sanctuary is an important watershed for the agricultural economy and power supply in other parts of Tamil Nadu. Major reservoirs like Parambikulam Reservoir, Aliyar Reservoir, Thirumurthi Reservoir, Upper Aliyar Reservoir, Kadambari, Sholayar Dam and Amaravathi Dam are fed by the perennial rivers which originate from the Sanctuary.
The Forest has significant anthropological diversity with more than 4600 Adivasi people from six tribes of indigenous people living in 34 settlements. The tribes are the Kadars, Malasars, Maalaimalar, Pulaiyars, Muduvars and the Eravallan (Eravalar).
Threatened species of mammals in the sanctuary include the endangered Bengal tiger, Indian elephant, Indian leopard, asiatic wild dog, Nilgiri tahr and lion-tailed macaque, the vulnerable brown mongoose, gaur, Malabar spiny dormouse, Nilgiri langur, rusty-spotted cat, sambar deer, sloth bear and smooth-coated otter, the near threatened Indian giant squirrel, Indian leopard and Indian pangolin. Animals of least concern here include golden jackal, leopard cat, jungle cat, spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer, wild boar, common langur, bonnet macaque, Asian palm civet, small Indian civet, Indian gray mongoose, striped-necked mongoose, ruddy mongoose, grey slender loris, Indian giant squirrel, Indian crested porcupine, Indian pangolin, Indian porcupine and three-striped palm squirrel.
Over 250 species of birds have been identified in the park. Some of the most important groups are cormorants, ducks, teal, darter, partridge, quail, jungle fowl, spurfowl, Indian peafowl, parakeets, hornbills, barbets, drongos, orioles, shrikes, warblers, Old World flycatchers, woodpeckers, leafbird, trogons, kingfishers, storks, egrets, Lesser fish eagles, hawk eagles, harriers, falcons, kites, owls and nightjars. It is also home to the near-threatened great Indian hornbill. It is home to 15 of 16 species of birds endemic to the Western Ghats.
Amphibians and Reptiles include many rare and endemic forms. Some endemic amphibians are the ancient and elusive purple frog, toad skinned frog, thin-legged leaping frog and Forest torrent frog, Gadgil’s torrent frogs, Anaimalai flying frog, bush frogs and caecilian such as the Uraeotyphlus. Reptiles include the endangered Indian rock python, King cobras, Indian monitor lizards, Malabar pit vipers, Large-scaled green pit vipers, Nilgiri keelbacks, some 20 species of curious little shield tail snakes, Large-scaled forest lizards, Nilgiri forest lizard, flying lizards, Ristella skinks forest cane turtles, and Travancore tortoises.
315 species of butterflies belonging to five families have been identified in the Anaimalai Hills. 44 are endemic to the Western Ghats.
The Steering Committee of Project Tiger granted approval in principle to inclusion of Indira Gandhi Wildlife sanctuary under Project Tiger in 2005 was declared a Project Tiger sanctuary in 2008. Continuance of Project Tiger in Anamalai Tiger Reserve at the cost of Rs.2,35,47,000/- was approved by the National Tiger Conservation Authority on 31 August 2010.
This tiger reserve, together with the several other contiguous protected forest and grassland habitats, is the core of the Parambikulam Indira Gandhi tiger habitat landscape complex, with tiger occupancy area of about 3,253 Square Kilometers.
At Kozhikamudhi Elephant Camp, Elephants were earlier trained and used at Anamalai for timber operations till felling of trees was stopped in 1972. The elephant camp has become a popular public attraction since 1976. There are 20 kumki elephants at the Kozhikamudhi Elephant Camp. There are 13 tuskers (including three calves) and seven cow elephants. The names and ages of twelve of the working elephants are Vijayalakshmi (58), Sarada (56), Nanjan (50), Kaleem (45), Paari (31), Kalpana (30), Venkatesh (28), Karthik (27), Bharani (25), Durga (13), Rajvardhan (11) and Suyambu (4). In 1997, the annual celebration of Elephant Pongal at Top Slip was begun. For Pongal, several decorated elephants stand in front of the Pongal pot to mark the commencement of the celebration. The elephants are fed chakkarai pongal, banana and sugarcane while lined up behind a barricade, so tourists can have a close look. In 2011, Elephant Pongal was celebrated on 18 January.
