Introduction

Wildlife Conservation Initiative in Tamil Nadu:

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.

Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation:

Tamil Nadu has been a pioneer State in Protected Area management and development of forest resources and wildlife. The total area under the protected area management is 7,072.95 sq. km. which comes to 30.92% of the State’s Forest area. The Protected Areas in the State includes 5 National parks, 15 Wildlife sanctuaries, 15 bird sanctuaries and 2 conservation reserves besides 4 Tiger Reserves viz. Anamalai,  Kalakkad - Mundanthurai, Mudumalai and Sathyamangalam. These Protected Areas have been established under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Further Tamil Nadu also has the distinction of having 3 Biosphere Reserves viz. Nilgiris, Gulf of Mannar and Agasthiarmalai, which are internationally acclaimed for their rich and unique biodiversity. The Western Ghats are one of the 25 global hotspots and one of the 3 mega centers of endemism in India. The genetic assemblage of Tiger Reserves, Mukurthi, Srivilliputhur, Kanniyakumari and Megamalai owe their richness in flora and fauna to their locations in Western Ghats. The Biodiversity Conservation and Rural Livelihood Improvement Project pursued at Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve is a new endeavor in perusing conservation at landscape level, covering five districts namely, Kanniyakumari, Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar, Madurai and Theni.  The State endeavour to improve wildlife wealth through the following practices:  

  • To improve the wildlife habitats by extending and strengthening the area wherever required and ensuring connectivity of habitats.
  • Management of wildlife resources at Landscape level with better Inter-State Coordination.
  • Harness the sentiments of tribal and forest dwellers in wildlife management while ensuring livelihood security.
  • Efforts to protect the migratory birds and to conserve their habitats.
  • Conservation of Wetlands for Avian fauna.
  • Inventory of Biodiversity for Bio-prospecting.
  • Understanding the lesser known diversity for conservation gains.

The details of Wildlife Sanctuaries, Birds Sanctuaries, National Parks and Conservation Reserve in Tamil Nadu are as follows:

Name of Wildlife Sanctuary Sanctuary Area in Ha District in which located Designation of the Officer Year in which started
WILDLIFE  SANCTUARIES      
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary 21776.00 Nilgiris CCF & FD, MTR, Ooty 1940
Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuary (R.F. 35228.38 + R.L.22979.20) 58207.58 Tirunelveli CCF & FD, KMTR, Tirunelveli 1962  
Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary 1728.81 Nagapattinam WLW, Nagapattinam 1967
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary 84149.00 Coimbatore CCF & FD, ATR, Pollachi 1976
Kalakad Wildlife Sanctuary 22358.00 Tirunelveli CCF & FD, KMTR, Tirunelveli 1976  
Vallanadu Black Buck Sanctuary 1641.00 Tuticorin DFO, Tuticorin 1987
Grizzled Giant Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary 48520.00 Virudhunagar WLW, Srivilliputtur 1988
Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary 40239.55 Kanyakumari DFO, Kanyakumari 2007
Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary 141160.94 Erode DFO, Sathyamangalam 2008, 2011
Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary 26910.81 Theni and Madurai WLW, Theni, 2009
Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary Block A and Block B 12407.27 Thanjavur and Tiruvarur Nagapattinam WLW, Nagapattinam DFO, Tiruvarur 2013
Kodaikanal Wildlife Sanctuary 60895.482 Dindigul and Theni DFO, Kodaikanal 2013
Gangaikondan Spotted Deer Sanctuary 288.40 Tirunelveli DFO, Tirunelveli 2013
Cauvery North Wildlife Sanctuary 50433.48 Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri DFO, Hosur 2014
Nellai Wildlife Sanctuary 35673.33 Tirunelveli DFO, Tirunelveli 2015
Total 606389.657      
BIRDS SANCTUARIES        
Vettangudi birds Sanctuary 38.40 Sivagangai DFO, Sivagangai 1977
Pulicat Lake Birds Sanctuary 15367 Tiruvallur WLW, Chennai 1980
Karikili Birds Sanctuary 61.21 Kancheepuram WLW, Chennai 1989
Kanjirankulam Birds Sanctuary 104.00 Ramanathapuram WLW, Ramad 1989
Chitrangudi Birds Sanctuary 47.63 Ramanathapuram WLW, Ramad 1989
Koonthankulam-Kadankulam Birds Sanctuary 129.00 Tirunelveli DFO, Tirunelveli 1994
Vellode Birds Sanctuary 77.18 Erode DFO, Erode 1997
Vedanthangal Birds Sanctuary 30.00 Kancheepuram WLW, Chennai 1998
Udayamarthandpuram Birds Sanctuary 45.28 Tiruvarur DFO, Tiruvarur 1998
Melaselvanur-Kilaselvanur Birds Sanctuary 593.08 Ramanathapuram WLW, Ramad 1998
Vaduvoor birds Sanctuary 128.10 Tiruvarur DFO, Tiruvarur 1999
Karaivetti Birds Sanctuary 453.71 Ariyalur DFO, ­Ariyalur 2000
Theerthangal Bird Sanctury 29.29 Ramanathapuram WLW, Ramad 2010
Sakkarakottai Tank  Birds Sanctuary 230.49 Ramanathapuram WLW, Ramad 2012
Oussudu Lake Birds Sanctuary 331.785 Villupuram DFO, Villupuram 2015
Total 17666.155      
NATIONAL PARKS        
Guindy National Park 270.57 Chennai WLW, Chennai 1978
Gulf of Mannar Marine Park (21 Islands) Reserve Land - 623.12 Ha + Sea area - 51978.88 Ha 52602 Ramanathapuram & Tuticorin WLW, Ramnad 1986
Indira Gandhi National Park 11710 Coimbatore CCF & FD, ATR, Pollachi 1989
Mukurthi National Park 7846 Nilgiris CCF & FD, MTR, Ooty 2001
Mudumalai National Park 10323 Nilgiris CCF & FD, MTR, Ooty 2005
Total 82751.57      
CONSERVATION RESERVE      
Thiruppudaimaruthur Birds Conservation Reserve 2.84 Tirunelveli DFO, Tirunelveli 2005
Suchindrum-Theroor –Managudi Conservation Reserve 484.77 Kanniyakumari DFO, Kanniyakumari 2015
Total 487.61      

