Chennai, July 7 (Ajit Weekly News) Officials of the Tamil Nadu forest department have commenced preparing detailed project reports (DPR) to identify elephant corridors in the newly-declared Agasthyarmalai Reserve.
The Union Ministry of Environment has cleared the department’s proposal to declare 1197.48 sq.km of forest land in Kanniyakumari and Tirunelveli districts as the new elephant reserve.
Once a forest area is notified as an elephant reserve, it receives funding under the Centre’s Project Elephant.
A senior forest department official told Ajit Weekly News: “Even as the Union Ministry of Environment has declared the area as an elephant reserve only on Wednesday, it is already protected as a forest reserve or a wildlife sanctuary.”
He said that the elephant reserve status will focus on conservation and protection of tuskers as indicator species and representing a healthy ecosystem.
The department officials said that the Periyar-Agasthiyamalai area is estimated to have 1,800 elephants based on the 2010 census.
The elephant population in this belt is spread across Agasthyamalai and Mahendragiri ranges.
With funding under Project Elephant, the forest department expects that there won’t be a shortage of resources for the proposed elephant corridor and maintaining the tusker population.
Prevention of man-animal conflict will be one of the major focus areas as far as the new eserve is concerned.
–Ajit Weekly News