The Shola grassland at Grass Hills, Indira Gandhi National Park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna typical of the South Western Ghats. There are over 2000 species plants of which about 400 species are of prime medicinal value. The diverse topography and rainfall gradient allow a wide variety of vegetation comprising a mix of natural and man-made habitats. The former includes wet evergreen forest and semi-evergreen forest, montane shola-grassland, moist deciduous, dry deciduous, thorn forests and marshes. Tropical wet evergreen forest is found at an altitude of 600m to 1,600m. Tropical montane forests occur at higher elevations and are interspersed with montane grasslands, forming the shola-grassland complex. Much of the original evergreen forest now contains introduced teak plantations. Bamboo stands and reeds occur in the natural forests. Tree cover is provided by Hopea parviflora, Mesua ferrea, Calophyllum tomentosum, Vateria indica, Cullenia excelsa and Mangifera indica, Machilus macrantha, Alstonia scholaris, Evodia meliaefolia, Ailanthus and Malabaricum and Eucalyptus grandis. The area is home to Podocarpus wallichianus, a rare South Indian species of conifer.
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park Sign Board By The Road.
The Man, Reason Behind Why Tamil Nadu’s Anamalai Hills Are Still Green.
Jambu Malai towering over Manjampatti village 4,577 ft.
The Irulas are a South Indian tribe who have traditionally based their livelihood on being snake catchers.
Anamalai Tiger Reserve Endangered Bengal Tiger.
Anamalai Sanctuary Great Hornbill In Flight.
Anamalai Sanctuary Old World Flycatchers.
Common Tiger (Danaus Genutia) Butterfly.
Kozhikamuthi Elephant Camp.
The Shola Grassland.
Mudumalai National Park
The Mudumalai National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary also a declared tiger reserve, lies on the northwestern side of the Nilgiri Hills (Blue Mountains), in Nilgiri District, about 150 kilometres north-west of Coimbatore city. It shares its boundaries with the states of Karnataka and Kerala. The sanctuary is divided into five ranges Masinagudi, Theppakadu, Mudumalai, Kargudi and Nellakota. The protected area is home to several endangered and vulnerable species including Indian elephant, Bengal tiger, gaur and Indian leopard. There are at least 266 species of birds in the sanctuary, including critically endangered Indian white rumped vulture and long billed vulture. The Western Ghats Nilgiri Sub-Cluster of 6,000 square kilometres, including all of Mudumalai National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.
The Mysore to Ooty highway passes through the forest. In April 2007, the Tamil Nadu state government declared Mudumalai to be a tiger reserve, under section 38V of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, in an effort to conserve the country’s dwindling tiger populations. Subsequently Continuance of ‘Project Tiger’ in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve for the cost of INR 4 Crores was approved by the National Tiger Conservation Authority on 16 September 2010.
There are three main types of forest in the sanctuary tropical moist deciduous occur in the western Benne Block, where rainfall is higher than in the other blocks. Tropical dry deciduous forest occurs in the middle and southern tropical dry thorn forests are in the east. In addition there are patches of tropical semi-evergreen forest in the southwest and western part of Mudumalai. The annual rainfall there exceeds 2,000 mm. Tree species in this habitat include Cassaria ovoides, Litsea mysorensis, Cinnamomum malabatrum and Olea dioica. Climbers including sneezewort (Dregea volubilis), Gnetum ula and Entada scandens are also found in these semi-evergreen forests. Moist bamboo brakes are found amidst dry deciduous, moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forests and along the fringes of riparian forests and swamps. There are two species of bamboo found in Mudumalai, the giant clumping bamboos: Bambusa (arundinacea) and Dendrocalamus strictus. Elephants and gaur eat both species of bamboo. In all types of forest, a green strip of riparian forest is seen along the shore of dry seasonal and perennial streams. This type of forest remains green in all seasons. The plant species found here includes: Mangifera indica, Pongamia glabra, Terminalia arjuna, Syzygium cumini, Indian rosewood Dalbergia latifolia and the bamboos. Larger mammals such as elephant, gaur, sambar and tiger use riparian forest patches for feeding and resting.
This sanctuary is home to several species of wild relatives of cultivated plants including wild rice, wild ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, solanum, guava, mango and pepper that act as a reserve gene pool for the cultivated plants. In places mixed vegetation types are present. The deciduous trees shed their green leaves during the summer, and adopt a floral garb while the arrival of the monsoons hails fruits and tender greens.