ABSTRACT

S. No

Sanctuary & National Parks

Total Nos.

Total area in Ha

1

Wildlife Sanctuaries

15

606389.657

2

Birds Sanctuaries

15

17666.155

3

National Parks

5

82751.570

4

Conservation Reserve

2

487.610

Total

 

707294.992

BIOSPHERE RESERVES IN TAMIL NADU

S. No Name of Reserve Area in Ha
1 Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve 2,53,800
2 Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve 10,50,000
3 Agasthiyarmalai Biosphere Reserve 1,67,236
  Total 14,71,036

ELEPHANT RESERVES IN TAMIL NADU

Sl. No Name of Elephant Reserve District Name of the Division. Area(Ha)
1. Nilgiris – Eastern Ghat (Nilgiri Elephant Reserve) Nilgiris  Erode, Dharmapuri Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Gudalur Forest Division, Nilgiris North Forest Division, Sathyamangalam Forest Division, Erode Forest Division, Dharmapuri Forest Division,, Hosur Forest Division, Nilgiris South Forest Division,. 4,66,245
2. Nilambur  Silent Valley  Coimbatore Elephant Reserve             ( Nilambur Elephant Reserve ) Coimbatore, Nilgiris Coimbatore Forest Division,, Mukkuruthi National Park, Nilgiris South Forest Division,. 56,557
3. Periyar Elephant Reserve (Srivilliputhur Elephant Reserve) Theni, Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli   Srivilliputhur Squirrel Wildlife Sanctuary, Theni Forest Division, Tirunelveli Forest Division, 1,24,910
4. Anamalai – Parambikulam Elephant Reserve (Anamalai Elephant Reserve) Coimbatore, Dindigul Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary,  Dindigul Forest Division,  Kodaikanal Forest Division, 1,45,723

TIGER RESERVES IN TAMIL NADU

S. No

Name of Reserve

Core area in sq. km

Buffer area in sq. km

Total area in sq. km

1

Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve

895.00

706.542

1601.542

2

Anamalai Tiger Reserve

958.59

521.28

1479.87

3

Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

321.00

367.59

688.59

4

Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve

793.493

614.912

1408.405

 

