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Tamil Nadu - Udhagamandalam Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

‘Nilgiris landscape ideal for conserving wildlife'

Special Correspondent

Conservation efforts set in motion in 1973 paying rich dividends now

Photo: D. Radhakrishnan

The Field Director, MTR, Rajiv K. Srivatsava (third right), at the inauguration of a workshop on the Resurgence of Tigers in Udhagamandalam on Monday.

Udhagamandalam: The Nilgiri landscape is ideal for conserving wild animals, observed the Field Director, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Rajiv K. Srivatsava, here on Monday.

Presiding over a workshop on “Resurgence of Tigers in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Landscape- Vision and Strategies” organised by the Forest Department, he said that the landscape with rivers, wetlands, grasslands deciduous and dry deciduous forests was the finest of its kind in the country.

Stating that the increase in the population of tigers in the country in general and the Mudumalai, Nagerhole, Bandipur and Wynaad areas in particular had boosted the moral of various sections of the society in the district, he said that the increase was due to the concerted efforts of forest officials, non-governmental organisations and wildlife enthusiasts.

Pointing out that the tiger population had dwindled in the past due to various reasons, he said that the conservation efforts set in motion by the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1973 was paying rich dividends now. Tigers, which were hard to come by, were now being sighted frequently. The Project Tiger concept was brought into being to protect the apex species and all the other wild animals.

Pointing out that only 21 per cent of the area was under forests, Mr. Srivatsava said that the home range of the animals had shrunk. Human beings should act as the voice of the mute population.

The Project Director, Hill Area Development Programme (HADP), Deepak Srivastava, said that man-animal conflict and habitat fragmentation were among the factors which caused a fall in the population of tigers. The trend should be reversed.

Lamenting that many species had joined the critically endangered list, he said that the main challenge now was to preserve the habitat.

Underscoring the need to protect the fragile eco-system of the Nilgiris, he said that a balance should be struck between development and conservation.

Pointing out that HADP was playing a supplementary role in protecting the forests, Mr. Srivastava said that during the current fiscal focus would be on forest conservation. He acknowledged the role of the media in enhancing awareness about the importance of forests.

The Head, Department of Zoology and Wildlife Biology, J. Ebanesar, also spoke.

The Assistant Conservator of Forests, Jayaraj, welcomed the gathering.

Interactive sessions on various topics including livelihood options for forest dwellers, tiger conservation initiatives, impact of invasive exotic species, status of tiger prey base, prey-predator relationship and contribution of NGOs in tiger conservation formed part of the workshop.

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