There is a high diversity of animal life in the sanctuary with about 50 species of fishes, 21 species of amphibians, 34 species of reptiles, 227 species of birds and 55 species of mammals. Mammal diversity is higher in the dry deciduous and dry thorn forests than in the other habitats. Thirteen percent of all mammal species in India are present in Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary. Of 15 cat species in India, four live in Mudumalai, Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, jungle cat and leopard cat. There are around 150 tigers in the Mudumalai forest. The single largest tiger population in India (Mudumalai – Nagarhole – Wayanad) includes the Mudumalai tigers. These tigers are a breeding source for populating the northern and eastern parts of the Western Ghats. This population exists at high density due to the high density of prey species thriving in its deciduous forests.
The Indian leopard (P. pardus fusca) is most often seen in the Kargudi area. Other carnivores include the dhole (Cuon alpinus), the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), the golden jackal (Canis aureus) and the sloth bear (Melursus ursinus). The population of Indian elephants, (Elephas maximus indicus), totals several hundred animals. Three primates found here include the gray langur (Semnopithecus priam) and the bonnet macaque (Macaca radiata). Important prey animals for large carnivores here are the ungulates including the gaur (Bos gaurus), the sambar deer (Cervus unicolor), the chital deer (Axis axis), Indian muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak), the Indian spotted chevrotain (Moschiola indica), and the wild boar (Sus scrofa), all of whom are common here. Rodents include the Indian giant squirrel (Ratufa indica maxima) and the red giant flying squirrel (Petaurista petaurista). Some reptiles found here are the python, flying lizard, spectacled cobra, krait and Asian pit vipers. The monitor lizard is the most regularly observed species.
Eight percent of bird species in India occur in the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. Among the 227 bird species found in Mudumalai, 110 species are insectivores, 62 are carnivores, 23 species are fishivores, 12 species are omnivores and 20 species are granivores. These include the unique near threatened black-and-orange flycatcher. Regional endemics include Malabar trogon and Malabar grey hornbill. Some rare birds of prey like the rufous-bellied eagle can occasionally be seen in this sanctuary. Other predatory birds include crested serpent eagle, changeable hawk eagle, black eagle, Oriental honey-buzzard, Jerdon’s baza, Bonelli’s eagle, crested goshawk, besra, mottled wood owl and brown hawk owl, and several minivets. There are also hornbill, golden oriole, chloropsis, paradise flycatcher, golden-backed woodpecker Malabar great black woodpecker, blue-winged parakeet, fairy bluebird, jungle fowl racket-tailed drongo, peafowl, red spurfowl, grey francolin, painted spurfowl, painted bush quail, white-bellied woodpecker, lesser yellownape, golden woodpecker, streak-throated woodpecker, chestnut-headed bee-eater, emerald dove, green imperial pigeon, grey-fronted green pigeon, grey-bellied cuckoo, Indian cuckoo, alpine swift, black-hooded oriole, greater racket-tailed drongo, black-headed cuckooshrike, grey-headed bulbul, forest wagtail, crimson-backed sunbird and Loten’s sunbird. It also holds the isolated southern population of the striped tit-babbler.
Mudumalai National Park Exit Towards Bandipur National Park Area.
Mudumalai Tiger Reserve From Ooty Direction.
Western Benny Block.
Elephants Eating Bamboos In Mudumalai Bamboo Forest.
Mudumalai National Park Tiger Reserve.
Leopard’s Of Mudumalai National Park.
Mudumalai National Park Elephant Ride.
Mudumalai National Park ‘Malabar Grey Hornbill’.
Multicolor Indian Giant Squirrel, Measures 3 feet From Head To Tail.
Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR)
Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR), located in the Southern Western Ghats in Tirunelveli District and Kanyakumari District in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the second-largest protected area in Tamil Nadu State (behind only Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary in Erode). The Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve was created in 1988 by combining Kalakad Wildlife Sanctuary 251 Square Kilometers and Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuary 567 Square Kilometers, both established in 1962. Notification of 77 Square Kilometers of parts of Veerapuli and Kilamalai Reserve Forests in adjacent Kanyakumari district, added to the reserve in April 1996, is pending. A 400 Square Kilometers core area of this reserve has been proposed as a national park. now totally covering the area of 895 Square Kilometers having an elevation of 4900 feet. At 1681 meters Agasthyamalai is in the core zone of the reserve.
