In a move that will help freer movement of elephants in western Tamil Nadu, the State Forest Department has acquired 13.49 acres of private land in Kothagiri Range of the Nilgiris North Forest division, after paying compensation of Rs.70 lakh.

The property, which was registered in the department's name on Monday, will be treated as forest land and will become part of the elephant corridor connecting Coimbatore forest division and the Nilgiris North forest division.

S. Ramasubramanian, District Forest Officer, Nilgiris North Forest Division, told The Hindu that the acquired portion of the land is in the foothills of the Nilgiris. “The place has been identified as an important elephant corridor and the effort to acquire it began about a decade ago.”

Totally there are 76 acres of patta land; the adjoining areas are reserved forests. For acquiring the entire land Rs.3 crore was required. This is the first part of acquisition and the acquired portion lies in the Kallar – Jakkanari elephant corridor. Soon the Department would take efforts to acquire the remaining portions of the patta land.

It is for the first time in the State a private land is acquired to facilitate free movement of elephants, he said. The acquired area has both naturally grown bamboo as well as plantations besides a large number of naturally grown trees.