TOTAL

2968.083

2210.324

5178.407

MANGROVES & CORAL REEFS

Sl. No. Name of the Mangroves Name of the Districts Area in Ha
1 Muthupet Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Thanjavur 11,885.91
2 Pitchavaram Villupuram 1413.98
3 Ramanad Ramanathapuram 582.07
    Total 13,881.96
Sl. No. Name of the Coral Reefs Name of the Districts Total in Ha
1

Coral Reefs in Gulf of Mannar

Ramanathapuram

56000 ha in 21 islands of Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park

WETLANDS

S. No Name of Wetlands Districts Area in Ha
1 Point Calimere Nagappattanam 38500
2 Kazhuveli Vilupuram 7400
3 Pallikkaranai Chengalpattu 690.53
  Total   46590.53

ESTIMATION

Tiger Population in Tamil Nadu was estimated as 229 during 2014 (National Tiger Conservation Authority)

            Elephant Population in Tamil Nadu was estimated as 3987 during 2012 (Asian Nature Conservation Foundation, Tamil Nadu Forest Department and Indian Institute of Science, (Bangalore.)

CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION OF MARINE BIO-DIVERSITY IN THE GULF OF MANNAR:

The key coastal habitats in the Gulf of Mannar are coral reefs, sea grass and mangroves. These habitats are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth. Marine ecosystems of Tamil Nadu, provides livelihoods to many local fishing communities in the Gulf of Mannar coast, besides acting as buffer to adjacent shorelines from strong waves, help prevent erosion, property damage and loss of life. The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust has added to the State’s effort in the conservation of marine biodiversity ensuring the livelihood security of the people along the coast line. To achieve significant improvement in the conservation of marine biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources in marine and coastal ecosystems of the State, the Forest Department envisages:

  • Conservation and protection of marine biodiversity by promoting sustainable use and equitable sharing of marine resources.
  • Enhance the quality of marine habitat with the help of local communities.

WILD ANIMALS COMMONLY INVOLVED IN HUMAN WILDLIFE CONFLICT

In Tamil Nadu, more commonly involved Wildlife in human-Wildlife conflicts, where the damage is caused to man and his property, are - elephants (Elephas maximus), tigers (Panthera tigris), leopards (Panthera pardus), wild pigs (Sus scrofa), Indian gaur (Bos gaurus), bonnet macaques (Macaca radiata), marsh crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris), peafowl (Pavo cristatus) etc., Whereas, on the other side of the human-Wildlife conflicts, almost all the Wildlife and their habitat are impacted by the human induced  interruptions/interferences.

HUMAN WILDLIFE CONFLICT ZONES OF TAMIL NADU

Sl.No. Name of the Elephant Reserve Name of the Division Intensity
1. Nilgiris Eastern Ghats (Nilgiri Elephant Reserve): 1.  Mudumalai Tiger Reserve High
2.  Gudalur Forest Division High
3.  Nilgiris North Forest Division High
4. Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve High
5.  Erode Forest Division Medium
6.  Dharmapuri Forest Division Medium
7.  Hosur Forest Division High
8.  Nilgiris South Forest Division. Medium
2. Nilambur - Silent Valley Coimbatore ( Nilambur Elephant Reserve): 1.  Coimbatore Division High
    2.  Mukurthi National Park Low
    3.  Nilgiris South Forest Division Medium
3. Periyar (Srivilliputhur Elephant Reserve): 1.  Grizzled Giant Squirrel Wildlife       Sanctuary Medium
    2.  Theni Forest Division Medium
    3.  Tirunelveli Forest Division. Medium
4. Anamalai - Parambikulam (Anamalai Elephant Reserve): 1.  Anamalai Tiger Reserve High
    2.  Dindigul Forest Division Medium
    3.  Kodaikanal Forest Division. Medium

Forest department have initiated measures that benefit both the wildlife and local human communities, enabling mutually beneficial co-existence. Many initiatives are targeted to address Human wildlife conflicts and its mitigation:

  • Surveillance of vulnerable areas and monitoring of wildlife habitats.
  • Mitigation measures to prevent Human wildlife conflicts
  • GIS enabled information and technology driven system for monitoring of wildlife habitats to reduce human wildlife conflicts.
  • Sensitizing the inhabitants and locals through modern tools and technologies.
  • Timely distribution of benefits to win confidence of people.
  • Protocols for the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife straying out of forest areas.

Strengthening the veterinary services for wildlife through Rapid Response Teams and Mobile Veterinary Units.