The reserve is located west of Tirunelveli Town, and forms the catchment area for 14 rivers and streams. Among these rivers and streams, the Ganga, Tambraparni, Ramanadi, Karayar, Servalar, Manimuthar, Pachayar, Kodaiyar, Gadananathi River, and Kallar form the backbone of the irrigation network and drinking water for the people of Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and part of Kanyakumari District. Seven major dams Karaiyar, Lower Dam, Servalar, Manimuthar, Ramanadi, Gadananathi River and Kodayar owe their existence to these rivers.
Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) forms part of the inter-state (Kerala and Tamil Nadu) Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve. This part of Agastya Mala hills in the core of KMTR is considered one of the five centres of biodiversity and endemism in India by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Western Ghats, Agasthyamalai Sub-Cluster, including all of Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.
The Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve was Established in 2001 and includes 3,500.36 Square Kilometers of which 1828 Square Kilometers is in Kerala and 1672.36 Square Kilometers is in Tamil Nadu. Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve became part of World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 2016. Is also under UNESCO’s world list of biosphere reserve. It is composed of Neyyar, Peppara and Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuaries and their adjoining areas of Achencoil, Thenmala, Konni, Punalur, Thiruvananthapuram Divisions and Agasthyavanam Special Division in Kerala. Inclusion of adjoining areas of Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu has been approved. The reserve now covers parts of Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari Districts in Tamil Nadu and Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta Districts in Kerala.
Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve includes the Indian Ecoregions of tropical wet evergreen forests, South Western Ghats moist deciduous forests, South Western Ghats montane rain forests and Shola. It is the habitat for 2,000 varieties of medicinal plants, of which at least 50 are rare and endangered species. Animals include the Bengal Tiger, Asian Elephant, and Nilgiri Tahr. Agasthyamalai is also home to the Kanikaran, one of the oldest surviving ancient tribes in the world. Ecotourism is popular in the area.
Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) has at least 150 endemic plants, 33 fish, 37 amphibians, 81 reptiles, 273 birds and 77 mammal species. A survey during 2014 trapped 14 unique tigers. Leopards, Elephants, nilgiri tahr, nilgiri langur, wild boar are some of the other mammals present in this reserver. Habitat use by the grey junglefowl (Gallus sonneratii) at Mundanthurai plateau, Tamil Nadu, was investigated from December 1987 to March 1988. The continuation of “Project Tiger” in Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve for fiscal year 2010–2011, at the cost of Rs. 19,433,000, was approved by the National Tiger Conservation Authority on 28 August 2010.
Settlements In The Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve has a large number of employees of the Electricity Board and Public Works Department who stay in three colonies and work at Karayar, Upper Dam, Servalar and Upper Kodayar reservoirs within the reserve. Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation has a 33.88 Square Kilometers land in the core area of the reserve leased from singampatti zamin valid until 2028. The Company has tea and coffee plantations and three factories, and employs about 10,000 workers in the reserve. There are several small estates and five Kani Tribal habitations, consisting of about 102 families. About 145 hamlets situated within 5 km of the 110 km eastern boundary of the reserve are inhabited by 100,000 people. There are about 50,000 cattle grazing out of these fringe villages, with a small number of cattle owned by the tea estate workers and residents of the electricity board colonies.
Trekking is another important activity in this Tiger Reserve. Following are the trekking routes available in this reserve.
- Thalayanai 6 Kilometers. Karungal Kasam / Woodhouse and Dormitory 7.5 Kilometers. Mudul.
- Iruppan W House 7 Kilometers Mulakal Kasam 15 Kilometers. Kakachi.
- (Log house) 14 Kilometers Upper, Kodayar Sengaltheri (R. House, W. house, I. Shed) 14 Kilometers, K.Range (K.R.F)
- Netterikal (No halt) 8 Kilometers,Thirukkurungudi Range (K.R.F)
- Narakad (No halt) 19 Kilometers, Nambi Kovil (W.House)
- Kannai Katti (FRH) 21 Kilometers, Pandipati.
- Mundanthurai 18 Kilometers, Vadamadi (RH) 24 Kilometers, Valaiyar.
- Karaiyar 4 Kilometers, Sevalar (E.B.) Rest House.
- Kalakad Range (K.R.F) Sengaltheri R.H. Dormitory, 10 Kilometers, Mulakalasam.
The best time to visit is between October and January. The sanctuary is open to the public from October to the summer months, but given that it becomes uncomfortably warm, one should consider visiting the sanctuary before summer sets in.
Carry Travel Essentials (Soaps, Towel, Mosquito Repellent, Flashlight etc…)
There is no cellular connectivity within the reserve except in a few select locations.
Do not venture anyplace without informing the Range officer or his subordinates first.
Collect information pamphlets from the Ambasamudram office.
It is best to have your own transport when staying within the reserve as most of the places are far flung. Even if driving in your own vehicle, consult the range officer for any restrictions. Some places can only be approached with the forest guards acting as guides.
Make sure you have stocked up before departing from Ambasamudram (the last major town). There are no shops within the forest perimeter except for some small general stores selling basic stuff.
The Forest Department’s Rest House has two suites and dormitory style accommodation. Suites are reserved for visiting forest officials. One can call ahead and reserve accommodation at the Rest House. Ambasamudram has a few mid-budget bed and breakfast hotels. There are many hotels and resorts around Tirunelveli.
Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve Manimuthar Falls.
Bengal Tiger Found In Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.
Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve.
Saint Agastya Statue Found In Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve.
One Of The Oldest Surviving Tribe In The World Are Also Found In Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve Called “The Kanikaran Tribes”.
Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve, Upper Kodayar Dam.
The Grey Junglefowl (Gallus Sonneratii) Found Commonly In Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.
Nilgiri Tahr Found Commonly In Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.
Nilgiri Langur Found Commonly In Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.
Psammophilus dorsalis (South Indian Rock Agama) Found In Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.
Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary
Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve is a protected area and tiger reserve in the Eastern Ghats in the Erode District of Tamil Nadu. First various geographical tracts of the Sathyamangalam forests were declared reserve forests. Patches of Sandalwood Reserves were notified under the Indian Forests Act, 1927. The Sathyamangalam Forest Division is part of the Brahmagiri-Nilgiris-Eastern Ghats Elephant Reserve notified in 2003. In 2008, part of the Sathyamangalam Forest Division was declared as a wildlife sanctuary and enlarged in 2011, it covers a forest area of 1,411.6 Square Kilometers. In 2013, with an area of 1408.6 Square Kilometers of the erstwhile sanctuary was notified as Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, the fourth tiger reserve in the state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Project Tiger and is the third-largest tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu.
Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, the Gateway to the Eastern Ghats, is a significant ecosystem and a wildlife corridor in the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve between the Western Ghats and the rest of the Eastern Ghats and a genetic link between the five other protected areas which it adjoins, including the Biligiriranga Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary, Sigur Plateau, Mudumalai National Park, Bandipur National Park and the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. All ranges of the Sathyamangalam and Hasanur Forest Divisions except T.N. Palayam range falls within Sathyamangalam and Thalavadi taluks while T.N. Palayam Range falls both in Sathyamangalam and Gobichettipalayam taluks of Erode District in northwestern Tamil Nadu.
Sathyamangalam Forest Division in Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, The total area originally declared as a sanctuary was 524.3494 Square Kilometers. The boundaries of the sanctuary were the Thalavadi range of Thalamalai forests and Hasanur, T.N.Palayam ranges of Gobichettipalayam taluk of Guthiyalathur forests, contiguous with Biligiriranga Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary in the north and the rivers of Moyar and Bhavani, contiguous with Mudumalai National Park and Sigur Plateau in the south. The eastern boundary is formed by the Bargur reserved forests in Anthiyur taluk and Bandipur National Park in the west. The sanctuary includes the areas of Guthiyalathur reserved forests 299.47 Square Kilometers, Guthiyalathur extension 1.6231 Square Kilometers, Thalamalai reserved forests 210.85 Square Kilometers and Thalamalai extension 12.4063 Square Kilometers.
In September 2011, the Department of forests increased the sanctuary area by declaring an additional 887.26 Square Kilometers in seven reserve forests of Sathyamangalam forest division. The largest chunks of additional area are 487.92 Square Kilometers from Guthiyalathur and 319.87 Square Kilometers from Thalamalai reserve forests, thus increasing the total sanctuary area to 1,411.6 Square Kilometers. Of the total area, the core zone comprises 917.27 Square Kilometers reserved forests and tourism is allowed in the buffer zone with only forest officials permitted entry into the core zone.
The Sathyamangalam forest is mostly tropical dry forest, part of the South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests ecoregion. There are five distinct forest types: tropical evergreen (Shola), semi-evergreen, mixed deciduous, dry deciduous and thorn forests. Evergreen forests are restricted to small patches in a few high altitude hilltops of Sathyamangalam between 750 metres (2,460 ft) and 1,649 metres (5,410 ft). These patches are threatened on account of land use changes to hill agriculture and plantation crops, including fruit. Semi-evergreen forests are found at high altitude. Mixed and dry deciduous forests are located on middle altitude slopes and the thorn forests are usually found in the foothills and some times, due degradation of dry deciduous forests, at the middle elevations. About 65% of the forest division is under forest cover. Significant areas of mixed shrubland and grasslands support a large population of herbivore ungulates, the preferred prey of tigers.
The Sathyamangalam forests link the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats allowing gene flow between diverse fauna populations of the two eco-regions. The 2009 wildlife survey conducted by Government of Tamil Nadu enumerated 10 Bengal tiger, 866 Indian elephants, 672 gaurs, and 27 leopards. The survey party observed four additional species of horned antelope including 2,348 spotted deer, 1,068 blackbucks, 304 sambar deer, 77 barking deer and four-horned antelopes, 843 wild boars, 43 sloth bears and 15 striped hyenas. Herds of the famous feral buffaloes can also be spotted in places near the Moyar river. The 2010 wildlife survey counted 12 Bengal tigers. In December 2011, the Conservator of Forests of Tamil Nadu stated that the sanctuary is home to at least 28 tigers as confirmed by a camera trap study conducted by World Wildlife Fund. In the 2012 national wildlife survey, 25 tigers were recorded. As per the 2011 census, the Sathyamangalam forests were home to over 850 Indian elephants and is part of a protected area, which consists of the largest Asian elephant population in the world.
Many bird species including treepies, bulbuls, babblers, mynahs and crows were noted. In 2010, the first-ever bird survey was conducted in the Sathyamangalam forests. A total of 230 species of birds were recorded in the survey. In 2010, a small population of critically endangered Indian vulture (Gyps indicus) and three other species of vultures were discovered to be thriving in the Moyar river valley. 20 nests were sighted and the population was estimated to consist up of 40 adults. Last sighted in the region in the 1970s, the rediscovery of the vulture, a bird rapidly disappearing from India, has been significant. Diclofenac, which caused the decline of vulture population was banned in 2006 and since then, vulture numbers have started to grow back.
Conservation of the Sathyamangalam Forest Division is administered by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department governed through Conservator of Forests, Erode, Divisional Forest Officer, Gobichettipalayam and District Forest Officer, Sathyamangalam. The wildlife sanctuary is part of Project Tiger and Project Elephant conservation programmes run by the Government of India. The sanctuary is listed among the top five places in India for poaching tigers by the international wildlife trade monitoring network. In February 2016, the National Tiger Conservation Authority announced that drones will be used to monitor the tiger population in five tiger reserves including Sathyamangalam.
These forests are home to indigenous tribal people belonging largely to the Irula tribe (also known as the Urali) and Soliga communities. As of 2013, tribals engage in collecting honey, more than 900 families live in 138 villages within a 5 kilometres radius surrounding the park. The tribals engage in agriculture, grazing of animals and collecting minor forest produce such as honey, tubers, fuelwood and fish. According to the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, the tribals were entitled to use designated land within the park area for agriculture and the title deeds for the same are to be distributed within 2016 after the Supreme Court of India vacated a stay order issued by the Madras High Court prohibiting the same. The forests were also the home of a notorious criminal and bandit Veerappan, who made living by poaching ivory and sandalwood from the forests and selling them on the black market. Veerappan was killed by the Tamil Nadu Police in October 2004.
Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary.
Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve.
Sathyamangalam Wildlife Reserve Elephants.
Wild Indian Gaur.
Vulture (Gyps Indicus)
Tigers Safe In Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary Under Project Tiger.
Sathyamangalam Wildlife Reserve World’s Most Famous Bandit Named Koose Munisamy Veerappan.
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